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Wanted: Composers to Share Knowledge on CCMC Blog

   I would like some help creating a new feature for our community.  The germ of an idea is to have composers make short YouTube videos about one small phrase or idea in pieces that they have posted to the Showcase.  I don't want these to take you long to make, maybe an hour.  
An example might be David Avshalomov putting up a short video showing m15-22 of his "I Bend The Knee of My Heart" ( ) with a voice over talking about how he set the words "quake" and "tremble."
Ray Brasswell could talk about what musical elements he used to make his Celtic Prayer ) have a Celtic feel.
Brad Burrill could show us how he depicted the Sea Nymphs in his "Full Fathom Five." ( )
I feel our community needs more interaction to continue to be successful and valuable to composer's lives.  Since I started doing the Composition Spotlight Articles I have not had time to write the composer of the Month Articles.  Our blog is just sitting their and could be put to good use.  This would be an opportunity for many of you to share in the joy of teaching others about composition and who doesn't like sharing their intimate relationship with their own works with an interested and motivated audience? I may compile several of these together for a ChoralBlog article and I think they actually could be used by directors when teaching our works to their choirs.  
Feel free to suggest changes or expansions to this idea 
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on November 11, 2013 7:44pm
I like that idea. 
Applauded by an audience of 2
on November 12, 2013 9:24am
Hi Jack, long time. As always, your brain is in constant ferment. This is an interesting idea, and if I had the time I'd do it in a New York minute. But I have obstacles: I *do'nt have time, I'm not set up to video myself, nor to edit a video, I don't look all that great on video at my age, etc.
I also am wondering whom such postings would draw to our site? I'm on there to sell my music and get performances, so my target audience is choral conductors; sure, it's nice to see what other composers are doing too, and I'm glad to share my meager stock of hard-won insights with other composers, especially younguns in search of guidance (at least things to tell them Not to Do that haven't worked for me), but I'm not sure this is the place for that. I do love to do a residency/masterclass in person (starting to get interest in those around 2 recent multi-band commissions), but composition lessons (for me) have always worked best one-on-one.
Be interested to see what others think.
Best to you always,
David Avshalomov
on November 12, 2013 8:23pm
(Please take this a bit tongue in cheek) An arrow to the heart! Just here to sell music and get performances ...ouch.   I realize that is the ultimate goal but I hope that sharing our questions, ideas, perspectives and successes means we are a community together.  Many people have commented that they get something out of this beyond the obvious desire for successful composition.  I value the relationships I have forged here and have benefitted in tangible non-compositional ways.  Meeting you allowed me to meet your son who significantly reduced my stress level regarding some of my online videos.  Meeting M. Ryan Taylor has brought fun music from his Halloween album to my own children that they enjoy every year.  Meeting Julie Myers led to a collaboration with Linda Marcus and Robert Ross, something I thoroughly enjoyed.  If I am ever in Seattle there are several members I would look up to share a beverage with. 
It may well be that some fo our already very successful composers don't need any pointers or reminders of compositional tools.  As a conductor, I seek the kind of things I mentioned in the post when teaching my choirs.  Reverse engineering is a lot of what we do in rehearsal.  Havng some perspective from the actual composer would be useful or at least novel to me in that role.  I feel this can add to the experience of your work as well as help other composers. 
We are composers.  Talking about and sharing little vignettes from our compositions seems a logical topic of discussion to me.
Thanks for keeping the conversation going!
On the topic of Video, some of you may remember my opinion about putting your face on anything K-12 students will see. Unless you are Abby Betinis or Jake Runestad I would stick to a voice over.  Kids are brutal and judge an Octavo by it's back cover. You won't see my mug on a video for this project.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 13, 2013 7:30am
I would be very happy to help in any way I can. 
Now if I can just remember WHAT I did and WHY I did it. :)
On a similar note, it might be helpful to have some 'voice-over' videos discussing interpretation of certain pieces.  I know I've performed in several groups where we were asking "What did the composer want here?".  I know that in my Finale mp3s, I sometimes feel that Finale doesn't really capture what I intended to convey.  For example, I was listening to a piece I just finished and I was thinking "I hope the accompanist doesn't bang out the accompaniment like it sounds on the mp3."  Fortunately, I'll be able to discuss the piece with the conductor for the group that commissioned the piece and explain my thinking.  Conversely, I'm sure there are many composers who like hearing how different groups/conductors interpret their compositions. 
Just a thought.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 13, 2013 8:29pm
   That's great.  You are welcome to analyze the piece as fully as you like.  I would suggest to you and anyone else interested that you keep it simple and short.  I think people will spend all of three minutes max looking at what is posted unless they are actually performing the work.  Think of this as a hook to get people to take a deeper look.  Include links to the showcase description as well as the PDF and Sound file.  Because this is a CCMC thing I would ask you to include the ChoralNet links just mentioned and not just send people to your website.  Of course you should also link to your website for more info.    I will not edit anything you do. 
You can click on the blog tab in our community and then on New Blog Post.  Check the save as draft box at the bottom until you are ready to submit it.  I will need to cull the editors list for the community or everyone will get an annoying flashing "Moderate" tab on the right of your navigation bar.  If anyone is still planning on uploading soon let me know and I'll leave you on.  Please do not approve other's posts.  Message me when you have the rough draft and let's think of a name for the series... Composer's Corner...I Saw What You Did There...suggestions please!
on November 15, 2013 6:46am
I too like the idea, Jack, whilst sharing some of David's reservations.  I'm not sure who has access to the blog, apart from fellow composers who are part of this forum.  Another interesting aspect might be for us to try to pin-point exactly what inspired us to write a piece, or to approach it in a particular way.  Was it, for example, knowing a particular performance group, perhaps receiving a stimulus to compose something after hearing another piece of music or effective use of the orchestra (or voices), etc., or perhaps there was a visual trigger - from nature, or a painting, for instance.  Technically, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge, for those of us who possess a smartphone, and as has been said, it's not necessary to show our faces on these videos if we'd prefer not to!
What I'm a little puzzled about, Jack, is the need to take us off the editors' list. Would this be permanent?  I've only just started using showcase, and may want to upload one or two more pieces in the lead-up to Christmas.  (That is, if you can re-assure me that I won't lose access to ChoralNet for a whole week, as happened last time!)
on November 15, 2013 4:59pm
The blog would really be targetted for our 492 members.  However, everything online is just a click away.  Links to the article could go in the "more links"  part of the showcase descriptions and on composer's websites.  I feel this would be a great exercise for people who are not that familiar with making YouTube videos or voice overs.  Having a reason to use tools creates skills that can be used again and again.
I would love to have people write articles about what inspired their work.  I hang out on a website called Reddit.  They have a forum called IAMA which stands for I Am A (nuclear engineer, NASA test pilot, underwater grizzly wrestler etc.) Having composers write about what it is we do and why could be interesting. 
The editor status is only ever meant to be a temporary, easily renewable role.  Communities were never designed to function like Google Docs, where who ever has permission can adjust things.  The damage that can be done to the community is extreme if someone wanted to cause damage.  I know that sounds a bit paranoid but I want to do what I can to protect the work that has been done.  I don't want to go into too much detail but sufice it to say we are pushing the limits of what communities were meant to do.
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