Barb’s Music Blog

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Farewell to Summer

I’ve finished Orchestration 2 (Berklee Music Online, Ben Newhouse)!

This was an amazing course.  Lots of work, as expected, but I’m coming away from it with an arsenal of useful tools.  When I finished Orchestration 1, I felt very unsure about my orchestration skills.  (Actually, I felt lucky that I’d been able to write and orchestrate a complete song for orchestra.)  But I didn’t have the confidence to continue writing for orchestra.  Now I do.

Take a listen to “Farewell to Summer”.  (From this link, or from the play list at the right of the screen.)  To me, this music captures the bitter-sweet end of summer–good memories thinking back on sunny days (on the golf course) and melancholy to be leaving those days behind, with winter ahead.

I welcome your comments on this music.

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Orchestration 2

I registered for Orchestration 2 a couple of days ago, using scholarship funds to pay for it (a very nice option).

Everyone who’s taken the course says it’s about double the work of Orchestration 1–and that it’s the best course they’ve ever taken. Considering that Benjamin Newhouse’s Orchestration 1 course was classified the Best Online Course of 2008, that’s saying quite a lot. He’s a fabulous teacher, there’s no question about that. My concern is whether I’m going to be able to find enough hours to do it justice. I admit I’m anxious about it. At the same time, I’m looking forward to building a more solid orchestration foundation to support my compositions going forward.  I’ve got until January 13 to breathe…and then it’s going to be “heads down” until April.

Now, if I could only figure out how to work faster….

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I’ve Finished my Certificate Program!

I’m finally coming up for air, having successfully completed my Introduction to Game Audio course–which was the third and final course required for my ”Orchestrating & Producing Music for Film & Games (Specialist)” certificate from Berklee Music.  This course was definitely the most difficult for me–and most labour-intensive.  My instructor was really great, though, and always willing to assist.

I’m going to postpone my next Berklee course until January.  In the meantime, I have several other music projects I want to work on, a grandbaby to look forward to (and sew for), several stained glass projects to complete…and plans to play plenty of golf!

For right now, I’m basking in the glow of having accomplished what I set out to do, and savouring a hard-won victory.

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Berkleemusic Celebrity Online Scholarship


I received word at noon today that I’ve been awarded a Berkleemusic Celebrity Online Scholarship in the name of Michel Camilo (

This means I’ll be able to take another Berkleemusic online course, after all. I’ve been vacillating between grinning and weeping ever since I found out!  

Now I need to decide what to take next, which is going to be really tough.  I have so much yet to learn….

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