Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to school. And more.

So in about a week, I'll find myself back in Norfolk for the Armed Forces/Navy School of Music for the third time. I'm excited, but it's starting to actually hit me at it is, in fact, happening. I had a nice flex time before it though. When I realized how quickly it was happening, I was very overwhelmed at first, but I've since had time to prepare, so I'm not going crazy right now. Next daunting task is packing up all my uniforms and all the clothing I'm going to need for a while (if I remember correctly, the laundry situation at the barracks on base are dire). I'll probably come back to Quantico with a whole new wardrobe because I just trashed the dirty clothes. Nah, I'm just kidding. I think. Anywho, it'll be good, minus that being away from my wife and baby, but luckily there will be weekends available as long as I don't have catching up to do from the week prior. We'll see how that goes.

So, to business. I renamed my piece "At the Edge of Rage & Glory" to "Between Rage & Glory." The original name just never sat well with me; I think mostly because most of the name is the same as a Lady Gaga song. I've updated all my websites and the score itself, to reflect. I'm 99% sure of that anyway.

I updated it on my Facebook page, but I also have added ReverbNation to my list of websites that I have to maintain (this number is getting preposterous). If only there was one website that did everything...AND for free.

I'm still tweaking my jazz band compositions so they can be posted on both my main website and Score Exchange, and I should have them up in the near future, though with pending challenges, that is kind of up in the air.

Here's another plug: if there are any colleges/high schools that would like to play FREE and ORIGINAL compositions, hit me up!

I've been attending these Guitar Center sponsored Avid Pro Tools 10 classes that are called Recording Made Easy. The emphasis is on Apple products working seamlessly with Pro Tools. I've gone to two so far, and there are two more (10 am Saturday @ Guitar Centers across the country). I find them pretty informative. I had had a sour taste in my mouth from a previous version of Pro Tools, specially Pro Tools HD 8. It was absolutely deplorable. It was such a delicate balance with all the connections worked together that if there was just ONE issue, troubleshooting would easily become an hours-long task. Example:



This may not necessarily look that bad, but that was only one play where all the cables were going, there was also the Yamaha O2R96 digital mixer and a PC that could barely process what we needed it to. I wish I had more pictures. I've stepped up in the world and have since started using the PreSonus Studio Live 16.4.2 digital mixer and a MacBook Pro. THOUSANDS, nay, MILLIONS OF TIMES BETTER. One connection. That's it. Not that mess above. I can't wait to see what the future holds for recording technology.

I still have the idea in the back of my mind to have my own studio one day. It will happen. Oh, that many things I have learned operating studios for the Marine Corps.









Sunday, September 2, 2012

What's new?

This is probably the most I've updated the blog ever. I like it.

I've gotten most of the concert band pieces I have on Score Exchange onto Facebook. Next is a whole slew of jazz charts to be shared.

Speaking of jazz charts, I've been hitting those a lot lately. It's amazing what you can fix when you take a month, several months, or even a year off. New ideas, new ways to convey exactly what you want the audience to hear.

In the last year I'd say my abilities have grown significantly. I've reached certain maturity that I've never experienced before. Though I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be, I am getting much better at getting onto paper (or in most of my cases, computer) what my brain wants to hear. It's a good feeling.

I'm really trying to reach out there and get offer my music to as many organizations as I can. I don't want money. It was never about money. So if anyone knows any high schools or colleges that would like to play original compositions, jazz or concert band, let me know!

Until next time...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Facebook

I wanted to avoid Facebook being the hub of activity for my compositions, but it appears that that has just become defunct. Facebook is the hub. I am going to continue to streamline my site mixed with all my other social media, but the bulk will be done on good ol' Facebook. I will still update my website, Sound Cloud, MySpace, Twitter, etc., but daily goings on will be managed through Facebook.

I said all that to say this, have you liked my page?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sibelius?

So, I'm kinda wondering what is up with Avid, more specifically, Sibelius' future...

Rumor has it that Avid has sacked their Sibelius design team? I wonder if there is anyone out there who has some intel on that. If it's true, that is bloody unfortunate. 

I got some advice from a friend of mine about keeping my lovely Facebook page updated. So I'm going to go to that now. We'll see how this turns out. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Struggle.

That's the only way I can really describe it. "Struggle." Since my daughter was born about four months ago, it has been a constant struggle to live. Yes, yes, we who have children all know that your life changes soon as you have kids. I was preparing for that to happen for nine and a half months. I get it. But it is NO WHERE close to what I anticipated. It's harder. Not gonna lie (just like everyone does), I have an awesome kid. I have seen some new parents where it is literally Hell on Earth keeping this child alive (some of my dearest friends have had the sweetest and most hellion children I've ever seen). I have it pretty easy, I think, compared. I'm not gonna say I know what certain people are going through with their kids, because all situations are different from the child itself to the parenting style. Again I say, I have it pretty easy. But I am just now being able to write again, four months after she was born. And even then, it's hit or miss. Like last weekend, I was on a role, I must have edited, even completely revamping some of my jazz tunes, probably up near 5-8 charts, updated my website, made sure all of my social networking websites are all on the same page, AND took care of the baby all weekend. But this weekend has been a joke. I've tried to get that fire like I had last weekend and I think I actually destroyed more than I created (in particular, I messed up some of the coding for my website and had to figure out how to fix it). And I just can't. I have literally accomplished nothing this weekend.  I even brought my saxophone home to practice. What didn't I do? Practice.

