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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:39

Composer: How I got my job and where I'm going

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there's a similarity between myself and other composers it's that we are definitely interested in a lot of kinds of music kind of on judge mental in that respect we we put it upon ourselves to just study in to study those different kinds of music I mean obviously I come from the background of classical music so you know I already had known a lot about Bach and Mozart before I was 20 so for me I had to kind of go back and do it the other way that you know or a different way than a lot of other musicians then I did it but then but then you you know you get interested in the rest of popular music and and you you you try and learn how that music is actually made and how that music is actually constructed and the better you are at that I think the better equipped you are to be a composer in the film space certainly in the advertising space and maybe even as a composer in general even if you're doing something specific like classical music because you'll pull those those references and those influences into your own music and hopefully make yourself a unique voice for somebody starting out who wants again it's a composition I think it's really important to start listening to as much music as as you can and then start to deconstruct in your mind how that music actually works as you start getting better at that you can start applying that knowledge you know start to write songs start to write pieces on piano pieces on guitar and as you start getting better at that you then will decide to pick up probably some software and kind of learn the management the mechanics of writing music either from the point of classical composition which on you know notes on paper or for through production well as a pop musician would do whereas popular music does which is taking out Ableton logic or Pro Tools and start recording things and then different recordings on top of one another but I was a classical musician that was a little kid I was a violinist started at age three then studied piano at age nine also played saxophone and played a little guitar - I was in high school but I studied violin very seriously and excited with this son with this violin teacher I'm in high school musical but at that point by the time I was graduating high school I didn't I didn't know if classical music was entirely entirely what I wanted to do or entirely or violin rather wasn't entirely what I wanted to do so I thought composition was really cool so I decided to go to Carnegie Mellon to study classical composition and then at the same time study business so then I got a minor in business and then I think I was in Argentina studying abroad when it occurred to me it would be really cool to get a master's in arts management and maybe that would give me some sort of understanding of how the business of music worked and I'm happy I did that I went back to the Carnegie Mellon and did an accelerated masters in arts management while I was a kinda Mellon I'm due at grad school for arts management I started feel like I was losing my artist card and so I kept running come to me sick and I look to a professor of mine if he thought that you know I'd be a good fit for grad schools and composition and he thought that I that I would be so I interviewed at Yale School music and the Royal College in London and also at Northwestern for a PhD and then decided to be as close to home my parents lived in New Jersey and I had gotten to Yale and a few others and so I decided to go to yell and yell fortunately enough was free that year somebody had given a huge endowment and so I was actually I was I mean yells cool soon honor go to Yale but when it's free released a mail so I took a semester off for me and I I went to live in LA to work as a fellow with the composer on Law & Order and it was an honor to work with him and I learned I kind of got my first experience of what it was to write to picture actually and I also fell in love with Los Angeles so now I'm here like 10 years later while I was working in grad school at Yale I got this opportunity to be an assistant for the first time you had ever written an opera and from then it was essentially a two year or two and a half year project flying around the world setting up computers wherever we were and I would help him make this make this operative called pre-madonna and I think at that time I was paid 1750 week which was enormous just simply enormous to be able to work with him of course it was like 12 hour days at the whim of a pretty colorful artist and he knows that but uh but ya know I mean it was an honor so I had that great gig and you know eventually it became time to kind of leave that gig I got back to New York and and realized that my phone wasn't ringing off the hook after that so I think for a while I was still doing some score things for him some like orchestration assisting for him freelance on my own but very soon after I realized that I needed to get a job and not really knowing what to do and kind of feeling not entirely in the classical music space anymore so by that point out of this kind of disillusioned that's what I wanted to do musically so I fell into you know the primary business in which of Madison have advertising I got a job at human initially as a contract reader which is kind of funny I had taken one law class in grad school they felt like that was good enough to be able to read their music contracts so I learned a lot about music contracts doing that and the partner over there asked me if I wanted to be a producer and sounded really really interesting so I jumped on board and and I think my salary from them I want to say with either 67 or 73 thousand here so when I got offered the job as a producer at human I was able to learn the skills of negotiation essentially what things cost in the advertising music world I also got to learn the ins and outs of all the union's both ASM which is the American Federation of musicians and sag-aftra Screen Actors Guild I learned a lot there then after that I learned how to manage composers being a composer doesn't mean that you necessarily have the gift of managing other composers because concludes are their own colorful personalities but anyway you know working at human kind of prepared me to learn how to speak to composers also learning how to give them a creative direction in addition to learning going to talk to them about finances and money because invariably on a given job we'd have to talk about who they were going to hire for outside talent how much money they were going to spend also if they needed other gear they needed other plugins to execute a certain brief so I learned how to handle that and then of course I learned how to deal with clients both to deal with their personalities how to kind of read in between lines on a creative brief because typically a lot of clients aren't musicians themselves so they're giving you more notes as to feelings they want to feel in music rather than specific notes like I will you know I think that should be done with guitar versus piano and then of course how to navigate and pivot between discussing with the client a creative direction that they want and pivoting to how much money that creative direction is going to cost as a composer when you're starting to think about what your next step is and this touches upon things that we mentioned before you kind of think of what you what you want to do really creatively and then kind of figure out a way to be creative financially to make whatever goal that you have possible what I want to be doing is I would love to to get a TV show I think TVs become just an incredible medium it also provides kind of stable lifestyles you get paid for episode or you know you get a package deal and you know there's a certain stability in that you know whereas you can do in a really really incredible film even films that are up for awards that you know you'll get $30,000 for the film and you know but you know probably not enough to live on especially if you have a family so but a TV show seems you know would be really exciting in a perfect world I would right now I think it would be maybe a four bedroom house in the same neighborhood I lived now hard to do where I have like some panics little studio there maybe two kids and and I'm doing the same thing I'm doing now but maybe just slightly more profile work or you know you know or maybe just a little bit more lucrative no no I guess it after you a little more lucrative murder to have that house
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