Continuing Education

27 Jan 2021

Next Time

I was supposed to write about the topics below in my first post for 2021. Since I didn’t get back to writing a blog post in a very timely manner, I’m going to push it down the road again, so I can have a chance to think about the subject(s).

I didn’t fit it into this post, so here’s a tease for what will be the first post of 2021.

That which is unique breaks… Creating vs. Consuming

Keeping Up

It’s already 3+ weeks into 2021. That’s simultaneously hard to believe and 100% believable, as we’re still in this time-has-no-meaning monotony of pandemic living. I wonder how long it will take after the world returns to normal to reach a point when time no longer seems like an arbitrary construct. Perhaps I’ll never get back to that point? I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s still at least a few months away before we can start thinking about such things. In the meantime, I need to pick up the pace on blog posts. I have goals (see below) to meet!

The Music Nerd’s Dilemma

In my last post, I talked about how removing distractions has helped me focus, and actually start producing some completed songs. By distractions, of course, I mean extraneous little (or large) pieces of music-making gear that seem cool – heck, are cool, but ultimately don’t facilitate any structured output. It’s fun to jam, and noodle around on these things, but I want to try my hand at producing completed work. The funny thing about removing distractions – “going minimal”, if you will – is that you can’t stop thinking about how minimal you can go. In other words, “Do I really need X?” In my case, a lot of those thoughts are driven by one thing, or the lack thereof. That thing I speak of, naturally, is time. After a few weeks back in full swing with work, kids stuff, maintaining the household, etc., I feel like I only really get little bursts or chunks of time to work on my music hobby. It often feels like starting from scratch each time, because the sessions are so disjointed. That can be a little discouraging. However, I have to remind myself that the process takes time. I’m not going to always have the flashes of inspiration like I did at the end of 2020 that led to two tracks in a matter of weeks. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I sometimes feel a little guilt over owning “too many” synths, etc. I continually have thoughts about shrinking down to one box (maaaaybe two) that I can focus on learning inside and out. I have been sort of doing that by trying to limit myself to one box for 2-4 weeks in a row, but then I start feeling bad about the other stuff that sits unused. I then start thinking that I should just sell it all and keep one or two things at most. That would be enough stuff to make music with, but not so much that it would cause the previously mentioned anxiety or worry-stress. This leads me to the first of my goals for 2021.

Let’s see…

2021 Goals

  • Spend 2-6 months with the current gear, and really determine what truly brings joy / satisfies.
  • No gear purchases (Yikes!)
  • Write 20 blog posts
  • Complete 2 data science related projects (either at work or at home)
  • Release the equivalent of a full-length album (8-10 individual tunes)

It’s tough to stick to so-called “SMART” goals, especially since I’m grading myself on these. I very much want to write these open-ended goals that are difficult to quantify like “Relax more” or “be happier”, but I know that goals written like that aren’t helpful. When it comes time to determine your success, the more specific you are, the easier it is to delineate goals that are met vs. not met. Here’s to a successful 2021. I think know I can meet all these goals, and I’m excited to see how things turn out.