Auxiliary skills for musicians: concert and album programs

Posted on April 7, 2021

There are numerous considerations in planning concert programs, so I can’t address them all. And if you’re planning a degree recital, you may have some requirements like genre or era (a Baroque piece, a chamber piece) that constrain what you can include. Likewise, orchestras have a pretty constrained format: opener, concerto, intermission, symphony or other “big” piece. If you are producing an album, you likely have more leeway, particularly in regards to logistics and personnel. But here a few generalRead More

Auxiliary skills for musicians: graphics

Posted on March 24, 2021

Disclaimer: I am not a graphic designer and would not presume to teach you the best practices of graphic design. When it is time for your published book or CD, or you want to make a big splash with your new festival, definitely hire a graphic designer. But when you just need to knock out a recital poster or a social media post, here are some things to keep in mind. Software If you have the funds (or a student/staffRead More

video camera stock photo

Auxiliary skills for musicians: shooting video

Posted on March 10, 2021

Even before the pandemic, video was becoming a necessity for musicians. You need audition videos for festivals and grad school, and you need to be on YouTube and social media (video or it didn’t happen). If you are able to hire someone to make a video, please do so—they’ll know way more than I can convey here. But if you need, or want to learn, here are a few musician-centric tips for making videos: Play in a well-lit room MostRead More

Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels

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

Welcome and thanks for checking out my work! -adam

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