Monday, June 17, 2019

I Believe In Dog

"I Believe In Dog" is a symphonic work scored for full orchestra - the music is underscore for my poem/narration, "I Believe In Dog" - the score and parts/poem are now available on Sheet Music Plus

Bella was a loving member of our family for almost 16 years.  She lived a long and happy life. She was by my side in my studio for many music scoring projects - kept me company and made sure I took lots of breaks to get outside and enjoy the outdoors!  All dogs (and cats) deserve loving homes.  It's my hope that "I Believe In Dog" can be performed and used to raise awareness and resources for organizations that foster and care for dogs and cats in order to find them homes.

Bella with "Dead Cow" - she'd shake that stuffed thing but never broke DC after over a decade!
Score excerpt from "I Believe In Dog" for Full Orchestra and Poem Reader/Narrator

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Halie Loren in Bandon Oregon

Bandon, Oregon - Halie Loren band/family
Pictured from left to right are: Rob Birdwell, Matt Treder, Sean Peterson, Halie Loren, and Larry Smith.
Had the great honor to join Halie Loren and band for a performance at the Sprague Community Theater in Bandon, Oregon on June 7, 2019. Incredible audience and such a nice venue. The band this night was:

  • Halie Loren - vocals, piano, ukulele 
  • Matt Treder - piano, rhodes, vocals
  • Sean Peterson - bass
  • John Raden - drums, percussion
  • Rob Birdwell - trumpet, flugelhorn
The first time I had the privilege to record some trumpet/flugelhorn solos in the studio with Halie I was thrilled and even a bit nervous as I didn't know what to expect or how she worked. I'd heard her previous work so I knew the quality of the performances and production were of the highest standard. Some studio sessions are better than others for sure.  Most of my experiences in the studio have been fun and enjoyable but there have been a couple that were absolute train wrecks for a variety of reasons.  Fortunately, every recording session with Halie and band have been the best of the best! 

First of all, Halie was running the console and doing the recording engineering herself, along with her long-time musical director/pianist extraordinaire, Matt Treder.  Both of them knew what they wanted but also kept things loose and in the moment - it's jazz after all!

Check out Halie's latest album, From the Wild Sky, which features her original material. As with all her recordings, this one is carefully crafted and features her exquisite songwriting and performances.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Scores and Parts for Rob Birdwell's Original Tunes

Been busy working on new music, gigging and enjoying life! I'm in the process of migrating my scores/parts for my original and public domain works to Sheet Music Plus!

The Sheet Music Plus service is a good fit for me, will save me time (more time for music!), and will hopefully expose my composing/arranging work (and even some of my songs!) to a much wider audience!

St. James Infirmary Blues is one of my arrangements now on Sheet Music Plus - it's a public domain song so I can make it available!  Enjoy the amazing Katie Smith's fabulous performance as well as that of everyone in the Corvallis-OSU Symphony!

I have several other derived work "arrangements" - making those available is much more complex.  There are some incredible publishers and rights organizations out there - but getting licensing for an orchestral arrangement is expensive folks - the best offers I've had offer a 12.5% markup price if I'm selling - that's actually good, but I have yet to sign any paper work for that deal.  The WORST are the offers (and I won't dignify them with even mentioning names) for an "arranger license" of around $400 or more!  That wouldn't even include any costs for the score or parts.  I've had to turn down MULTIPLE requests from some GREAT orchestras because I simply don't have the rights.

So yea, I get it.  Intellectual property, and all that jazz.  It's important.  I've been threatened with infringement fees in the past, but hopefully never again.  The "arranger license" fees will pretty much mean there's no way any of my 3 to 5 minute arrangements of other authors' songs will ever be heard in a public venue again!  Well, not unless something changes or there's some sort of reasonable solution that has an economy of scale suitable for the small-town arranger and local orchestra.

I do like the 12.5% markup idea.  Wouldn't it be great to write an arrangement of a cool tune, make the score/parts available for $50 bucks and send $6.25 of any sales to the publisher/rights holder?  Ah, if only it were that simple!

I'm going to stick to writing/composing ORIGINAL music/songs/lyrics!  The pay may not be great but wow is it satisfying!

I've got some projects in the works that I'm excited about - these things always take time so check back soon!

Meanwhile, keep playing it pretty!