Welcome to “Notes On Notes!”

by John Hinchey on 05/18/2010 · 2 comments

in Why "Notes on Notes"?

A blog about notes on paper to be read by musicians and how to get them there. (The notes, not the musicians)

Welcome to my blog “Notes On Notes.” My high school band director, Tony Hyde, would often tell us, “The first 30 years are the hardest!” What he never really defined was whether he meant the first 30 years of life, your first 30 years out of high school or your first 30 years in the real world. Well, it recently dawned on me, it doesn’t really matter now because in June of 2010 it will be 30 years since I left the hallowed halls of Towson State University and made my way off into the real world. And as one gig, one show, one project led to another, 30 years later I find myself in Nashville, Tennessee still making a living as a freelancer in the music business.

Mr. Hyde’s other oft-quoted tenet was, “You’ll learn more in your first 30 minutes on the street than you will in 4 years of college.” With all due respect to some wonderful teachers I had at Towson there is a lot of truth to this. But a more precise phrasing of this would be, “You’ll learn more about how to meet deadlines, make it work, create something out of nothing, find the answers, make the answers up, satisfy the client, the club owner, the band leader, the contractor, the producer, the choreographer, the magician with the alligator, trouble-shoot, fake it ’til you make it, stumble, trip, fall, fail and then get back on your feet in your first 30 minutes on the street than you will in 4 years of college.”

So what’s this all got to do with notes on paper? Since my 30 years of hard time is over I thought it might be nice to share some of the techniques I learned in that first 30 minutes on the street and beyond. Although I have spent a good deal of my waking hours with a trombone pressed to my face, I’ve spent even more hours putting notes on paper for musicians to play and singers to sing. So I’ve decided to make the focus of this blog music notation and arranging with a heavy emphasis on music notation software.

The initial focus of this blog will be to bring to your attention some tips and techniques for getting the most out of your music notation (and related) software and your time.

I’ve got a legal pad full of thoughts on Sibelius, Finale, Mosaic, Encore, Overture, Digital Performer, Logic, ProTools, musicXML, notation file transfer, MP3s, PDFs, transcribing, translating, plugins, click tracks, paper, tape, printing, binding, scanning, organizing, etc.

Let’s begin, shall we?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rick (Fred) Woodland June 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Ok. I’ll start this one off. Mr. Hyde. He gave me my “break” into music. He would work almost every day after school teaching me the Sousaphone. OK.. I said it…the lowest of the low…the Sousaphone. Hey, at least I could carry it 5 miles in a parade.

But it was a joy. Me and Stephen Glover…blowing away in the instrument storage room of the music room. But you know, it worked. And he worked it. We were a cobbled together group of misfits that had one of the best high school experiences.

I’ll never forget UNH Jazz Band competitions. The marching band competition in Everett? Was it Everett?

John, I’m sorry the first post hijacked your blog. When you mentioned him, I had to comment. It’s so great you’re making your living with music. So many of us from that band didn’t have the guts you have! Live long and prosper young man!

2 John Hinchey June 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thanks Rick, yes Tony Hyde worked very hard to improve that band program and taught us a lot about music and life. Great to hear from you. John

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