The Power Of Thank You

Uncategorized Sep 26, 2018

The Power Of Thank You

Our lives are jam-packed with massive “to do” lists. Each and every moment of every day we get bombarded with text messages, social media and emails. We are forced to determine the relative importance of each interaction. It is all too easy to glance over each prompt and then, without meaning any disrespect forget to reply.

Our lives our full.

As an independent artist/composer, one of the biggest struggles is figuring out how to stand apart from the crowd, how to rise above the noise.

Creative Collaboration is a Relationship Business.

Relationships are built one at a time. And, like a seedling, each requires engagement to grow.

Neglect a relationship and what happens?

It will wither and die. It may not happen tomorrow. Without the necessary nurturing the results will always be the same. It is next to impossible to rekindle a relationship that has lost its connection.

A way forward:

When I was young, I was always taught to say thank-you. It...
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Top Ten Myths about being a Film Composer - #5

Uncategorized Sep 05, 2018

I don't need to be concerned about the business of music-

You can call me "Schroeder". I spent my youth playing the piano incessantly. I started writing songs when I was about 9. Most every waking hour I had a radio blaring in my head. I couldn't stop it. So, I spent all my time pursuing that which I could not ignore...making music.
Because I had developed skills as a musician and was gifted with talent, opportunities presented themselves and I started working as a musician at 14. By the time I reached college I was a "working musician". Even so, my goal was not to make money. My interest was always to find a way to stay immersed in the process of making music. This desire to led me to find a way to leave college at the first opportunity. It wasn't long before I left school to go on the road. I didn't really care how much they paid me- I probably would have done it for free!

Setting myself up...for disaster.

Fast forward to years later. I had been working steadily for years...not...
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Top Ten Myths of about being a Film Composer #6- I'm an artist-I'll decide when to deliver my music"

Uncategorized Aug 19, 2018

"How Do I Deal With Deadline Pressure?"

Many moons ago when I first entered into the business I vividly remember being panic-stricken about coming up with ideas on demand. At the same time I knew that if I didn’t meet the deadline I might never get another opportunity. I lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety.  I had stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In hindsight I appears that the anxiousness was due in large part to the fact that I was completely undisciplined and unorganized about my time.  I had no idea how to even approach the problem let alone deal with the situation effectively.
My mentor, Billy Byers, always used to say: “if you sit there long enough it will get done”. He was referring to the fact that most of us would rather be doing ANYTHING but sitting at a desk in a quiet room alone--for 12-16 hours a day. (remember- I started in the business prior to the advent of the PC). Needless to say I endured many, many sleepless nights.
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Entitlement vs. Gratitude

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2018


For most of us, our expectations about what life will bring us are formed in childhood. If you show up in youth sports, you get a trophy. If you pick the correct multiple-choice questions, you will get a good grade. If you behave in a particular way, you will get the desired result. Well-meaning adults unconsciously fill children with these thoughts throughout their lives. 

To paraphrase TV psychologist Dr. Phil: “how’s that working for you?”

The truth is no one is guaranteed anything in life. Just because you “desire something” doesn’t mean you are “entitled” to have it regardless of the how often this idea is reinforced.

Does this prepare you for the inevitable rejection you will encounter in life?

Holding on to conditioned responses will be like having an invisible anchor around your neck. Your view will be skewed unknowingly affecting your performance. 

We can only put forth the best work we can do at the time. We...

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Amateur or Professional?

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2018

Webster defines “business” as a purposeful activity. If we are purposefully in the act of creating art, we are by definition in the business of making art. Where so many of us struggle is imagining ourselves as more than artists. We are, in fact, businesspeople but either we have been conditioned to believe it is somehow beneath the artist or, it is so far out of our comfort zone that is impossible to conceive that we could be more than the act that fuels our creativity.

Business can seem like a foreign language. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is only a mystery of we prefer to isolate ourselves in our ignorance.

Moving beyond being an amateur is to accept that business (which includes branding and marketing) is an integral part of our existence as a freelance or independent artist.

Becoming a professional artist requires making a commitment to being accountability for ALL aspects of our lives and our careers.

