In the last year, there has been a huge upsurge in adults seeking hobbies that promote mindfulness or joy.  The time saved from not traveling coupled with the potential end of the world has led us to realise that we deserve to be happy, not just productive (although being happy makes us more productive too!). In the musical space, more adults than ever are signing up to sing, play an instrument, learn music production and compose.  This trend to understand composition is interesting, not only because composition is a great creative outlet, but also because composing used to be viewed as something that could only be attempted by an expert.

Award-winning film composer Shantanu Moitra believes that anyone can compose, and that’s true.  Composing and scoring are great outlets for one’s creativity and storytelling ability. 

Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Be open minded – Start by listening.  Listen to many different styles of music.  Understand them.  Interpret them.  Analyse them.  See what resonates with you, and what doesn’t.  If it doesn’t, could you try and understand it better?
  2. Be a storyteller – Use composing to communicate a story.  If you’re scoring for a film, thing of how your music can take the story forward.  If you’re composing for yourself, what story do you want to tell?
  3. Don’t worry too much about instrumental expertise – Is it great to know an instrument? Yes.  Is it absolutely necessary to master the piano or guitar before you string two notes together in your own way? No.  Just start somewhere.  Grow from there.  If you can hum or whistle, start from there.
  4. Don’t overcomplicate things – Sometimes a simple composition could be the best way to get your message across.  Don’t worry too much about being extremely virtuosic or complex at the beginning.
  5. Find a process that works for you – There is no one size fits all method.  Start working towards it, and find your own creative process.

Being a great composer is a lifelong pursuit, no doubt.  But whether you’re starting because composing brings you joy, or you want to be the next Mozart, today feels like a great day to start.

Sign up for SaPa’s self-paced course, Bringing Music to Life, by Shantanu Moitra here.

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