Fugue on a Theme by Katy Perry

Fugue on a Theme by Katy Perry

The main theme is from Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Took me two months to write, re-write, and edit the iterations of the main theme as well as the harmonic direction.


Excerpt From “Concepts for Improvisation” Lecture/Workshop


Thank you to the faculty and students of DLS-CSB Music Production Department for making this lecture/workshop possible. Thank you also to the students who participated in the workshop part of the session. Here’s a short excerpt from the 1st of 3 sessions.

Lecture and Workshop: Concepts for Beginning Improvisation

JCM Improv Lecture Poster

For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting a series of monthly lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation starting this Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015.

The short lectures I prepared are primarily aimed to create interest in the art of improvisation using simple musical concepts such as arpeggios and scales. To students who already have a background in improvisation, these lectures serve as a different perspective to some of the concepts they already know. The prepared musical examples and performances are mostly in the jazz idiom, though the lecture contents can be applied to other styles of music which requires the performer to add improvised lines. The contents in each session is geared towards a melodic approach to improvisation; ideas on how to start a motif, how to develop a motif, creating contour and contrast throughout the whole form,  tension and release ideas, etc.

After the short lectures, a workshop/semi-masterclass session will follow. During the workshop portion of the event, students are encouraged to come up on stage with their instruments and improvise on a simple chord progression. I will then throw in some suggestions that may work as idea-generating tools using simple concepts (ex: arpeggios and scales). Performance and ensemble playing are also taken into consideration in the workshop portion, which is structured as a masterclass session.


Live Performance of Written Work


The feeling of accomplishment will always be there every time one of my orchestrations or arrangement gets played live. Although, admittedly, this is always accompanied by another feeling; as if I have just submitted my thesis and is currently under scrutiny by the whole college department.

In terms of being an arranger and orchestrator, I always think of the process as a never ending learning event. Every music I orchestrate pushes my creativity into different directions; directions which I wouldn’t initially think of looking into at the beginning of the writing process.

This YouTube clip is from last Jan. 19, 2015. The show’s organizers commissioned me to orchestrate the song People (T. Bennett version). The music was performed by Arthur Manuntag with the String Minstrels Orchestra.

Bass Doubling


As a bass player, I regularly come across performances that require me to double on instruments. Typical combination would be Electric Bass Guitar and Upright Bass or Electric Upright Bass. Sometimes i also encounter instances where i need a fretted and a fretless bass; and in some occassions i need a synth keyboard bass for those electronic dance tunes or old-school disco / funk gigs aside from my standard electric bass guitar.

The most critical piece of equipment for me as a doubler is my instrument selector switch / pedal. This is where both instruments are plugged in and sent to one amp; choosing instruments via toggle switch. My current switch is the Radial Engineering Bigshot I/O. The switch has a small volume knob which balances the volume between the two instruments. Another feature that i find very important is that it does not require any power source to use. This allows me to keep it plugged-in the whole night without worrying about the battery.


Anderson Babcock (Australian Short Film)

My first international film scoring experience. All music related discussions, from the director spotting sessions to the final mixing, were done over emails and dropbox file transfers. It was quite an experience.

Cool thing about this film score is that the director wanted a “Mariachi” feel for the whole movie. I did a bit of research on Mexican Mariachi styles before finishing the OBB music (which they also used as music for the trailer).

The short film was premiered in Sydney, Australia on June 2014. Produced by Leah James and directed by Charlie Mortimer.

Blues Etude

I wrote this short piece to prepare my bass students for the upcoming lessons in improvisation, which starts off with lectures regarding the standard 12-bar blues. This etude aims to familiarize the ears and fingers of the student to the dominant 7 sound and tritone interval that is formed between the 3rd and the 7th of the chord.

Recommendations and goals for this etude:

  • begin with a slow, comfortable tempo, and start learning the melodic line in 2 to 4-bar phrases up to measure 14.
  • familiarize yourself with the shape of the tritone interval under your fingers and how they lead into the next chord. (take note of the double-stops)
  • once you can play through the whole first 14 measures in proper tempo, move on to learn the next 12 measures, which includes playing the melodic line an octave higher.
  • initial focus should be on observing solid tempo. If at any point you do not feel relaxed and confident playing the  whole piece, slow the tempo down until you can play through it perfectly in time and without stumbling.

Blues Etude.pdf