Barb’s Music Blog

First Soul

I’ve completed just over half of Arranging: Contemporary Styles…and feel like celebrating a bit.

Here’s my first attempt at “soul” music.  I went in the ditch a number of times as I tried to get this genre to fit me.  I think I’ve succeeded (but my instructor may not think so!)

Anyway, here’s a little music from my soul to yours.  Relax and groove at the same time!

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Aliah Turns 1!

I can hardly believe our granddaughter is one year old! The year has just flown by–filled with one delightful change after another. What a marvel this child is! I call her Little Miracle…and that’s what she is.

She’s not quite walking on her own, although she can walk just fine behind her walker or pushing a toy stroller–but she can walk partway up a slide from the bottom by herself, as she demonstrated yesterday!

I look forward to witnessing her continued progress throughout this next year. How she has enriched our lives!

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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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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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“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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Grandma Ponderings

It’s amazing how one little person can change the lives of the adults around her!

I’ve been so blessed to be able to spend time with my daughter and her new baby. What chaos that little scrap of humanity can cause…and how dearly she’s loved! Tenderness and love overflow my heart every time I think of her, see her, hold her.  I adore being her grandmother!

Now…if she could just let her mother get some sleep….

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New Family Member

Our new granddaughter, Aliah Marie, was born Saturday, July 11 (8 lbs. 3 oz., 21 1/2″ long).  Mom and baby are both doing well.

I’m so thankful for the marvelous blessing of this beautiful little girl.  What a miracle she is!

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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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