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Is music fun? Does practice really pay off? I guess it's all up to you... I have my degree in musical performance, but I wouldn't limit it to that! I spend plenty of time composing, arranging, improvising, or just plain getting excited about the auditory art that is music. I have experience with classical styles, singing in choral groups ranging from mixed choirs, men's choirs, and acapella groups; playing trumpet in marching bands and jazz bands; and even playing keyboards with rock, funk, and fusion groups! I enjoy it all! I look forward to working with others that share the same passion for it!
I have a strong basis in harmony, melody and rhythm and how to use these compositional elements. I also have studied voice leading and counterpoint, understand basics of instrumentation, as well as classical form (Rondo, Sonata, Binary, Through composed, etc.). I have experience arranging music for voices (TTBB and SATB), composing original piano etudes and miniatures, and making lead sheets for original jazz and jazz fusion.
Ear training is important for any instrument, and especially for me with my voice. I sang for five years with a professional grade mixed chorus at Iowa State University under the direction of James Rodde. He was especially picky of tuning, both tonally and with vowels (it's very important for a choral group to match vowel sounds with one another to improve the purity of the conglomerate tone), and would not accept anything but perfect. I also sang with an eleven man a capella group; and with the exposure of having only eleven voices, it's imperative that tuning is spot on. I believe tuning, intervals and harmonic analysis can help any good musician be a great musician through the understanding of the aural elements that work together to build music.
I have taken several collegiate courses pertaining to music history ranging from early music to Renaissance, Classical to 20th Century, one strictly on the Romantic Period, and an independent study focusing on Mazurkas by Chopin. My studies conveyed concepts of the progression of harmony from its birth perfect sonorities, through the stagnant harmonic mediocrity of the Classical Period, the colorful and dramatic Romantic Period, and finally the post-tonal serialism and neo-classical music of the 20th Century (not to mention Americana, with its jazz and popular styles). We also focused on composers with their individual styles and progressive agendas, and ultimately... their deaths in poverty and obscurity for years until students like myself are poised to appreciate their individual interpretations of the art.
I have experience with basic to intermediate classical piano, a good understanding of chordal voicings, fingerings and keyboard technique. I encourage improvisation as a tool for composition on the instrument (much like Chopin), and for an exploratory approach to jazz harmony. I frequently study from "The Contemtorary Keyboardist" by John Novello, learn tunes from fake books, and spend a majority of my time learning any tune I'm interested in by ear; in an attempt to sculpt my world of music into an auditory, oral focus. The piano functions as my instrument of choice, both gig-wise (with rock and jazz fusion groups, as well as open jams) and compositionally, for its chordal nature and strongly visual presence as a tool for music theory (I often see chords in my head on a keyboard as opposed to on a grand staff).
Sight singing is important to any individual wanting to sing at a high level. It is required to audition for any serious choir and for good reason: The quicker an individual is to learn the notes, the quicker the group can continue onto collaborate for concepts of expressiveness and musicality, or to achieve the essence of true music. I have plenty of experience with sight singing in auditions, and have done well with all of these opportunities.
Songwriting is great! Musically, it can be very simple (less is more) or it can be highly complex. The interplay between lyrical and musical content can also be the same. I write lyrics that sometimes don't even find a home musically, or adversely, I set out with poetry to achieve artistry with words and end up finding a home in a song later! The language of music itself ends up having a synesthetic relationship with everyday verbiage when combined in the form of a song. I have been song writing since high school, and, just like everything else, there is always something more to learn.
I played the trumpet for 12 years from elementary school through high school, and another year in college for an auditioned group, where I sat third chair. I understand fingerings, tuning issues of the instrument (using the slide, "lip up/down"), as well as advanced techniques like double tonguing and alternate fingerings.
Vocal music is where my proficiency is highest. I have my BM in Vocal Music Performance with classical experience singing high tenor in choirs, musicals, operas, oratorios, solo repertoire (art songs, arias), and plenty of experience with popular music. I have studied and understand basic and advanced concepts of pedagogy and technique, and am fascinated by world styles of the instrument as well. Everyone has a voice! They just need to figure out how it works both in relation to accepted knowledge and how uniquely different theirs is as an individual.
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