Why Compose? (A Personal Perspective)

kafkaI don’t remember ever “becoming” a composer. I’ve always felt the inner push to write down musical ideas and it’s an impulse I’ve always been happy to follow. It’s always seemed logical and natural to me, then, to invest the better part of my life in pursuit of the profession.  My young adulthood was spent getting two degrees in music in addition to the countless hours on my own spent pouring over scores, listening to recordings, perfecting drafts, begging for reading sessions, working with publishers and patrons, and all the other difficult but necessary things young composers do to hone their craft and build their careers. It’s a pursuit I doggedly continue into the present.

Yet, especially in light of troubling economic times, I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t  be more sensible to cast this all aside and pick up an additional job instead.  The question brings itself into sharp focus:  why compose?

Read the rest of this (and much more) in my book Writing and Living in the Real World: Advice for Young Composers



  1. I liked what you said.I feel satisfied when I am doing the creative process of writing(I hate scoring but you have to do it). I generally don’t care about the fame or money. I kind of dislike the idea of others doing certain things for the name of attention but then again its their choice and not mine. I agree with the fact that if you do like composing music then this is something you will never have to decide on to give up or retire from. Even though, sadly ,I chose nursing in order to survive, I will never give up composing music. I will retire from nursing but my last piece of music will be on my death bed whether I am what others define as “success” or not.

    1. I’m about to become a nurse too! (LPN). I really like it. But of course you’re right. Composing is my calling; nursing is my job. That’s how it will always be. -BN

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