2023- Let’s DO THE THING!

round brown and black analog clock

Happy 2023!

This is the post where, every year, I usually list the goals that I intend to accomplish.

What am I doing to make things happen this year?

Well, I’m taking the lessons learned from the past few years and instead of posting goals like I have been, I am instead posting the actions that I am building into my daily and weekly routine to make things happen.

If you read the post from a few days ago, it was apparent that some of the goals that I intended to accomplish did not happen as planned. Instead, I am taking a new approach to accomplish the goals that were left, AND set myself up for even more success in the future, in whatever form it may come. Some things are going well, and I will continue to keep up the habits I’ve already established.

Action Item #1

Schedule Composing, Instrumental Practice, Gym, Meal, and Email time into my calendar at SPECIFIC BLOCKS OF TIME.

Sunday evening at 7:00 is when I have scheduled to plan out the week. My phone is programed to remind me to do this.

Every month, I have a concrete checklist of music business Items that I have to schedule on my monthly calendar before transfering to my weekly. These include things like writing the newsletter for my composing business, checking on contest info for students, and other specific communications and research items.

The 28th of the previous month is when I have scheduled to take care of this. However, getting into the habit of writing down monthly appointments into my calendar as they come up has helped with planning in the past.

Some of these are floating tasks that have to get done at some time on the scheduled day or week. Having a visual checklist helps me with this!

Action Item # 2

Replace Phone Screen time with the activities listed above.

Although the Tik Tok and Twitter addiction has been hard to break, I’ve been improving at using it as a reward rather than disassociating with it.

Also, my new rule is No Checking Email past 7:00pm! Otherwise, I have a tendancy to overthink about how to respond and agonize about it all night instead of sleeping, which I totally should do instead for health reasons.

Action Item # 3

Adopt a CONSISTANT bedtime and wakeup routine.

Although I do the expected things like showering and brushing my teeth every day at.. some haphazard time, my morning has only had one thing consistent up until now: Coffee. I do not wish to replace this wonderful to me beverage I lovingly call Godberry juice, as I genuinely enjoy the taste and it’s become a personal staple for waking up. However, every day has been varied and sometimes I forget to eat breakfast or shower and all of a sudden it’s 15 minutes until I’m supposed to leave to teach and I haven’t eaten lunch yet.

To start with, I will begin my day with showering, teeth brushing and a glass of water BEFORE Coffe. Coffee is a reward for taking care of these important things. Also, my second cup of coffee will be accompanying breakfast, which will not only save time but serve as a habitual reminder to eat.

At night, I’ve been winding down with Tea over the last month which has helped. I will also be replacing the phone habit with reading on time. Lately, I’ve been switching between the two. Leaving the phone downstairs has helped. Soon, I will NOT be looking at my phone past 9:00 and instead be reading physical books.

Action Item # 4

Add my original compositions 1 piece a day to my WOOCOMMERCE Store. ( 10 minutes/ morning) to start.

For now I will leave my stuff up on Sheet music Plus as well for a wider reach, as I’m still working to build an audience that will purchase my music and play it more often, funding my good habit πŸ™‚ I am, however, changing each compositions individual page to link to my Woo Commerce Store Page, in order to get a better idea of who is buying my compositions, keep in contact in case they would like help from a living composer, and the added bonus of getting to keep more of the profit.

I’m starting with Digital downloads and then will add physical copy offerings as I learn more about how to run the storefront. It looks like it will also calculate shipping, even overseas, so that is a plus.

I also have it scheduled to publish on both my Facebook Business page and Twitter Profile when I add a new piece to the store for some added awareness.

Once I run out of pieces I’ve already added to SMP, this will shorten to 1/week or every other week as needed. Engraving and editing takes time.

Action Item #5

Form a habit of Posting 1x/day, focusing on no more than 2 social media channels at a time.

In order to succeed at this, I am going to post one time/ day on one of my channels as most of them are linked anyway. When applicable , I will repeat the post in a different format- i.e. Text converded to a 30 second Video.

(Note- I will be exercising Action Item # 2 to keep screentime from getting out of hand again).

