Almost everyone listens to music and among those, quite a few perform it. However, there is often a divide between performance and composition.
I started playing piano when I was in 2nd grade. I instantly fell in love with music, adoring my newfound ability to string together simple notes into something complex and beautiful.
I continued to play for years, expanding my repertoire and experimenting with tempo, dynamics and even the notes themselves. Eventually, I felt ready for the next step.
My sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to start writing music, so I bought a composition book. Unfortunately, my attempts to write a song typically ended within minutes.
I was worried that what I tried to write would not be good enough. I saw the music I listened to as perfect, nothing that could be created by a normal person.
I did not see myself as creative, talented or trained enough to even attempt to compose music, so I stopped.
The composition book remained untouched for months, gathering dust under the tried and tested books I typically played out of. It was around a year before I wrote my first real song.
I do not know what motivated me to dig up that composition book, but once I started writing, I kept going. The first measure was the hardest, but after that, the notes flowed together.
After the song was complete, I played it through, no distractions. I was shocked to find that I actually liked how it sounded.
As time went on, I learned to play guitar and harp. I also took the first steps into writing orchestral music and experimented with music editing software to create mashups.
Every time I expanded my skills, I found that the first step was the hardest one. After that, though I was by no means an expert, I could navigate the way forward.
I had seen good music as being perfect, a puzzle with every piece in the exact right spot. I saw it as a locked door that required a key.
Now, I realize how wrong this is. There are endless combinations that can create a masterpiece and there is no mold for perfection.
Creating art is not pass or fail - Something does not need to be perfect to be beautiful.
I did not need to locate the key, only turn the knob.