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, and sometimes it’s hard to come up with something original to say.

But using this language around sharing 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? Is there anything interesting about your process of writing it? About your relationship to the ensemble you’re working with? About how this commission came into being? About the subject matter of the piece?

Given the amount of information that we encounter every day — some of it exciting, much of it not — why should anyone care about yours? 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.

Get in the habit of asking yourself every time you post: why is this news worth sharing? Eventually you’ll make your way to something compelling to 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. Instead of just announcing a new commission, share what will make that piece different from everything else you’ve written. Offer glimpses at the score or a tiny bit of video from rehearsals. Let us see a tiny bit of your frustration with writing the piece, in addition to everything that’s going really well.

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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