Okay everyone, I’m going on a hiatus until I get through bus training and all of these new kids are out on the road.

Here’s a funny video:

Here’s a video that combines two things I love and am inspired by: John Williams and Star Wars. Actually, this video might embody me. It’s super nerdy, the dude is blonde, it’s a cappella music, I have that same shirt he’s wearing in the bottom left (mine is green though), etc. Just watch it:


Upcoming Projects

So far so good on the resolutions! Five days into 2012 and this is my third post, I’ve eaten breakfast two of the last three mornings, and I’ve scheduled my piano lessons for Tuesday evenings. I’m really excited about taking piano so I can finally learn some technique.

Anyway, I have a few projects that I’m hoping to start on here pretty soon.

The first is one I referenced in a previous post. A little under a year ago, I started recording AVP’s a cappella rendition of Cake’s The Distance, which was my first solo arrangement for the group. I took this one after working with Mark Williams on an arrangement of Jesusland by Ben Folds (which oddly enough we literally only performed once). I have all of the background parts recorded minus the whistle in the chorus, although I need to redo the bass because it sounds pretty crappy.  All I’ll need to do after that is add percussion and solo and finish the mix.  For some reason lately when I try to use Ableton, my computer goes crazy and the usage spikes up and the playback is either really choppy or it won’t play at all.  I think I need to go through my computer and delete a whole bunch of stuff to clear up memory and make it work better.  I also might just upgrade the RAM or something.  In any case, here’s a video of us performing this song two years ago (the quality isn’t that great).

I was pointed in the direction of this video the other day by my friend Jenny and I think it’s pretty cool.  Someone wrote a fugue using a couple themes from Lady Gaga songs and it sounds awesome.  I have a bit of experience writing fugues, so I think this would be a fun idea to mess with!

My sister Mindy called me yesterday and asked if I would write an arrangement of a song for violin and piano so her and my niece could play it in church.  My nine year old niece started playing violin last year and has been coming along nicely, which I’m really excited about!  She told me that it would have to be fairly simple so that she could play it, and that she’d need it by February 1st.  I instantly agreed because it was an exciting project for me to take on!  Also, the fact that I have a deadline will get me going on it.  The song is from the LDS Children’s Songbook and is called “I Am a Child of God.”

There are a few other things on my mind too.  Now to just find some time to do them!

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  2011 was a great year, but I’m feeling that 2012 just may end up being the best  year yet!  I have a handful of New Year’s Resolutions that I am pretty darn motivated on keeping, so I’m hoping that I can keep them up and really make this a great year!  I have a bunch pertaining directly to this blog, and then some that are unrelated but still important!

1. First and foremost, I really hope to start eating breakfast this year.  This is something that I have never really been in the habit of doing, but recent visits to the doctor have brought me to the conclusion that I really need to start.  I have this thing where I fall asleep literally all the time, most often right after I eat, and I went to the doctor and found out that I’m completely healthy.  He recommended eating more regularly, more balanced, and in smaller amounts, so I really want to start eating breakfast to keep up with that!

2. Directly related to number #1 is my goal to get a regular gym schedule going once the semester starts.  That same doctor suggested a regular exercise routine.  This past semester was insanely hectic and I barely even got over there to play basketball and I’m a bit out of shape!  I’m hoping to maybe alternate days going to gym to  lift and play basketball with days on which I go for a run or something like that.  The last time I tried this in college was first semester of first year and it lasted roughly 1.5 weeks, so let’s hope I do better this time around.

3. PRACTICE PIANO MORE AND GET BETTER.  This might be the most important one.  I tried to take lessons last semester, but it didn’t work out as far as lesson timing with the instructor I was talking to and my class/work schedule.  This time around, I’ve contacted him before I have submitted my sheet for my work availability, and I’m calling him tonight to set a time in stone so I should be good to go!  I’ll finally be putting my beautiful keyboard to the use that she deserves.

4. Compose more and work with my recording equipment more.  I really want to get going so I’m writing something fairly substantial every few days, and I also want to make sure I’m being varied in what I’m working on so that I can develop my skills in many areas and keep myself versatile.  I plan on getting my Soundcloud account back up and on its feet, as I haven’t posted anything in a few months.  I let myself get too busy!  I’ve also gotten infinitely better at singing over the last six months, so I feel like the overall quality of everything in that respect will be much better.

5. Directly related is that I would like to go back and revisit a few projects that I started quite long ago and finish them.  After I did Dancing Crazy, I set the goal to record all of the songs that I arrange for AVP that don’t end up on a studio album myself.  I got about halfway through Cake’s The Distance (my first arrangement for the group) and then got busy with other things and never finished it.  I probably won’t go back and do all of them, but definitely at least that one and maybe a few others.  I also have a few chord progressions or licks that have gone unused as well as beginnings and frames of choral settings.  I also wouldn’t mind going back and finishing a piano sonata that I wrote for Music Theory III class this past semester (post coming soon).  We were just supposed to write the exposition section, so I may go back and finish it out.

6. Hand in hand with the last three is that I want to post in this blog at least once every two days!  I think that will keep me spurred in my efforts to continue writing and discovering great music.

7. I would like to keep better in touch with my friends, most specifically my friends from back in Northern Virginia.  I barely ever see them, but still cherish our relationships and don’t want to see them fade.

8. Balance my life better in general and not let some things overtake the others.  I have a fairly light course load, but am still involved in a lot of other things and I don’t want to let up on these goals.

There are more, but they’re smaller and less important, so I don’t really need to share them.  Yay!  Anyway, here is a Top 5 for the past week as well as a list of artists I’m looking into at the moment thanks to a Pandora playlist based off of Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos.

Top 5 for Week #5 (we’ll go with that):

1) Blind Pilot

2) Muse

3) Maroon 5

4) Lord of the Rings soundtracks (and movies.  also awesome)

5) The Civil Wars

Artists that I’m looking into:

City and Colour, The Civil Wars (thanks Nichy), Iron and Wine, Coconut Records, Arcade Fire

Missing in Action

I’ve been pretty wrapped up in AVP rehearsal week and the first week of classes.  I’ll catch back up this coming week with posts about A Change of Pace, two weekly favorites, and a post about Cold War Kids.  To all some seven people who check this blog, sorry I’ve failed for a week or so haha.  Here’s something to hold you over.

Hey There

The purpose of this blog is to keep me motivated to actually spend time on all of the compositional things that I’ve wanted to do for some time now.  I will also use it as motivation to listen to more than just the same few artists across a period.  My blog will fuel my need to find new music to enjoy.  I figure that if I have a venue to post everything and a desire to post new things fairly often, that I will accomplish a few things:

1. Write more music, be it just pop songs or classical composition.

2. Try different compositional styles and methods.

3. Put my music out there for other people to listen to so it’s not just cooped up on my computer and receive criticisms/comments on it.

4. Improve on all of this!

5. Document what music I listen to most often so that I don’t just listen to the same stuff over and over.

6. Find other artists/albums/styles to listen to.

Yep!  Exciting huh?  Well it is for me, and it probably seems fairly boring to all of you right now, but it will be good, I promise.  I’ll be posting all of my music on my Soundcloud page (soundcloud.com/claysapher109) so that way it will all be together.  I’ll also post links to it on the various posts.  Ready, set, GO!