Action Item # 6

Hold myself accountable for these items!

If you know me well enough, please don’t be afraid to ask how it’s going either. Let’s put that toxic guilt complex to good use!!!! lol

Realistically, integrating all of these steps won’t happen all at once or even ALL of the time. However, as I work on making this my new norm, it will be easier to get back on the wagon when I fall off, and continue making things happen this year and beyond.

I’ll start by scheculing checkin posts on my calendar.

2022- How Did I Do?

green tree

Every year I have been setting Goals and offer a reflection at the end of the year. This is my reflection for 2022.

Composing

FINISH the projects from last year that were started.

Did it happen?

Hahahaha…nope. This year was a bit of a firestorm of unexpected difficulties that sapped my mental capacity and emotional energy for much of the year.

What did I finish though?

  • Pieces now offered for Sale- Allemonde de Eleri, A Well Traveled Rhapsody, Chorale on a Palestinalied, Fy Gwanwyn Sky, Painless Parker’s Giant Bucket of Teeth, A NOT FOR SALE ( because it would be illeagal for me to do it at this time to my understanding) arrangement of Kingdom Heart’s Music for Brass Band, and Several Arrangemts you can find on my Sheet music plus Publisher Page.
  • An orchestral Brass Fanfare that has yet to be Read!
  • Several Aural Sketches for Projects that were started last year. I am currently putting these on paper and assembling them to send out over January, now that I’m feeling less burnout.

Sell at least 1 score a month

Did It happen?

Not as I had hoped. Next year, I will be taking on a more refined approach to advertising my works for sale, including building an email list and newsletter. On the plus side, I’ve been selling 1 score/ month since September.

Start Making some Money from Composing

Did it happen?

Sort of yes. I did not get paid as a composer for writing this year. However, I did negotiate a paid commission to be completed this coming year, and for the first time in a long time. I will be paid as a writer in 2023.

Lesson Studio Goals

Build studio up to 30 students.

Have at least 2 big recitals this year ( With at least one being in person, Covid Pending), and generally find more performance opportunities for my students.

Host A Quarterly Studio GET-TOGETHER via Zoom with Games and playing opportunities for peers only.

Have more students participate in MMTA contests and festivals.

Increase educational content on the studio YOUTUBE channel. (sorry, as of now this is for MY STUDENTs only, although I may make some of the videos public eventually). Every other Friday, I plan on recording a short video and UPLOADINg it.

Continue to become a better teacher for my students.

Did It happen.

YES!!!!! In fact, the plan worked a little too well. I ended up with 33 Students at the end of summer!

Musicianship Goals

Play an EtudE Every Practice session

Improve my sightreading on both Piano and Trombone

Establish a functional practice routine and schedule a time to practice every weekday.

Did I succeed?

Mostly. There were some periods where I was not practicing regularily, and in retrospect, I may have been suffering from some form of depression and burnout due to the firestorm. It was due a mix of taking care of others during their chrisises, doing the job of 3 people and feeling underappreciated and a whole mix of other things that just left me feeling numb at the end of summer. After all, if you stand in the cold long enough, you eventually don’t feel it any more.

Luckily, things are looking up finally.

I do have a properly challenging routine now thanks to my friend, and very talented Trombonist Gavin Carney, have been consistant since September, and can’t wait to keep getting better at the Trombone in 2023!

Life and Relationship Building

Continue to improve my health and stregnth.

Did I Succeed?

Overal, Yes!

I took a break from focusing on this and, surprise, surprise, it coinsided with that period where I was not practicing reguarily and feeling comfortably numb. Exercise helps Mental health and I will continue to go to the Gym at least 2 days a week, and find some form of movement every day. If not, I may face another unproductive stretch of time that I can’t get back.

Continue to Volunteer at leAst 4 times a year

Did it happen?

Yes, though in small ways.

Most of this was helping at MMTA theory events, from proctoring exams to giving directions. I also volunteered my time with the Twin Cities Brass Band, helping with web admin tasks and organizing the social media team. I have to say that they were the ones who put in the most effort and got things done though. All I did was delegate πŸ™‚

Plan monthly phone calls and emails, Aim for 1 New person per month to start with in this list.

