Thursday, February 23, 2017

Commissioning new music: a guide to get started

This is a preview (and hopefully helpful resource for later!) of the presentation I am leading on behalf of Flute New Music Consortium at the Music by Women festival March 3-4 in Columbus, MS. If you're in the area, I hope you can come!  Some amazing music by Nicole Chamberlain, Amber Beams, and Kay HE will also be performed. And some of this information will be presented again, in round table form with composers and commissioners, at NFA in Minneapolis this summer!

Funding Ideas for Commissioning Projects:


Aggregate Sites:

American Composers Forum: composers

BMI Foundation:

Musical Online:

Barlow Endowment for Music Composition:
Things to know: There is one commission prize every year for an LDS composer, and another one every year for the general public; since requirements are so open-ended, this is a very competitive application.

Carnegie Corporation Aggregate Site:
Things to know: Grants here often require a special focus and/or educational content, so read about the grants first, then tailor your project to the required language.

Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program:
Things to know: must be a member of CMA to apply; the director of the program is very hands-on, so make contact with her as you develop your proposal to see if she has any suggestions for making it better.

Things to know: There is no strictly classical music category, just a general “performing arts” group, and integration with other artworks is an important element to the projects they fund.

National Endowment for the Arts:
Things to know: highly competitive; if you are writing for a grant through your school, only one application per school per year, is accepted, so coordinate with your school director to ensure you are qualified.

Local and stat arts organizations often have either specific grant applications for artists or discretionary money for intriguing proposals.  Must be a member of the organization to apply.  To look up your state and region, go to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies:

Go Fund Me: (No limit required, no penalty for not reaching goal)
Kickstarter: (Financial goal must be reached in order to collect)
Rocket Hub: www.rocket

Finding Composers:
American Composers Forum:
Composer’s Forum:
Cornell University Composers Forum:
European Composers Forum:
UNT Composers Forum:
Washington Composers Forum:
Young Composers Forum:

Composers for Performers, Performers for Composers:
Group for New Music Ensembles and Composers:

Background Information

Bios from every ensemble member and the composer

Ensemble bio that proves some history as a performing entity

Include composer’s and ensemble’s resume (or performer’s individual resumes if an ensemble resume is not possible)

Copies of the front pages of the composer’s and grant writer’s passports to prove citizenship (if this is a requirement for the grant)

Sample works

Sample programs from the ensemble

Sample recordings, generally 2-3 each from the performing ensemble and the composer (there will be time limits imposed and some requirement that a percentage of this recorded material is live and unedited)

Sample scores from the composer, professionally bound

Details of the Project

Composer’s description: Include as much detail as possible, particularly the length and instrumentation of the proposed piece. Description of structure, inspiration for the piece, and special requirements for the performance are helpful to include here if possible.

“About the project”: how does the commission relate to your programming, why have you selected the composer, and what (if any) is the history of your creative relationship?

Projected premiere: when, where, how…

Copy of your agreement with the composer

Financial Details

Create a budget that justifies your financial request, including projected fees for the composer, ensemble honorarium (CMA suggests $1,000 / performer as a maximum), and copying costs. Research the grant’s allowable range sty within it!

Excel spreadsheet of your ensemble’s operating budget is sometimes required (CMA)

Nicole Riner ©2016

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dr. Riner’s Practice Triad of Triumph

It's an "oldy" here at University of Wyoming with a dorky title, but I find myself coming back to this formula again and again in studio class to great results.  In keeping with my post on developing efficient practice habits earlier this month, here's UWYO's good old ...

