36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 220: Too little, too much


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 220 — Too little, too much
09-March-1972 (Donnerstag–Thur.)


Not a bad day. Practiced a little horn, piano. Did some electronic music and had a rehearsal. Only problem is that in doing a
little of everything, it is too little of everything.


Too little. A lesson that always comes back to you throughout life. If you do a little bit of many things, it is often not enough to get what you want done, completed. It is better to perhaps spend more time on the important things and get more done on those.

Guess what? Everything’s important.

Everything I’m doing in Vienna is important. And it makes life interesting, it keeps you busy, it’s exciting, and (despite my complaining) it’s fun.

Too much. For most of my life, I had a tendency to do many, many things. Perhaps that’s why I don’t finish everything 100%. (There is something to be said for focus.) However, I find it exciting to do many things. It makes life exciting and keeps you busy. We spend most of our life energy on our work, our day jobs. If I didn’t have my extra projects, life would be dull. In Vienna, I did a lot. I don’t regret one minute of it.

No. 1 Hits or not? Here is a real life example. During some periods of my life, I have written a lot of music (mostly pop, songs, background, commercial music). For example, during a two-plus-year period living at the beach, I would come home late (1-1/4 hour commute), and later at night write my music on my computer. I would improvise at the keyboard, just play the music in, not write down anything, and layer small semi-finished tracks (with mistakes) and produce the “idea” of the piece. I call these “roughs.” Maybe I did 150-200 of these (can’t remember) during the two-plus year period. I might do a piece in anywhere from one to several hours. Sometimes I cleaned it up a bit on subsequent days. Most of the time, the NEXT time I went to sit down at the keyboard and play music, I wanted to do something NEW, not go back to the old rough. I’m an idea guy. Is that good?

So, which is better? (for this two-plus-year timeframe)

#1 – Taking five of those roughs, completing them, hiring singers and musicians, professionally producing them, mastering and replicating CDs, marketing them, getting five TOP TEN hits with maybe a #1 or so, establishing your career, becoming rich, buying a yacht and summer villa in Italy, traveling the world, speaking at engagements, and being successful? People know you. Of course, this all costs big $$$$, requires time, quitting your day job, professional production, and getting lucky.

or ?

#2 – Writing 150–200 “roughs,” continually writing new music, never producing a final product, just getting good new ideas, and never getting the music into the public eye, having a normal job, no villas or yachts, worldwide travel, and speaking engagements? No one knows you. No money spent (none was had), done in your spare time.

Survey says. Balance. Yes, balance is the key. Do both. Have fun. Make life interesting beyond your day job. Be creative. Write a lot and then focus on a few items to polish that “diamond in the rough.” Aim for success and your dream. Don’t give up too early (my issue), but don’t give up a meaningful career as a neurologist thinking that you are going to be the next American Idol winner.

Once I retire, I plan on getting some creative balance in my life. Finally. I should have polished a few of those diamonds and taken the next step (without quitting my job).

Humor or advice? If after reading several pages of this blog, you don’t recognize my humor, I’ll introduce you to an old friend. Once I had a girlfriend who said, “I can’t tell when you’re being serious or when you’re kidding.” All I can say is that there is a little bit of humor in almost everything I write, and there is a little bit of truth in almost everything I write.

Take this as lighthearted advice.

I am still waiting for someone to discover my roughs in my living room. Balance.


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