The Best Thing About Your First Song

I have a bunch of smart musicians in the Rockford Aces: guys who show a lot of interest in arranging and composing, and a lot of discrimination about quality.

I almost never get an arrangement from them for the group.

I think it’s their good taste that keeps them from writing arrangements. They know what quality writing sounds like, and they are either certain they won’t be able to and never start, or they do start and find it hard.

What they need to know is that the only way to get to good is by starting at poor. Failure is inherent in the path to success. You have to do to learn.

The best thing about your first song is your second song.

My first arrangements were certainly poor. I learned from them. I still learn from every piece I write.

I’m willing to bet that Gene Puerling’s first arrangement wasn’t very good. Alice Parker shares that her first arrangements for the Robert Shaw Chorale were covered with red ink by Robert Shaw.

The insight that your first piece isn’t going to be earth-shatteringly good shouldn’t motivate you to stop. It should make you hurry up and write as much as you can.


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