Just purchased Noteperformer for Sibelius about a week ago and am slowly going through the process of, what you might call, rerecording my Sibelius files with this new set of sounds. It is a night-and-day difference. You can actually enjoy listening to the rock and Latin charts. The swing feel is still very stilted but the timbre is so much better that I will take it. I hear that Finale's sounds are superior. Funny, I used to use that notation software and then switched. It is like I invested in the Beta of video playback. However, my main reason for using Sibelius is music notation and it does that fabulously.
As a perfectionist and a workaholic, among other things (yes, I am exaggerating a little), I am always torn about where to invest my time. Do I go back and revisit some older arrangements and improve them or do I forge forward and write some new music. Opening up some old files takes a little more initiative and nerve, as you invested significant time in the work and may have even celebrated the finish of those projects. Moving forward is good for the ego and maybe is healthier for the soul, as it encourages new paths, new thoughts and new beginnings. It is tough leaving something that you realize is imperfect or that could have had a different outcome, but perhaps, that is true about all artistic endeavours. So, Dr. K, maybe the path is a crooked one where it is slightly ahead but every once is while you make a detour to revisit some old projects.
So this morning my youngest was screaming - that is what she does, scream. No babbling at this stage for my 8 month year old - she just screams. There was some other catastrophe with my two other children and as I washed the dishes, I decided that I would join in with the scream-athon. When I "came to," I realized that 1) I needed to get away for a second and 2) that maybe there was a little too much on my plate at the moment. There are only so many hours in the day and I am only human. I will break when pushed to the limit. So, it is time to take a deep breath and push some of those work items off the plate. I will bend down and pick them up in a month or so.
Presenting at the OMEA conference in Niagara Falls this past week, I realized how great the need is for flex arrangements. School teachers rarely have full big bands so they need charts that can accommodate unique instrumentations. Luckily, I have written for booking agencies that want redundancy in their charts so that the arrangement can be played for 5 horn ensembles through to big bands. It is just cost efficient to hire someone to write a chart that fits all ensembles. I just have to let people know that my writing allows for such diversity. And, hey, the above chart, All Blues, is free. You really can not lose.
The band played my arrangement of House of Gold last night and I was fairly happy with the outcome. It is always a roller-coaster of emotions when you get a chart played that you have been working on for weeks or months. You know what it should sound like and actually, you hope that your musicians will take that "Sibelius" clay and sculpt it into something new and beautiful. More often than not, it takes time and you have to be careful that you do not pull out too much hair from you head. Mine is thinning as it is. It is really about fine-tuning your writing so that the parts match the players and this can take several tries. Each chart I write for this band seems to be a better fit. Always a work in progress but a passion, and not really work.
New pedagogical material posted for arranging and brass methods in preparation for @OMEAResonate16 www.drkmusic.com
Excited about presenting Brevity and Variety in Brass Warm-Ups and Big Band Arrangements for Reduced or Unique Instrumentations at OMEA's Resonate 16 in Niagara Falls. We are saving trees this year and just posting the handouts. Also looking forward to trying out a few trombone mouthpieces, in the hope of finding that little advantage.
Dr. Michael Kearns
Musician, educator, husband, father, web designer ... my life is like a mosaic with each piece vying for my attention.