I said all that to say this:

It's quite bothersome because I have been given an opportunity, which I hope will pay off in the long run. A student at University of Southern California contacted me about writing a film score for a documentary. You may not think, this is a big deal, but it really is. So it is both awesome timing AND bad timing because of the ULC next month until April. I haven't really been given a timeline for anything yet, but I really hope I can meet it while going to school at the same time. Challenge.

Anywho, so, whilst not accomplishing anything, I did practice my conducting techniques. I figure I should be able to conduct MY own pieces, right? Of course! So I did that. I also conducted some Holst stuff, mostly because it doesn't get much better than that; not for Concert Band, anyway.

So here's to busy weeks and even busier weekends. Oh, and NO life.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yay, updates!

I have been overhauling most of my social networking websites! This includes Sound Cloud, Linked In, Behance, Score Exchange, Twitter, and even MySpace (who uses that anymore?). Crazy. I'm trying to make it as consistent as possible across the board, even down to wording, bio, and the information about each chart. I did finally start reworking some of my jazz tunes. Updates on those should be forthcoming. Exciting. I'm getting my conducting chops and my saxophone chops back up to par. I'm going for advanced training at the Armed Forces School of Music, so I'm trying to update as much as I can because for 8 months, I will be in student mode. I actually should be done uploading everything mp3 and score wise within the week. It all depends on how productive I am at work. But I made some solid progress today for sure. And that is WHILE on baby duty. Win. I don't know who actually reads this, but any tips on expanding my audience base? Anything? Bueller?

Anywho, I'm gonna go practice some conducting now. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Update.

Just a quick update: I uploaded all new mp3s of my concert band pieces. I have been slowly, but surely, modifying and improving them for the last few months, and now I've finally gotten around to uploading them. They are also located on www.ScoreExchange.com and www.Behance.com as well. Take a listen. I'll try to make some more updates soon...when I have time. Ha!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where did June go?

What a busy month it has been indeed! In reading my newest additions to my music library, I've discovered, just from study my jazz arranging books, that I wasn't all that far off arranging for concert band. Orchestra is still waaay beyond me at this point. I can get away with a lot of things with orchestration, however, mostly because I write for specific sounds and consistency. I may throw instruments together that aren't necessarily paired. To me, it is about the effect of the piece, not necessarily meeting a certain criteria or rule. I read somewhere to the effect of: "when it comes to composition, forget what you learned in music theory and just write. Write until you are satisfied with your composition, not when someone else is." I can't remember where I read it, but anywho, I've taken that to heart for years. Anywho, so I'm basically re-orchestrating all of my concert band compositions. Not necessarily because I need to change the instrument pairings, but rather to thin out the arrangements so there is more space, basically. I need to utilize space and instrument change as part of the effect. Rather than putting the melody always with the flute/clarinet/oboe and trumpet...and use more trombone, bassoon, and surprisingly, saxophone (and not using the baritone sax as a bass instrument when it is a baritone!). So yeah. It's fun because I feel it is bringing more life to the compositions because the color of the orchestration in regards to instruments does not get as boring or stale (at least not as quickly, ha). I've re-orchestrated 3 of my pieces so far, but I've yet to upload them to my site. Very soon this will happen. Keep checking back!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yep.

Hello again. Some good stuff has happened since my last post. And then some bad stuff. Not really bad, but...well, let me explain. Remember me saying I was in the process of ordering Pro Tools 9 finally? Well, I did, and I got it for a steal on Amazon. But it seemed sketchy, so I made sure I was familiar with Amazon's return policies, and then proceeded to order it. It got it here (the day after my daughter was born - which by the way, that's weird saying...daughter) and I immediately inspected it. And before I even took it out of the box, I saw on the outer package "For Institutional Use Only" - what that basically means is that if you are faculty or teacher working at a school, you can use the software because it came at a discounted 'educational' price. I cannot in good conscience use a copy of Pro Tools in a legitimate way when the software itself is not. Then on top of that, the thing that makes it all work together, the iLok, was missing. There was an iLok package with serial number, but no iLok. Cheap. So I sent it back. Hopefully I'll be given my $300 back. And then put that toward the purchase of the $700 program I wanted to avoid spending that much on. It was bound to happen anyway. Interestingly enough, I did discover that via this cool tool called ReWire, you can run a sequencing software (Sibelius) in conjunction with a mastering software (Pro Tools) so basically they become one program (it does help that those two programs are under the same Avid umbrella). It's really cool and I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before. Unfortunately, when I tried to make that happen, it was a fail with GarageBand as an experiment. I'll get it someday. So, the good stuff. I've been revamping one of my earlier pieces Beyond the Sun. I was one my first in fact, and looking back at it, it was very messy. Plus I wasn't feeling the flow anymore. I was actually given some insight into how my pieces sound purely from an audience (of one) perspective. No score analysis or theory. Just purely the effect of the piece. Of course, this was reviews from one of the most honest individuals I know, my former teacher and current mentor, Mr. Mike German. He gave a lot of constructive criticism, which is awesome. I'm also going to progress myself to writing some different stuff. I've been on the concert band kick for a while now, but I think it's time to start exploring my commercial possibilities in terms of musical effect. Need to try some different avenues. Ah yes, and I now have a Behance.net profile, which is a work in progress. And I will also make greater use of my Facebook Fan Page as well as my Twitter...and the other million social/business networking sites I maintain. Hopefully I can hold true to that. What else? I've been talking to some connections in Oregon and Texas schools to get some stuff moving. Still a work in progress. Georgia and Florida too. Maybe even right here in Virginia. Speaking on which I need to send another email...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Almost May already?

