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”

Going digital with forScore

While conducting the wind band at the recent Bay of Plenty Music School I finally had the chance to test using digital scores. I’ve always been intrigued – have already blogged about it twice – but only with a new iPad have I had the chance of taking the full digital leap. Here are my thoughts…

GETTING UNDERWAY

An iPad Air 2 sits, charged, ready for action. I already had some of the scores as PDFs which was a great start. Then I scanned the rest using Scanner Pro which kindly then drops the file into my Dropbox. Then in comes forScore – a sheet music reader app and the absolute hero of the equation – I import the files straight from Dropbox and then it’s all ready to go.

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Music school magic!

BOPMusicSchool
The massed orchestra and concert band in rehearsal, with the choir looking on!

I am just back from working with the concert band at another superb Bay of Plenty Music School. What a great weekend – there is something so great about gathering at the beginning of a weekend, meeting new people, working hard and presenting a wonderful concert together on Sunday before returning for another week of the real world.

I had a really fantastic group this year including a solid contingent from Auckland University which gave great depth to our woodwinds in particular. We ditched the easier pieces and launched into the challenging repertoire and with fine results – our set at the concert was so tight and I think the most technically advanced and polished performance since I’ve been conducting the group.

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Merry Christmas

christmasAnd just like that, another year is coming to an end.

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me in some way this year – that may have been with work, with ideas or just with conversation.

It has been an incredible time of music making for me with many wonderful opportunities, inspiring people to work with and some stunning ensembles and musicians to bring the music to life. Some of these include:

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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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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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Tiraki takes shape

APO \"Tiraki\" workshopThis afternoon the Auckland Philharmonia had their second read-through of my new piece for organ and orchestra, Tiraki. The first workshops were in May and so now the pieces are really taking shape.

I initially talked about the project here, but since then I have changed my organist to the wonderful Nick Forbes, who is doing an outstanding job. We’ve spent a fair amount of time at the organ working on the notes and developing the different colours which we’ve been saving on the organ’s computer. Sounds all very flash, but we lost them all before today’s play-through!

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Nelson Composers Workshop 2012

Another Nelson Composers Workshop has come to an end. As always there was a mix of pieces restrained by convention, those off the rails with creative freedom and everything in between.

I haven’t been since 2006, when I was there as a student, so I was reminded what an inspiring and enjoyable few days it is and how good it is to catch up with composers and performers from around the country.

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