Plenty of music for Music Month

LBCConcertBandCAMP Well it's the last day of NZ Music Month, so that's a good excuse to post about a few projects I've been working on lately. I've been a bit quiet online in recent months so here's a good chance to make up for that.

Picture This! is a new work I've written for the Long Bay College Concert Band. They won gold at the KBB Music Festival last year so a new work had to take shape! I spent last weekend with them at their rehearsal camp and had loads of fun. Look out for Picture This! at this year's festival.

My friends at Diocesan School for Girls have commissioned two new works for their groups:

I ask of you no poetry is for their award-winning elite choir, St Cecelia Singers, and is written for SSA choir, handbells and organ (with text by Madeleine Ballard). Kiwi in Appalachia is for their chamber ensemble consisting of flute, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola and piano (cello part also available). It's a standalone piece but for this group was written to be used in conjunction with my arrangement of Copland's Appalachian Spring. I'm hoping to get along to see some rehearsals soon and will post some performance dates when available.

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I have also just written Unwrapped for the St Matthew's Chamber Orchestra which was premiered last Sunday. I've written about it here, check it out.

Back in April was the 48Hour Film Festival and although we didn't get far this year with our film, On The Rocks, it was great to work with the guys from Sideways Productions once again. The music turned out nicely (finally, I got to use almost all strings!) and I later arranged it into a one movement work - listen here:

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Another film by these guys that I did the music for, Sounds Perfect, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival during May - I posted about it here, check it out.

ASO PromsIn conducting news I had a great weekend down at the Bay of Plenty Music School working with the concert band. I was so happy with the standard they reached - read about my weekend here. I'm also currently working with the Auckland Symphony Chorus - preparing them for the Auckland Symphony Orchestra's hugely popular "Night of the Proms" concerts at the end of June. Great to have "Song of the Lonely Mountain" as part of the programme - a song I did the preparation of for "The Hobbit" movie two years ago.

That's all for now. A few other projects on the go, but I'll save those for a future post!

21 days to go...

shopping-cart-hiHappy NZ Music Month! A week has gone already and that means my music month project is well underway. Here is an overview of the first things I have considered... WHAT AM I GOING TO USE The biggest decision, which could make or break this project is what software I am going to use. There are three options:

  • Manual - things could just be listed on the website with purchase details and if someone wants to buy it they will notify me and we will organise payment and distribution. That's far too much work - not a good option.
  • Shopify - is an appealing option, I can still host it on my site if I wish, can have automatic PDF downloads, automatic payments, manage on my iPhone and more, much more - it's a great service! But, it's so expensive. US$348 a year for the most basic option - I'd prefer to keep that money in my pocket.
  • Shopp - this is a platform that you install on your Wordpress site and you can do everything you can do on Shopify (basically!) and all for just a single license of US$55. There will be a bit more work on the backend, compared to Shopify, but it still makes it the absolute best option for me.

WHAT PIECES AM I GOING TO LIST I've decided on the following list of pieces to start with. Generally my most popular pieces and a nice whole number of ten. A mix of orchestral, choral, chamber and solo pieces:

  • bubble (wind orchestra)
  • blimp (orchestra)
  • Wild Daisies (choir)
  • Dancing Lilies (choir)
  • Dancing Thistles (strings)
  • In Their Light (string quartet)
  • as pen meets paper (viola)
  • This Day (piano)
  • Picture for Emily (piano)
  • A Holiday Thought (piano)

Very soon after, my microscores will follow, but this is a good place to start.

NEXT STEP In the next post I will look at:

  • What to think about as a publisher.
  • Editing the listed pieces.

A project for NZ Music Month...

In 2011 I celebrated NZ Music Month in style by writing 31 microscores in 31 days. It was a huge success, they all got recorded, are hugely popular and I use them almost weekly when talking to students about composition and instrumentation. In 2012, while I was involved in many Music Month events, I didn't have a music composition project and I was pretty disappointed about it.

So in 2013, it's back!

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What I like about this project is that usually all of my time is spent on other people's music - an absolute joy and honour - but it means I never get any time for my own composition. So NZ Music Month is a great annual opportunity to make sure that I work on my own music and have something worthwhile to show at the end of it.

I have debated for some time exactly what I would do this year - more daily microscores, weekly ensemble pieces, fortnightly larger pieces - or perhaps something slightly different.

I'll go for something slightly different.

For a long time, years in fact, I have wanted an online store to sell my own music - easily and automatically. Aside from works for professionals, I have a lot for students, community and school ensembles - and there is a great market for this. Sure, people can already buy it - through SOUNZ and by emailing me - but that doesn't quite cut it. People should be able to search on the internet, find a piece, discover and experience it, buy it, download it, play it. And I don't want to just export or print a version from the latest Sibelius file, I want to have properly published music - finalised, stylised, done, dusted, complete.

