Friday, March 16, 2007

Self Reliance

Self reliance means taking the ultimate responsibility for the success of your project. Dependencies on other individuals create vulnerabilities which can derail your project. Its nobody’s fault but yours. One must therefore strive for control. The first objective of is to control the scope of your project i.e. define what success is. Can you do what you are setting out to do? In the context of music this can be an easy objective if your goal is one of self expression. Do you have enough technical and compositional skills to be able to express your musical thoughts to your satisfaction? If your goals in music are not about money, not about public accolades but about WHAT you want to say then defining the project is done. The rest is just hard work.

To be more concrete in the context of modern music “self publication” there are some specific things one can do. This is where I start talking about what I can do to be self reliant. I can think of 3 main areas:

  • Composition
  • Playing the Parts
  • Audio Engineering



To be self reliant here involves learning about the music craft and some of its rules. It also means not being tied by its rules or certain interpretations of said rules. Self reliance is built through experimentation and the courage to finish something regardless of the emotional suffering. Don’t wait for others to tell you what they think. What do you think?


Playing the Parts

Tunes consist of multiple parts , all doing their part. Its that cooperation that makes music breathe. We are living in a day and age that making those parts happen is very do-able. Technology here has been the great enabler. Very viable drum parts can be generated via software like BFD. Equipment like the M-audio Trigger finger make it possible even for non-drummers to add the percussive icing that can make such a great difference in a tune. Synthesisers make it possible for keyboardists and guitar players to play a multitude of sounds. If you are a guitar player you should play your own bass parts on a bass guitar. Keyboard players have their left hand. Sequencing can be a viable mechanism for adding further orchestration. Here is the main point don’t stop finishing your tune just because you don’t have a bass player or drummer around. Just do it. You can always later collaborate. 

This brings me to an important point with regards to collaboration. Be sure you are ready to collaborate. Don’t rely on anybody understanding your vision for your project nevermind your vision for a particular tune. Make that vision as concrete as possible by having something finished to show. You have to have something to polish , you can’t polish smoke.


Audio Engineering

Product means a CD and to get there one needs to put things down on tape or rather on a hard drive. Again, don’t rely on anybody. There is so much out there nowadays to help with this. Sound recording has indeed become accessible to the masses. Inexpensive powerful software is there and with these new Core 2 Duo Cores there is not much that one cannot do. Secondly, there are some great communities of like minded individuals that are invaluable resources.


Publishing independent music by independent musicians is today attainable by those that really want it. Success is achieved by building self - reliance and accepting full responsibility for the success of the project. Dependency on other individuals is relinquishing responsibility which has the potential outcome of derailing you of the path to the release of your CD.

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