Have you ever noticed that the word “composition” has “position” in it? It may be a coincidence, but recently, I found out that position is more than a part of the word—it’s a part of the process that can make all the difference.
Over the last few months, I’ve been having a dry spell in my composing. Even though I probably composed my usual amount of music last semester, I was beginning to get to a point where composing was just another thing on my homework to-do list. There was no enjoyment—just dread. It all came to a head last week, when I realized how miserable I was when I composed, and I started to wonder if I had lost the abilities and passion I’d had for composition before my album release.
It’s amazing how much can change in a few weeks’ time… I’ve moved to Nashville and started college.
Up to this point, my posts had running through them the consistent theme of being a teenager and trying to figure out how to make good recordings and compositions on my own—and often getting in over my head with my undertakings. However, now I have the ability to learn from some of the best of the best; I’m not on my own anymore. But I don’t know what that will mean for this blog. For that matter, I’m still figuring out what that means for me. Continue reading “The Next Step”→
It’s been a wild ride, but my debut solo piano album Airborne is done and out!
Eleven months ago, I was inspired after returning from two GRAMMY Camps and had a bold idea: I was going to release a thirty-five minute solo piano album by the end of the following summer.
At the time, I only had one piano piece (“Airborne”) that I felt was good enough to record. I had already committed to producing an EP for singer/songwriter Lily Garay that fall, too. And there were college music school auditions in February to practice and prepare for. Suffice it to say that the prospects of releasing a full-length album were not good.Continue reading “Airborne is Out!”→
As the lone audio engineer for my piano album Airborne, at this point, I’ve done way too much solo piano editing. Am I that bad a pianist? No, but I’m a perfectionist, so I strive to meet impossible standards—especially since I have such a strong idea of how my own compositions should sound.
Even so, editing is much more than finding flawless takes and putting in crossfades to piece them together—it’s about maximizing musicality through artistic and technical choices. While I don’t purport that putting together twenty different segments into one track is as good as playing a perfect take straight through, I will go so far as to say that, when edited well, the difference between a composited track and a one-take track can be minute. However, with any kind of solo instrument recording, making edits is playing with fire if you don’t know what you’re doing. And with piano recordings, their many inherent challenges only pour on gasoline. Even so, by following some simple rules, I’ve found one can safely edit a piano recording: Continue reading “Bright Idea or Playing With Fire? – Airborne Studio Diaries”→
After five years of studio work, I somehow continue to hope that, maybe, my next recording session will be “normal”—no technical problems, no surprises, and no burnout. But I’ve never had a “normal” session. Apparently, in the studio, exceptions are the rule.
May 18. The day is burned in my mind. It ominously looms over me like a storm cloud, on the verge of raining havoc upon my world. So what dreadful tribulation shall befall me on this date?
May 18 is my album’s tracking deadline.
No big deal, right? Wrong—I still have to finish writing one of the pieces (which I’ll refer to as “F Minor” for now) on the album. That’s a serious problem—really serious. Continue reading “288 Hours”→
In a community college recital hall last Wednesday, I had one of my most incredible, moving, and unusual performances so far.After four years of being the underaged face of the Music Department, it was my final public appearance. In a wild ride of a recital, I debuted my two most recent piano compositions, “Equinox” and “Precipice.”
I find that when I perform, I always play my pieces better and with more expression than I do at home, because I’m so in-the-moment. Does that ever happen to you?
Recently, I’ve decided to release my first-ever solo piano album. In addition to composing and performing every piece on the album, I will be producing and engineering the project myself. I’m also directing the marketing, promotion, and finances. In other words, I’m doing the whole thing on my own. (Hence, my lack of updates lately.) I know there are significant advantages to pulling from others’ talents for a project, but at this stage in my career, I’m doing the album by myself to learn. Am I crazy?Maybe. Am I a control freak? Not exactly. Let me explain… Continue reading “My First Solo Album: What’s REALLY Involved?”→
I know, I know––It’s been a few weeks. I’ve been in the studio a lot.
Since my music school audition is coming up, and since I’m applying as a composition major, I need to send in recordings of my work. For better or for worse, I don’t separate my work as an engineer from my work as a composer, so the recording quality, as always, is of utmost importance to me.