Whoa, hi, long time no see. It has been a busy couple of months since my last post, I apologize. So this is what's been going on:
(1) the music I helped arrange is finally being put into show format for the Virginia International Tattoo. I have heard from several of my fellow Marines that it will be an awesome show. I hope next year we can do something just as awesome, if not better (because we pulled it off this year). Both fortunately and unfortunately, I probably won't be able to actually attend the performances because my baby should be born right around then. There will be video, of course, so perhaps I'll throw a link up in the future.
(2) I took about a month hiatus from writing anything, to give my mind a little rest. Since then I have come back to bust out two new compositions, adapted an original brass quintet piece to concert band, adjusted some prior unfinished pieces almost to completion. Soon, there will be a total of five new pieces added to my website, Score Exchange, and Young Composers.
(3) I just bought Pro Tools 9 (yep, finally bit the bullet) so I'll be able to mix down more accurately my compositions to sound as natural (read: REAL) as possible. Sibelius produces some great sounds, and their product is getting better all the time, however, it's still basically a midi mockup. So, I'm taking it to the next level. It will take a while, but I'm going to go back and master ALL of my compositions. It'll be a long process, but it'll be worth it in the end.
(4) I'm slowly piecing together my home studio which will be all set to compose, record, master, and produce all of my music without any outside assistance (ideally, that's how I want my larger, commercial studio to operate as well). I got a sweet new desk to serve as my creative laboratory.
(5) My buddy Camp in Texas is still plugging my name to his former high school and current band to play some of my stuff. We'll see how that goes.
Anywho, that's about it. There will be updates soon to all the respective music services in which I use to broadcast my products.
(6) Oh, and sweet new business cards.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Update.

Hello. I have added a new section to my website; it is dedicated to all the equipment I use to compose and engineer music. The new page can be located here under the normal Information tab. Check it out.
I have been working steadily on the three pieces I currently have up on my website under the "Works in Progress" section. Each grows little by little. Completed versions of the pieces should be expected within the next few months hopefully. Here's the link again: Compositions.
Additionally, I am writing my own Pirate-themed piece for concert band (I know, I know, just like everyone else). I have to have my obligatory Pirate piece, c'mon! I actually wrote it many years ago, but I'm pretty much scrapping most of it and starting anew, with the same melodies from the previous version. Anywho, expect a rough draft of that to be up soon too.
Other than that, me and one of my friends from work are composing and arranging (mostly him though) original stuff for our ensemble, the Quantico Marine Corps Band for the Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk, VA. It's been quite a thrill. I am definitely enjoying the challenge.
Until next time...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Once Upon a Time...

Recently I started a competition with a couple friends to compose a new piece every week or two with specific guidelines. Now, in lieu of not accomplishing this task to my satisfaction, I composed several pieces, of which have been uploaded to the "Works in Progress" section of my Compositions page. Do check them out. Right now there are three pieces up, all are scored (for the time being) for brass quintet and string quintet, just because the Sibelius sounds are more tolerable with this setup. I also uploaded some samples of stuff written for small ensembles (mostly woodwind quintet).
Any high schools or colleges anyone thinks would be interested in performing any of my pieces for the low cost of FREE? (Though, I would like at least a recording out of the deal.) Drop me a line at michaelandrewnewell@gmail.com.
As of late I have been locking into a consistent composition style, both in initial development and the finished product. So that's good. Also, it's kind of odd, but my pitch recognition and dictation (both melodic and harmonic) have increased quite a bit. And for whatever reason, only now I am realizing this. I think it had a lot to do with all the choral singing I did with my previous ensemble. I miss those days. Love me some Bach Chorales.
While I am a firm believer that "there are not original ideas," I think it is possible for someone who is not great at composition to throw many random combinations of notes and rhythms together to form something that resembles music. I say this because when I started composing in...8th grade(? if that's what you would like to call it), I didn't know jack about chords/theory/composition, but all the same it interested me. I also never get rid of any of my work, even from then. I've taken snippets of information from things I composed many, many years ago and repurposed it to some of my contemporary jazz and symphonic works successfully. I bet you'd never guess what ideas I used.
Either way, more compositions to come. Enjoy!
Out.