MFSA056: Left To My Own Devices

I had an interesting conversation recently with a musician friend about the relationship between creative process and creative output. We had just spent some time getting hands on with a vintage synth collection, and were reflecting on the extraordinary effort and patience required to get good sound and tight sync out of old analog hardware, compared to the ease with which software can do it all with a few clicks of the mouse today.

Creativity requires both inspiration and perseverance, and sometimes the creative process is nowhere near as enjoyable as we might hope, particularly where the tools used to create are unfamiliar, unwieldy, or unreliable. Hard drives the world over are filled with half finished works of musical genius, and every day funerals are held for those who died with much of their music still in them. Beginning is hard, but finishing is harder.

On one hand, it can be tempting to mistake effort for output, spending a lot of time twiddling knobs with little to show for it in terms of completed work. On the other hand, if music is therapy rather than vocation, maybe it is okay to enjoy the journey for what it is, rather than worrying too much about the destination in terms of end product. In either case, music is a voyage of self discovery, both for the maker and for the listener.

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