This post is going to be be a bit different than the rest of the posts on this blog. It is geared much more towards being a composer in this contemporary age of music production/composition. This will also be by far my longest post as of yet.
In June, I finally found my way into a profitable medium and outlet for all of my Logic Pro X composing. I've spent a lot of time over the past 5 years adapting and developing my craft using Logic. I was originally classically trained as a composer, but have ALWAYS enjoyed listening to film music and also really enjoy music production. For I while I thought that it was just a fun little hobby, and most of the tunes I wrote in Logic didn't go anywhere and I didn't use them for anything. That has all COMPLETELY CHANGED.
I discovered a couple of Stock Media Sites (I use them for sync-licensing music) called Pond5 and Audiojungle (these are the two that I focus on the most because I've found them to be most easy to use and most profitable).
Below are some tunes from my Audiojungle page.
These sites have been just what I've been looking for!! I'm able to cook up a variety of different tunes and upload them for media makers to buy. It's actually a very easy process and writing music in a DAW like Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Cubase, etc streamlines the writing (differences from Sibelius/Finale will be another post). I'm a total fan of these websites because I've been able to get my music out to people who would have no access to my stuff.
Here's my process: I get surf these websites and find what seems to be the most in-demand style (at least of the styles I can/am willing to write). If you checked out my Pond5 page, you noticed that it's full of "suspense" and "epic action" and "epic drumming" music. Well, aside from the fact these are fun to write, its what people are purchasing. I really can't believe that as of now (2014), one of my "Rising Suspense" clips has sold about 40 times. It literally took me 30 minutes to write (granted its only 15 seconds long).
My next step is how to get my tunes to the top of the lists, where people are regularly purchasing my music. This is the hard part because I can't really find a whole lot of consistency. For example, I wrote at tune called "Film Noir," and it sold 10 times in two weeks! Awesome! So I wrote another one. It has sold a grand total of zero times. I decided not to write a 3rd tune in that style.
I also find myself reading how to optimize key word searches, getting friends to get me some views, and honestly just churning out more tunes. I figure the more tunes up there, the more likely they are to be found. The best part about sync-licensing music is that once I upload it, I'm done with that tune.
Needless to say, this is a very exciting development in my composition career...the first step from changing it from a hobby to an actual job. If nothing else, I now have funding for my music projects and samples. It can be hard finding my way into this world of professional composing. I do love it and I'm interested to see where I can take this lifelong passion. Happy Composing!
I clearly am a fan of John Williams' music. I love how he's brought so many people who wouldn't be orchestral/classical music lovers to the concert hall (even if it started in a movie theater). Now, I would like to rave about the music for the new Star Wars trailer. For most people, its all about the story, or characters, or special effects, or action, etc... For me, it's all about the music. The first cluster of tones (in the strings) takes us back to those early Stravinsky-esque scenes of which R2 D2 and C3PO wandered the deserts of Tatooine.
Then we get some action music like only a John Williams score can deliver: melodically and harmonically compelling, but I love the orchestration. I love the interplay between the brass, strings, woodwinds (I ESPECIALLY LOVE TO HEAR WOODWINDS SINCE SO MANY FILM COMPOSERS SEEM TO ONLY WRITE FOR CELLOS AND BRASS.........), and percussion. Top to bottom, it is an exciting orchestral epic, just as epic as the trailer itself. The music is compelling in an era of generic trailer music (which I love, but generic nonetheless).
When the Millennium Falcon flies out, we are obviously slammed with the Force Theme, the quintessential melody of the franchise. I'm sure many, many people probably cheered at that moment..I did. I'm so very excited to hear the score for Episode VII...in fact, I may see it a second time and just close my eyes and listen.
Today I showed my students a fantastic TED Talk featuring Evelyn Glennie. I found this video to be a goldmine for musicians (young and old). Aside from the fact that she's an incredible percussionist, she really goes into some interesting topics about musicianship. I love how she showed the difference between being a strictly "technically accurate" player as opposed to being a musician and doing a lot more with the notes (and even the instrument itself).
The reason I decided to write about this video, however, is because I was fascinated at how the different AGE of my students affected how they perceived the video. For any middle school teacher out there, you surely know how drastically different 11, 12, 13, and 14 year olds can be. Where Evelyn Glennie was talking about how different people in a space perceive "sound" differently, I couldn't help but think how differently the developing middle school mind viewed and experienced her message. My young, excitable 6th graders practically participated like they were in the clinic themselves, where the 8th graders we as stoic as statues. I do feel that the overwhelming majority understood what she was talking about, but experienced it in their own way.
I really love how she talks about and performs music. I spend so much time trying to teach students that there can be so much more than notes on a page (YES, I do teach that in middle school). It's all about the experience...and that's why I teach, compose, and perform music. And always will.
I feel like Tchaikovsky's music for the Nutcracker defined the mechanics of what much of Christmas music is these days. From the harmonies to the orchestration, a hundred years of composers, musicians, and listeners have grown up on that music, and it has clearly infused much of other Christmas music that has been written since. Every time I watch Home Alone (I was a kid in the 90s and have to watch it every year), I feel like John Williams was paying homage to Tchaik. I think what I like most about The Nutcracker, and really just Tchaikovsky, is his immaculate ability to orchestrate. The colors he achieves are glorious.
I will definitely be listening to plenty of the Nutcracker Suite this holiday season...music I very much believe is the "Christmas" sound. What a great piece of music from a great composer!
The musings of a composer that also band directs!! ... or maybe it's the other way around..