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Retrospective 2022: Music

Music, music, music. What can I say? My friend Alan says “Music is my life’s blood.” I agree with him. But that can take the form of listener, performer, or creator. I was not born to parents who had the means to insist on music lessons, so anything I’ve done with music has been of my own doing. (For details, see Drawing the Double Bar Line.)


The first part of the year I spent learning penny whistle with Conor Lamb. He gave online group lessons to an international cohort of students. With the pandemic winding down, Conor kept getting gigs so those lessons petered out. Without the group comraderie and his wonderful instruction, my playing took a dive. I also did a lot of travel, none of which was conducive to the penny whistle.

ASMAC (American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers) has always been an inspiration, and I am glad that I am an associate member. I attended several online webinars including:

  • Arranging 'West Side Story' 2021, David Newman, Shawn Murphy, Dan Redfield, ASMAC, January 22, a discussion of how the creative team went produced a modern arrangement for the movie.

  • Women Warriors: Voices of Change, ASMAC, June 15. Amy Andersson (conductor and producer) and other women composers discussed the process of putting together this monumental concert piece.

  • Chris Young Masterclass on composing, ASMAC, August 27

  • Masterclass with Hanes K, Venable, Modern Scoring for Movies, Cartoons, & Clowns, ASMAC, October 15

Each of these webinars gave me insight into arranging and composing for film. The most helpful webinar was that of Chris Young, who related his journey from student to renown composer. He talked about many situations that I also encountered as a composition student; the situations that could bring a composer to tears and to doubt themself. Chris forged onwards to become a successful film score composer. Much of his work is in the horror genre. When he played his film scores I thought “WOW! I should watch more horror films.” I came to realize that only the blockbuster movies make composers famous. Think of John Williams! Horror films aren’t the genre to garner fame. Yet Chris writes wonderful, evocative music.


Chris’s stories of being a student lit a fire under me to complete an orchestral piece that I had been working on for years. I wrote about this already. See Drawing the Double Bar Line, Let the Tweaking Begin, and Off to the Printer and On to Other Things.

When people learn about my musicology degree, they often assume that I am a performer. I'm not. I'm a music dabbler. That's what I enjoy most—the freedom to flit from listener to noodling aimlessly on an instrument to attempting to write music to assembling other people's music to accompany a video project. My latest obsession ia Logic Pro and Spitfire Audio (SA). I've reconnected my MIDI keyboard to my computer and learned how to install and use SA samples. This is a test track of the choral plugin. I wanr to learn Logic Pro as a music production tool so I am sampling various online courses to see which one resonates best with my learning style.

I'll end this post with a link to the Women Warriors:Voices of Change because it is an awesome multimedia piece. I am hoping that it will be performed in California in the near future. Maestra Amy Anderrson is putting together a version that can go "on the road" and be performed by a local symphony.








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