Did It Happen?

Yes, but not in a steady stream. It was more like a few waterfalls, of 3-4 people every few months. After counting it averaged to 1.3 people/ month.

Support fellow artists through Album/ music PURCHASES and RECOMMENDATIONS, and email them with compliments.

Did I do It?

I did not buy anything this year as the first half was rather lean financially. However, I did do a LOT of listening and sent some reccomendations of my fellow composers to artists that I thought would be a good fit when talking with them over this year. For Example,one of my students is now a FLOOR BABA Fan after exposing them to their music in a lesson. Many encouragements came in the form of Facebook and Twitter comments. I aim to offer more of these in the future.

Attend at least 3 newtorking events or festivals.

Did I do it?

YES!

Brass Chix in January

MMTA Meetings with my local Chapter bi -monthly

Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in December

All in all, 2022 was a spiritually and emotionally challenging year. Life threw a few unexpected tests my way and some important lessons were learned. I learned who in my immediate sphere is worth my time and who needs to grow a little more before I think about interacting beyond a surface level again. I also learned that I am capable of doing the work of 3 people if necessary and, even though I do not always like to be that person, I’m a pretty good leader when it comes down to it. The ability to make and share music is a privilege and I got to experience some goosebump-worthy moments with duet partners, The Twin Cities Brass Band, Swing Sisterhood Big Band, and The Triforce Trombone Trio. I even had the pleasure of hearing my piece, A Ship’s Calling performed and recorded by Calypsus Brass, which was AMAZING! Here’s looking forward to 2023, in which I will write down my intentions and post about them in the next day or two.

Why Halloween is My Favorite Holiday

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to this time of year. For me, Halloween meant looking at cool decorations in people’s yards, dressing up in a costume and not having to be mundane me for an evening, going out after dark, and of course, CANDY!

Halloween brought on many fun memories, like the time my friend Carolyn and I made a Halloween themed 2 person Dragon costume together and wowed everyone 2 years in a row (it was that awesome!), going through some yards that had actual haunted houses or trails built into them in order to get the opportunity for trick or treat, and seeing everyone’s costumes of course. Two that stick out in my memory are a cow costume (I doubt anyone else thought of that) and the year someone went dressed as Quailman- belt on head, underwear outside clothing, and all.

These days though, Halloween has evolved to mean something more for me personally.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that many people don’t share my sentiment and it’s understandable. Some people just don’t like the “spooky” atmosphere that comes along with the holiday. Being scared, watching people be scared, or being surrounded by home dΓ©cor decorated with rotting corpses does not always sit well with everyone.

In addition, Halloween has many stereotypes now associated with it having evolved from a pagan/ witch associated festival known as Samhain, the most severe being Devil worship. (Spoiler alert- most witches I’ve come to know do not even believe in the devil, but that is a deeper discussion for another day and time.). Having come from a Christian background myself, I can understand why the association is as it is.

Heck, I even briefly considered axing the holiday that has been beloved by me since being conscious of it from the age of 3 from my personal list of holidays to observe, when someone in made me aware of their belief in this association with evil spirits. Mind you, it only lasted about a minute or two, but it led me to research and question things.

The conclusion that I came up with in my own path is that what you associate with a day has more to do with personal meaning and your own knowing and belief system. If Halloween fell on May 1st and you had the same personal beliefs associated with it, I would be willing to bet you’d behave the same toward it as you do on October 31st. If you choose to avoid the happenings of the day, regardless of the reason, that is your choice and that’s ok.

It also led me to research where Halloween truly came from (why do we celebrate it as we do and how did it used to be celebrated and what the reasons were/are?). There are several resources to look at the day from a purely historical perspective and I encourage you to go find them. Google and the Library have great resources.

These days, for me, Halloween, aka Samhain, is a gentle reminder to take a day out of the year to remember my family and friends who have passed on. It’s a bit like Memorial day in The Unided States, where we take time to remember and thank all of our service men and women, because we are conveniently reminded on a calendar. It is what it is…

I use the day to not only remember them, but celebrate the fact that they were here and gave me pleasant memories to look back on and smile every once in awhile during the rest of the year. It’s also a chance to say thank you and move on from any past grievances if any come up. Whether or not the message gets through is hard to say but at the very least, I feel better, and the positive effects of purposely taking time to do this last for quite awhile.

