Diary of an Orchestrator: The View from My Hospital Bed

I was hospitalised this year, but I quickly recovered. Around that time, I read lots of comments and posts about the externalisation of music: using DAW’s, whether a piano should be used in composing, and so on. Here is my commentary on the topic – how a trained inner ear can be used to compose, …

NOT “The Next Mozart!”

This is a special 54th birthday post – a bit of rumination over how I started as a composer, how I’ve seen other composers starting whom I’ve helped over the years, and how crucially important it is that we are all completely and totally ourselves no matter what our gifts may be. I was musically …

Diary of an Orchestrator: Dealing With Client Feedback

Have a read over the following two paragraphs, and think about which one is easier to process emotionally and practically. “Dear Hubert! Thanks so much for the first draft of my “Sonnet for a Dying Sparrow.” I feel so lucky to be working with such a talented and gifted musician as yourself, bringing my ideas …

Diary of an Orchestrator: Creative Moves – Advice, Caveats, and Game Plans

Her back ached a little bit, and her bones were still chilled from sleeping in her car the night before. But she barely felt those mild discomforts as her car came through the tunnel, topped the ridge, and she saw the whole of the San Francisco Bay Area gleaming before her in the midmorning sun. …

Diary of an Orchestrator: Five Decades in Music

This is a special birthday post from your orchestration teacher at Orchestration Online. A couple of years ago, I uploaded a video about turning 50, and charted my own development as a composer. Today, I want to contemplate the punctuation of decades. Where were you musically a decade ago[…]

Diary of an Orchestrator – Coming Back to Yourself

I’m starting the morning like I usually do: propped up against some pillows, typing away with my laptop rested on a carved chest from Singapore, my cat happily purring his fool head off on my lap. Through the lounge windows, the lights surrounding Wellington harbour gleam as they surround its inky darkness […]

Forging my first macProVideo Orchestration Course: Overconfidence, Dissolution, and Redemption

I’m a confirmed optimist. It probably has something to do with my very early years. A true university brat, I actually lived out ages 0-4 on the UCLA campus. Back in the early 1960’s, there was a quiet enclave on the west side of campus called “Married Students Housing,” where my family lived while my father pursued his degree in Language Studies […]

Welcome to Orchestration Online: The Website!

Hello to Orchestration Online YouTube channel subscribers, Facebook group members, Twitter and G+ followers, and musicians interested in orchestration across the planet! You’re reading the first blog post of the new Orchestration Online website […]

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, days 16-24

Tuesday, February 11 8:30 a.m. A huge amount of time has passed since my last journal entry. This delay is pretty typical of the ending stretch in a project: the work starts to pile up as everyone involved realizes that they’re much too close to the kill date for comfort. In my case, I was …

Diary of an Orchestrator – Mission Estate Concert project, day 15

Sunday, January 26 Today is a red-letter day in the project. In 7.5 hours I completed song no. 10: “There’ll Be Sad Songs” by Billy Ocean. My tenth song was supposed to be “Mná Na h’Éirann” by Sharon Corr, but I moved up that add-on song I was given a few days ago. I’m sure …