Sunday, June 25, 2017

Transcriptions FINISHED!

My last two solo piano pieces are finished, transcribed, and added to the collection!

 Here is a screen shot of the working titles in what might be album order.


That's fifteen songs and fifty-seven pages of sheet music! *

Of course, the music needs a lot of editing. Playing through a couple of the pieces this afternoon, I found several errors; I suspect there are many more. And, as I mentioned in my blog post last week, I need to go back and add in musical details: tempo markings, dynamics, articulations, etc. But what I have right now is enough to get me started with the hard work of polishing everything up and getting all the pieces ready to record. 

Here are a few things I have found to be true during my time as a composer:

1. Composing is alternately challenging, satisfying, frustrating, and exhilarating.
2. Hours go by like minutes when I am working on a new solo piano piece.
3. Transcribing the music from my scribbles on staff paper is time consuming and tedious.
4. Like everything, transcription gets easier with experience.
5. I am already looking forward to writing music for my next album.

But first things first! 

For now, I must set my pencil aside. In addition to a couple of handfuls of private students, I will be teaching all next week at a music camp. Then I will have just a few days to pack and make ready for my European adventure - details in my next post! After returning home, I will have just a couple of weeks - filled with teaching, performing, and preparing for the 2017-2018 academic - before I fly out to Sedona, Arizona to record my album on August 4th and 5th. 

I will come home on Sunday, August 6th; school, and full-time teaching, will resume here the very next day.

Summer vacation? What summer vacation?

It doesn't matter. For me, the gap between work and play grows narrower and narrower. 

I am having the time of my life.

*FOR MUSIC NERDS ONLY
The key signatures and time signatures of my pieces are as follows:
A minor - 4 pieces
E minor - 1 piece
G major - 2 pieces
D major - 2 pieces
B major - 1 piece
F major - 2 pieces
E-flat major - 1 piece
G-flat major - 2 pieces
* * * 
4/4 time - 8 pieces
3/4 time - 4 pieces
 6/8 time - 3 pieces
And now you know!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Progress Report


The past three weeks have been a frenzied blur of piano teaching, ensemble rehearsals, and student piano recitals - THREE of them. The last one took place on June 10th; the following Monday and Tuesday, I taught my last day of regular lessons and an exhausting day of make-up lessons. By the time all that was over, I was ready for a long winter's nap. Except it isn't winter, and my to-do list is about ninety miles long.

Although I have always had low blood pressure, about six months ago it started creeping up. Stress seems to be the culprit behind that and, since stress is my constant companion, my then-primary care physician put me on blood pressure medication. A couple of weeks ago, concerned with the numbers still being a bit higher than they should be, a new doctor switched me to a different prescription. For whatever reason - additional stress? the change in medication? - by Tuesday evening, my blood pressure topped out at 186/112, and I made a return visit to the physician's office Wednesday morning. She tweaked my prescription and sent me home under orders to get some rest.

I didn't do much that afternoon, alternately sleeping and reading and knitting and, thankfully, the numbers started coming down on Thursday. The past three days I have had nothing but normal and high-normal readings and I am feeling much better. This is a very good thing. Because I have a CD to finish!

Since I last posted, I have finished five more solo piano compositions, for a total of thirteen, and have transcribed them all into MuseScore (music notation software). Three more pieces are "well begun," although I think the last one will go on my next album. 15 pieces seems like a good number for a CD, I think.

I printed out all the scores (48 pages of music so far!), hole punched them and put them in a binder, and used my rudimentary graphics skills to design a cover (of sorts - see the photo above) to slip into the clear sleeve on the front of the binder. It ALMOST looks like a real songbook! For now, I am content to have all the notes down on paper; I will go back and add details, tempo markings and dynamics and slurs and such later. My intention is to finish the last two pieces and get them transcribed and added to the collection this week. That will give me just a little more than a month to polish up all the pieces and get them ready for my recording session the first weekend of August.

And that's just the beginning. There is a LOT of work that goes into the production of a CD, still more that goes into sales and promotion, but worrying about all that remains to be done creates nothing but stress and stress wreaks havoc on my blood pressure. So instead I am trying to remain focused simply on what needs to be done NEXT. So far, so good!

Summer lessons start tomorrow but with only twelve students on my summer schedule (compared with sixty during the regular school year) I should be able to find time to make steady progress with my solo piano music - AND make preparations for a long-anticipated trip to Europe in July. But more about that later! Right now I'm headed downstairs to finish another solo piano piece!