Computers and Composers

So, my computer died…

My MacBookPro was a few years old, but was still the main machine I used for music production. And so after limited wallowing in indecision and furtive glances at the bank balance, I had to give in and just buy a new computer.

On the day my new MacBook arrived I also happened to get a call from a producer who needed some music done with only a few days notice for a short promo. I felt I could hardly turn down the job, since, well, 1) it was shot by Ryan Owen Eddleston, a great cardiff filmmaker I’ve known of, but never yet worked with, and 2) I’m not really at a stage in my life where I can turn away paid work.

So, great. New computer. New project to work on. All I had to do was get my computer up and running. It was all perfectly fine and stress free until I came to install Logic (my music production application of choice) only to find it was not compatible with my new machine… For some reason the new apple computer, couldn’t cope with apple software that was a couple years old…. Now, I’ve managed to stop myself turning this blogpost into a rant, appeasing myself by simply including a page here, about what the technical issue was and how I (eventually) got around it. Needless to say, once again I am in the debt of the mass of knowledge that is the internet.

So in the end everything worked out fine. My new computer was all up to speed, and I got the the short promo music finished in good time.

But I did learn something from this experience. Whilst stressing in the limbo of not having a functioning computer, I got bogged down worrying about how I’d be able record and edit the music. I felt there wasn’t much I could do without the tools I rely on so regularly. But it was at this point I realised that I was thinking about it all wrong. A composer isn’t just a guy who’s really good at using some music software. It’s the lifetime of studying, listening and writing music that make me a composer. Before I’d even accepted the promo job I had briefly contemplated all the less favourable practical backup plans I could call on to get a piece of music recorded and presented to the film editor in time. The technology we use today will be out of date in a few years, and within a decade or two will be obsolete. And when your stressing out about your computer, it’s realisations like these that make you grateful for what your skills really are. (… although I’m so so so relieved to have a working computer again….. )

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About jackwestmore

Jack Westmore writes music for film, television and media, and is currently based in Cardiff in the UK.
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