Rhapsody Rotorua 2017

So I just got back from a seriously good few days in Rotorua, adjudicating at the Rhapsody Rotorua Music Festival, alongside the rather legendary Owen Clarke.

It’s a festival populated by mainly Australian groups, popping across the ditch for some music and adventure, but it always has a collection of New Zealand groups, and is a great performance opportunity for local groups from the Bay of Plenty region.

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Partaking in the greatest act of optimism

Good news! I have a couple of spots available for private music tuition – more details at the bottom.


“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” – Colleen Wilcox

I’m a sucker for a good quote and this one made me smile. As anyone who has taught will know, you’ve always got to be tremendously optimistic about the potential your students can achieve. And… it’s always great when it pays off.

Every week I try to keep it real by teaching/tutoring/mentoring around town. It’s always a mixed assortment of opportunities, over the last few months it’s looked like this:

Teaching at UNITEC.MAINZ, Central Auckland – I give an annual lecture on string arranging. This is really enjoyable as I get to share some of the arrangements I’ve worked on, and the students love analysing them and seeing what techniques they can use in their own work. This year the class seemed to have doubled in size, so that’s a great sign for them. Continue reading “Partaking in the greatest act of optimism”

ANBOC conference 2014, Melbourne

This year seems to be all about upskilling for me and attending the Australian National Band and Orchestra Clinic in Melbourne from the 12th to 15th of September was a decent part of it.

ANBOC brings together professional development, outstanding performances, and networking of directors. A distinguished collection of international and domestic presenters, conductors, and performers form the core of the conference program.

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Workshops in Taupo

I was invited down to Taupo to work with the Taupo Concert Band and thought it was a good opportunity to bundle some other activities in too. I went down last week, here’s what I got up to:

TUESDAY AFTERNOONAwesome composition workshop at Tauhara College in Taupo this morning. They even baked me a cake!!

Presented a workshop for the music students and staff at Tauhara College. It was also great to see the staff from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College there as well.

We went back to basics and explored the six things we need to create a great composition (and get a good mark too!). Loads of ideas, plenty of talent, good fun.

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The PDF – a musician’s best friend?

In this digital age of computers, devices and the internet, this wonderful thing called a PDF is becoming an asset that we really can’t live without. We make them, receive them, explore them and store them – but as musicians, what are the ways in which we can use them and enhance our working environment?

adobe_reader_logoThe acronym stands for “portable document format” and that describes them well – no matter what software application you are using, what sort of operating system you are on, or even what device, the PDF will look as it should as a fixed format. Also, it can’t be edited, which is great for a whole raft of reasons. They have been around since 1993, but it’s only in the last 10 years or so that they have really come to fruition, as we are sharing documents like never before and are using the internet to distribute our material. And because of all this, software is now also making it increasingly easy to export, save and share in this most wonderful format.

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The best of 2012

2012 was a year full of great things, cool things, intriguing things, wonderful things and things to completely knock your socks off. Here’s my list of the best (musical and digital) things of 2012.

MUSIC BLOGS

Sibelius 7One of the first things I do each day is read all of the blog posts that are waiting eagerly for me in Google Reader. There are three feeds that, without fail, I will read and learn something from every time.

  • Of Note – a Sibelius and Finale blog by the legendary Robert Puff.
  • Sibelius Blog – hints, tricks and interesting stories about Sibelius by Philip Rothman (originally Daniel Spreadbury).
  • Technology in Music Education – if you’re a music teacher of some description you’ll love hearing about how the latest technologies can be used in music education.

MUSIC BOOKS

behindbarscover I’m usually not a big reader of actual books but there are some that sit pride of place on my shelf, actually, only when they’re not sitting open on my desk.

  • Behind Bars by Elaine Gould – my bible of music notation. I’d really love a digital version too!
  • How to Write for Percussion by Samuel Z Solomon – the title sounds very underwhelming, but is a wonderfully comprehensive guide to writing for percussion.
  • Essential Dictionary of Orchestration – mine is looking old and tatty – a good sign! It’s an essential reference for instrument ranges, general characteristics, tone quality descriptions, technical pitfalls and more.

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I survived 2012. This is how it was!

The New Year means it’s time to have a look back over the past year and see, through my blog posts, what has taken shape and what I have to say for myself!

January started with a very well deserved “Shout-out to VaultPress” after they marvellously got my website back up and running after a meltdown!

3100508059_5c99a0f9e1_zFebruary is the start of the school term and I posted about the preparation work I do for schools.

My typing fingers must have been tired at the end of March – it started with two popular posts, iOS apps for music professionals and Digital music stands vs iPads, following on from, again, two very popular posts I did in 2010.

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Working on workshops

It has been an enjoyable start to the year presenting some workshops around Auckland.

“Sibelius in education” – professional development day

On Friday 24th February I had the first session at a professional development day for secondary music teachers. We looked at how to use Sibelius effectively in education and checked out all of the features that are going to help both them and students use the program to its potential. The next two sessions were by Philip Norman, looking at the life and music of Douglas Lilburn and a session on composition titled “Composition can’t be taught… but techniques to help it on its way can”.

"Sibelius In Education" seminar at Hotel Barrycourt 1 "Sibelius In Education" seminar at Hotel Barrycourt 2
Continue reading “Working on workshops”