Well, I finally stole some time away and forced myself to ignore all the e-mails and blog posts and do a little real writing.
A week or two ago I traveled down to Gates, NC, to meet with Carol Anne and her guitar player, Ronnie Lee, to work out the arrangement for her next song. More on that to follow soon, I hope. On the drive I was inspired with an original piece of music for the Christmas CD. The working title is Bethlehem Suite and it will be in three movements. Read more
With a break between producing my first and second songs for Carol Anne, I’m taking some time to work on my Christmas project. I’ve spent a little more time on the Minor Medley – setting the basic arrangement through the core of O Come O Come Emmanuel and giving further thought to the instrumentation. However, tonight I started with the Manger Medley, which will start with dulcimer.
I wanted to share this with you because I discovered that Finale can handle dulcimer tablature automatically, much like it can do guitar. I thought this was pretty cool and wanted to share a screen shot of the first several bars. I can tell already that this will be a fairly slow process.
So I sit with the dulcimer alternately on my lap or on the floor next to me. The worst part is that my version of Finale doesn’t have decent dulcimer samples, so I’m using a Japanese Shamisen to get kind of close for playback. I’m toying with upgrading to the newest version of Finale, which can play all kinds of vsts and not just the two bundled with it – this would allow me to use a decent dulcimer sample for playback, although the final goal is to play the dulcimer live for the recording.
If you are here from yesterday’s post about recording this song, I will warn you that today’s post is going to get a bit technical and geeky. That’s because today I’m going to talk about the mixing process and then creating the music video you see above. Read more
I was contacted last fall by a worship leader at a small church in North Carolina near where I live in Virginia to help her produce some original music she has written. My wife taught a dance class at her church a few summers ago so that’s the connection. She contacted me telling me that she had been writing songs for several years, a few of them she used in her congregation, and she felt it was time to begin recording them. Read more
Okay, it’s time to start a new project. Ever since I released Moments With Him I’ve been mulling over the next one. I’ve had multiple requests for a Christmas CD and I think the time is right. I’m also going to try and blog a little more about the writing and arranging process if for no other reason than to help keep me on track. Read more
Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record. Ask anyone who’s done it. Drum kits are comprised of anywhere from 3 to 10 or more pieces, but are played as a single instrument by the drummer. There are innumerable ways to record drums ranging from setting up a single microphone out in front of the kit and maybe a spot mic on the kick (a la the Beatles) to placing close mic’s on every single piece (a la almost everything recorded from the late seventies on). Most of the time the home recordist will fall somewhere between these two extremes, frequently because of inadequacy of the recording space a lack of available microphones. Read more
I beg you, gentle readers, to indulge me in this off topic post. This was inspired by a recent question on Quora asking what are the 10 things you like the most about your spouse. This sounded like a fantastic exercise, and I wanted to put it someplace that would be public. So, in no particular order, here are 10 things that I love about Teresa. Read more
Happy Day is a song that I wrote for a songwriting competition in 2014. While I didn’t win anything, it was remarkable fun to write, record and mix. To make it better I was able to bring on a few new friends to contribute. Read more
When I was seeking out what songs and hymns to put on this project, I asked my dear grandmother what were some of her favorites. She gave me a short list that included The Prayer of St. Francis, also known as Make Me A Channel of Your Peace, by Sebastian Temple. Read more
Practice, man, practice!
We all know that if we want to get better at playing an instrument (or a sport, for that matter) we need to practice. Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers, promotes the idea that if we spend 10,000 hours in practice of any activity we can master that activity. Since then many have modified that statement to “deliberate” or “directed” practice, but that doesn’t change the fact that to get better at anything takes practice. So, how do we practice mixing? I don’t know about you but I just haven’t recorded that many songs – and the recording takes a lot longer than the mixing.