If it makes you feel better, I promise you I’m not doing the devil’s work and practicing necromancy. That literally could be dangerous, not to mention a bit more icky than handling the purely decorative plastic corpses that adorn my living room.

Anyway, I hope you have a Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and/ or, have a fantastic day everyone!

2022 Music, and Life, Goals.

The last few years I have been psting my goals for the coming year in order to look back at periodically and hold myself accountable. Here is this years list of goals in their respective catagories.

Composing

FINISH the projects from last year that were started.

  1. ) Enter Spirit- Flex band score. I am currently working with a band director to have it read and finish the graphic score element. This should be ready for the public by May if all goes according to plan.

2) Painless Parker- Band Score. I need a few volunteers to read the piece and give feedback for the final score. I aim to have it available for purchase asap.

3) Continue my editing of past works. – I got a litle more than halfway through, and then I lost my productivity streak. By the end of the year I aim to be finished with all prior pieces. It will help that I’ve gotten better at engraving for anythihg that I write this year, so lots of time will be saved!

4) Documentary Score- Almost finished. It was postponed due to covid and a big life transition for the director. I just need to touch base with the director a few more times to get this done.

5) Vocal and Instrumental piece with a Librettist- I started this one with them as a new type of collaboration for me. Most of the Ideas are in the germ phase, but this will get done by the end of this year at the latest.

Sell at least 1 score a month

I will be ramping up advertising on Facebook as well as taking the initiative to contact more musicians and directors directly. I’ll also be adding lots more pieces and arrangements to My website store and on Sheet Music Plus.

Start Making some Money from Composing

Eventually, I’d like this to make up the bulk of my livelihood along with performing and teaching. Luckily it’s looking like at least one paid commission is shaping up with a fantastic Trombonist.

I can’t wait to share more of these details with you in the coming months.

My one Resolution- normally I don’t do these but I’ll make an exception in this case- is to Share more of what I am working on. Please follow me on Instagram or TikTok @shogan_composer to see more of my process this year.

Lesson Studio Goals

Build studio up to 30 students.

Have at least 2 big recitals this year ( With at least one being in person, Covid Pending), and generally find more performance opportunities for my students.

Host A Quarterly Studio GET-TOGETHER via Zoom with Games and playing opportunities for peers only.

Have more students participate in MMTA contests and festivals.

Increase educational content on the studio YOUTUBE channel. (sorry, as of now this is for MY STUDENTs only, although I may make some of the videos public eventually). Every other Friday, I plan on recording a short video and UPLOADINg it.

Continue to become a better teacher for my students.

Musicianship Goals

Play an EtudE Every Practice session

I’m starting with the good Ol’ Rochut book 1 and will work my way through the book one etude at a time. When I’m done, I’ll look for a new book to progress to. It is my hope that I will become a better player by making this commitment to my practice routine. It should also help me……

Improve my sightreading on both Piano and Trombone

Establish a functional practice routine and schedule a time to practice every weekday.

Life and Relationship Building

Continue to improve my health and stregnth.

I started this last year in 2021 and began strength training with Barbells as of June.If I can keep with the schedule of 3-4 days of stregnth training and eat well, I’ll be well on my personal goal to be able to squat my body weight by June as well as do 1 unassisted pullup by then. Maybe I’ll even surpass it! Although My goals here are not asthetic, I am looking forward to see how things change here as the year progresses. The reason for this is that it helps my mental health quite a bit and I’d like to remain as healthy as I can to do thie things that I love- Mainly Make Music! Also, as I am now in the dirty 30’s, I’d like to not be complaining about back problems like so many of my peers are already.

Continue to Volunteer at leAst 4 times a year

I am excited to see what opportunities 2022 brings, especially with MMTA. Assuming things keep opening back up, I’d also love to have a recital or perform at a nursing home.

Plan monthly phone calls and emails, Aim for 1 New person per month to start with in this list.

