This month we highlight a young composer who knows the real secret to composing: time.
Born in Tennessee, Jalen Green now lives in southern Georgia. Like so many of his fellow composers on Flat, his love of music started in the home. With his mother being a music lover who both played and listened as often as she could, Jalen was following in her footsteps by the time he was in 1st grade, singing in the school chorus (a habit he continued over the years thanks to both choir and band at school).
His first taste of composing came through school as well, an assignment in 7th grade to write a song honoring the school principal. An internet native, he went searching for the best notation software online. Unfortunately, that wasn’t when he discovered Flat. As he says, “I found an app that was OK, and wrote 3 songs on it. But it was pretty limited in what it let me do. I thought that was the only way to compose online for free, so I got motivated and stopped composing.”
Luckily, Jalen didn’t stay away from composing for too long. Just a year and a half later he got back into it after finding Flat on his school’s app store. He appreciated the robust features and the community, as he quickly discovered new inspirations in the Flat community.
“I joined right around when Joshua Holmberg released Supernova. Then I also found Finesden, who I really appreciate. I took a lot of inspiration from them, especially in my earlier works.”
As he’s grown as a composer, Jalen’s gotten a better idea of his creative process. Well, if we can speak of it as a “process” ;)
“My creative process is terrible, to be honest! It takes me so long to come up with a chord progression… But if I can get past 8 bars, I’m usually ok. I’ll start out with the chord prog, and then the baseline, then I’ll just add ideas and instruments as I go. That definitely feeds my feeling that music really is an art.”
Jalen strikes a balance between appreciating how far he’s come, and knowing that there’s still so much more he can do. That leads directly into his advice for other young composers:
“Just start - if you try, grind it out, you’ll start to recognize patterns that are good. And they don’t have to be good for everyone, the most important person at this stage is you. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently, because if you start taking those people seriously, you’ll end up doubting your own abilities and capabilities. You’ll absolutely get better with time, it’s just a matter of how much time you put in.”
Any final words before heading off to work on the next piece?
“Ignore the haters. While they’re moping around, judging everyone, they couldn’t do any better. Push yourself so that you get into a position to say, ‘Look how far I’ve come.’ Be the best version of yourself.”
See you next time,