There are moments in your professional life when you take stock of where you are, how far you’ve come and what started it all. A little reflection reminds you why you made the choice, and confirms that you’re still on track. Recently, I’ve had two such moments.
As you read this article, let it not be about me, let it be about you. When did you know you wanted to be a musician, a performer, a piano teacher, a composer? What are the significant moments that have marked your journey? Let me tell you a little about mine, and in your comments below, feel free to tell me about yours.
It was time for me to have a new professional photo taken. It had been ten years since my last. I didn’t want the standard brightly lit, stiff-postured, formally-dressed photo. I wanted something outside the box that reflects my artistic side. My husband recommended Jaimie Corbin, a local photographer and makeup specialist who has been putting a fresh twist on professional photos. She calls it ‘living art.’
I went to Corbin’s studio for my photoshoot, which was surreal and fun. On one wall were the words, “Do what you love until others love it, too.” This motto resonated with me because it felt like my journey.
This post is a little of this and that, but mostly it’s about rediscovering my genesis as a composer: 1) with a piece that harkens back to my earliest days of improvising on the piano, and 2) through the process of taking my new professional photos, which are inspired in part by the composer who kindled my wish to be a composer.
Starry Dreams (Do Come True)
Once home from my photo session, I felt so inspired that I wanted to play something before I washed all the paint off (yes she painted me, literally!). I discovered a slow jazz piece I’d written two weeks before and forgotten about, and filmed it. I love this video. It’s sincere and spontaneous (I’m sight reading my pencil sketch). It captures the late night, dreamy spirit of the music, and the bonus is that I’m still painted. Here is Starry Dreams (Do Come True), my brand-new Level 6 slow jazz piece:
About the music: When I was a preschooler, before I’d had piano lessons, I used to improvise on the piano to imitate what I heard my siblings practicing. I composed this piece as an impression of what my preschool improvs used to sound like. I remember people listening to me and saying in hushed voices, “It sounds like she’s really playing something!” Of course, now as a trained musician I’m able to make my improvisations into something, but this is the closest piece I’ve ever written to sound like the pretend music I played back then.
When I posted the Starry Dreams video, there was such a positive response from friends and teachers that I’ve whipped it up into an eSheet for sale, and you can order Starry Dreams (Do Come True), here.
Because all of this happened in one week, the creative photo and a new eSheet piece that isn’t associated with a collection that already has a cover, I’ve decided to make my new professional photo into the cover for my sheet music.
Out-of-the-box Professional Photo One
We took two photos. The Mozart cosplay is my favourite.
I had sent Corbin a very famous portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with the idea that I’d like to replicate it somehow. She had the costume and wig on hand when I arrived.
There’s a long history behind me dressing up as Mozart. When the motion picture, Amadeus, came out, I became obsessed with Mozart as a composer. I was 12 and watched the movie so many times on a video cassette that I had the script memorized and could play my favourite moments of the music soundtrack on the piano by ear.
For Halloween I convinced my mother to turn some pieces of cloth into a Mozart costume.
It was at this time in my life that I realized I wasn’t just someone who liked to make up music on the piano, I realized that I wanted to be a composer.
Having my photo taken as Mozart again as an adult has helped remind me how wonderful and magical music was to me as an early teen and keeps the artistic journey fresh. It has reminded me why I wanted to be a composer in the first place. I love music and enjoy every minute! This enthusiasm bubbles over and I hope to share it with everyone who plays my music.
Out-of-the-box Professional Photo Two
The second photo is also in the ‘living art’ style and will be my new bio photo. Corbin chose this shot because it looks whimsical with me looking off dreamily.
As professionals, we can get so serious about our work. Professional and serious seem to go together. But in the creative industry, it is vital to nurture our art with a bit of playfulness, to keep spark and wonder ‘alive and breathing’ in our output and image.
Remember to listen to Starry Dreams (Do Come True), here. For me, the dream of becoming a composer has come true. For many years I have done what I love doing and now others are starting to love it, too. Thanks to all who have joined me on my journey!
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