It requires making the active choice to understand...
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Art Vs. Commerce? The business of art.

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2018

Most of us got into music because on a deep love for making music. We loved doing it so the next logical step would be to figure out how to make a living doing it. As a result, we attempt to move from the ranks of the amateur to the professional.

 The inherent rub in this transformation comes when art meets commerce. We are conditioned to believe that the creation of art is a mysterious endeavor...a noble pastime that does not need to be concerned with mundane obligations like paying your rent on time or having enough money to buy groceries. Accepting this idea as fact traditionally breeds internal conflict. But does it have to?

Art and commerce are not mutually exclusive though maintaining a balance as a creative professional is difficult to do.

How do we find that magical middle ground?

Our pain comes from trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. By that, I suggest that we can imbue anything with artistic intent regardless of the circumstance. It all depends on how we...

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Top Ten Myths about being A Film Composer #7

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2018

I don't have to worry about technique

Let me ask you: Have you every tried to build anything? Have you ever tried to put something together without reading directions? Have you ever cheated on a test or tried to get some one to do homework for you?
Let's say you wanted to build a simple box out of wood. Sounds simple enough. But, if you look a little deeper there are many, many  things you need to do to successfully build a square box out of raw wood. First you need a design with dimensions. Then you will need to figure out how to purchase the wood and what kind wood you want. Then you will have to cut the wood to size. Assembly is next followed by the application of paint, varnish or sealer. Building a box from scratch out of wood requires expertise (or at least working knowledge) of many tasks. If you are a carpenter for hire there is another dynamic to consider: you are building this box to suit some one else's taste!

Odd analogy?

This is not as crazy as it may sound.
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Top 10 Myths About Being A Film Composer-#8

Uncategorized Jul 29, 2018

"I'm the composer- I'll write what I think is best..."

Is there truth to this statement? Yes. Most of us, save songwriters who are accustomed to collaboration, are the masters of our universe. We spend a HUGE amount of time alone...we even talk to ourselves or our muse. One famous composer friend even has a name for his muse. He calls her Shirley. Long durations of muteness (being wrapped up in the moment) can create problems. When I was young I would spend hours upon hours, by myself in my studio. When I would take a break if the phone rang it felt like I had a mouth full of cotton balls. Long hours spent alone is something we all deal with in different ways.
I'm going to assume that you have already gone through the interview process, made a deal, spotted your project and are now left alone in your room to begin work. An empty canvas waiting to be filled with paint.
Early on in my career I had the attitude: "I'm the expert. I'll make the musical decisions. I'll be in charge of...
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Uncategorized Jul 23, 2018

 “ All I have to do is write wonderful music and I will be a success”

I think it would safe to say that if you are reading this you have a passion for music. More than likely I wouldn’t be surprised if you spent large amounts of time pursuing your passion. Some might describe it as an addiction, a compulsion, or worse. They are most likely correct in their assumption. Not to worry- to achieve your goals all of these attributes are needed and more.
You might be prone to sitting at the piano, composing or improvising-- envisioning your music being heard in a darkened room with hundreds of people sitting in rapt attention. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Undoubtedly there are some of you who have a healthy ego and believe that your musical skills are well suited to the task. You’ve studied Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Strauss, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky and more. You’ve also are fanatic about the latest scores from James Horner, John Williams,...
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Top Ten Myths about being a Film Composer #10

Uncategorized Jul 17, 2018

Myth #10-

"My music is a perfect fit for film"

Reality check-
Music in film is not about your music, my music or anyone's music per se. The role of music in film is to help the film maker tell his/her story more effectively. Period.
Sure...if a film maker likes what you may get the opportunity to work on their film.
If you get the opportunity...good for you!!! The battle is half won.
The other half is to do whatever it takes to make your boss (the director) happy. While it is gratifying to have someone flatter you about how talented you are, or how great your music is never lose sight of what the main goal is: happy customers.
Directors are not musicians. They are directors. Directors have a knack for finding ways to motivate those around them to achieve their goals/needs. Some might call it manipulation.
Directors are not your friends. The director is your boss. Treat the relationship with the appropriate respect.
Next week: #9 "All I have to do is write wonderful...
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