This may be a lofty goal, since being extraverted in this capacity takes quite a bit of uncomfortable effort on my end, but I’m going to try by listing a set day on my planner calendar to do this. It wil be at the end of the month too so I have that long to come up with someone.

Support fellow artists through Album/ music PURCHASES and RECOMMENDATIONS, and email them with compliments.

Attend at least 3 newtorking events or festivals.

Next Month, I’ll be attending Brass Chix as I have every year, and in March, the MMTA convention is in Minneapolis, so I’ll be attending at least 1 day of this as well.

2021 Goals- How did I do?

It’s that time of year- The end of the year where I give you my report card and evaluate the goals that I set at the end of the previous year.

Here is what happened:

BIG GOAL: Make More Money/ Be able to solely do MUSIC to survive.

Update: Success! I am surviving. As of June, I was able to just teach and complete an engraving project to make the minimum that I neded to bring in to justify being my own boss. Next year I will set my goals toward Thriving… and then some.

Mini Goal: Sell 10 scores of my own music. My goal is a minimum of 25 total including arrangements.

Update: I sold 12 total. Yeehaw. It looks like I’ll have to evaluate and revise my strategy.

Mini Goal: 15 students by June

Update: I have since surpassed that goal and am up to 20 students!

BIG GOAL: Get to know more people

Update: I didn’t meet as many new people in person as I was hoping to ( thanks Covid) but did meet some. I talked to Alex Gardner and Matthew Driscol via the magic of zoom and meet a few local musicians and composers through a Monthly Composer Meet up and throught the Z festival, both of which met online. I’d really like to actually get to know more people this next year beyond briefly meeting them.

If you count it though, I did get to meet some awesome new students and their wonderful families πŸ™‚

Mini Goal: Contact 2 new people in music/ month minimum

Update: This fell by the wayside but I did manage to average 1-2 every other month. Next year I will schedule monthly phone calls and emails in my planner.

Big Goal: Write 3 hours minimum of music

Update: If you count all of the unrecorded improvising I did, I ….probably?… reached this goal. However, my composing focus was nonexistant most of this year and getting things written down just did not happen.

Mini Goal:Create more creative opportunities

Update: I did it- but via a different avenue that I set out to follow. I am now part of a trombone trio called The Trifore Trombone Trio and got to exercise my creativity by making marketing content for the Twin Cities Brass Band. I also participated in Z-Fest this summer which provided some interesting ppportunities as well.

Big Goal: Be even more giving and spread more JOY

Mini Goal: Send more notes in the form of cards and emails

Update: Success. I’ll keep this goal active for next year too.

Mini goal: volunteer my time in a musical capacity at least 4 times

Update: This happened exactly 4 times. I volunteered at an MMTA event this Fall, helped out with a large music sorting project, and helped a few friends with their musical projects a few times this year. Next year, I hope to help out at more events because helping is fun. πŸ™‚

Throwback Thursday September 2021 Recap

September 2nd 2021

This Week’s #throwbackthursday piece is related to the event I’ve been excited about that is happening this weekend: MNKINO Film Score Fest!(BTW- It’s this Saturday at 8 In Mears Park, St Paul MN if you can come).A few years ago, in 2017, I wandered to an event that I had heard about on a podcast called Composer Quest called the MnKino Film Score Fest Meetup. It was at an underground bar in the middle of Minneapolis- or was it St Paul? As is tradition for me with trying new things, I had no idea what I was getting into. Also, meeting new people in groups still terrified the bejeebus out of me, but there I went. At the time, I was starving for creative opportunities outside of my mundane day job and, although it scared me, I reasoned that the best way to make this happen was to step out of that comfort zone and talk to strangers. Somewhere in the large crowd a, talented yet also introverted and kind animator named Beth Peloff talked to me and decided that I was going to be her composer (YAY!).Together, we created a little film called Blob’s Adventure. You can watch it here:https://vimeo.com/218081763