Dr. Riner’s Practice Triad of Triumph
Tone (45 minutes for music ed./B.A, 60 minutes for performance; 30 minutes for minors)
*First, cover the entire range in step-wise motion
OptionsWye, pp. 8, 16, 21
Moyse, pp. 6-9
Wilkinson, pp. 22-23
Edmund-Davies, 1 exercises from the “Sonority” section, starting 8va, going down to low B
Second, specialize low (do 2 exercises if this is a problem area)
OptionsWye pp. 9-12
Moyse pp. 10-14 (bonus: add articulations to include steps 4 & 5)
Moyse split octaves (from Tone Development Through Interpretation)
Third, specialize high (do 2 exercises if this is a problem area)
OptionsWye, pp. 18-21
Moyse, pp. 15-22
Moyse, split octaves
*Fourth, practice leaps & dynamics to test embouchure (do 2 exercises if this is a problem area)
OptionsWye, pp. 6, 22-23
Wilkinson, pp.10 (#1), 13 (#6), 29-37, 56-58
Edmund-Davies, 1 exercise from “Intervals” section
"Diamonds" + slurred octaves
Harmonics and/ or whistle tones
Fifth, practice articulation
OptionsWye, 2-3 exercises from “Articulation” section
Edmund Davies, 1 exercise from “Articulation” section
Salvo, 5 pages daily
Supplementary: Vibrato
Wilkinson, pp, 46-52
Dr. Chris Potter’s Vibrato Workbook
*Supplementary: Extremes Project, using any simple melodies from books like Louis Moyse’s 40 Little Pieces, rudimentary etude books like Andersen Op. 37, or Gariboldi 30 Progressive Studies or Op. 132, or the “Intonation” section of Wye
*=essential exercises for busy days.
Technique (45 minutes for music ed./B.A, 60 minutes for performance; 30 minutes for minors)
Your time should be spent intelligently on your etude and your assigned scale patterns.  
ScalesYour short-term goal is to pass the semester scale test, but your long-term goal is to achieve mastery over all common tonal patterns for ease of learning and performing music. To this end, it may help to “mix up” your scales now and then so they don’t get stale; just grab any one of the technique books listed below and find the patterns you are currently working on for a different perspective.  
Trevor Wye’s “Technique” section, Paul Edmund Davies’ “Fingers” section, and individual exercises from Geoffrey Gilbert’s Sequences may be used as supplementary exercises after all basic pattern work is done for the day.
EtudesIt is crucial that you woodshed efficiently in your etude; merely playing through it over and over again every day will not get it learned in a week.  Identify problem spots the first day of a new etude, bracket those passages, and spend time woodshedding each one every day.  At the end of your technique practice session, run the entire etude.  Your etude is practice learning music quickly and efficiently.
Repertoire (45 minutes for music ed./B.A, 60 minutes for performance; 30 minutes for minors)
Under this category falls solo music for juries, recitals, and lessons; orchestral excerpts; chamber music parts; and, when necessary, difficult spots in your large ensemble music.  Priorities should be made according to the order listed above. Employ creative woodshedding techniques to avoid the exhausting syndrome of performing a concert every day in the practice room; very little time will be spent running entire pieces.
Books referenced
Edmund-Davies, Paul.  28 Day Warm-Up Book. Pub.: Carolyn Nussbaum Company
Moyse, Marcel.  De La Sonorite. Pub.: LeDuc.
Potter, Chris. Vibrato Workbook.  Pub.: Falls House Press.
Salvo., Victor. 243 Double- and Triple-Tonguing Exercises. Pub: Mel-Bay.
Wilkinson, Fiona.  The Physical Flute. Pub.: Mayfair Music.
Wye, Trevor. Practice Books for Flute, Omnibus Edition. Pub.: Novello.
Gilbert, Geoffrey.  Sequences and Technical Flexibility. Pub.: Southern Music Company.
Marquarre, AndrĂ©.  Daily Exercises.  Pub.: Southern Music Company.
Moyse, Marcel. Exercices Journaliers pour la flute. Pub.: LeDuc.
Reichert, Matthieu .  Seven Daily Exercises for the Flute, Op. 5. Pub.: Southern Music Company.
Taffanel, Paul and Philippe Gaubert. 17 Grands Exercices de Mechanisme pour flute.  Pub.: LeDuc.

Nicole Riner ©2016