What does an aspiring film composer do? He composes film music!
I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce that I will be scoring music for a film focusing on the various band-related projects (see the information box below) of The John Philip Sousa Foundation. A great opportunity developed with the help a good friend, Deborah Bradley, who happens to be the film’s Producer/Director. This has been on my mind since I was first contacted in late June.
Since I already spend untold hours developing and composing music ideas, experimentation through trial and error, continuous learning by reading, networking, corresponding with colleagues, critical listening, and score study in order to develop my knowledge, I’m not sure that Violet Fane’s 1892 phrase stating that “all things come to those who wait” is applicable here; however, I’ll use it because patience can be a virtue… and all that jazz.
Of course, the film will feature some of Sousa’s music, but it is a wonderful chance for me to compose needed music for a film that will focus on the non-profit foundation that is dedicated to the promotion of international understanding through the medium of band music. The film will be used at events around the country by the Sousa Foundation.
To say that I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of this assist this film’s realization would be a severe understatement. I am excited, humbled, and very grateful for the chance to contribute towards the success of this worthwhile project. I certainly look forward to viewing the film’s final version. And now, the work continues!
By the way, here’s some information about The John Philip Sousa Foundation from their Website:
The John Philip Sousa Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of international understanding through the medium of band music. Through the administration of band-related projects, the foundation seeks to uphold the standards and ideals of that icon of the American spirit, John Philip Sousa. The foundation administrates band-related projects such as: The Sousa National High School Honors Band The Sousa National Community Band The Sudler Trophy The Sudler Flag The Sudler Cup, Shield and Scroll The Legion of Honor The Historic Roll of Honor The Historical Marker project National Young Artist Solo Competition The Sousa Foundation seeks to uphold both the standards and the ideals of that icon of the American spirit, John Philip Sousa.
A few years ago… well, 40+ years ago, music that I arranged and composed was done by hand. I always used a ruler to make it as readable and as an attempt to remove confusion in order to save time in rehearsal. It was tedious, but it made rehearsing more efficient and more fun. Here are three examples out of MANY that I did until the early 1990s when I started using a software program called Encore on my home PC for composing and arranging. What a pain that was, but it made a decent and readable copy.
I learned much about myself and others. Of course, I learned about being a music copyist and rehearsing groups of people. If our “modern” computer technology ever ceases, I know that I can still put my thoughts on paper.
I am closing my SoundCloud account at the end of this July. I’m letting everyone know so that they can still listen to my music by
1) continuing to visit my Facebook site
2) continuing to use ReverbNation (for the time being)
3) Visit my Website and use that player
4) visit my YouTube channel
You can also visit my IMDb page (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5074464/) where there are a few reels there as well.
Thank you for your ongoing support while I make this adjustment.
*This is not posted as an invitation into political debate or for receiving your unsolicited advice.
** Advice = “This is what I think you should do.” Opinion = “This is what I think.”
I am always amazed at the audacity of unsolicited advice from people; those I know very, very well and those that I know. It is amazing at how well-meaning they are in their mind and how disrespectful they appear to me. These so-called “experts” must have a crystal ball. They would be far more productive if they would work for a government or a large agency to end world problems. Small-minded people believe their rules of thinking and accomplishment will work for everyone because “they know best,” “I have a right…,” and “based on my experiences.” If I choose to compose music for film, TV, videogames, enhancing the meal times for zoo animals, or two turtles that tango, that is my decision. Not yours.
Unsolicited advice is a downer, causes stress, and tends to alienate me. Some people think they are helping and some people just don’t think. In my view it is a total lack of respect for my space and validity as an adult. Your advice is nothing compared to someone that has been in the actual trenches related to my interests and goals. I can learn volumes from someone that has really “been there; done that.” That’s called respecting those that have gone before me. Unless you’ve done that, your opinions, your advice, your “experiences” are a waste of your breath and my time. I will quietly change my opinion of you and it is not for the better.
The only person that I will listen to unsolicited advice from is my mom. With that being said, she knows my temperament and I will still make my own choices and choose my own pathway of action. If I choose to ask for your advice, I have now allowed you to give me your best input; however, the choice of action I will choose to take is mine.
Take your advice, your drama, your desire to be a dominating force and move on. See! I said that nicely. I have told my students in the past multiple times that, “I already know what I’m going to do today. I have already made my decisions on how I will handle my business before I came to work. The question is what are you going to do?” Isn’t it shocking that adults in today’s world and in this country don’t think before they speak?
For more info check out this attached article.
Most friends and people in general have NO idea about what it truly takes to break into the film/TV industry as a music composer or any music-related support capacity. It is not easy. It is not a job you apply for and work 9 to 5 five days a week. This is not something you do because you are egocentric. After investing in knowledge (which never stops), equipment and software (which seems to never stop), and time, (which never seems to be enough), there are other factors that come in to play.
