Musical intuition plays an invaluable role in the creativity and authenticity of our music. Music theory is vital for understanding music. Nevertheless, it can become a creative limitation to the extent that it becomes an imposition and not a tool. If we think of music theory as a set of unbreakable formulas instead of a resource to understand music, it will become a limiting factor for our authentic self. Such reflections emerged from our interview with Sydney Wong, the composer of January.

Sydney Wong -better known as Yellow Gamer Girl on Flat- is a great composer from Long Island, New York. In addition to her musical talent, she is a charming and interesting person.

Her background

Sydney is a very articulate and multifaceted person with a creative and curious mind. Therefore, she is interested in many fields, such as scientific research, rock climbing, theatre, and music.

The environment where she grew up wasn't particularly musical. Nevertheless, she developed a passion for music at a very early age.

She started playing the clarinet nine years ago. She wrote her first composition in 7th grade when she was just a little girl.
It all started with a school project. Sydney had to write an eight-measure motif, but this wasn't enough for her. She wrote a whole piece.

Once her teacher saw Sydney's composition, she suggested looking for music notation software. And guess which one did she choose? Flat!

"It was easy to get because it was free and it is really easy to navigate and compose on. It is easy to use and I think I made a good decision "

She joined our community in 2018, and her experience has been great,   especially because she has met amazing people and made many collaborations with other composers.

"My favorite feature in Flat is collaboration and how easy it is. It is also really nice how many great people I have gotten to know from my time in Flat"  

Her style

Sydney considers she has a very unique style, and I couldn't agree more.  

Listen to one of her compositions so you can understand what we are talking about:

An interesting fact of this song is that, according to Sydney, this song defined her style. She discovered how much she liked ornamentation, which she adds now to all of her pieces.
Another particularity of her style is that she uses variations of the same melody, finding the right balance to create familiarity but keep the song interesting.

She believes that one of the reasons why her style is so particular is because she started creating music intuitively.

"This might be because I started composing before I learned any of the rules of music theory"

Intuition is her guide when composing.

"I was just putting on a page what sounded good. And this worked for me, but after learning music theory, I think it helped me improve my composition a lot. Or at least to understand what I was writing"

It is very important to learn about music theory, but let's remember that making music is about expressing ourselves and letting our creativity flow.

One of the aspects I like most about Sydney's music is that it has a purpose. She composes to heal herself and to heal others.

"I am always trying to spread a positive attitude. Even when I am not feeling the best when I start writing a piece, I always feel good at the end when I finish it"

The best thing we can do with talent is to put it at the service of our own and the common good. This is truly noble on the part of this wonderful composer.

"I want to spread hope and happiness, a new mindset and add a positive sound to it and that's always been my goal"

The piece she is most proud of is December for the band.

When her teacher listened to her creation, she asked Sydney if the school band could play the piece. Amazingly, this was her biggest dream music-wise until then. Now, she dreams about hearing her music in a show or movie

Her creative process

Creativity has no limits or formulas, Sydney is very clear about that.

Every song she composes is a different adventure. Opened to the possibilities, she gives herself to the process of creating without restrictions.

She doesn't have a defined creative process, for each song is different. That doesn't mean that she doesn't have clarity on how she wants her songs to sound.

A song can take her months of work or a couple of hours. For example, she wrote this one in an afternoon:

Letting herself be, not being afraid to explore or make mistakes, and not having expectations of creating a masterpiece every time she composes are the key for her.

"Sometimes it is helpful to just get the bad ideas out of your brain to make room for new ones that you like better"

What music means to her

For Sydney, music is a means to connect with ourselves and with others. It is a tool to change the world, to make it a better place.

"Music is a universal language that anybody can understand...this connection can benefit society overall"

As we mentioned earlier, Sydney is very interested in science. Hence, she pointed out several scientific facts about the power of music in terms of mental health.

"Music is processed in the amygdala, this is the same area of the brain that a lot of mental health disorders affect. And since music targets the same area of the brain, it can be used in therapy"

Interesting, right?

Finally, we would like to share with you some advice that Sydney gives to emerging or experienced composers:

  • Don't worry about others, concentrate on composing something YOU like.
  • Don't worry about being famous. You don't have to be famous to be heard.
  • The connections in real life are more important than any number on the screen. Focus on that.
  • There is no wrong with music, there is no mistake, it is all about being creative and developing your own style.

"Thanks to the Flat staff for being so supportive of your users"

Thank you, Sydney, for your time and for sharing your story!

See you next time,

You can check out the whole interview below: