Ok I mean no drama with this post it's just that I turn here for advice since I think I may not be the only one who suffered through this period in musical life.
SITUATION: Just recently I found myself lost in almost everything concerning piano training, performance and music composition. The feeling I had when I was playing and the dedication I had for training slowly diminished as I started taking music more seriously. Playing turned from trans-like stance into mechanical hand movement and I tend to overthink composition so much that it paralyzes me. Let me divide this into piano and composition paragraphs.
1. PROBLEM: Pieces I learned and played at my first year (this year) in conservatory are no longer in my head. They feel like obligatory stuff I learned just to pass the exams. Nothing that I played moved me like when I was playing Chopin nocturnes and preludes few years ago. Back then I had almost no performance anxiety and had this "inner ear" feeling when I played when I felt it inside just how right will the sound come out of piano when I touch the key. This inner ear + emotion corresponded with reality and that was what made piano playing such a joy to me. Now it seems I am only preparing my hand to position and being aware of metrum and tempo but I feel empty when the tone comes out. It may be that I somehow grew bored of old music and dissonance is what interests me now and makes me feel more connected to the music. Also now the performance anxiety grew so strong I feel like having a cement in my veins or really jelly fingers. The anxiety probably grew as my hobby was turning from passion into strict set of academic rules I was trying to fulfill. It should be balanced right? It seems like I let the sense of rules crush my passion and made everything too rational.
2. SOLUTION: I decided to fight this by making some more correct goals. Improving my sight-reading through Bartok's Mikrokosmos, Joplin's pieces and sonatinas from Mozart and Clementiny. Practicing my technique with Burgumuuler's op. 100 etudes and Stephen Heller's op.46 etudes (with some Czerny's etudes needed for a second year at conservatory aside). But as to performance pieces I am lost (I don't mean that etudes are inferior to performance pices but I should have some sonatas in repertoir as well). The only thing that moved me was hearing Bacewicz: Boli mne glowa (which was May of this year I think). When I heard this piece I was so moved I felt like exploding inside. I was unable to converse after the concert because I just had to have a cigarettte and ponder on the emotional impact the piece made on me. It woken up utterly different parts of my brain I suppose. I try to listen to music every day and some new pieces I find get me a little bit but mostly it is only analyzing the construction and sound of the piece. I tried to take pause from classical and moved a bit into jazz to maybe awaken the feel for music in me (jazz also has very colorful harmonies sometimes on the verge of dissonance that excites me as well.)
1. PROBLEM: This year I made 4 miniatures for piano, two choirs and fixed a third one already made for it had some compositional + voicing mistakes that could have been done better, and one polka and one tango (that should have been a part of a suite but other pieces were unfinished sketches that I just could not get through with for never being satisfied with the result). The only thing that keeps me from loosing absolute trust in my musical cappabilities are praisings of my compositional teacher (who is also a well acknowledged and played composer in my country and has comments + advices to the point when it comes to composition without sounding too academically complicated so I highly respect him for that) who says I am quite inventional and creative. This little push makes me think "Ok you are not living in your own world, you are getting positive feedback." His comment on my compositional frustration is that I want too much from me when only just starting and I tend to overthink things too much so I should keep it simple sometimes. I think that my piano performance unsatisfaction plagues my composition as in since I fail to find harmonies and sounds that move me I fail to imagine melodies and harmonies in my head. It's like I grew hollow. An empty mind full of rules yet drained imagination.
2. SOLUTION: I decided to fight this by just following the advice "Write, write and write." I'll try to just fight my way through the unsatisfaction and actually finish a piece even if I feel that the harmonies are uninventional, uninteresting or melodies are too cliche/overused. The only way I feel not dissatisfied with composition is when I give it some strict rule "Melody composed of only augmented fifths, scale composed of numbers of my date of birth etc... But this I fear is leading into too mathematical/combinatorical composition that is unappealing to the majority of audience and lacks emotion. What kind of composer would I be should I be able to compose through such means and yet have no sence for emotional, natural melodicity/tonality?
Why am I posting this?
As I said I think I might not be the only here who felt this way and so I try to hear some perspective from person who managed to get through this. Also I feel that I can find a mature community here who could share their more intellectualy balanced perspective on the whole matter.
Also advice on solutions to my problems as for example where to move in the repertoir (apart from etudes and sight reading exercises) since Chopin, Schumann, Beethoven, Grieg and others I played before don't excite me anymore with their harmonies and I find myself going towards 20th century dissonance. But just jumping from tonality into Schoenberg, Boulez or Carl Vine piano music would be harsh and too fast I think.
Also it's good to let this off my chest since I really don't want to burnout from music as those situations when I hear my piece playing at a concert or listening to/playing a piece that just brings me waves of chills that I can ride on bring me a great sense of purpose into my life.
If you managed to read the whole thing to this point I thank you for your patience and apologize for possible eye twitching english mistakes :P
So I don't think this piece is very "quality" in terms of how it's written. I do think it sounds good though, and I don't really know which to weigh more. That's the problem with these kind of, "only intended for the sound" type pieces. I know their objective to be really cinematic or whatever, but the orchestration just isn't very good. That said, I wrote this piece because a friend had a mother that really loved birds, so I wrote a piece trying to be serene with bird call emulations. She said she wanted that over the Pines of Rome-style bird calls. I hope you all enjoy.
Fair warning: sorry, it's kind of loud.
I also don't remember if I've posted this before, so if I have, just let me know and I'll put repost in there.
Thanks for your comments!
In general terms, I don't stay in a tonality, I am aware of that, and I like it.
Also, some "clashes" don't disturb me. In "It all comes back" there's anoter one even "harder": in m. 55 in the right hand there's a Db-Eb and a D at the same time. Weird? I don't mind, it's (for me) a way to create tension.
In other words, "the end justifies the means" in this case, I mean to say: if it sound good (to me, at least), I don't care about clashes or tonalities. In fact, I like to write the chords, but sometimes I can't (because of the dissonances or extended notes).