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Auxiliary skills for musicians: public speaking

Posted on February 24, 2021

Most musicians are going to have to speak in public at some point. While the most famous soloists may get away with only playing, it’s become expected to address the audience, at least briefly. There are entire books about public speaking (a top fear shared by 75% of the population), so this post will just scratch the surface. Stage fright I’ve been blessed not to have a bad case of this, so it’s hard to give advice about cooling yourRead More

Auxiliary skills for musicians: stage management

Posted on February 10, 2021

At some point in your music career, you will probably (hopefully?) put on a performance. Whether it is your senior recital or an improv ensemble in a DIY art gallery, there are some basic things to think about regarding “stage management.” (You should know also that “stage management” in theatre is very different and in many ways, more complex. Here I’m talking primarily about classical performance.) Your crew Sometimes you do it all yourself, sometimes you can recruit a fewRead More

Editing in Pro Tools

Auxiliary skills for musicians: editing audio

Posted on January 27, 2021

I’ve been planning to write on this for awhile, but with The Rise of Covid, more musicians have been asking for this kind of information. Musicians are seeing the need to produce decent recordings on their own, often from home. While a discussion of recording equipment will need to be a separate post, here I want to give some very basic tips for editing and tweaking audio. I’m sure we’ve all heard a lot of bad live recordings. You canRead More

lighting cues

Preview: Auxiliary skills blog series

Posted on January 20, 2021

Greetings, friends. I began this blog last summer with the intention of combining some reflections on my creative work with practical advice for emerging composers. Coming up in the next few months, I have a loosely-connected series that should help all (classical) musicians. I’m calling it “Auxiliary skills.” I’ve taught music technology classes for many years, and used these to cover some gaps in music education. As a colleague once remarked, “we are preparing students for a music career inRead More

The Junk Synth

Posted on January 13, 2021

This is a long running project–a suitcase containing a number of small sound-making gadgets and kits I’ve acquired and built, connected together to streamline the setup process for performances. I’ve finally gotten it in a useful configuration and I’m looking forward to developing some performances and recordings with it. I started collecting toy electronics, circuit-bending, and making little kits during my PhD, though I had been doing some work with Arduinos and sensors in the years prior. I’ve performed withRead More

Reflections on 2020

Posted on January 6, 2021

2020 was a year when not much happened but a lot did. In the music world, things basically shut down. No performances, no commissions. In the “real” world, we had Black Lives Matter protests, a huge and divisive election, and more-than-warranted “debates” about wearing masks and social distancing during a pandemic. My big personal news was the birth of our child, Charlie, in September. Otherwise, after years of moving around, starting new jobs, hustling for performances, etc. etc., this feltRead More

About taking breaks

Posted on December 23, 2020

We are coming upon the end of another year. This one has obviously been quite strange. And while I’ll reflect on my own year in another post, I wanted to quickly music on the idea of taking breaks. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I’ve always struggled with breaks. I’m great about taking frequent “breathers” during the day, but it’s really hard for me to not do something each day. “Plowing ahead” is sometimes needed, I think that takingRead More

Making great scores with LilyPond

Posted on December 16, 2020

Software debates: Finale vs. Sibelius vs. Dorico For many years, one of the main “debates” for composers was Finale vs. Sibelius. Now that Sibelius has been incorporated into AVID (which owns Pro Tools and other programs), I see the name less. The original Sibelius team moved on to create Dorico, which seems to be a popular growing upstart. I’ve been a contrarian in these “debates” (scare quotes fully intentional). They really are up to personal taste. I felt that SibeliusRead More

Late Frost revisited

Posted on December 9, 2020

My “revisited” series takes a look at some of my older pieces. I often revise pieces or use elements in new pieces, so it’s fun for me to look back. I also write these posts to show some of my creative process to new composers. This summer I did some light clean-up and quietly re-released my piano album Late Frost.  I originally wrote these pieces in 2007-8, starting in Atlanta and continuing while living in Belfast. It started as aRead More

Why composers love to cook

Posted on November 25, 2020

It sure seems like composers love to make food and drink. Whether grilling, brewing, roasting, or frying, I’m always seeing composers sharing their latest culinary creations. Since this week is Thanksgiving, I thought it might be fun to reflect on this music-cooking connection. Creativity Let’s start with the given–music and cuisine are both creative acts. Both involve disparate elements combined in different ways to make a whole new experience. Depending on the techniques and specific balance of elements, each experienceRead More

Welcome and thanks for checking out my work! -adam

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