Orchestration Online Logo MiniHello 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. I’m very happy and relieved to be writing those words after months of work with my faithful and tireless webmaster Sam Hayman. We’re pleased to present to you today, on 5 May 2014, our “one-stop shop” for orchestration resources and education on the internet.

Firstly, thanks to all who signed up for this website’s prelaunch subscription. I am going to extend the prelaunch thank-you gift for another week-and-a-half to new subscribers: “Harp Concerto Scoring: A Study,” a short e-book covering the orchestration techniques and harp scoring approach I used in my own Harp Concerto that was premiered last year. This book will be released in exactly ten days (May 15), when we finally close the offer; so if you were planning to subscribe, please do so today.

Why should you subscribe? If you’re dedicated to your orchestration training, obsessed with the possibilities of putting instruments together on a page of score, and wake up in the middle of the night with music running through your head, then we are looking out for you. We want you to have access to resources, updates on training opportunities, connectivity with other musicians, and a forward-looking attitude. We want you to open your e-mail to a message that gets you more involved and inspired about your passion.

Also, just in a practical sense, we want to put it all in one place for you. When a new video is released, a new blog posted, and a new training course or event is announced, we want that information to have a heart to it, a place where it can live alongside other information and gateways that we’ve found indispensable. So with those words, welcome to the official Orchestration Online website.

Please have a look around. While this site has a lot of information, it isn’t some vast cavern of data that you can get lost in. Rather, we’ve kept the webpages focused on the clearest and most useful information, leaving it up to you to dig deeper in any direction you wish to navigate, but hopefully always returning to a more direct and organized home base.

Our HOME page features the latest blog post, announcements, and the latest video from the Orchestration Online YouTube channel. Today’s announcement and video are mostly about the inauguration of the monthly Orchestration Challenge. Please have a look and participate if you feel ready. Much of the new content for Orchestration Online will be presented here before it’s archived on other regions of the site, so it may make a good homepage for orchestration fanatics.

Next on the menu bar is our FAQ page. These are “Frequently Asked Questions” about issues around the website, asking advice, and our Facebook group. We get asked these questions hundreds of times per year – so please have a look there if you’ve got an itchy query about how we can help you. As to FAQ’s specifically about orchestration issues – those are being saved for a planned series of YouTube videos. Stay posted.

ABOUT is all about this website and about who the bleep is Thomas Goss? Check out the MISSION STATEMENT – that’s really the philosophy of the website. We are writing history, every one of us, from the seasoned pros out there who like to share their perspectives and work online, all the way to the beginner shopping for their first orchestration manual on Amazon. This is our chance to make the first generation of internet composing and music training something that can serve as an example for centuries to come. I take that responsibility very seriously, and I’m hoping you do as well. And who am I to be dictating anything to anyone? Find out on the BIO and RESUMÉ pages. But that’s not the important person here – you are.

Honestly speaking, though it’s important that any orchestration trainer have some creds posted on their website, those last two pages are more for my clients than for my subscribers. So is the next menu item SERVICES, and its submenu items COMPOSER, ORCHESTRATOR, and TEACHER. Sure, I’ll coach you if you’re really really serious about what you’re doing and have some sort of active project scheduled. I’ll work for you as an orchestrator if you have a professional concert or recording date booked. I’ll even compose some music for you if you represent a professional arts organization, like a dance company or symphony orchestra. But I’m guessing that you’re not any of those things, and I’m hoping very very much that you have the will to learn all of this for yourself. You probably don’t need me to do any of those things for you if you’re like most subscribers.

What you probably have is the will to do all those things for yourself: compose your own music and then orchestrate it yourself. I’m hoping you also want to take responsibility for your own direction in training, whether you’re enrolled in a university or not. That’s what makes the next menu item the real heart of this site: TRAINING. Each page under this menu offers access to different educational sources that I’ve personally crafted. You can view my YOUTUBE COURSES, Intro to Orchestration, and Score-Reading, along with the long-awaited Course Notes to clarify certain points and give you more to think about. I’ll be adding to the Orchestration Weekly Tips and Orchestration: Texture, Balance, and Function playlists over the coming months, with more playlists planned as well.

My MACPROVIDEO COURSES are described and linked as well, with announcements of courses to be released this year: the Sibelius 7/7.5 Orchestration Project in a few months, and the Orchestration Master Class: The String Section only a few weeks away. Please read the ONSITE COURSES page, too. I’m just as stoked about what’s coming there: a series of e-books designed as sister courses to the macProVideo Orchestration Master Class series.

The EVENTS page will keep subscribers up to date about lectures, webinars, performances, and internet events such as the Monthly Orchestration Challenge. We’re planning a series of events here at Orchestration Online, to help grow the community and the skills of those who comprise it. The BLOG page collects many of my writings on music, including the Diary of an Orchestrator entries, and the Daily Orchestration Tips. These posts are also available on every page of the site, under the drop-down menu bars on the right titled “Categories” and “Archives.” This will make for some rainy-weekend reading; so disconnect the telephone, heat up some hot chocolate, and get started.

I’m guessing that many visitors to the site will be spending a lot of time on the pages under the RESOURCES menu item. That’s why I’ve stocked it with tons of goodies for orchestrators at all levels. Check out the BOOKS page, stocked with recommendations of what books to read for both your foundational texts, and further reading as you accumulate perspectives about scoring. ORCHESTRATION BLOGS collects some of the best bloggers out there on the subject onto one page, while WEBSITES contains more access to information. There are some important career connections and sites there for the serious composer, too: ASCAP, BMI, and the US Library of Congress among others.

Finally, there’s a CONTACT page, mostly for subscribers and clients who are arriving here for the first time and need to get in touch. But of course, most readers will already be in daily contact over on the Orchestration Online Facebook group, or might tweet me or message me through YouTube. I completely do not mind being contacted by other composers and musicians from out of the blue. In fact, I would really love to hear from you if you have any comments, compliments, suggestions, or even complaints about the site. Post it on the FB group or drop me an e-mail at contact@orchestrationonline.com. Hope to hear from you, and hope that you get some good use out of this site!

Please check out my friend Sam Hayman’s site at Tower Studios. He’s the go-to guy for composers needing consulting on their sites. This one wouldn’t exist without his patient support, great design, and intuitive advice.