We in the artsÂ like to live out loud in 2008, talking about almost everything (in detail)Â Â â€“ exceptÂ $$.
Since for most of us an artistâ€™s life doesnâ€™t actually pay well, we become our own patrons and subsidize our heartâ€™s work with a day job of some sort.Â For many composers, the day job is teaching.Â
For that reason I was much struck by the poignancy of David Gessnerâ€™s comments in Sundayâ€™sÂ NY Times , adapted hereÂ for composers:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Even if we grant that you can be as original within the university as up in your garret, we must concede the possibility that something is lost by living a divided life.Â Â Intensity perhaps.Â Â The ability to focus hard and long on big, ambitious projects.
Â Â Â Â Â A great [creator] , after all, must travel daily to a mental subcontinent, must rip into the work, experiencing the exertion of it, the anxiety of it and, once in a blue moon, the glory of it. Itâ€™s fine forÂ [composers]Â to talk in self-help jargon about how their lives require â€œbalanceâ€ and â€œshifting gearsâ€ between teaching and [composing], but below that civil language lurks the uncomfortable fact that the creation of [music]Â requires a degree of monomania, and that it is, at least in part, an irrational enterprise.Â Itâ€™s hard to throw your whole self into something when that self has another job.
Â – David Gessner, NY Times Magazine (Sunday Sept. 21, 2008).Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œThose Who Write, Teachâ€