Category: Blog

6 Tips for Young Composers

Someone recently reached out to me on Instagram and asked if I had any advice for young, emerging composers.  After responding, I realized that this might be a topic that could help other students of music theory that are trying to transition into composing.  Here are a few tips to help you take your first…


Big News!!!

I’m excited to announce that I am officially published with Hal Leonard!  This spring has seen the debut of “I Will Lift My Eyes,” an accompanied setting of Psalm 121 with voicings for SSA and TBB.  I am humbled by the vast audience that may be reached as a result of being published by the…


Better Late Than Never (Stille Nacht)

Last week, I received the wonderful news that Alfred will be publishing my arrangement of Stille Nacht with next year’s choral releases!  This is particularly fulfilling because I composed this arrangement in 2011 and have desperately wanted to see it in print.  Once you hear the sonorities on the first verse, you will understand why…


Reimagining A Classic (Blue Moon)

My latest published piece may be the last thing that you would expect me to write, but it actually isn’t too much of a departure from my typical output.  The collegiate a cappella craze, the arrival (and unfortunate departure) of The Sing-Off, “Pitch Perfect,” and the viral popularity of Pentatonix have all brought a cappella…


Inspired by Mahler (Urlicht)

Many of my recent blog posts have been about writing arrangements so it should be no surprise that my latest project is an arrangement!  I have performed Mahler’s 2nd Symphony several times but this weekend’s performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was particularly moving.  In fact, it was so moving that I HAD to invite two…


Writing Arrangements (Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)

There is nothing more rewarding than writing an original piece of music from scratch.  It is an opportunity to take a blank aural canvas and expand 12 simple pitches into an endless array of possibilities.  The complex process necessitates countless decisions regarding melody, harmony, rhythm, chords, range, form, lyrics, dynamics, phrasing, and expression.  To your…


Grant Us Peace: Ten Years in the Making

It is amazing how much perspective ten years can provide.  It is healthy for a composer’s style and sonorities to change with the passage of time as long as the basic building blocks have been established.  One of these building blocks for me has been the shorthand that I developed in order to quickly compose…


Resurrecting Failed Compositions (Do Not Fear)

The growth of a composer is much like the growth of an athlete.  It requires a set of carefully honed skills that develop over time and through practice.  There is always a temptation to skip a few steps in the process to get to the fun part, but this usually results in an unrefined performance. …


Answering the Question (Star-Spangled Banner)

There is no greater honor than to pay tribute to our forefathers, veterans, and citizens by performing our national anthem.  But have we lost sight of the true meaning of Francis Scott Key’s lyrics?  The inspiration behind my arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner has been the unanswered question at the end of the first verse.  In…


Rethinking “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Arranging a well-known piece of music presents a set of challenges that are irrelevant in the composition of an original piece.  We are bound by the lyrics, rhythms, melody, and style of the source material.  While minor adjustments can be made, major changes can be viewed as a mistake even though we are merely exercising…