Why do we as musicians make music?


I am struggling to find a topic for my next piece. I have a hard time writing programmatic or non-absolute music, and so without a specific inspiration I will usually just write what I want to hear.

Having just completed my opera (which is very programmatic and barely abstract), I am now looking to write a series of songs mixing rock and popular styles with video. The issue is that I want to find a topic to glue together the music and footage, and to give me something to focus on when making the video.

So, I started thinking. What could I draw inspiration from? Should my work be relevant to the times of today?

I have typically drawn inspiration from the mundane, but I want to do something impactful. But, is my impact greater when I provide the listener within an escape, a “listening therapy”, instead of fueling the war of words that is modern day society and social justice? I am very opinionated, but aside from brief conversations and minor political contributions, I am a terrible activist.

So, I have determined that, at least for this upcoming song/piece, I will be aiming to give the listener a place of solace, a respite from the constant information war. That is my purpose for this piece.


I know my art can’t convince others to change their minds, or even to be more civil. But, perhaps by creating something fascinating, both ugly and beautiful, simple and complex, accessible and esoteric, I can help listeners soothe themselves. Maybe that is how I make the world a better place in the most impactful way I am capable of.

In this regard, I am hopeful that I can affect something, someone. But, my goal is also to give hope. Isn’t that what we need? Things aren’t seeming to change for the better, and are in fact turning the opposite way. Maybe hope is the start of change. And maybe I can help people gain hope through giving them a break, a sense of distance between their lives and the world, if only for a bit.

Maybe I’m full of it. But maybe all of us artists have a chance to change things, even if–maybe because–we’re not arguing on Facebook (or at least not when we’re making art, hopefully). Not to ignore the world, but to deepen it.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. I hope they make sense.


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