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Catching Up

Since I never keep up this blog I thought I would give it another shot. So far I've had 2 performances of songs I've written. They were both in 2019. One was here with my own band as I teach middle and high school band at a school in Idaho. The other was for a buddy's school in Mobile, AL. I'm currently working on another band piece for the American Falls Community Band. I've spent tons of time editing in the meantime.

Something that happened to me during my doctoral program was the opportunity to meet with Augusta Reed Thomas and have her critique and listen to my piece Interjectory for cello and piano. She mentioned that my piece had potential but that if it were something she had written she would probably spend about 200 hours editing it. I'm not sure if my jaw actually hit the floor but I thought it might have.

At the time I was focusing on writing new pieces and didn't get back to editing it until after I finished my PhD and teaching certification. Since then I have spent time editing most of my music and it has been a rewarding experience. I've learned a lot about how much extra stuff I put in that was unnecessary. Also, some areas that I've needed to beef up or modify to make more interesting.

My writing has shifted in its tonal or non-tonal landscape and I'm not sure that I know how I sound anymore. I think it is more academic in that I write for groups that are at a high school level and they sort of need certain things from a teacher's standpoint. I would like to write some pieces for that grade level that are less tonal and perhaps more reflective of my personal voice or desires for writing. I also think as a teacher it is important the students get to experience a variety of music beyond B-flat major and 4/4 time. My groups are small but they take on challenges well after much prodding and coercion.

Maybe things will continue to shape up for my writing career but for now it is mostly teaching.


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