I saw a meme on Facebook a while ago, the one with the fake greeting card and custom text: “‘Yay! It’s the weekend,’ said no composer, ever.” Funny yes, but completely wrong. Bravado aside, if you consistently work “weekends” (meaning, you don’t take planned days off on a weekly basis), your art will suffer.
Composers think they’re being tough by never taking structured breaks and working at any time of day or night. Sometimes they use the excuse that composition doesn’t pay very well to justify this type of constant working attitude. More often, they do it as a part of the mystique of being an artist: you are so driven and inspired that you have no desire to take weekends off, you’d rather be constantly immersed in the creative process.
Unfortunately, every profession makes the same kinds of bullshit excuses, from CEOs to stockpickers. (more…)
A few weeks ago, a friend’s link to a rant about a rant about the Hype Machine, a music blog aggregator, got me thinking about the issue of whether it’s better to do art full time or part time. The short answer to that question, of course, has to do with what better means to you. But I still think there are meaningful distinctions that can be made between the kinds of art that get made in either situation.
The question of better can be addressed to a large extent using economic scenarios, though not by relying on classical economics. Basic economic theory would say that the more reward you get for your work, the more devoted you will be to it, hence ensuring value. Also, we would expect the best artists to receive the most money because their work is in the highest demand. So full-time artists, by this definition, should always be better artists. (more…)
Recently I read both Goethe’s and Marlowe’s Faust plays–the Faust legend has been a major influence on many generations of composers and authors. I found them exceedingly dull, except that the Marlowe made me think about changing English syntax in relation to the other germanic languages. And in the case of Goethe, I was curious about the psychology that would lead someone to torment over this story for one’s entire career.
What they made me realize though, is that ideas of the value and endurance of art are tied to our world views. (more…)
So today I read in the Globe and Mail that scientists are increasingly finding biological and genetic support for the age-old adages of love (Siri Agrell, “Sluts and Vermin”, The Globe and Mail, 26 Apr 2007, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070426.wxlsexstudies26/BNStory/lifeFamily/home).
For example, female mice who play hard to get tend to inspire faithfulness in their mates, as opposed to those who put out right away. There seems to be a biological reason why women that are unavailable are more desirable, and this builds faithfulness in men. Interesting. (more…)