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Composition Insights

Lawrence Composition Blog

  • Composition Info for Freshmen
    Welcome classes of 2019 and 2020! The Composition Academic Information Meeting will take place on Thursday, September 10 at 1:10 p.m. in Music-Drama 259. All freshmen interested in studying music composition at Lawrence are encouraged to attend. Info…
    - 29 Aug 15, 6:36pm -
  • Welcome Freshmen! – Composition Meeting
    Welcome to Lawrence! All freshmen interested in the B.Mus. in Music Theory/Composition or in composition classes are asked to attend the Academic Information Meeting (AIM) for Music Theory/Composition on Thursday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Music-D…
    - 9 Sep 14, 3:49pm -
  • Freshmen – Academic Information Meeting
    All freshmen interested in the B.Mus. in Music Theory/Composition or in composition classes are invited to attend the Academic Information Meeting (AIM) for Music Theory/Composition on Thursday, September 12 at 1:30 p.m. in Music-Drama 259.
    - 11 Sep 13, 8:55pm -
  • Welcome Week – Academic Information Meeting
    The Academic Information Meeting (AIM) for Music Theory/Composition will take place Thursday, September 12 at 1:30 p.m. in Shattuck 259. All freshmen interested in the B.Mus. in Music Theory/Composition or in composition classes are invited to attend…
    - 10 Sep 13, 2:52pm -
  • Daniel Miller ’13, composition major, awarded $25000 Watson Fellowship for Exploration of Natural Soundscapes and Computer Music
    Very exciting news for acoustic/electronic composer and senior composition major, Daniel Miller. Click here for more details!  
    - 23 Mar 13, 7:28am -
  • LSO plays Nolan Veldey ’13 and Evan Williams ’11
    The January 25 Lawrence Symphony Orchestra concert will feature an unprecedented TWO world premieres by Lawrence student (and former student) composers! The orchestra will perform “All But Inescapable” by Nolan Veldey ’13 and “LUX: Fanfare fo…
    - 24 Jan 13, 12:13pm -
  • Douglas Detrick ’06 and NOW Ensemble

    Douglas Detrick ’06 and NOW Ensemble

    One of our biggest events this year is the residency of the NOW Ensemble, who will be teaching and performing at Lawrence Nov. 13-15, with a concert on Thursday, November 15 in Harper Hall. The concert will include a performance of Memorial by compos…
    - 5 Nov 12, 1:03pm -
  • Maestro David Becker and LSO play James Fabry’s Spiral
    We’re fortunate to have great artistic partnerships at Lawrence: here’s a recording of Maestro David Becker and our good friends in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra playing Spiral by senior James Fabry ’12. Jim wrote a fantastic piece for the or…
    - 30 May 12, 3:43pm -
  • Alex Johnson ’12 – A Composer Transformed

    Alex Johnson ’12 – A Composer Transformed

    Student blogger: Alex Johnson, class of 2012 The saying “be careful what you wish for” has been a big factor in my senior year of college. Film composing was always something that I wanted to experiment with while at Lawrence, and this year I wen…
    - 10 Apr 12, 6:42pm -
  • LSO Webcast – Alex Johnson ’12

    LSO Webcast – Alex Johnson ’12

    Our good friends in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra will play the music of student composer Alexander Johnson ’12 in their February 3 LSO Goes to the Movies concert. The orchestra will perform Alex’s film score  A Place Transformed live to pictu…
    - 28 Jan 12, 1:27pm -

Movie Music Musings

  • The Ten Best Film Scores of 2014

    The Ten Best Film Scores of 2014

    Putting film music year-end lists together tends to be the fun version of “work.”  Before I actually have to sit down and write the damn piece, making the list just means listening to mass quantities of music.  Sure I jot down the occasional no…
    - 22 Feb 15, 2:41pm -
  • Inherent Vice – Film and Score Review

    Inherent Vice – Film and Score Review

    Inherent Vice: Film and Score Review Man, was I looking forward to Inherent Vice.  Like many people of my generation who got into film in the late 1990s, P.T. Anderson is a giant; he’s our exhibit A whenever we need to argue that we have auteurs w…
    - 12 Feb 15, 4:24pm -
  • 2014 International Film Music Critics Association Award Nominees

    2014 International Film Music Critics Association Award Nominees

    I realize things have been quiet at Movie Music Musings of late – this will change soon, with some end-of-year features and other reviews on the upcoming slate.  Until then, however, I’d like to share with you the International Film Music Critic…
    - 5 Feb 15, 1:25pm -
  • Now Streaming on NPR: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s Gone Girl. Plus My First Impressions.

    Now Streaming on NPR: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s Gone Girl.  Plus My First Impressions.

