Tag Archives: Artist in Residence

“The Sea In Between” Trailer Goes Live!

Over the past few months we’ve been working tirelessly on assembling all the music and footage from our trip to Mayne Island with Josh Garrels last summer. As you might know, the fruit of that trip will be a feature-length documentary: The Sea In Between. The film will explore Josh’s hand-built career, the process of collaborating on Mayne Island, and the challenges and rewards of being an artist in the 21st century. Today we are happy to share the trailer for the film with you:


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Julia – Song Analysis

Arguably the most influential pop songwriters in recent history, the Beatles satisfy listeners all across the world with their messages of free love and free imagination… I dare say they are Super Hippies. Their songwriting contains a beautiful mix of characters and some very original ideas. One of my personal favorites is “Julia” from The White Album. It showcases two of their major compositional strengths: voice leading and advanced harmony. I’m going to go ahead and jump into an analysis of the tune. I did an arrangement for my brass band a few months ago and I really fell in love with some of the little tricks in this composition. Check out last week’s blog on Modal Interchange if you’d like also. Learning a little about that topic will help to explain its use in this song. Continue reading

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Endurance Race vs. A Sprint

This post is in response to a popular question: “What else should I be doing to ‘make it’ in the music industry?”

Without getting caught up on what it means to “make it,” usually my answer is, “do more of what you are already doing. If it’s great, eventually people will notice.” This goes for beat-makers, producers, engineers, rappers, singers, painters, photographers, directors, or anyone else with a creative passion.

A career in the arts requires a lifetime of dedication. Continue reading

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Catering to a Niche vs. Appealing to the Masses

It is known that people often view their favorite musical genre as “the best,” and can cite various reasons why. But since musical taste is subjective, I find ranking styles irrelevant—we might as well be arguing about which flavor of ice cream is the best. Some people like mint chocolate chip, and some like rocky road. We can all agree that neither flavor is right or wrong. I happen to have a pretty diverse palette and believe that all flavors can be a “favorite,” depending on the mood I am in.

I like to compare ingredients in ice cream to ingredients in music because it helps me strategize about the consumer base I am marketing towards. Sometimes I want to make a simple flavor that appeals to the masses, like vanilla, and sometimes I want to make a more complicated blend, like pistachio-banana-walnut ice cream, that requires a specifically developed palette to be properly appreciated. In this case, vanilla ice cream is like pop music and the latter is comparable to a more specific genre, like dub-step.

Continue reading

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Building Blocks

These days a lot of musicians are thoroughly trained in High School and College. It’s more and more rare to find players who haven’t had at least little music theory background. Although it’s been proven in the industry that a whole lot of great musicians never read a note, It’s become more important then ever to have some basic reading skills. Music jobs are so varied these days it’s a good idea to get as thorough an education as possible. I thought this week I could give an overview of reading basics. Many of you will already know all this stuff, but since I’m going to be doing mostly transcriptions and things in this blog I’d like to give this introduction to reading for reference. Continue reading

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