Beyond "Excited"

A composer friend said recently that they wish they could hide every post that begins “I’m excited to share…,” and lately, I’m tempted to agree. So many people post good news this way: a declaration of excitement, a link to music, and — nothing else.

I’m not entirely opposed to the “excited” post. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a genuine declaration of joy. But using this language and only this language when you share new work quickly grows old. If you’re truly excited, shouldn’t you come up with an equally exciting way to announce good news?

Give us a reason to get excited with you. There are so many alternatives to the “so excited” post, and all of them involve finding a story in that piece of music. How did that composition come to exist? Tell us about the process of how you wrote it, your relationship to the commissioning ensemble, or why you chose the subject matter of the piece. Entice us with a hint of the program note, so we want to lean in and learn more.

Given the amount of information that we encounter every day — some of it exciting, much of it not — why should anyone want to click through to learn more about your new piece? Believe me, I know it’s tempting to answer: because I worked really hard on this, and it’s really good. But when it comes to writing an engaging post about your music, that might not be good enough.

If you practice asking yourself Why is this news worth sharing? every time you post, then eventually you’ll find your way to a short, compelling story about the piece or the process.

 

Describe how far back in time your friendship goes with one of your collaborators. Write about how you’re geeking out over the fact that you’re now being published by the publisher you always dreamed of working with. Mention that you just wrote your first new chamber piece in five years, after worrying you'd never write one again. Instead of just announcing a new commission, share what will make that piece different from everything else you’ve written. 

Consider this a plea for more originality and more insight into your process the next time you post about your work. Use the phrase “I’m so excited to share — ,” if you must, but don’t forget the story, too. We’re creative people; let’s share our work creatively.

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This post was originally published on the MusicSpoke blog (as "More Than 'Excited'"), November 2016.

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