I used to play the drums. It was in my junior school orchestra that I first got the feel for banging and hitting things. I remember vividly the helpless guffaws of laughter coming from the entire school at one morning assembly when we played Verdi’s ‘Anvil Chorus’.
As part of the percussion section, I was appointed to be the soloist who dutifully beat the pants out of the metalwork shop’s anvil during the well know climactic chorus. It was quite embarrassing as I had to sit right at the front, by the conductor, with my metal hammer at the ready. It made me laugh too but I pretty much smashed it, literally!
In a similar fashion, the triangle in an orchestra doesn’t always get the credit it’s due. The reality is that there are probably more rests than actual hits. Unless you’re playing The Pink Panther theme that heavily features it, you’re more than likely to be sitting quietly reading ‘Caravan & Camping’magazine subliminally counting out the bars before your odd featured ‘ting’ arrives.
I am a great fan of the triangle and feel it displays the perfect model for this rather daft and unreliable business in which we are involved. Each side represents an important element.
It’s a shame I can’t think of anything snappier all starting with the same letter but no matter. (I suppose you could have Scribbling, Studio, Showing Off?) They are pretty much self-explanatory but allow me to fill out this short blog with a few additional thoughts.
Being involved in the music industry means that you should have, or will be involved with any one of these ‘sides’. They are in fact interchangeable and can be placed in any order or preference. They are linked and have similarities.
Writing or composing is easy to understand. Without this, stuff doesn’t exist. I love the fact that one minute you can have a blank sheet, paper, computer template and the next you bring something into life. You’ve created something from nothing. That’s amazing! Whether it’s music or any other form of writing, drawing or painting, this is one of life’s creative miracles.
Certainly, with music you need to be able to capture your new creations. Recording is the obvious next step. Most people now are fortunate to be able to record from home. The demise of the big all singing studios and the affordability of digital recording gear has meant that home studios have become the default, enabling the media composer, writer, producer to manifest his or her works easily, quickly and efficiently.
The third side is Performing. Without the chance to perform there is no revenue or financial reward. Performing also encompasses broadcast and streaming as this is a form of performance certainly when placing music for TV film radio or advertising.
In fact, each side has its own revenue stream, legal safeguards, collecting organisations, copyright protections, merchandising opportunities and no matter where you start, the other sides have a logical linear continuation and follow on easily and simply to assist and support the others.
There are definite times when the emphasis for each side changes. One minute you’re concentrating on writing and the recording and performing take on a less important part. Similarly, when you’re recording or performing, the writing isn’t always that obvious. But the great thing here is that within this structure there are no rules. Nevertheless, you have to be involved in all three to get some degree of traction in this business.
Work on your writing and build your brand.
Become excellent at recording your works to get them to the best possible standard that your ability and pockets will allow.
Get out and show your wares, perform your songs, instrumentals and sell them. I know this sounds easy and possibly a little trite, but take seriously the triangle and turn it into your own business model.
If anyone can think of another shape or model that better fits this industry then please let me know. Meanwhile this three-sided beast can stand proudly centre stage and offer far more than the odd tinkle here and there.
Start with one and see how the other two sides come into play. It doesn’t really matter where you start. Get to love and understand the three most important supports of your creative journey and most of all, make it pay for itself so it supports you. So where are we now? Bar 437 and counting…….