One-on-One Bass Lessons: Building An Effective Walking Bassline

Here’s a short clip of my one-on-one bass class at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde Music Production Department (student name: Zildjan Benitez). An effective walking bassline should outline the harmony horizontally since the bass is essentially a monophonic instrument.

Concepts in Orchestration Workshop/Lecture (March 10, 2016)

I will be conducting a lecture/workshop on March 10, 2016, 10am-12pm at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music. The main topic of this lecture is creating separation between ideas in orchestration and guiding the listener’s attention in a multi-layered texture orchestration. I may throw in some composition and music production ideas as well. See you there! 🙂Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 3.04.50 PM

Excerpt From “Concepts for Improvisation” Lecture/Workshop (2nd session)


Thank you again 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 2nd of 3 sessions.

Lecture and Workshop: Concepts for Beginning Improvisation (2nd Session)

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For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting the 2nd or 3 sessions of lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation this Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The 2nd session will deal more on motivic development and the concept of target notes based on a simple guide tone line.

As before, we will begin the session with a short lecture and demonstration. Proceeding right after the lecture is a workshop for students. I strongly encourage those attending to bring their instruments and participate in this workshop.

See you all on Wednesday, March 11.

Finale 2014: Preparing Classroom Exercises

Here’s a quick Finale 2014 tip for educators. When preparing exercises for students, especially for harmony and voicing exercises, I usually want to separate each measure into small adjacent staff systems for students to write on. The way to do this is to go to “Page Layout” and uncheck “Avoid Margin Collisions”. This will let you move individual staff systems to wherever you want.

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If you want to place the whole note in the middle of the measure, you will need to download a JW Plugin called “JW Change. This plugin does a lot of things, including moving the note entry horizontally within a measure.

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Here’s a video of how I did my class exercise in Finale 2014.


Tom & Jerry Live Scoring

To my orchestration students, I stumbled upon this really cool video. It’s a live performance of the music used in old Tom and Jerry cartoons. In relation to our current lesson in Brasses (and subsequent lessons in Woodwinds and Percussion), there are a lot of articulation here in use that are hard to describe in class without examples. Let’s get on with the observations:
– music starts off big and comedic. then at about 0:31, changes into a smaller comedic orchestration
– from 0:31, notice the really quick, short, and energetic melody presented by strings. this helps in the presentation of the hyper-active cat-and-mouse scenes.
– notice when the solo violin comes in at 0:51, the orchestration of the other material (harmonic and counterpoint) thins out to let the solo violin project more (solo violin is doubled with flute at 1:02).
– 0:57 comes the trumpets using mutes. i can’t really tell though if they’re using straight mutes or harmon mutes.
– 1:15 in this orchestration, the addition of the sax section (usually 2 altos, 2 tenors, 1 baritone, but in this case its 3 altos and 1 baritone). this gives the music that jazz-y feel along with the addition of the drum set.
– at 1:32, a solo muted trumpet comes in off-camera.
– 1:47 here you see trumpets using the plunger to get that “wah-wah” effect.
– 2:00 here you’ll see a trombone glissando using the slide.
– 2:14 one of the many “weird” percussion instruments you’ll encounter: trashcan and plates/pans.
– 2:21 another weird percussion instrument. the “screaming man”.. hehe
– 2:29 perfect example of a quirky melodic line in the strings doubled by the marimba to add to that comic effect.
– 2:45 trombone solo counterpoint with slide glissandi
– 2:48 off camera, you’ll hear the brasses do a flutter tongue effect.
– 3:03 trombone using a harmon mute and using his hand for a “wah-wah” effect.
– 3:30 you guys just imagine the scene that needs that kind of percussion.
– 4:55 yes, a gunshot can be used as a percussion instrument (just like one of, i think, mozart’s pieces that requires for a cannon to be shot).