Today I release for you my second composition for piano, Reflection.
I wrote Reflection a couple of days after Christmas in 2008. It was lightly snowing outside. A simple repeating bass line was all I started with – one step up, a half step more, then back. The melody came together and its development, and soon after that, the quiet middle section.
That time between the holidays is often one of personal reflection of the past year, and that is surely where my head was – hence the title. The middle section of the piece has a quiet yearning for comfort; the following recapitulation and ending are a soaring beauty, showing the joy and possibility that lie ahead. Of course, none of this was planned! The piece wrote itself, as all the others – I just helped.
Here it is for your enjoyment: Reflection Audio Mp3 – Reflection Sheet Music PDF (right-click, Save As will allow you to save the file to your computer)
My initial thinking in starting this website (and then this blog) was one of promotion – to promote my work at church, my concert work, and to sell my CDs and piano music. All of those except the latter happen on other sites (as linked above), so www.scottlamlein.com was to be the home of my recent piano compositions and their recordings.
All that changed when I started writing this blog. One of the things I feel constantly conflicted about is the struggle between music as art and music as business. It is expected, for survival in this world, that at least 1/3 of our time is used to make the money needed to sleep 1/3 of the time and “live” during the remaining 1/3. When music is part of your vocation as well as your primary passion, these lines become very blurry.
When I began my concert work in earnest six years ago, so began what felt like a never-ending quest to “turn music into cash.” Strangely, the concerts that are the most rewarding and enjoyable and “real” are the ones that either did not pay or paid very little.
What’s the lesson in all this? Still not sure! However, I have learned recently that sharing my gift as a musician, both directly through the music, and indirectly through this writing, is at the center of why I do it. And so, I have decided to begin releasing several of my piano compositions and recordings without charge. A sample of my first piano composition, “Gratitude,” is below, and tomorrow I will post the full recording and sheet music for download. I’ll continue doing this weekly. Additionally, if interested parties contact me looking to own what I affectionately call “the whole pile,” I’ll be glad to make that available for free.
From the start of my composing, I’ve been very aware that it is well beyond my control, something I am clearly a vessel for, so I am excited and grateful to share it.
[audio:http://www.scottlamlein.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/gratitude-18s.mp3|titles=Gratitude (from Peace)]
I had a great conversation with one of my business colleagues yesterday about the tenuous relationship a person has with his/her subconscious “self.” I described this relationship, in my personal experience: “We’re like ambivalent co-workers — we work OK together, but don’t really like each other.” The real trick is getting out of my own way to allow my smarter, better-connected inner self to rule. (This is where those tired-but-true words of wisdom ring forth: “Trust your gut,” “Listen to your instincts,” etc.)
I am certain that the process of writing music is the closest I come to simply allowing the subconscious to take over. Evidence was at the ready this week: I wrote eight measures of music on Monday. On Tuesday, I realized it was written for a specific upcoming occasion (Memorial Day). Previous to this, there have been several occasions when music has emerged, and days later it has been clear that it was in dedication to someone who has passed on.
With all that life deals us, we need reminders that we have an inner connection to each other, to this earth, to the universe, to God. If we pay close attention, our success will be great, our lives will be fulfilling, our efforts will be meaningful.
One of the challenges of writing music is finding time to “make it happen.” This is actually a misnomer (at least for me), because I truly feel I have very little control over when and how it happens. So, it is more accurately finding time to “let it happen.”
Just before lunchtime yesterday, things with my web business freed up enough that I could sit at the piano for awhile, and yes, a piece I had started months ago actually developed into a page and a half of new stuff. Momentum was great, I was having fun, my son was hanging out and listening… and then the phone rang. After a half hour on a necessary business call, I went back to the piano and only seemed to be able to play the same two chords over and over!
The irony, of course, is that the music I write is so clearly about relaxation, focus, meditation, centering, contentment, quiet… It seems I’m much better at preparing that space for others than for myself.