Barb’s Music Blog

Archive for the 'Music' Category

Gettin’ Around

Believe it or not, I survived Arranging 1: Rhythm Section.  I expect I’ll likely always be rhythm- and groove-challenged.  Nevertheless, I learned a lot in this course and feel there’s actually hope for me!

I’ve posted my final project, “Gettin’ Around” (both in this post and in the player). If you get a few minutes, put your feet up and enjoy the music.  This is done completely with samples, so I hope I don’t offend anyone’s ears.  Also, if you happen to know of a group that does this kind of music, please let me know.  I’d love to get it recorded live.

I’m taking the summer term off and will take my next course in September. There’s golf to be played and a granddaughter to hang out with, after all!

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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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“Sunday with Baby Aliah” (new song)

I wrote this after Aliah spent the weekend with us when she was 2 months old. (Yes, she brought her mother with her.)  Spending time with her made me feel so peaceful and happy. After they left, I sat down at the piano and starting playing. “Sunday with Baby Aliah” was the result.

I hope to orchestrate this someday.  In the meantime, here’s the piano version.

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Believe (Suicide Intervention)

I’ve just added “Believe” to my playlist.

The topic of this song is suicide–more specifically, a plea to someone who is contemplating suicide.

My co-writer on “Believe” is Jorgen Hansen, who lives in Denmark and works as a school counsellor.  Jorgen first approached me with his original version over a year ago.  Since then, we’ve done several major rewrites.  Last week a demo singer re-recorded the vocals (revised lyrics, and partially revised melody), and our friend Juan Albarran in Nashville mixed it for us with his drum tracks.  The rest of the backup tracks were created by Gary Earl, also of Nashville (, who also did the original mastering.

If you know of anyone struggling with depression or suicidal tendences–particularly teens–please share this song with them. I know how overwhelming depression can be…and how tempting it can be to consider suicide as an “out”.  If this song can help even one person, I will consider the effort well worth it.

To access online suicide prevention sites, go to Google (or other search program) and search “suicide prevention”.  In the meantime, here’s a Web page specifically addressing teen suicide:

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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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New Praise & Worship Song

I’ve written a new P&W song…but have not yet had time to record a demo of it.   In the meantime, here are the lyrics–for which I invite feedback:


I love* You, Lord
I love* You, Lord
Constant friend, faithful guide, merciful Saviour
Holy One, God’s Only Son
For your grace, for your pow’r, for the cross You bore
Ev’ry day, ev’ry hour, I love* You more.

Vs. 2:
Substitute “praise” for “love”.

Vs. 3:
Substitute “need” for “love”.

Repeat vs. 1.

Ev’ry day, ev’ry hour, I love You more.

*I’m not sure how I should manage the title…given the rotating verb in the hook and the fact that there are so many “I Love You, Lord” songs out there.  I’ll get input from my SongU counsellors.

Stay tuned for the demo!

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Introduction to Audio for Games – Week 1

Oh, boy! Where do I begin to express my ignorance on this topic? I bring no experience and no innate gaming skills to the table. Thank goodness for my son, an avid gamer. I’ll be calling on his assistance on a regular basis, I’m afraid.

One of my assignments this week was to take an online quiz on game sounds, where we had to identify the game by the sound played. I got 3/18…and counted myself lucky to have gotten that. (Apparently the odds on guessing aren’t all that great.) Three. Hmm. Wow.

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I Got My A!

…and I’m thrilled with the feedback from my Film Scoring instructor, Jack Freeman:

Barb, this is very nice! (I don’t really notice that much difference in quality between the cues that are ‘properly sequenced’ and those that aren’t!) All your music would stand alone quite well apart from the film, I think. Your cues make good musical sense.

I’ve already made a few comments about the first cue in the previous assignment – it works very well under the narration and still follows the development of the film.

Nice musical transition to the second cue, good modulation also. Nice ‘working/industry’ feel with the strong pulse. Tempo works very well and helps to catch many visual events. The piece is interesting to listen to but doesn’t detract from our understanding of the film. Nice sort of deceptive resolution into the 3rd cue, very good contrasting feel. Brings out the ‘crystal’ aspect of the film for me, very delicate.

You definitely have used the overlap techniques well in this film. Very good recap to the first theme to tie everything together. Nice ending also. I think this is a good example of the techniques you’ve learned in the class. Bravo, great job!

(See why I’m thrilled?)

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It’s Official! I’ve Finished Film Scoring 101!

This is my final project for Film Scoring 101 from Berklee Music online.  The instructor said we could post our projects if we made it clear that this was an assignment, only, with our original music–and not the actual product.  So…this is a work print, only–not the actual, original product.  The music is mine.

The first two cues have been sequenced, but cues 3-5 are simply output from my notation software.  I plan to sequence them, as well, to give consistent sound throughout the documentary.

Even after all the calculations involved in order to sync music with the video, it still seems like magic to me!  I hope I never lose that sense of wonder….


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