So, I mentioned that I would write a quick blog where you can find more information with composer diversity.
Composing is always more fun when you have a variety of unique timbres and voices with which to write. Programming a concert with a similar mindset can be just as fun. Of course, I appreciate your consideration of my music as you are programming for your ensembles. Besides, I believe we have a responsibility to the students in our groups to take a serious approach to select a program of music that reflects the diversity of the world around us. After all, perspective is one of the greatest gifts a teacher/conductor can provide to those sitting in their ensemble. Consider the diversity of views you can afford to your students through the diverse compositional voices you select, particularly from people who may not traditionally have had the opportunity to contribute within the mainstream wind band "scene." One of the most amazing things happening in the band world right now is the ease of access to these diverse voices. There are many resources for finding these voices and their contributions to consider.
This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in promoting diversity in programming. I would recommend that this be your first stop on the journey to seeking out diverse programming.
If you are looking for a quick catalog to comb through, you can try a few of these options for diverse literature:
I am also really proud to be associated with Murphy Music Press. That catalogue has a great cross section of representation. You should check it out!
More composers than ever are indeed self-publishing. There are some great discussions to be had about why this is. However, this blog is going to be focused strictly on how to broaden literature choice. Sometimes, you may have to do a little digging to find the programming you were looking for. It exists. It may take a little extra effort. But, nothing worthwhile was ever easy right? We have to look for it or even communicate with the composers themselves. I have not met a composer that does not appreciate a politely worded email inquiry about what music they might have available. Social media can be a big help with this also. Sometimes the composer will have music available that may not be in a publisher's catalog. Find a composer you are interested in representing and just ask them to point you in the right direction if all else fails. Composers are some of my favorite people! They want to interact with you and your program and have their music performed.
Again, I would encourage you to dive deeper into the composition and the voice that created it. After all, that is what is most enjoyable about making music!
So… I had an idea.
Every Friday I am going to write a short etude and publish it for free download on my website! Each of these etudes will be assigned a number to start. I want you to name my etude. My favorite performance of the etude will get to assign a title to that etude which I will change and republish!
Here are the rules!
The etudes will be between 16 - 64 measures. Not dissimilar from what methods books might have available. The difficulty will be varied by etude. I am going to start tomorrow with an etude for Flute! Flute peeps, get ready!
First, Thank You!
I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of the ensembles, and directors for programming my music in the past. Without your support, I would not have the opportunity to continue writing! There are some exciting projects on the horizon!
I have several pieces for band for your consideration when choosing your programming in 2019-20.
Grade Level 3 - 4
Grade Level 5+
Colleagues, thank you for your consideration of my music. If you do decide to program something, or you would like to work on a project together, please let me know by using the button below! As time moves forward, please keep checking back, as there are quite a few exciting projects on the horizon.
I sincerely appreciate all of the support.
Today I am announcing the Pittsburgh Creators Project.
I am starting this as a passion project. I have always been interested in the the creative process for just about anything. I think that whatever your occupation or hobby is, that we can find a level of art. I have spent most of my life here and continue to be offered opportunities to grow in the Pittsburgh area. There is a high volume of creators (in all fields) here. While my career & hobby has always been music, getting to know people throughout the region in various fields has always been inspiring.
I am starting a project with the sole purpose of sharing/connecting the creators in our region with more of Pittsburgh and the world through organized events both digital and live. This project is what I am calling the Pittsburgh Creators Project. It is starting humble and small within the medium of music (specifically band music) because it is what I know. However, this has the potential to grow and offer something much more.
If you are a Pittsburgh area composer or instrumentalist and would be willing to get involved in the start of this project with the Pittsburgh Creators Project Symphonic Winds please find more information here.
Please check out the pages I have created by clicking the button below!
I also want to thank everyone who sent me photography of Pittsburgh. I must specifically mention Steve Groves, Kathy Melago, and Jonathan Steele who were willing to let me use their photographs in starting this project. Their work is posted below!
After 10+ years spent teaching music in public schools, one thing I feel consistent in understanding is that there is no “one size fits all method" that can be applied to a music program. We all teach in very different programs around the country based on the countless factors that contribute to the ownership of a school’s music program. However, I have always found that it is worthwhile to learn as much as I can from others in my field and consider the benefits of their systems to help to continually update, assess relevance, and improve my own systems to provide opportunity for my students.
December/November is the time of the year I am able to find the time (and ease) to step back and clearly reassess the fall season that just finished. In 2010, I began to compile a checklist for myself for planning success in the next competitive fall band season. Please find below the checklist I have compiled for myself.
Part of my aim with this blog is to help provide resources that work for me to directors that may be looking for a another perspective. I hope that there is something here now or in the future that can work for you and your program.
I would like to take a moment before the holiday season to congratulate the amazing groups I worked closely with in the fall of 2017. First I would like to congratulate The Moon Area Band for a terrific showing this season. I appreciate the opportunity to work with directors Nick Barthen, Alan Fear, Abigail Iksic as well as Visual Designer Austin Greene. 2017 marks my 5th year writing the wind book for this organization and each year they show incredible growth and maturity. Congratulations on a terrific showing in BOA and PIMBA!
I also have to congratulate the "home team" Kiski Area Cavaliers on a terrific season in 2017. We took a leap of faith this season in a direction that felt right for the program and went back to our jazz inspired roots which propelled this program onto the national stage in the late 80's and early 90's. This band has always had one of the most authentic interpretations of this uniquely American music on the field. Personally, this was my first season back writing drill in a fall season in several years. With the help of Brady Sanders, Jim Schaefer, and Tommy Allen we were able to create a product that the students were able to achieve at a high level.
This year Kiski Area's arrangements were created by Shawn Pityk and Chad Heiny, two incredible professional colleagues I am lucky enough to spend each day teaching secondary instrumental music with. We intended to take the ensemble to the toughest competitive regional that we could (Dayton) and the students rose to the occasion despite terrible weather for marching band. Our students were proud to stand alongside the best in the activity that day.
Kiski Area had an incredibly strong showing at the end of the season with their show "Echoes in Time." Congratulation students, staff, and KAIB on a season that sets the trajectory for the culture of this program in the years to come.