    For anyone who missed it, NPR is now streaming the entirety of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score for the David Fincher’s upcoming film, Gone Girl.  You can listen to the score here: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/25/350948108/first-listen-trent…
    - 25 Sep 14, 4:08pm -
  • Introducing the Critic: Paul Cote Interviewed by The International Film Music Critics Association

    Introducing the Critic: Paul Cote Interviewed by The International Film Music Critics Association

    Recently, I was featured in the International Film Music Critics Association’s ongoing interview series, Introducing the Critic. This was a wonderful opportunity; while I frequently analyze specific film scores at Movie Music Musings, I’d never…
    - 2 Sep 14, 12:07pm -
  • Boyhood – Film and Score Review

    Boyhood – Film and Score Review

    Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is the biggest critical darling in recent memory – indeed, it’s the only film on Metacritic to reach a 100% approval rate on its initial release.  I struggle to add anything to the conversation that hasn’t alread…
    - 27 Aug 14, 12:06pm -
  • For people in the Long Beach/Los Angeles Area: Come See a Great (Free!) Show from The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble

    For people in the Long Beach/Los Angeles Area: Come See a Great (Free!) Show from The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble

    I know I don’t usually plug things on the blog, but this upcoming show is too awesome to ignore. For anyone in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area who’s looking for a great way to spend next Saturday evening, I strongly recommend checking out this fr…
    - 4 Aug 14, 10:50am -
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Film and Score Review

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Film and Score Review

    The Film: Very few people were especially looking forward to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the second attempt at rebooting a franchise that seemed to have long since run its course (for more on that subject, see my Planet of the Apes retro…
    - 29 Jul 14, 12:42pm -
  • Pitching Planet of the Apes to a Studio in 2014: A One-Act Play (and/or Planet of the Apes Retrospective)

    Pitching Planet of the Apes to a Studio in 2014: A One-Act Play (and/or Planet of the Apes Retrospective)

    In anticipation of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I was initially going to compose a straightforward feature reflecting on the original films and their scores.  After sitting through all five of these films again, however, I’m in too much of a st…
    - 11 Jul 14, 5:44am -
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2: Film and Score Review

    How to Train Your Dragon 2: Film and Score Review

    The Film: Few aspects in Western culture are as immune from criticism as our love for our pets.  You can be the world’s most jaded, intellectual, cynical hipster and still rest easy knowing nobody will judge you for thinking your dog is the bestes…
    - 4 Jul 14, 3:44pm -

Sheepish Music

  • How To Get Motivation To Practice Regularly

    How To Get Motivation To Practice Regularly

    There are some people that seem to have the ability to practice for 10 hours at a time regularly and get in their 10,000 minutes required to master something.  I on the other hand have a hard time staying motivated to practice at times.  Even when…
    - 7 Apr 14, 8:10am -
  • You Are an Inescapable Part of Your Art
      I have an interesting dilemma for you.  Imagine you’re out on a morning Saturday run, and you’re starred songs on Spotify/Ipod/music playing device on as your soundtrack. Now, half way into your run, you’re in a brilliant flow,  your phone…
    - 15 Feb 14, 6:04am -
  • Album #2 – Update 1

    Album #2 – Update 1

    Apologies on the long time without a new blog post.   So after much huffing and puffing I finished the 2nd draft of lyrics for Sweet Surrender.  It’s still got a few rough edges, but I like where it’s at so far.  I did a live performance of it…
    - 11 Feb 14, 8:31am -
  • Not So Low after all…

    Not So Low after all…

    Ok, so here’s the deal.  The peer reviews came in for the awful song I wrote last week, and it turns out… It wasn’t as God awful as I thought it was.  In fact fellow reviewers seemed to like it! before I go any further, here’s the further d…
    - 29 Nov 13, 4:35pm -
  • A Bit of a Low Point

    A Bit of a Low Point

    I mentioned before that I’m part of a free songwriting course right now. Well, this week we were to put together everything we had learned so far and write a complete song.  Being the unprepared git that I occasionally am I left it until the last…
    - 21 Nov 13, 5:11pm -
  • On Developing a Process

    On Developing a Process

    It’s a very romanticised Idea to say that a song just came to you, the melody ‘just flowed’ Freddie Mercury said that as soon as they have a song idea the number one priority is to get it down as quickly as possible to keep the most natural…
    - 19 Nov 13, 4:22pm -
  • RedSheep Album #2 – A New Beginning

    RedSheep Album #2 – A New Beginning

    The time has come my friends, to commit to the next chapter in my musical saga.  I’ve been preparing for months through chordal knowledge, Lyric writing courses, Books, research and grit, but now it is time to put it to good use.  I don’t know…
    - 15 Nov 13, 4:05pm -
  • Some Positive Habits

    Some Positive Habits

    1. Always have a way of capturing your idea within arm’s length. For some people, creativity flows constant and uncontrollably, for others it is a slow drip which you can never predict. I am in the latter camp most days. Song writing is hard work a…
    - 28 Oct 13, 8:41pm -
  • Have Dream Theater Gone Turbo?

    Have Dream Theater Gone Turbo?