September 9th 2021

Do You remember looking up at the sky on a carefree summer day, imagining the pictures and scenes in the clouds? Today’s #ThrowbackThursday piece was written on such a summer afternoon. When I used to work at a printer factory, I’d come home and need to decompress. Being that the job left little time for much else between driving home, eating dinner, and sleeping to wake up early and do it all over again, there was a 30-minute window that I’d have to myself. I chose to walk from my Dad’s trailer home to the end of the road and back most evenings after scarfing down my meal. That day in 2010, I admired those picturesque clouds in the sky and imagined what it could sound like. At the time I was listening to a lot of Debussy piano music as well. Cumulus Humilis- The scientific name for the type of clouds that I saw that day- is the name of this piece. It was premiered by Jimmy Knezetik- a pianist I knew in undergrad who has the most sensitive touch of any pianist I’ve known. Listeners enjoyed it because it is easy on the ears and my theory teachers loved it because it uses something called Locrian Mode. (Note- I did not do this on purpose. It was a happy coincidence). A few years after composing the piece, Avguste Antonov recorded the piece and did a wonderful job. It is included on his debut album, An American Journey.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/cumulus…/21854853…#pianomusic#newmusic#solomusic

September 16th 2021

In 2009, around this time, I started my undergrad degree at Youngstown State in Ohio. At the time, I had just met my – unbeknownst to me- future husband. He took me to one of Youngstown’s greatest hidden treasures, Mill Creek Park, as part of a tour of the area. We walked around on this adventure for a while when a rather large tree branch suddenly snapped, and almost beamed us in the head on the way down from the fall. Me being me, blamed it on the trickster Faeries that obviously got a laugh at almost killing this intruder, .and yelled something unintelligible back at them. Darko laughed, I laughed, and this whole near-death experience is now immortalized in a Trombone and Euphonium duet. Today’s #ThrowbackThursday piece is dedicated to these Wood Nymphs who happened to give me the inspiration to finish the duet I was writing for fellow composer Dan Brandt and I, just in time to not get scolded by our studio professor. #Brass#BrassDuet#Trombone#Euphonium#WomanComposer#NewMusichttps://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/meliae…/21816732…

September 23rd 2021

Who Likes Thunderstorms???…….. Actually, not me. In fact, I sometimes find them terrifying! This week, we had a fairly loud one that kept me up quite late. The loud sound of the thunder hurts my ears and seeing a Lightning strike victim in the ER when I was little because my mom used to work nights and sometimes had to take us with to her job, may have contributed to this uncomfortableness. Thank goodness though. MN needed the rain. That brings me to this week’s #ThrowbackThursday piece.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/reign-of…/21833455…Reign of Thunder is a flute solo and one of my first pieces that premiered at YSU. However, it was written it in the summer before starting my studies Shanyse Strickland , a Fantastic Musician known for her Horn playing and Composing these days, was the Flute Player! Cory Davis did a wonderful job accompanying on piano and I took his suggestion to double the octave in the left hand, thus improving the piece. #Flute#Flutesolo#piano#womancomposer#newmusic

Life Update- Summer 2021 Recap

Just a heads up- the TLDR version for this is going to be: I’ve been VERY busy.

If you stick to the end, Great! Thank you!

If not and you decide to move on, that is ok too. Thank you for clicking and helping the algorithm !

So, what have I been up to this Summer?

Well,

  1. I took a 2 week trip/ honeymoon around Minnesota and Wisconsin with my Husband.

We went all over Minnesota and Wisconsin and did the low cost things that most people who actually live here seldom take time to go do. Some highlights were Duluth, Splitrock Lighthouse, Itasca State Park, Gooseberry Falls, The International Wolf Center In Ely, Crane Center in Baraboo, and Eagle Center in Wabasha, The House on the Rock, Seeing friends and Family in Lacrosse and Baraboo, and Axe Throwing in The Dells. Also, Pantsless Paul Bunion- Seriously- He has no pants!……. Probably No Chill either…. Or maybe he does?!?

2 I’m Back to In person Teaching and have actively been trying to recruit Students.

If you know anyone interested in Studying Piano, Trombone, Composition or Music Theory, please send them my way!

I’ve also been spending time lesson planning and creating videos for students to play along to.

