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Composing: using your resources

Mobile Phone Notebook

Jason Yarde uses his mobile as a notebook

Inspiration can take a long time coming. But as Jason Yarde explains, when it does, you need to be ready

WHEN YOU HEAR a good piece of music or see a good movie, sometimes everything seems so perfect, just as it should be, that you can’t imagine it not having been that way from the start. It’s easy to think the people who made it are so clever at what they do that, once they have the first idea, the rest just pours out of them.

But if you’ve ever found it hard to complete a project, or write a report at work, just imagine trying to write a piece of music instead. The technique’s different, but the struggle can be just the same – even if the composer is very experienced. There are some days when ideas come so quickly you can barely write them down in time. And other days when you chew your pen for hours and nothing happens.


Often the first idea I had was the strongest. Even if you take that idea and then develop it, it’s sort of like the impetus to get something

Jason Yarde

Jason Yarde is one of Britain’s star jazz composers, but he feels just the same as anyone else. Experience has taught him one important thing, however – that first instincts can often be the best. The first ideas for the SoundJunction composition didn’t come for a while, but when they did it was on a plane and he couldn’t use his phone to record them.

Here he describes the basic groove and the characteristic bass line of the piece, which you hear in the first few seconds.

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