WISE – Progress on Robot Trailer Music

After about a week’s worth of hard work, here is the fruit of my labor for the first part of my project. This is a piece composed, orchestrated, and produced entirely by me! You’ll notice the prominence of the strings throughout the piece, which should be a good indication of how I’ve prepared myself to write for an actual string orchestra.

Keep a lookout for the actual robot reveal trailer, which will be released on the 22nd!

Choir Piece

For some strange reason, it feels as if I’ve put in a tremendous amount of effort into this one piece, almost enough to say that this was my most laborious achievement. But that’s not exactly true, I’ve certainly spent more time on some of my other band pieces, and this piece wasn’t even the most challenging one to write. Perhaps it’s the fact that I learned a tremendous amount while writing this piece, or maybe it’s the fact that this piece went through massive revisions, the likes of which I had never previously taken the time to complete. It could even be the fact that I worked on it almost weekly with my composition teacher, giving me a regular checkpoint so that I would never quite feel too far detached from the piece. It’s most likely all of those things combined.

That said, the piece is now done and ready for performance. Considering that this is the second choir piece I have ever written, this is in no way a masterpiece. However, I do believe that it is a beautiful piece of music with some great sonorities. My main inspiration was Eric Whitacre’s Sleep. Just like Sleep, the piece is not rhythmically complex, but rather aims to amaze with its chords. The interplay of dissonance and consonance makes or breaks these types of pieces.

Now the challenge is finding singers who can perform the work. I could wait until school comes around and ask the choir to perform it, but I’m quite impatient and also a little hesitant to ask the choir, for various reasons. Another option is to find some singer friends and ask for their help, but I would need at least two singers for each voice part, and that may be a difficulty.

More to come on the status of the performance and the details of the piece.

Quality Work

I just spent the past hour and a half working on… what, four measures? Five, if you count the unfinished cadence? Sometimes there’s just so much music you want to pack into such little space.

Hopefully, with all this work that I’m putting into re-working a large portion of my choir piece, it’ll turn out to be a good one.


Yay! Summer vacation is just around the corner. School is officially over and my exams are almost all finished. This could only mean one thing: more time for composing.

With a newly acquired drum set for the summer, I’ll be trying out new musical things that I never thought I would. Hopefully some of the things I learn will be of use sometime in my future.

And with that, back to re-voicing my choir piece.

Eric Whitacre’s Notes

“I often make ‘drawings’ of pieces before I begin writing them, pages and pages of sketches, notes, and aspirations for the work that his yet to be made. Here is one of those pages from Equus, created in the very early days of the writing process.” – Eric Whitacre

Isn’t this simply astonishing? It’s amazing to see what actually goes on behind the scenes… It’s a closer look at what’s in his mind. If only my own composition notebook looked like that.


Now that I have a 100+ posts on this blog, I feel quite accomplished for keeping up with… well, anything for such a long time. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been as consistent as I should be with my posts especially when I’m crammed with work. But more work means more things to talk about! And I certainly will get to all the important events I’ve neglected, but the most important must come first.

I don’t know when you can officially start calling yourself a composer; it’s something I’ve always struggled to define. Is it when you first write a piece? Is it when your work is published? Or maybe you have to write music as a profession? I still can’t say for sure. But after the 2011 Winter Choral Concert of my high school choir, I truly feel like a composer.

I wrote a choral piece called “A Miracle” after attending CME last summer. The piece was largely inspired by much of Jim Papoulis’s music, as he was the guest composer for CME. I had a great time working with him and his music more closely than I probably ever will again. The piece, edited with the help of a few encouraging singers (You know who you are, thank you!), received a positive response from my musician friends. So without knowing what I would get out of it, I presented the work to the choral director at my high school.

Thankfully, he was surprisingly welcoming with my work. He took a listen and let me know that he would love to have the choir take a look at  the piece. With that, I was delighted. I had had the band sightread a few of my pieces, and now I would get a choir piece sightread as well. Little did I know, at least until the day the director emailed me, that he would be performing my work at the winter concert.

If you’ve ever had the privilege of being a composer, you don’t need me to tell you how amazing it feels to have your work performed for the first time. Do you remember the first time you performed a solo in front of an audience? It feels something like that. You’d think, as a composer listening to his work performed, you wouldn’t be as nervous as if you were performing it. But you are. At least I was. Even with all the nervousness, it made me feel very accomplished.

So thank you, to all the people who came up to me after the concert and expressed how much you liked the piece. Thank you, to the choir and the director, for working hard to ready a performance of my piece. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to keep on writing music, especially my band director and my close musician friends (Again, you know who you are).

As long as I live, music will be a part of my life. I see this performance as just a small first step in that journey.

Sightreading Eclipse

Not to start off on a tangent, but apparently according to Blogger “sightreading” is not a word. So I Googled it, and indeed it should be written as two separate words. As confirmed by Wikipedia.

As a lazy musician, I refuse to accept this and will continue to write the word as “sightreading.”

Speaking of sightreading, my high school band sightread my newest piece for concert band, Eclipse. As she has been every year, my band director was helpful and generous in the fact that she lent her rehearsal time to me for this opportunity and that she took the time to learn the score to conduct the piece. She also encouraged the band members to write constructive comments on their parts so that I could see what they thought about the piece.

Overall, the reaction was positive. This was my first big trial with minor, fast paced pieces, and with that in mind I think it was fairly well-received. As always, I learned technical things regarding different instruments that I had not known before.

Now, with all the constructive criticism that I have collected, I plan to revise the piece soon. Unlike my previous pieces for concert band where I wrote them and forgot about them, I plan to actually revise this piece to its fullest potential.

Oh, and just in case she reads this, I’d like to end by giving a big thank you to my band director.


That’s right, a new piece is complete. At first, the inspiration was slow to come. But when it did, I knew it was a keeper. After a few dedicated weekends, I have presented my brand new piece, Eclipse, to my band director for our school concert band to sightread.

The piece in itself, I personally believe, is one of my best works so far. Comparing it to my previous works for concert band, my improvement and growth is glaringly evident. Also, I like this piece a lot better than many of my other pieces.

Hopefully, when we sightread it, my fellow bandmates will like it as well. And while I’m at it, I’ll say I wish we could even perform it! But who am I kidding, right? I’ve got years ahead of me before my work is to be performed on stage.

I’m just happy that I finished it. Another piece to my repertoire!

Universities, Colleges, Conservatories…

As a Junior in high school it’s high time for me to be thinking about where I want to continue my higher education. As I’m sure you’ve guessed already, I want to pursue a major in music composition. I’ve struggled with this decision for quite a while now (about two years, in fact), and I’ve realized that as much as I love engineering and science, music composition is my passion. I felt as if I was simply afraid to admit a decision I had already made, due to the various discouragements from parents and the difficulties associated with the career in general. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me; I love music too much.

I realize that difficulties are common in a career of music. Even if I do get a job, I probably won’t be able to support a family by composition alone. But with the ever-increasing options in the modern world (thanks to the exponential growth of media), I do believe hard work can land me in a position that I will not only be able to enjoy, but also be able to earn a living from.

In order to get to those places, I must first practice my skills in school. Ideally, I would be accepted to a conservatory of music or a music college where I can receive the top-of-the nation music education. However, financial, academic and parental issues prevent that from happening. Long story short, I’m currently looking to (hopefully) receive a scholarship to a university that not only has a good music program but also has other academic options, so that if I ever wish to switch majors, I can do so.

It’s hard to believe the future is rushing towards me so quickly… Perhaps I’ll look back upon this post in two years and smile, knowing that I’m headed towards a career of passion and success.

I sure hope so.