I have mouthed off quite a lot about what it means to write music for a computer’s idiom in meatspace. I think I’ve been mouthing off about it for as long as I’ve been writing music. I don’t know why I haven’t written much about it, because it very much informs how I think about composition for computers. Continue reading
Author Archives: cmagnus
Teaching and Anxiety Dreams
I love teaching and I have missed teaching. It was very disappointing to find, when my partner got his tenure track job, that the music department thought they’d reached their geeky musician quota and didn’t want to toss any adjunct work to another. This spring it occurred to me to ask computer science. Although the paperwork hasn’t gone through yet, I have strong reasons to believe I’ll be teaching as an adjunct in the fall. I’m finding it very reassuring. I hadn’t planned on writing anything about it until the paperwork went through, but last night I had the best. anxiety. dream. ever. So I must share. Continue reading
I have spent the last several years trying to figure out what to do with myself, having given up on finding a tenure track faculty job somewhere. I found it was really hard to be productive without being part of an active artistic community. I also found it was really hard to be productive without having access to a 24 hour coffee shop with free wireless. Heck, I’d settle for a coffee shop that closes at midnight–the kind I used to go to if I wanted to make sure they’d kick me out at some point so I’d wake up in time to be at a morning appointment. Continue reading
Thoughts about Rigidity, Creativity, and Marzipan Danish
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes creativity work. On the one hand, I seem to be a fairly creative person who has original ideas. On the other hand, I’ve met very few people who think as rigidly as me. Actually, I only have one friend (who I know of) who is as spatially rigid as me–she’s the only other person who doesn’t think it’s OK to put the cinnamon back somewhere vaguely in the vicinity of where it came from instead of just putting it back in exactly the same spot where it was before. She does amazing drawings, which has gotten me thinking about how creativity and rigidity mesh. Continue reading
Themes are Hard
I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been writing a new piece.The music is pretty much done, but I’m stuck when it comes to finishing it. It feels so close that it hardly seems worth writing about it before it’s complete. On the other hand, the piece has now been waiting for that one last thing for a while now, so it seems worth writing about that. Continue reading
In my last post on leaving academia, I raised the issue of music having no centralized jobs listing or standard job search cycle. But music is worse than that. Lots of jobs in music aren’t publicly posted at all. If I had to point to a single thing that makes searching for a job feel futile, this is it.
The Music Job Market is Poorly Run
As part of my series on leaving academia: the music job market is poorly run. Applying for jobs is inefficient. It makes it harder to stay on the market than in other fields.
Things that help me compose
Really good new music or art. It’s got to be new. It’s got to be something I haven’t seen before. Usually when I’m not composing it’s because I’m feeling disconnected from the music-making community which makes my work feel irrelevant. Since I’m in a small town and there aren’t a lot of musicians I can go hang out with, art and music become a proxy for community. A good piece of art makes me feel connected–like maybe my music matters too. Continue reading
Review: Constellate by Doug Van Nort
Last weekend, I went up to the Tang Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs to check out Doug Van Nort‘s Constellate, which is installed in the Tang’s elevator. It’s open until October 14–that gives people a couple of weeks to catch it. Continue reading
Socialization and Religious Patriarchy
A lot of articles out there blame women for not promoting themselves and being assertive enough in the workplace. I don’t want to pick an article that activates Poe’s Law, so here’s Clay Shirkey’s rant about women. He’s clearly really concerned about a lack of diversity in his discipline, he just can’t seem to think of any way to address the problem besides blaming women for it. His problem is that women aren’t aggressive enough. Women don’t ask for raises. Women don’t exaggerate their expertise when applying for jobs. In general, we fail to self promote the way men do.