Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mancini, etc.

Hello readers!

Took a short break for Thanksgiving (sorry!) and am now back on track :) Recently finished "Did They Mention the Music?" the autobio of Henry Mancini - wonderful read and highly recommend. What a remarkable composer and musician! Mancini's music ranks among many great names. The song "Moon River" is just one example of this gifted man.

So - sadly it's performance season with the choirs and Christmas in general, so there hasn't been much progress on the composing front. I have had a few motifs come to mind and wrote them down. Maybe I mentioned before, that Finale has given me trouble; really hoping I can trade up to a nice Mac once the 2011 yr gets going!

I'm working on purchasing a house this spring and paying off my newer car (yeah the Ford quit out on me!) - which means that combined with all the spring music activities may render this blog dormant for awhile. We'll see! Still finishing up the History of Film Music by Mervin Cooke, and am absorbing all I can with that. Netflix is another great resource that I've used lately. I might add a new bit of info:

Alexandre Desplat is the composer for the new Harry Potter film, Deathly Hallows Pt. I - a really marvelous job. Go see the movie if you haven't already! An early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Stay tuned. Don't touch that computer dial :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

ASCAP and a song

Greetings readers!

First off, I just applied for ASCAP membership online :) One-time fee of $35 is well-worth it, esp. as a writer! For the record, the Singing Sextet is the name of a group that sang The Lord's Prayer as arranged by
myself. More to come!

Second, some musical motifs are being organized into longer works. This is really a task, and my Composition for Idiots guide does help - completing even a few exercises will sharpen your skills! My preference is actually pencil and paper now (Finale isn't working for Playback, don't know what's wrong there -- and paper and pencil go so well with piano). Currently completing a jazz tune.

Third: finished the Richard Rodgers autobiography and am now reading A History of Film Music by Mervin Cooke (highly recommend) A History of Film Music

Fourth: have acquired an Ipod nano 5th gen and am now taking a few amateur videos....still saving for a nice Mac Mini : ) With Final Cut Express, I can hone my film-music-making process much faster.

Lastly, a rather lengthy book list - on broadway composer biographies - is now compiled, and hopefully I can still dig up a few film composer bios (more recent stories anyway). Oooo and the Henry Mancini autobio arrived today too, hurray!

Stay tuned....don't touch that computer dial!  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Short update!

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (20th-Century Composers)

Hello readers,

Now there's a 16G ipod nano, 5th generation to boot....

Finished Richard Rodgers autobiography, and am now reading Korngold (see above link).

Watched a bit of Marx bros. bio film on Netflix -- I do have Netflix. What a joy to an aspiring film composer!

Still on the broadway path right now (esp Gershwin), and have started composing a song called "Sumthin Else" having a jazz flavor. Will begin composing other short works based on memories of mine, a sort of autobiographical portrait if you will.

In addition, the video capabilities of my new ipod nano are such that if I can shoot my own little videos - then I can make my own soundtrack too :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book List - Brief

Thought I'd share some books that I've gotten so far - and read - that are worth the bang from your hard-earned dollars! Won't bother to review all here, but you've gotta trust me - they're worth it if you're serious about the biz.

The Reel World: Scoring for Pictures by Jeff Rona (link and image not is on

Inside Film Music: Composers Speak by Christian Jardins

Complete Guide to Film Scoring by Richard Davis

 Idiot's Guide to Music Composition 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Some good advice : )

Hello again :)

Some good advice from a recent link on ASCAP ~

Ron Jones has some very timely, great tips on the composing process and being a success or "success" if you like ;) I'd like to be a member of ASCAP and start networking a bit here in the midwest.

Some progress on researching computers, gear, and IDEAS. Remember, if you don't have the gear yet, WRITE your ideas down. Have a vision and practice your craft.

On that note, I'm writing my transcriptions, and am also going to devote part of each day - 2 hrs or more - to composing or arranging. This will have to do with harmonic ideas and percussive effects....fresh ideas should invigorate the mind.

No luck with the accompanying job prospects so far - if I don't hear from Bonner Springs h.s. I'm going to assume the worst. Meanwhile, going to increase my availability at Meyer Music and use the rest of my time wisely.

Stay tuned. Don't touch that computer dial :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Somewhere at the beginning.....

So I'll try to update this thing when I can....right now I have a lot of free time, but don't want to spend hours blogging, you know? But maybe you find yourself in my shoes, wanting to pursue your pipe dream and finally having the courage....and to some extent, do it!

First, some history. I'm a pianist by day (got my master's in it), but an aspiring film composer by night. I've always wanted to pursue this, and have gotten/read a few reliable books on it (can list those if you like). Watched the Richard Davis YouTube series, and feel like I at least know something of the process of filmmaking. I find my music CDs consist of 90% film soundtracks, and transcribing film scores to piano has been a hobby of mine since the 4th grade. Don't get me wrong, I have a varied taste in music. There are some 60 songs I've transcribed (some with, you know, 8 bars), but all but a few are hand-written. Worked with Finale in college and have a version right now :)

So -- I'm now beginning to really wade thru the jungle of software and equipment. Should I buy/save for this, is something worth it or no. There are so many CHOICES - esp within each software program - that it's bordering ridiculous for those who are starting out like me....

Some programs I think would be reliable:

Logic Express
Garage Band (actually have worked with this and like it)
Pro Tools

If you have any other suggestions, chime in :)

Half the battle of the modern film composer is getting and learning the gear. I'm trying to decide what software program(s) to use and just get started with that. I have a Powermac G4 with Panther (yeah it's old but the processor can't handle more than 10.4) flat screen, M-Audio keyboard and used to have Garage Band but that's another long and sad story.

That's it for now. Stay tuned - don't touch that computer dial ;)