Not in any order of importance, they all come into play, but some will carry more importance depending on the circumstances and the personalities that you may work for. Idea-oriented and ease of working for the director/producer are a must – NO exception. I’ve written this for myself as a reminder, but I share my thoughts with anyone that may be considering this as a work option.
Let me know what you think.
Willing & Able
At Your Service
But My Mom Thinks It Is A Bad Idea
by Richard McLendon March 5, 2016
People can be funny and not always in a good-humored way. Amazing how our close family and friends are there for us when we need them, yet even they can “miss the boat” sometimes. Is it because they fear for us, for themselves, or is it envy or just jealousy? When we take on a new calling, career, or adventure, what do we do when their support/enthusiasm waxes and wanes or is nonexistent?
The easy answer is don’t sweat it too much. Based on your moral standards, do what you must in order to be successful. Allow yourself to become who you were meant to be. Don’t let anyone discourage you because most times change is difficult even with enthusiastic support.
The closer the friend or family member is to your heart, the more difficult the decision to move or change becomes. Sure, listen to the advice even if you’ve heard it 100 times before. Consider the risks, but also consider the gains. Only you can determine their value or cost.
Add to this that you’re a musician, composer, or some other music-related professional or your goal is to be one. If finances are an issue, my advice is that you should choose a career that gives stability and comfort in your life, but keep working toward your goal. All the while you should keep in mind that you will need to continue gaining exposure (networking) and more possibly more education while pursuing your dream job in music. You’ll know the right time to change to your dream career.
There are no easy answers, but beware – “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon, (1980) “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”
In other words, time is precious and events (positive and negative) will continue on whether you work, sleep, eat, play, or plan the best of plans. Make your time count. Make your time benefit others as well as yourself. Ultimately, how do you want to be remembered? Did your life contribute to the benefit of others or was it all about you?
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
by Richard McLendon March 1, 2016
Music is as old as the human species itself. It has held people together surrounded by darkness with only the light of a fire to any number of venues where music is performed today. It has taken people to war. It has helped people through war and conflict. It continues to bring people together for different types of celebration and for remembrance. It has an intrinsic or fundamental value after many thousands of years.
Composers and musicians put in lengthy hours and years of studying, practicing, and perfecting their art, their skills, and their understanding of the complexities of music. It never stops since true learning lasts a lifetime. So many people enjoy music in the moment while at a concert or while driving or while shopping or while exercising, that most do not realize or fully appreciate the investment of time, money, and life into a music person’s gift. Many people just take for granted that the music is like air – its there and free. I am always taken aback when I hear someone make a comment like, “Well, you should’ve gotten a real job.” Yes, there are still people that think that way.
It is the goal of true artists to make a living doing what they love – music. Those people that give away their art in large quantities and the streaming industries that display artists that they use and pay very poorly, contribute to the mentality that many people have come to expect – free music or overly cheap music.
As in all things in life, there are disconnects in thinking. In the case of music, people think that artists are rich because the concert tickets were so expensive, or the band playing at the club must be rich because of the expensive tab last night and the place was packed again, yet people forget or don’t realize an important fact. Instruments, equipment, and education are expensive and in some instances very expensive. I’ve always believed quality in will most always produce quality out. You start with what you can afford with the goal to trade up in instrument quality. As an example, really good artists know that the better quality of instrument that they own, the better the music will sound when they make it. That then makes for a better response from those that support musicians by buying their music. In turn, that results in a greater satisfaction for the artists in knowing that the job (performance) was well done.
Remember the old saying: “You get what you pay for.” I would say to the general public, stop expecting music for free. Stop looking for ways to cheat artists. Stop hurting artists livelihoods by depriving them of being paid a fair wage for their hard work and investment of time and money.
When the public needs music, we don’t just jump out of caves with our clay pot drums and sing and grunt, or speed write a song or symphony or film score on demand. Support the arts and support the artists that make the arts possible in today’s world. The artists in music deserve nothing less. Don’t forget, we have to pay our bills and support our loved ones, too.
Let me know what you think.
by Richard McLendon February 29, 2016
Music has been and will continue to be my life. I’ve been a performer, teacher, mentor, conductor, arranger, composer, music editor, music copyist, and music consumer at various times of my life since the age of five. I’ve seen people change because of the influences of music including myself. Music brings us back to memories of another time in history and in our own lives, also.
Music speaks to us where stories and film are unable for various reasons. Music touches our emotions and our emotions stimulate our memories. Combining music with film creates a unique, powerful, and at times an unforgettable experience. I hope that you will take time to truly enjoy music and listen to some music that is new to you, but may be from an earlier century, from a few decades ago, or a new artist has a new song available. After all, variety IS the spice of life.
Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about music.