Music teachers are busy. I don’t need to go into all the reasons why… just take my word for it! So it is a shame that music teachers, who should be engaging with their creative sides as much as possible, are often so caught up with admin and managing a large number of classes and a whole co-curricular programme.
I have felt the pressure of the job, and have neglected my own creativity. While I regularly perform on my instruments with my students, I have found it very hard to spend anytime composing.
So, this year I’ve decided to do something about it and engaged in a Film Composition course through Berklee University.
This has been a 12-week course in which you analyse different genres of film music composition such as love themes, high intensity action, supernatural/grandeur, sad themes, etc
In addition to analysis, completion of short pre-tasks and quizzes on music theory you have to compose music for a 2-3 minute film clip each week.
In a busy work life at school this has been tough. But, it’s been awesome. I’ve found the following benefits:
- My students hugely respect that I take my own learning and growth seriously
- My students appreciate that I’m not asking them to do anything in a week that I’m not prepared to do myself
- I have been forced to put admin aside to focus on creativity
- I have gained confidence to share my own work
- I am better able to demonstrate to my students the creative process involved with composition
- I now have a bunch of great templates in Logic Pro which I can share with my students as they do their own film composition tasks
- I have massively improved my MIDI sequencing chops in Logic Pro
- I have finally got my head around some of the amazing possibilities of what you can do with my sample libraries
Composing a new piece of music that sounds great for 12 weeks in a row is tough. However, I’ve been fortunate to have the following tools and software at my disposal:
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol
Native Instruments Komplete 11
Project Sam Symphobia 1 & 2 and Lumina Sample libraries
Spitfire Audio Orchestra collection
Roli controller and it’s Equator Synth
Well, I suppose you want to hear a bit of what I’ve done. Here is my demo reel from the course. I’ve included short excerpts from five of my 12 compositions in the following genres:
- Love theme – Sense & Sensibility ‘kiss’ scene
- Action – trailer for Troy
- Fantasy – from Once Upon A Time
- Suspense – Iron Man (when Tony Stark is captured)
- Action/suspense – 2012 deleted scene
The clips don’t make sense all the time with the dialogue and SFX removed (as well as being unable to see the pictures I was composing to) but it gives a good impression of what I’ve been up to.