I had the pleasure of Skyping into a rehearsal for one of my compositions a few days ago. The musicians were four Indiana State University students who are preparing my saxophone quartet “Mechanical” for an upcoming performance. Their wonderful director/teacher, Paul Bro was gracious enough to allow me to listen and offer some comments to the group during their rehearsal.

I asked the students if they were enjoying the piece, and they enthusiastically answered in the affirmative. That is such a great feeling. I write what I hear in my head, but I definitely think (usually as I’m formatting parts) about how I sincerely hope the musicians enjoy working on the composition. I know when I include one of my compositions in my own students’ concert repertoire, I smile a little on the inside when I tell them to get their music out and I hear several of them excitedly whisper “Yes!” I truly intend for my compositions to be gifts to the musicians who perform them as much as to the listening audiences.  Interacting with these musicians is always rejuvenating for me. It makes me want to continue composing — to keep giving, especially to young musicians who are eager to explore and learn new music.

Being a part of the rehearsal process, or even just observing that process, is a wonderful experience. These young musicians are doing a spectacular job tackling a very tough piece! I am honored and humbled by their attention to detail and their musical interpretation. Thanks Paul & Co., for allowing me to sit in with you for a bit!