Working musician during a pandemic

For 30+ years I was a college professor in music Composition and theory at the University of South Florida School of Music. During that time, I was expected to publish, which I diScreen Shot 2020-08-12 at 9.17.57 AMd, and to be active in my field, which I did as a freelance composer forever, the music director for the Super Pregame Show for 10 years, and as a part-time music director in a number of different churches. In “retirement,” I still work as a freelance composer and as music director at Lakewood United Church of Christ.

I’m fortunate that Lakewood UCC is allows me free reign to publish music posts on the church website during these times that the church isn’t having live services. As unfortunate as the world’s pandemic is, it has allowed me to express myself as a musician in a way that face-to-face, live music performance/direction does not. It also provides the churchgoers a link to things familiar to them that they used to be able to enjoy in person.

I haven’t posted on this site for some time, primarily because I’ve been so active with the posts I make for Lakewood. So, for a while, I’m going to put the original attention of this site–composition instruction–on hold and start posting the music I’ve been making during this pandemic. Eventually, I may get back to the notion of composition instruction, but for now, I’ll just be posting product: links to free streaming of sound files, on SoundCloud or video streaming at YouTube.

This product takes several forms:

  • audio-only SoundCloud links to…
    • original compositions by myself,
    • classical music,
    • hymns that people enjoy
  • music-videos YouTube links to…
    • original compositions by myself,
    • classical music,
    • hymns that people enjoy

I’ve learned that music video posts get a lot more “clicks” that pure audio from SoundCloud, which is where I keep most of my own music. That kind of makes me sad, because music shouldn’t really have to have visuals…but it’s my job to present the material in a way that people respond to. If that means YouTube, then it’s YouTube. Someday (echo: someday…someday…someday…) I’ll try to get it on an audio-only platform that people are more familiar with (Spotify? Pandora?). But, for now…YouTube and SoundCloud.

The videos are pretty homegrown but if I wait for perfection, I’ll be waiting a long time. I just thought you might enjoy seeing what one working musician is lucky enough to do for a job during a worldwide pandemic. And I’m not kidding about that, I consider myself VERY lucky because the responsibility of getting three recordings a week made and posted is keeping me sane during these times.

I’ve got a lot of backlog, so until I get current I will post one a day, then I’ll shift to only 3 a week.

You can also follow the posts from this page at https://www.facebook.com/hiltonkeanjones.

Paired Comparison Analysis in trying to decide what to write next

Kokopelli (Hopi trickster god and patron of musicians)
Kokopelli (Hopi trickster god and patron of musicians)

I’m spending some time looking at my personal and professional priorities. Those change as time passes. It’s time for me to look at mine again and see what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, what’s become more important or less important.

In doing so, I’m looking at a lot of resources to help myself with this. I came across something called Paired Comparison Analysis. I was familiar with bubble sort from my dabbling in computer coding long ago. This is similar but with a couple extra features. The site where I learned about it–which has a handy, free, downloadable worksheet–is www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_02.htm.

I thought you might be interested in an application of this device in a creative person’s context. To understand how this analysis works, read the article linked to above and watch its very short video. No point in me re-explaining it. They do it better anyway.

Below is my analysis of the items I couldn’t really decide among. The results conform to what I sort of suspected, but nice to know there’s some data to back up my suspicion. The list is what to write next since I feel an urge to do them all (anthems, piano solos, short concerti for piano a la Mozart scope, orchestral music of which several pieces are already started, 4-hands piano pieces which can be fun to bang through with friends, or some more purely electronic music).

The basic chart with choices and values
The basic chart with choices and values

 

Totalling up the values for each letter
Totalling up the values for each letter

 

Results as percentages and listed highest to lowest
Results as percentages and listed highest to lowest

Now…don’t be fooled! The creative mind will have its own way. It may cooperate and do what this analysis suggests or it might not. More often than not, Kokopelli has other plans. As Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Also, every time–and I’m pretty sure it’s EVERY DAMN TIME–I tell anyone what I’m going to write next…I never do. So, we’ll see. We’ll see.

Paired Comparison Analysis does seem like a useful tool as a helpful hint in decision making, though, even if it’s not an oracle.

PS: this was originally posted on my personal blog, hkjones.info.