Initially, I thought I would finish a collection of piano music to sell - editing the current four pieces I had and writing four new ones - but I decided that I was still avoiding the most important step of all - to get this online store of music up and running and full of the music that I already have. So, now it's going to happen.

By May 31, my birthday and the final day of NZ Music Month, people from all around the world will be able to buy my published music easily and automatically from this site.

Here are the main things I will need to consider:

  1. What to publish
  2. Editing and publishing
  3. Selling method, charges, etc
  4. Cataloging
  5. Promotion and launch

It's going to be a big month - I've got an Auckland Philharmonia premiere, Auckland Symphony rehearsals, the 48 Hour Film festival, 10 days in Australia, a trip to Hawke's Bay, plenty of music prep, arranging and teaching commitments, and my 30th birthday!

It'll be a big month, but I'm really excited and I look forward to writing several posts along the way - addressing the points above and no doubt discussing the setbacks and triumphs. Stay tuned.

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.

2012-05-15 APO Open Days 236

Following that were four posts on current projects - "Working on workshops" looked at some teaching workshops I was involved with, "An opportunity to make the floor rumble" talked about my upcoming new work for the Auckland Philharmonia and the Auckland Town Hall Organ. I conducted at the Bay Of Plenty Music School once again and my post, "Bay Of Plenty music school hit Rotorua!", pre-empted my visit there, and finally "Opening up an orchestra" reviewed the first two Auckland Philharmonia Open Days were I ran the "meet the composer" area.

In April I reviewed my time at the Bay Of Plenty Music School in "Making music in Rotorua" and posted photos in "Checking out the pipes" after an inspiring tour of the Auckland Town Hall Organ.

My Confession image May is music month and "A month of New Zealand music" checked out the events me or my music was involved with. It's also 48 Hour Film Festival time and our film this year was "My Confession…".

In June I talked about my involvement with Auckland Symphony's "Night Of The Proms" concerts in "Promenading in the colony" and I posted "Questions for a composer" after answering questions for a student's school assignment.

In July I posted my one word review of each piece from the "Nelson Composers Workshop 2012" where I was very happy to go this year as a mentor.

APO "Tiraki" workshopAugust is KBB Music Festival time and I also posted on the ongoing saga regarding the future of Sibelius in "What the heck is happening with Sibelius!". My piece, Tiraki, started to take shape after another workshop with the Auckland Philharmonia.

September was rather dormant on the blog front but in October I reviewed “What Lurks Among Saints” after being invited by a student I met earlier in the year.

The-Hobbit1In November I had the privilege of "Playing my role in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", and I posted about the experience.

December was busy with a number of projects. In "Little pieces of Christmas" I talked about a bunch of Christmas arrangements I did for the Auckland Philharmonia and Auckland Symphony orchestras. I also talked about a film I was involved with, called "Sounds Perfect" and its selection into the Tropfest final in “Sounds Perfect” to be in a final". I then prepared music for some very fine New Zealand singers and talked about it in "Preparing for some legends!".

christmas-musicFinally, no year is complete without a "Merry Christmas" post thanking you for all of your support during the year and the compliments of the season.

Another year ticked off the list, another year doing my absolute dream job - let's get ready for an even better 2013!

A month of New Zealand music

NZ-Music-Month1New Zealand Music Month is here again. Make sure you get out and enjoy some New Zealand Music - well, more than usual, I hope! You may remember for last year's Music Month I wrote 31 microscores in 31 days. It was a huge success and loads of fun. Check out this post to read about the project or listen to the microscores.

This year I don't quite have a project like that ready to go, but here are some events that my music is involved with this Music Month:

3rd May: William Green performs This Day this Thursday

As part of Auckland Central Library's FREE Thursday lunchtime concert series, William is playing my piece, This Day, as part of his "NZ piano music of the 2000s" concert.

Thursday 3rd May, 12:10pm until 1pm. Whare Wānanga, Level 2, Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street - don't be late, my piece opens the concert. Click here for the lunchtime concert series brochure.

9th May: Auckland Philharmonia Tiraki read-through

The Auckland Philharmonia reads through the first drafts of my piece, Tiraki, written for the orchestra and the Auckland Town Hall organ. You may like to check out my post on the project or my photos from a recent tour of the organ.

18th - 20th May: Making music for V48 Hours

I will be working again with Sideways Productions, making music for their production. You may like to see my post from last year's film.

31st May: Hook Line and Sing-along

Every year the NZ Music Commission runs a competition for school students to write a song for Music Month. The song is sung by schools across New Zealand at 12pm on the last day of Music Month. The idea is to get as many people singing together as possible - for fun and to focus on the fundamental pleasures of life, music, and the importance of music education.

This year the song is 21 Degrees by Bruce Taiapa. I typeset the lead sheet and created an arrangement for a variety of instruments so instrumentalists can play along with the track as well.

Download everything you need here.

Have a good month.