On Composing for the Bagpipe: The 30-Day Challenge
Have you ever tried composing a piece of bagpipe music? What was the result? Composition skills are like anything else, they require learning and practice. Remember back to a time when you could not read a piece of music, or how about even playing a D throw? How good are those skills now?
If you repeat something often enough, you will develop habits related to that something. So it is with music. Music composition, aside from comprising a set of skills that can be learned, is also a creative exercise. Tapping into your own creativity means habitually placing yourself in the right mindset to allow your personal creativity to flourish.
A general axiom among learning experts states that if something is done for thirty days, it will become ingrained and habitual.
Try this exercise: Each day, for thirty days, create an original piece of pipe music. It could be a phrase, a melodic line, a full tune, anything. Scribble it down immediately. Carry around some music staff paper, or a notebook or even your laptop loaded with your favorite music transcription software. Think about it during the course of your normal day and pick a set time to jot down what’s going through your head. Don’t worry if the result is any good, or if it sounds like something else. The idea is to get used to the process of creating and documenting. Review your results at a later time and expand on your scribblings. You can then decide whether what you’ve written is junk or not.
After a while, you may find yourself jotting down several phrases, or even an entire four-parted tune. You may find that things just pop into your head unprompted. That is the point. Once it becomes easier to tap into those mental resources, you might be surprised by the changes in the way you approach the music. And who knows? You just might end up getting a good tune or two you can call your own.