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Written for BlueSHIFT Percussion, Push (2019) is a high-energy work for mallet quartet featuring a vibrant bass marimba groove combined with changing patterns and harmonies found in all other voices. Harmonic expansion is explored when small, crunchy intervals expand as new voices are added. In addition, melodic patterns lengthen through an additive process in which groupings of notes grow longer. Overall, this work seeks to push these musical boundaries in both a vertical (harmonic) and horizontal (rhythm) motion to create an expansion of true musical space.
Why did I name it Push? I honestly don’t know… probably because James Campbell needed something to put on the program.
With that said, I do know that this title has had several different meanings since it’s conception. It has served as a continuous reminder to keep pushing forward. It has also been a funny inside joke during BlueSHIFT tours. For my pregnant wife, it has served as a reminder of what is to come in a few short months…
This piece is dedicated to Jennifer Deen Butler.
False Summit (2017) was inspired by my obsession with hiking the Colorado Trail in past summers. One of the highlights from a previous hiking trip was successfully reaching the summit of Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado at 14,439 feet. For a variety of reasons (including flying from Georgia the day before), it was one of the most grueling days of hiking I’ve ever experienced. When approaching the mountain, you spend the first 3 miles stuck in the trees unable to see what is ahead of you. At a certain elevation, the trees are gone leaving you a breathless view of the summit – or at least that is what I thought.
A “false summit” is a point on the mountain that appears to be the pinnacle until you reach it and find another higher peak above you. In the moment, it can be devastating to realize how much further you must go.
I think we all reach false summits in our lives… If you want my advice, be sure to enjoy the hike.
False Summit is composed in three short sections (Fast-Slow-Fast) and explores concepts of rhythm and meter inspired by Alejandro Viñao, Steve Reich, and Igor Stravinsky.
The ability for a musician to sight-read music at a high level can be the difference in an important audition, critical musical situation, and potential employment. Developing percussionists are playing at a higher level than ever before but still struggle to sight-read music for mallet percussion.
Mastering Sight-Reading for Mallet Percussion is designed for any level of musicianship. The exercises in this book can be utilized in a multitude of different ways to allow beginners to succeed while also challenging professional musicians.
The most common answer to becoming more proficient at sight-reading is to simply read more music. While this is partially true, I wanted to develop an effective method to working on sight-reading pitch that also provides an extraordinary amount of flexibility and variation to serve a wide array of musical skill levels.