3) I’ve been working on Lots of Projects:

  • This last week, I was finishing the edits on the first incarnation of Painless Parker’s Giant Bucket of Teeth. Now I’m looking for a couple of bands to read through it and receive some feedback before officially releasing it into the world.
  • I’m also working on wrapping up the Mill Creek Concerto Edits….Finally!
  • Finished Edits for The MnKino Film Score Fest. By the Way , if you are reading this before September 4th, and will be in the St. Paul Minneapolis area, you should come. It’s going to be fun.
  • I’ve been working a private editing project….I can’t say much but it has a lot of fun campfire songs in it!

4) I participated in a new to me composition festival

Check out this post on ZFest to see what I did

5) I’ve been Composing!

I only have some sketches at this point but with the busy summer wrapping up, I should hopefully have the time to get more things done!

6) I’ve been creating content.

On my Facebook page, I’m posting a memory a week on #ThrowbackThursday and a piece of mine that is connected to it. I’ll also be combining these into a recap at the end of the month on this blog. Let’s see how long this lasts.

I’m also working on being more active on SM to get out there in general.

7) I’ve been in talks to get my music played more.

It looks like I’ll be working with Calypsus Brass a bit more in the future! Stay tuned for details.

8) I’ve been learning new things!

This summer I made it a point to learn a few new things.

At Z fest I learned a bit more about how to use microphones and work with people across the country. I’ve also been making more of a point to stay healthy and in that journey I’ve been learning how to properly lift barbells at the gym and I’m having a blast. Watch out world!

I’m also learning how to program using a music program called Chuck. It’s been interesting πŸ™‚

9) I got to be a Guest Clinician at YOUth Can Compose again!

10) I’m back to playing in some ensembles–YAY!

Check out the Twin Cities Brass Band website for concert info

I also went to a Swing Sisterhood Big Band Rehearsal and that was fun!

If you made it this far, again, Thank you for reading!

Throwback Thursday August 2021 Recap

Hello Music friends and fans,

If you’ve been on Facebook page at all you may have noticed that I’ve been posting memories associated with the pieces I’ve written or arranged over the years on Thursdays. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them just as much as I have writing them.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how to add more content here and how to prompt myself to write more, as creativity begets creativity in a lot of cases. At the endo of the month- or the beginning of the next month, I’ll be copying those posts from Facebook and archiving them as blog posts.

August 12th 2021

It’s #ThrowbackThursday! YAY!- So I will be resharing an old memory and a piece attached to it.This past week’s new moon had me thinking bout this piece.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/lunar…/21815638…I wrote Lunar Tides while I was thinking about my grandpa and how he made sure I got piano lessons when I was a kid after I was figuring out my younger brother’s lesson songs and movie songs by ear. It is because of him (and my piano instructor πŸ™‚ ) that I was eventually able to articulate the music that I was hearing in my head and start the journey to becoming a Composer. Lunar Tides was written under the moon and the underlying broken chord accompaniment flows, much like water. A friend and fellow composer, Carol Ann Smolka once called it “spa music”, which made me chuckle, but I must say the description fits! Give it a listen and you’ll hear what she meant. #newmusic#vocalmusic#solomusic#composer

August 19th 2021

Aah, August: The perfect time to walk into a store and see all of the……Halloween Decorations?!? Not that I necessarily mind of course πŸ™‚This #ThrowbackThursday had me thinking about my favorite holiday and how it was the only time I was allowed out after dark as a kid and could dress up as one of the creatures of my imagination. It was also the time that Mr. Adams, my Elementary Music Teacher would break out the Halloween music and I’d delight in singing the songs that sounded nothing like the cheerful happy songs we sang the rest of the year. Have you seen the Ghost of Tom/ John? My Old Black Cat and You Better Watch Out! are the ones I still sing, sometimes in August, to this day. One year he had a whole assembly/ party where the entire elementary school showed up in costume and sang Halloween songs together. I was a sleepy soccer player ( I wore soccer pj’s and carried around a soccer-ball-shaped pillow- being inventive with cheap to make costumes was something I had fun with), but I specifically remember someone dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz completely with a metal garbage can body and full metallic makeup.Anyway, enough rambling.Here is the piece/ arrangement that is associated with this memory. Please enjoy, or purchase for your own Halloween-related #Brass shenanigans!https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/this-is…/21874496…

