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Home > Articles > Summer 2004: Playing Music with the Composer in the Room

Summer 2004: Playing Music with the Composer in the Room
Kevin McChesney

Comment: We are playing something you wrote and that makes us very nervous.

Response: It should make you VERY HAPPY!! Think about it. A composer/arranger has put energy, time, and soul into a project in the hopes that there will come a day when someone will bring that project to fruition by playing this music for people. And YOU are that someone!! Talk about having a writer on your side! The composer/arranger is thrilled that you are playing his/her music and making the music a reality.

Put yourself in the writer’s position. Suppose you had written a book or created a sculpture. Then you are fortunate enough to have someone read your book and appreciate it, or to make your sculpture a part of a show in a gallery. Would you be critical of the people who do this for you, who give your art life? No, you would be grateful for them.

Composers are no different. Where did the concept come from that when you play music written by someone there listening that that person is going to be harsh and difficult? Of course, they are rooting for you more than anyone! And you don’t receive their scowls and foul feelings, you receive their gratitude and appreciation.

The handbell world is an extremely rare endeavor in that the majority of writers in the field are still alive and actively contribute to the art form. The field is enriched by the insights of these writers. All of us involved in handbells benefit from these living resources. You get the opportunity to play music with the composer right there in the room! How wonderful for the composer, for you, for the growth of the handbell world! No need for fear or being intimidated - embrace this rare, important opportunity!