Thursday, March 9, 2017

After 28 Days: Student Composer Reflects on Lessons Learned

Jose Hernandez, photo by FSU College of Music student Brian LaBrec.


The College of Music is buzzing about Jose Hernandez: he recently completed a month of composing-- that’s 28 compositions in 28 days. (Click here to read the original story.) When asked to reflect on his experience, Hernandez commented that students were incredibly supportive of his venture. He learned a lot along the way, and his colleagues assisted with his growth.

He recalled a specific experience with a graduate student organist. When Hernandez brought his organ piece to be performed, the organ student offered his time and advice and their recording session turned into a mini-lesson. Hernandez learned how to compose more idiomatically for the organ. This synergy led him to a new project: observing applied studios at the College of Music. He plans to work with faculty and students in order to learn how to write competently for each instrument, and will write a work for each studio as a summary of his experience.

Hernandez also reflected on the rigorous challenge he placed upon himself during a busy spring semester. One morning, he woke up at 6 a.m. to write his piece of the day, and it was performed and recorded by 10 a.m. the same day. Originally, Hernandez composed first and then sought musicians to perform his pieces. However, it didn’t take more than a few days to realize that he would work more efficiently in reverse. He found a number of colleagues willing to perform his compositions and then wrote specifically for them. In doing so, Hernandez challenged himself to write pieces with unusual instrumentation. Throughout this process, he discovered a network of people that he may not have otherwise met during his time as a music student. He cultivated friendships and professional relationships and looks forward to future collaborations.

by Caroline Glaeser and Corinne Smith (College of Music, Office of Engagement and Entrepreneurship)