Instinct served me well through my first
few years of college, but I ultimately got to a point where I felt
like I didn't know how to write music anymore. My problem was fairly
typical among young composers- I knew how to start a piece and
sometimes knew how to end it, but I generally had no idea what
to do in between. The concept of "development" seemed
very abstract to me, and I couldn't really make sense of the idea
in my own music.
My teacher at the time, Leonardo Balada, became frustrated with
my slow progress and forced me to sit down and write a set of short
piano variations. It was his hope that I would break through my
creative impasse if I could just focus on how to manipulate one
or two musical elements in a short, closed form.
It was a good assignment. These variations and the process I went
through to make them were a watershed experience for me. Although
short in duration, very simple, and somewhat "Prokofiev-like" in
style, I nonetheless had a much better idea when I finished them
of how to develop material out in longer forms.
Unfortunately, at the time they were completed, I was only able
to obtain a reading of the theme and first variation, and I have
never heard the piece in its entirety. I would like to thank Aaron
Jackson for allowing me to hear an older piece of personal significance
for the first time.