Saturday, March 30, 2013

Is giving the secret to getting ahead?

Articles like this one about Adam Grant are fascinating.  Reading about human creativity is exciting in and of itself, but just as enjoyable is figuring out how the findings might relate to music.

One question concerns the difference between the unreservedly-generous people who end up successful and happy, and those who end up frustrated and burned out.  The former restrict their giving to others who give indiscriminately, and those who at least match the generosity they receive.  So the people who are unrestricted in their generosity are actually partly restricted in their generosity if they are successful?

As a composer, one of the primary questions is how to add value to a situation.  A new piece of music is often considered more of a burden than a gift; the words, "Here's a new piece for you!" are not always greeted with enthusiasm.  This is actually understandable; performers are busy people, and looking at a new piece takes time.  So the question is, how to find those situations in which new material is actually appreciated.

The no-brainers are the performers or ensembles who have actively advertised for material.  Your search engine is your friend, as are sites like  Your second most important source is the people you know, and here is where you can see the value of Adam Grant's approach.

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