WISE – Comfort Zone (Part 1)

A few weeks ago in class we listened to Brian Grazer, an Oscar-winning movie producer, talk about his comfort zone, and how he always forces himself out of it for personal growth. Frankly, it really is as simple as that. Actually pushing yourself out of your comfort zone might not be so simple, but the concept is: do it, and you’ll grow.

Interestingly enough, I have a close friend who is of a very similar mindset, and he is clearly headed to great heights. He’s already the top of his class in most subjects and is a great engineer (you can check out his WISE project here).

But how do those things relate to my composing, you ask?

When I first decided that composing for orchestra was in my best interest, it was mostly because I had never done so before. It was unfamiliar territory; I was hesitant. But I knew it was the right thing to do.

When I accepted my friends’ request in scoring the robotics club’s reveal trailer, it was my first time working under strict guidelines and a fast-approaching, hard deadline. I accepted without a moment of doubt. Mostly because I knew how much it would be working with my friends, but also because challenging myself to meet these new conditions would make me grow as a composer.

Brian Grazer and my aforementioned friend are very familiar with stepping out of their comfort zones. I can proudly say, so am I.

WISE – About the Piece (Part 2)

A reaction to the piece after the first rehearsal: “I’ve had your piece stuck in my head like all day.”
I’ve also had a few people tell me “the piece was sick” and that they “loved it.” I’ve even had a friend ask me for the score because someone told her that my piece was really cool.
Needless to say, I’m humbled by the positive reactions. These are the kinds of reactions that make me want to keep composing.

WISE – About the Piece (Part 1)

First and foremost, the title: Per Audacia Noctus.

It’s a Latin phrase that loosely translates to “Boldly into the Night.” I chose the phrase because I thought it embodied the dark yet triumphant feel of the piece and I set it in Latin because Latin just makes everything cooler.

For the musicians, the piece is in 6/8 and the dotted quarter equals 120. It’s in the key of D minor, and is about 2:40 long.

First impressions of the piece from orchestra members soon!

WISE – Flying By (A Quick Update)

As my project nears its final stages, progress is flying by quickly. I’ll do my very best to capture and document everything.

First and foremost, the orchestral piece is complete (see timeline). More specifics about the piece itself are soon to come.

The piece was completed just in time for the first planned rehearsal with the orchestra, and the first rehearsal went quite well. After the first few minutes of shaky playing, the orchestra ran through the rest of the piece much more smoothly than I had expected. More to come on the first rehearsal as well.

Now it’s time for me to make revisions/edits to the piece using the feedback I received during the rehearsal and prepare for the second one.

WISE – Learning from the Best

There’s no doubt you’ve heard this theme somewhere at some point in your life. I don’t remember the very first time I heard it, but I do know that Zimmer’s music from Pirates was one of my biggest early inspirations in starting to compose music.

Years later, I still come back to the piece because it’s such a great research material. It’s short and sweet, making it the perfect length for me to quickly analyze the structure of the piece. The two themes presented in the piece flow seamlessly together thanks to a masterful transition, and the upbeat tempo, along with the masterful orchestration, makes the piece sound epic all the way throughout.

Most importantly, this is the kind of feel that I’m hoping to emulate with my orchestral piece. I’m no Zimmer, but we’ll see what I can do.

WISE – Two Tramps in Mud Time

There’s a poem we read in WISE class a few days ago called Two Tramps in Mud Time by Robert Frost, one of my favorite poets of all time. There’s a passage in there that sums up what my WISE project is to me:

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

 My hobby of writing music has now become schoolwork. In a greater sense, I hope to one day make my passion of composing into a profession, to “truly do the deed,” as Frost put it.

WISE – Kind Words

Here are some kind words from one of our wonderful librarians that read my WISE blog:

I just cruised through Joon’s blog, and it’s really good: informative, lively, good links. I don’t know what his product will be–?–but his writing is very good, and as his student reader noted, he’s very organized. I want to hear some music, is all–is there a way he can share a short composition, or a cover?

I also used his links to the other student projects–great use of the blog form!

I wonder if he will be able to keep up as senioritis sets in–the entries are shorter, more cursory, recently.

There are a few different things of note here:

  • I like to use links. I will continue to do so as it seems to be a positive addition to my posts.
  • I added a small addition to my WISE page that hopefully makes it clear to the reader what the product of my project will be.
  • Because of my composing process (pencil on paper) it’s difficult for me to share snippets of my compositions aurally, but you can see snippets in visual form here.
  • It’s not Senioritis, I swear. If it’s anything, it’s my decision to spend the time I have composing rather than blogging about it.

WISE – Rehearsals

My mentor and I spent the majority of our last mentor meeting discussing two things: my progress on the piece I am writing for the orchestra, and scheduling rehearsals. As you can see from a glance at the timeline, rehearsals have been planned. The dates of my composing have been broken down to reflect those rehearsal dates as well.

The piece itself that will be rehearsed by the orchestra is coming along. I’m not spot-on with the deadlines that I set for myself in the timeline regarding the different sections of composing (structuring, developing, orchestrating, etc), but with diligent work each day I should be able to meet the deadlines that have been revised to reflect the rehearsal time.