My goals in the world of music
I am distinctly passionate about music—from the precision of studio recording to the balance of songwriting; the intricacy of composition for film to the chemistry of a live performance; the science and art of improvisation; and the architecture of rehearsing. My goals surround making well-educated, intuitive decisions to inform a music-making that will have an affect on the soul of the experiencer. In addition, through teaching and collaboration, I attempt to use my knowledge and instinct to help others make more effective decisions—always in regard to their chosen musical pursuits—so the artistic message they are striving for can be flawlessly delivered. As an educator, producer, engineer, composer, improvisor, arranger, songwriter, commercial musician, and musician for dance, my intention is to hone in on those precise musical elements that are often overlooked. My intention is to contribute to the "greater good" of the musical universe. I hope to work with you, make art with you, and be inspired by you.
More about what I strive to do when...
... in the studio,
My experience composing contemporary concert music from full orchestra to solo voice has really helped me become more aware of hyper-musical concepts. I love to delve deeply into textural, orchestrational, formal, harmonic, rhythmic, (etc.) constructs in music to create more cohesion throughout the material I'm working with. For example, although engineers have brilliant ways of bringing clarity to the sonic space through technology, if they are stuck with dense composition then the track may be doomed before they touch it. It has been my experience that while many engineers can identify melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic flaws, some may not necessarily be able articulate the problem or the solution as well as a specialist. That isn't necessarily their job! I make it my priority to be the specialist and address these issues in a clear and supportive manner. Also, when I'm working as a studio musician I always tell songwriters that I will approach their song or album with my composer/producer brain. I want to give them exactly what their material requires.
... composing music for media,
Composing for media requires awareness of visual as well as sonic elements (other than the score). Cinematography, sound design, screenplay, etc. each affect the overall emotional response of the viewer and/or listener. A film composer must be able to conceptualize all of these elements, factor in how they will be perceived, and also decide how the score will work in conjunction with these elements. I set a goal of using my music to bring the objectives of all people involved in the making of the piece of media to the next level. What I compose will greatly affect the overall message and could greatly impact somebody.
... performing music,
(jazz, folk, rock, music for dance, etc.)
Whether a performance is comprised of improvisation or completely prepared arrangements, any live collaboration requires quick and constant assessment of one's surroundings. When placed in an improvisatory situation involving music for dance or playing a live show, nuances that are being created by the other artists must influence my decisions at every moment. It is important to me to let my own musicianship and vocabulary shine but the voices of others must equally shine (or shine more). With non-improvised music there are many musical aspects of phrasing, style, groove, etc. that listeners subconsciously feel. They should be given the opportunity to feel them in the most intense or gentle ways possible.
... and directing or participating in rehearsals & recording sessions.
Rehearsing is an unquestionable necessity in the world of music making. Regardless of the kind of music that is being made, the rehearsal laboratory allows for experimentation, discovery, and therefore a greater understanding of music. When I am following in a rehearsal I make what is expected of me, and the comfort of my peers my priority. When directing a rehearsal, it is incredibly important to keep everyone's ideas (including my own) in an organized perspective while also maintaining a productive, non-strenuous structure. I always believe it is my job to contribute to experimentation and discovery as effectively as I can.
Fun fact: I was the first Ithaca College student to have a piece (Dichotomous Figures - concerto for percussion) played by a winner of the Ithaca College Concerto Competition. I was also the first Ithaca College student to have a piece premiered by the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.
Click on a photo to bring you to the video of the live web-streamed premiere of Dichotomous Figures.