August 26th 2021

Happy Thursday Friends and Music Fans,Today’s #throwbackthursday piece brings back memories. When I needed an escape growing up, my way of dealing with emotions like fear anger, and sadness, and needing to feel protected was to find an instrument, usually a piano but in this case a PINK guitar, and just improvise. To this day, I still don’t understand exactly what I am doing on the guitar beyond the names of the basic chords, though maybe someday I’ll take lessons. πŸ™‚Anyway, this was created with a vamp of 2 chords that I would play, and I’d imagine a jam over it.Fast forward to the end of college where I was asked to provide music for a game, but that is a different memory for another day.πŸ™‚ Using Finale, I created an ending theme using this vamp and the jam I heard in my head for all of those years. Although the notation is atrocious, the sonic result is delightful and sounds pretty close to my imagination.https://samanthahogan-composer.bandcamp.com/…/mellow…

ZFestival- a July 2021Adventure!

This past month I participated in the first Composition Festival I have in a long time- ZFestival.

I first heard about ZFestival from a fellow Twin Cities Based Composer, Johnathan Posthuma. When I first applied to participate, as per usual fashion for me, I HAD LITERALLY NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO! That was on purpose. πŸ™‚

So what is this festival you ask? ZFestival is an online month long festival where they pair you with artists, composers and musicians from all over the world ( but mostly North America) and tell you to go create something.

They also have workshops and talks with guest artists and It’s all online. That’s right. I didn’t even have to leave my house or wear pants to participate in this event. ( I mean, I did wear pants except for that one time I wore a skirt. It’s just that it wasn’t required.)

Also, unbelievably, it’s FREE to participate.

They had 3 tracks this year for composers to participate in. The one I was chosen for was a multidisciplinary track.

The group consisted of Clarissa Littler, Timothy Leimu Sillman Walters, Tyler Katz, and Myself. So, a group of composers, multi instrumentalists, an amatur watercolor artist , and a computer programmer (Their instrument was listed as Math) who may or may not have doubled on these skills with prior knowledge that that was what they were going to do.

To create the project, we decided to trade pieces and record and engineer them from our own homes. A lot of Trial and Error on my end was had.

The final Gala Took place on July 31st and August 1st 2021. It was amazing to see what all of these groups came up with and celebrate their creativity. Our Project, which resembles a Prog Rock Space Opera with improvised live visual programming , was on August 1st and is the second one on the program.

As a BONUS and for your viewing pleasure, please watch the product of the 48 Hour Challenge I did with Tim, along with the rest of the projects. The prompt was…interesting to say the least. XD

You can learn more about ZFestival by visiting zfestival.org

Bittersweet Covers!

Sometimes, when you write music and release it into the world, you never know the path that it will take and who is going to find it.

Recently, a fellow composer discovered one of my FREE pieces originally written as part of the VGM challenge and transcribed for piano, and took it into his own hands.

Michael Chadwick, aka known as Nebyoolae , covered Bittersweet Memory not one, but TWO times.

This first is with him playing solo guitar:

The second, where he brought the piece to his band is a FULL ON JAM!!

Additionally, a THIRD performance was realized on Piano by Michael Calabris. His Beautiful interpretation of this melody is on YOUTUBE.

This all came from the original which can be heard here:

In my opinion Its an honor when someone takes the time to learn your music at all, let alone cover it!

I hope you enjoy these covers, and that maybe it will inspire you to cover either one of mine or a colleagues melody.

(Reminder: Always ask before posting though!

Michael Chadwick’s Website and BandCamp can be found here:

https://michaelchadwick.info

https://nebyoolae.bandcamp.com/

or you can follow him on Twitter

@mjchadwick

Michael Calabris’s Music can be found at his website

https://michaelcalabriscomposer.com/

Youtube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBG_L8w8ntMIt3Htjz6Qng/featured

or you can follow him on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/michaelcalabriscomposer