    Ok, This right here is the mind-dump of a 7 year Dream Theater fan.  I’ve heard all the albums and follow the changes etc that went on up till now.  My opinion may change, but here goes… Did Mangini Perform? Let’s start where my breath has be…
    - 22 Sep 13, 6:17pm -
  • 6 Places to Use Accidentals

    6 Places to Use Accidentals

    Question answer from http://music.stackexchange.com/questions/11159/what-purpose-do-accidentals-serve-in-music/11253#11253 Knowing when to use an accidental is a difficult question to answer, and the best I can say is Whenever you like. Whatever yo…
    - 10 Jul 13, 4:57pm -

The Rambler

  • Quick thoughts on language, composition and ‘post-genre’ music

    Quick thoughts on language, composition and ‘post-genre’ music

    I was intrigued by this article by Bienen School of Music senior Hannah Schiller, recently published in NewMusicBox. Schiller tackles the thorny subjects of language, specifically how we describe certain kinds of music-making, in a post-genre contex…
    - 8 days ago, 18 Sep 17, 6:04am -
  • Is Culture (Necessarily) Digital?

    Is Culture (Necessarily) Digital?

    Extraordinary column from Ed Vaizey in this week’s The Drum. Under the headline ‘The tech revolution is barely touching the world of culture – and it should be’ Vaizey, the former minister for culture, communications and sport,  writes that…
    - 9 days ago, 17 Sep 17, 5:24am -
  • Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Ivan Vukosavljević

    Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Ivan Vukosavljević

    It’s Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and as part of the festival I’m conducting on-stage ‘meet the composer’ interviews with the five nominees for the Gaudeamus award for young composers. Every day this week (and in alphabetical order) I’m also posti…
    - 16 days ago, 10 Sep 17, 9:54am -
  • Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Chaz Underriner

    Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Chaz Underriner

    It’s Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and as part of the festival I’m conducting on-stage ‘meet the composer’ interviews with the five nominees for the Gaudeamus award for young composers. Every day this week (and in alphabetical order) I’m also posti…
    - 17 days ago, 9 Sep 17, 9:39am -
  • Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Aart Strootman

    Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Aart Strootman

    It’s Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and as part of the festival I’m conducting on-stage ‘meet the composer’ interviews with the five nominees for the Gaudeamus award for young composers. Every day this week (and in alphabetical order) I’m also posti…
    - 18 days ago, 8 Sep 17, 9:53am -
  • Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Sky Macklay

    Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Sky Macklay

    It’s Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and as part of the festival I’m conducting on-stage ‘meet the composer’ interviews with the five nominees for the Gaudeamus award for young composers. Every day this week (and in alphabetical order) I’m also posti…
    - 19 days ago, 7 Sep 17, 9:51am -
  • Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Ethan Braun

    Gaudeamus 2017 nominees: Ethan Braun

    It’s Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and as part of the festival I’m conducting on-stage ‘meet the composer’ interviews with the five nominees for the Gaudeamus award for young composers. Every day this week (and in alphabetical order) I’m also posti…
    - 20 days ago, 6 Sep 17, 9:43am -
  • I’m going to miss Soundcloud

    I’m going to miss Soundcloud

    It seems that Soundcloud is about to disappear: the sound-sharing website has only a few weeks, possibly months, of money left in the coffers and, if current reports are to be believed, once that has run out it will disappear. There are reports of ba…
    - 70 days ago, 18 Jul 17, 8:56am -
  • On Birtwistle, Deep Time and over-production

    On Birtwistle, Deep Time and over-production

    One thing I like about Harrison Birtwistle is that, rarely among composers of a more radical bent, he never feels he has to apologise for writing for orchestra. His orchestras feel and sound like orchestras – although often cleverly reimagined –…
    - 71 days ago, 17 Jul 17, 10:37am -
  • Gaudeamus Award 2017 – nominee videos

    Gaudeamus Award 2017 – nominee videos

    Five composers have been nominated for the 2017 Gaudeamus Award. Here are each of their nominee videos. Chaz Underriner Sky Macklay Ethan Braun Aart Strootman Ivan Vukosavljević Filed under: Gaudeamus 2017, Music Tagged: Gaudeamus
    - 73 days ago, 15 Jul 17, 2:08pm -

Performing Songwriter

  • Frank Sinatra: The Stories Behind His Songs
    Frank Sinatra was the best friend a song ever had. We have the stories behind some of his greatest hits— like "Nice 'n' Easy," "My Way," "It Was a Very Good Year," "All the Way," and "The Best Is Yet to Come"—told by the songwriters.
    - 12 Dec 15, 3:00am -
  • Happy Birthday, Tom Waits!
    Quotes and quips from Tom Waits, who is as much of a character as any of the hundreds of freaks, carnies and salvation seekers populating his songs.
    - 7 Dec 15, 3:00am -
  • The Christmas Song
    It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and called out for Bob. No answer. He walked over to the piano, and there, rest…
    - 5 Dec 15, 12:46pm -
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    The story behind Bob Mays' beloved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a story written to comfort his daughter and was turned into a best-selling Christmas song.
    - 2 Dec 15, 3:29am -
  • Happy Birthday, Randy Newman
    An Interview with Randy Newman on his approach to songwriting and the stories behind his songs Political Science, Redneck, Short People, God's Song, and more.
    - 28 Nov 15, 7:00am -
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A curated aggregation of musings from across the land and of different subject matters for the scanoholics.