Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'm back!

So, here we are, many months after my last journal entry; much has gone on.
Let me start at the beginning:

So, February, I believe, was my last entry, and I was in the midst of submitting a Staff Arranger package to the "President's Own" Marine Band. I was immediately rejected, which is fine, I guess. At least I tried for it. I knew the insurmountable odds, but I would've kicked myself for NOT giving it a chance. That's how I felt about the missed opportunity for Marine Band Audio Engineer. I did not get the spot, but it was a good experience and I'll be ready for the next one.

Audio engineering:

I have gotten more involved with the audio engineering side of my job as of late, probably more so than composing or arranging. I've done a fair amount of recording and live sound in order to get back into the weeds with engineering. Soon, I'll be purchasing the PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2AI (which is coincidentally what I use at work, except that it's the 32 channel model) for my personal studio and finally get it off the ground.

Production studio:

Talking about my studio, I also purchased just recently a Yamaha YPG-235 keyboard to help aid the compositional process as well as just to have to keep my jazz voicing chops up to par. I'd have preferred weighted keys, but I basically got it for free (thanks Amazon.com points!), so I really can't complain.

Additionally, I finally got the Sibelius 7.5 upgrade and of course, the latest update for it. I don't necessarily notice a functionality difference, except that the program doesn't crash as much (Sibelius 7 crashed ALL THE TIME). But so far, so good in the couple weeks I've been using it.

Composition/arranging/songwriting:

Now, as far as composing and arranging goes, I've done several brass quintet pieces to include a hymn called Abide With Me and one I'm working on now that is inspired by the theme for a certain espionage favorite (for which I'm still working on a name). I've also done some stuff for show bands; mostly adding horn parts to older stuff (ie: China Grove, Born to be Wild, etc.).

To expand my compositional vocabulary, I've begun experimenting with dub step and electronica elements, possibly in combination with more classical pieces (a la Two Steps From Hell) or just for the sake the genre and having stand-alone tunes. I started writing a couple possible concert band pieces based on a couple different movies (more on that process) which I use as a baseline/template/inspiration. They're coming slowly, but I'm being a little more meticulous because there are specific stories behind each. Those pieces will be completed somewhere by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015.

Additionally, I have been playing guitar more frequently and I'm picking up pieces of old songs that I started writing years ago with the intent of finishing them and creating new songs. I definitely don't have the chops anymore but it gives a different elements of composition (read: songwriting) that I do enjoy very much.

Locally, because of my associate AJ Rasure, I'm getting involved in photography commercials and advertisements (specifically with the Fredericksburg Photography Academy) and hopefully it will be a lasting relationship. This is the first advertisement and seconds-long teaser for a series of photography classes for which I wrote a theme for (same link that's on my Facebook page).

So there's a lot of things going on with the business. I look forward to also making some new connections via local musicians and organizations in the coming years.

Here's the shameless plug: if you like my compositions and arrangements, please share my Facebook page, my blog, my website, whatever you'd like, with friends and family. I would greatly appreciate it. And as always, if anyone knows any high schools of colleges that would benefit from some original concert or jazz band music, send them my way.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's happening!


It's finally happening. I recently found out (about a month ago) that the "President's Own" Marine Band is hiring: the Staff Arranger position. So needless to say, I've been to the grindstone writing and editing four arrangements and one original piece for their review. I am submitting the package in a couple days and I am so excited. I was pretty stressed out for a while, but now I'm just excited. I won't hear anything until near the end of the month. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year Goodies

Well, folks, it's a new year, and with that come new goals, but first, let's recap some of the events of 2013:


  • graduated from the Naval School of Music Unit Leader Course - which grew my confidence in a lot of not only musical ability, but leadership as well. Especially important: my confidence in composing and arranging music.
  • finally got a new website up (the previous hadn't been updated in well over a year) with new content being added at minimum, quarterly.
  • updating and building a fan-base on SoundCloud, and I'll soon be making a push to Reverb Nation and Band Camp.
  • To caveat on the point above, for a long while, my website (www.michaelandrewnewell.com) was neglected because of SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but now it stands as the hub of all these social networking and music sites. 
  • Arranged a piece for the Cadillac Symphony Orchestra of Cadillac, MI titled O Fair Art Thou, originally written by Alessandro Grandi, and it was performed in November 2013.
  • Wrote 24 arrangements for the Quantico Marine Corps Band's small ensembles for the Christmas Caroling season. 
  • During the winter break, I finished my Music History class with an A, and puts me one class closer to finishing my degree (6 more left!) and I also have been composing "tunes" nonstop since my class concluded.
  • Registered my first two pieces (concert band) with the U.S. Copyright Office in December.

Some stuff to expect in 2014:

  • I have about 10 concert band pieces I've completed, but only about four are ready to sell/buy (mostly because of editing and formatting), but also to find any last minute mistakes before they're committed to finality when submitting to the Copyright Office. Likewise, I have jazz band charts and chamber pieces I need to push the final touches on and submit those as well. All these things equal original compositions for many different ensembles that will be ready for the public to purchase, or *hint* we can work out some sort of arrangement for educational institutions…..
  • Adding MORE content to my website (additionally, external music sites like Reverb Nation and Band Camp).
  • Get my resumé up and running and also extend my services on Stage32.com, Triplescoopmusic.com, Fiverr.com, and also investigate HitRecord.org a little more in-depth - all of these with the intention of collaborating or providing music for film, television, photography/videography spots, and more.
  • I will be reaching out to local high school about custom marching music and field shows in a collaboration with AJ Rasure of White Umbrella Photography for the upcoming Fall season.
  • I'm going to write as music music, preferably original or public domain works for as many ensembles as possible and for whomever will play them - so get your requests in NOW!
  • I'm going to be recording a CD of saxophone quartet music during this next year that complies with the point above.
There will undoubtably be more goals I add to my list throughout the year, so stay tuned. If you haven't spread the word to your fellow musicians, friends, or anyone interested in supporting original compositions, please send them to my Facebook page or website and we'll connect!

Take care, all.