It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I fully immersed myself with singing in a choral ensemble and an a cappella group. I tell everyone this all the time; I was a "late bloomer" when it came to singing in choir! That's the point...it's never too late to go and try something new.
A week ago, I had the opportunity to help kick off the start of the new school year for ALL of the teachers in Westborough, MA, the town I grew up in, with my brothers in Ball in the House. To be able to perform at my alma mater, to be able to talk about my life story, to be given the chance to say thank you to many former teachers of mine (some are still teaching!), and to be able to share my passion…I am beyond blessed for the life I have…it’s the Westborough Public Schools that created the foundation of my life, along with showing me that I have a voice to create harmony, not only through music, but, in life. Thank you will never be enough.
It's because I took a leap of faith and tried something new, all those years ago, that I now make a living making music! My literal dream since high school. Though, I think it was really in middle school that I told myself: "Hey...you're not half bad at this; I can see myself doing this!". I never could have imagined this journey of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and so many zig zags in directions I never thought I'd go (this whole sentence is a post for another day). Even today, I still feel like I'm on a road that will take a turn to a new place, or something will happen that will challenge me, and flex my musical chops to its fullest. In my opinion, a musician's life is one of the greatest joys and most rewarding, satisfying jobs you could have, and yet, it's one of the hardest fields to navigate. Though, that's the gig we signed up for, isn't it? I'm looking at all of you, creatives!
The souls and hearts of musicians, and all creatives, are some of the most durable and fragile (and everything in-between) personalities that exist in this world. The amount of preparation (i.e. practice), mind compartmentalization, patience, and persistence it takes to be ready at a moments notice for any type of gig is mind boggling. The versatility one must have to "be a musician" involves so much more than just music. You need to understand business, marketing and branding, know how to talk to people effectively, and how to be able to collaborate and work on a team. You are a producer. You are a teacher. You are a critic. Let me tell you, criticism will follow you everywhere, and you can make it your greatest ally, or your worst enemy. However, in my short 16 years of being immersed in the music industry, showing kindness and respect everywhere you have the privilege to go, will take you far. People will remember that. Always.
To all upcoming musicians and creatives who are just starting out, to the well-experienced, seasoned professional musicians and beyond...a simple reminder:
Be kind to others (especially yourself), work efficiently and on time, try...and fail many times (you will learn more from failure than anything else), never give up, and show up. It's never too late to go and try something new.
I'm rooting and cheering for you. We've got this.
Hope everyone is off to a strong and fun 2021 with your music making! #acappella and #choral rehearsals and meeting up to sing can be tricky now-a-days, especially with COVID-19 still floating around. So how do I continue to stay on top of learning new rehearsal techniques and grow my knowledge in the choral and a cappella world? By READING!!
I'm really excited to dive into this new book I received as a gift over the holidays! The Choral Conductor's Companion: 100 Rehearsal Techniques, Imaginative Ideas, Quotes, and Facts.
Compiled and Edited by Brian J. Winnie.
The title says it all!! It's really cool to see some articles written by some wonderful and brilliant teachers I know! Dr. J.D. Frizzell (J.D. Frizzell Facebook page), Dr. Emily Young Frizzell (Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Memphis), and my former choral conducting teacher, Dr. Janet Galván (Janet Galván, Conductor Facebook page), at Ithaca College!
I can't wait to dive deeper into choral singing and continue to expand my knowledge! There are even some articles about contemporary a cappella! #reading #musiced #musiceducation #music #singing #IthacaCollege
Excited to share that I’ll be a clinician at Cut Off Studios
first ever VIRTUAL LENS event!! Come one, come all, whether you’re an individual or a group! Sign ups are still open! Due to the change to virtual, we are having this event as a “pay as you can”, with a suggested price of $10/person.
When: Sunday November 8, 2020
Time: 6 - 9 PM EST
Sign up here and to learn more: www.cutoffstudios.com/lens
From arranging, to leadership, to directing a group, even sight reading, we have many different classes to choose from!! Learn from some of the best of the best in the field, and let me tell you, the Cut Off family are as passionate as they come!! I’m truly blessed to be working with such knowledgeable, talented, and amazing friends! If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to chat! Hope to see you there!
I am excited to share that I am a part of the
A Cappella Education Association's (AEA) new, international Virtual Coaching program!
If you are a middle school or high school student, a choral or music teacher, or know of teachers who are interested or are involved with an a cappella ensemble, the AEA is offering some amazing classes from top-level professionals in the a cappella field! I'm honored to be amongst this incredible roster of teachers and a cappella professionals!
Under the categories "Directing and Rehearsals" and "Recording", find my classes and book an appointment! All appointments are one-on-one, 30 minute, Q&A based live-video conferences, so come prepared with any and all questions about the topic!
Here are my classes to choose from:
DIRECTING AND REHEARSAL
First Time Music Directing
So you have been chosen to be the next music director of your a cappella group, CONGRATS! “What do I need to do?” and “What am I in for?” are some questions you may be asking yourself, and that’s OK! Being a music director is a great privilege, and an exciting opportunity to use the vast resources of musical composition and performance for artistic creativity. It also carries with it important responsibilities, and you must be able to inspire and challenge musicians to perform at their highest possible level through instructive assistance that is supportive and positive. Through open discussion, we’ll address those first time music director jitters: from preparing arrangements to score study, to assigning parts, and discussing different ways to teach the music, these tools will all help with preparing and running an effective, fun rehearsal!
Looking for some help on improving your group’s sound? Have you hit a musical brick wall when it comes to elevating your music? Do you want to feel the music and not just hear it? Musicality is an essential aspect of the learning process of music, and there are many ways to discover and ignite passion and electrify your singing by being musical. Through this open discussion, we’ll touch on the importance of musicality and go over some different approaches on how your group can find new, exciting, and engaging perspectives to your music making process!
So you’re interested in recording a cappella groups (or recording your own group), AWESOME! So where do you start? We’ll have the opportunity to go over the basic technical needs and stages of the recording process, from start to finish! Along with learning how to get started, we’ll go over the current trends and tricks of recording your singers, as the tracking stage is the most important part of the whole process! Through this open discussion, you will learn about the basic necessities and gain a deeper understanding of how to start recording a cappella groups!
Preparing for Studio Success
So you’re considering recording a single, EP, or full-length album, GREAT! Before you step in front of a microphone though, we need to address an important question: Why record in the first place? We will have a chance to talk about some helpful tips and ideas when it comes to the planning stages of recording. Hiring a professional v.s. DIY, realistic costs, setting recording goals, and time commitment are some topics that we’ll have the opportunity to discuss! Through this open discussion, our goal is to define your recording vision and turn your musical identity into the best musical product imaginable.
Professional contemporary #acappella producer, arranger, engineer, and educator from Northborough, MA, U.S.A.