Monday, December 1, 2008

Final Blog... (?)

Well.. this is it? It never ceases to amaze me how fast every term flies by. And here is another one, gone! I had a great time doing this course. As much as I was dreading it in September, and as much time and energy and frustration it took out of me, it was totally worth it in the end (and I'm not just saying this to make you happy Dr. Ross! haha). There's a weird kind of satisfaction when you hear your piece being performed or see the crowds pack the PC Hall to hear you and support you in the beginning of your compositional career.

This being my final blog, I am going to take my own advice (and also because Dr. Ross asked us to!) and give a few pointers to students in future MU3100 classes, and also a little about what I got out of the course...

1. Don't be scared! Its really rewarding and worth the stress in the end!
2. Get someone else to proof read your work. Its like writing an essay, you can not see your own mistakes, another set of eyes helps a lot and saves you a lot of time (and sometimes saves you having to edit your score on the DAY OF the recital.
3. Don't be scared to share you ideas with others. People are usually very open to your personal ideas and will kindly lead you in the right direction if they think you could use some constructive criticism.
4. Pace yourself, it is far more productive to take your time composing then it is to do in a rush. When you procrastinate you never really get the product you were looking for (I find anyway).
5. Have fun! Take the time to decide if you like your ideas, don't compose something you don't like! Or don't take a melody or set of chords you don't like. That just makes it hard for you to focus and enjoy what you are doing.

Good luck with it newbies!


Another Successful Concert...

Amongst all the other million concerts that go on this time of year, our composition concert was one of the bests. I loved the variety at this concert especially! Everyone had such good ideas about the clichés. It was a very good idea for a final project. I think that everyone picked something that they were interested in and that definitely helped us compose a great piece (everything is better when you like what you are doing)! I was pretty pleased with how my piece worked out (even though I fluffed a note at my favorite part of the piece... thats what you get I guess when a clarinet player decides to play a brass instrument.... haha). But considering I hated my piece and how I ended it on the Wednesday before the concert, I was very pleased with how it turned out. There are always improvements you can make, like Dr. Ross said somewhere down the road in class or on a blog... but wherever it was, you will always want to make "improvements" upon your compositions, but at some point you have to just leave it and settle for what you have, which is probably fine to everyone other than yourself anyway!

Again, to everyone else, great job Saturday night! We did it!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Feedback about Feedback...

The class seems to like my composition. There has been comments about how I wrote the cliché very well, and the idea that I was going for was very easy to recognize. Comments were made about the chorale section, and how I can expand that section. I am hoping to present that part of my composition tomorrow. Also in the near future I am going to expand on the interruptions that took place after the beginning of the piece. I am also going to change the roles of the instruments maybe towards the end of the piece to create the more unexpected element again.

I think I have all the ideas I need in this piece. Now I just need to "mess them up" a bit more. I'm liking the idea of surprise in this piece. I think I have many opportunities to be very sneaky!

Until next time...

Note to self: Don't forget about transposition...

Last week was my second presentation of the cliché composition with real instruments was a success! Before it was ready for presentation however, I had to do a lot of tweaking in order for it to be playable. I wrote the initial score in concert pitch for simplicity, but when it came down to printing off the copy for the players, I realized that the range for the alto horn part was going to be way to high. So I had to transpose the whole score which took a long time. So there wasn't much of an improvement or progress from the week before, which I found kind of disappointing, because I didn't feel like there was much progress. But thats it. You can't make make a lot of progress all the time right? I guess making important improvements like transposition is necessary, and I needed to take the time to fix problems like these when they arise.

I should remember all these mistakes that I make and be sure to pass them on to the next generation of composers going into composition 3100... Maybe I'll write a book...?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Tonight was out classes Recital!
It was awesome! I had great fun listening to everyone's compositions and the differences and improvements that they have taken over the course of the semester.

I loved the feeling of presenting my piece to the "world" and just sitting back and listening to it being played. I had a weird realization earlier today when I heard Kim practising my piece in one of the practice rooms. I wondered... "Is this what its like to be 'famous'?" haha. It was a surreal feeling. But one that will make it much easier to do this process over again... and again!

Bravo and Brava to all tonight! Good work!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A New Project...

Beginnings of the Second Composition project.
I have a sense of completion after my last composition project. I went to staples and had it bound, and now t is finished and looking very professional. I like the sence of completion and achievement that I get because of this project being done.
Now for the second task! Figuring out what cliché to use for my second project. We were told to think of a musical cliché and then use it to create a piece revolving and evolving around it.
I wanted to boo this work on something that interested me so I was messing around with a few ideas. I landed on Brass Band Music. I have (and still do) played with different brass band groups mainly with the Salvation Army. And there are specific stereotypical roles for each instrument. I thought I would play with that idea a little bit in this composition. Perhaps take the instruments out of their normal roles and put them into a new one! Ah yes... I like that idea.

Alto Horn

I am presenting my beginning idea in class tomorrow!
See you then!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you're all enjoying midterm break! I know I am. I just got home from Gander late last night. And today I am getting back to some school work.

I am beginning the revisions for my character pieces. This involves adding details such as dynamics and simple edits to my pieces. The majority of my revisions are coming out of my second piece. I am changing the motive I used at the beginning to make it a little more unpredictable. I am varying the rhythm, and the play between the piano and the tuba. I also need to come up with some names for these pieces. I think that picking one word to describe each piece is going to be difficult. I am also picky about this sort of thing, and I want to make sure it is exactly right for what I have written.

I hope your belly's are full! I'm about to take a break from my work to eat my thanksgiving supper! mmmmm.