Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 52 | Living Earth (Original Piano Improv)


New music. Every week. All year. Done.

It has been one heck of a year and I am thrilled to now be on the completed end of this crazy little "A Thing A Week" experience. Thank you all sooooo much for following along and listening and sharing your comments and encouragement. I don't think I could have done it without you.

My last "Thing" of the year is the final solo piano piece in the "Elements" series based on art work by Alison Albrecht. I give you, "Living Earth."

Thanks again and best wishes into the new year!


Monday, December 26, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 51 | Distant Fire (Original Piano Improv)

I cannot believe there is less than a week left in the year. Week 51's post is a day late due to the Holiday weekend being packed full of family plans. Soooo much good food and good company :)

This is the 2nd to last post of the year for my 2016 A Thing A Week series. "Distant Fire" is also the 2nd to last piece in my Elements series which is based on the art work of Alison Albrecht. While looking at the painting I got the feeling of a massive fire way off in the distance. Something like a huge hill-side wild fire, or even a distant Sun. The fire is absolutely raging, but from a long way off it appears to be almost still and just subtly changing and morphing. Neither growing nor dissipating. Always was. Always will be.

Thanks for listening. See you next week (or rather lather this week)!


Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 50 | The Berlin Fabric (Original Piano Improv)

Week 50 has arrived. Today I sat down at the piano with no prep and played. What I played is this week's thing. Sometimes it feels best to just make some sound.

Also partially inspired by this really sweet fabric Kate got for me as a gift. One of a kind 60's fabric from Berlin that will be used as a tapestry in the new recording studio. Can't wait to hang this beauty.

I present to you, The Berlin Fabric.



Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 49 | Snowfall & Hearth (Original Piano Improv)

Snowfall and Hearth
A True Juxtaposition
A Reminder to be Grateful

Week 49 of 2016 has arrived as has the winter wonderland scene out my music room window. Feeling inspired to create is my favorite part of the human condition.

See you next week!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 48 | Precious Air (Original Piano Improv)

Close your Eyes
Borrow a Breath
All Around
Deep Within
Our Precious Air
Our Precious Life

For Week 48 I've written a piece of music for solo piano based on the art work of Alison Albrecht. This piece is part of The Elements collection. In August, I wrote Calming Water as well, so take a listen over there if you missed it or want to hear these two together. I'll be doing Fire and Earth for two of the last four weeks of 2016. Looking forward to compiling this set with the Seasons Past set and making a full length album release for solo Piano. Watch for it early 2017 :)

I should mention, Alison is having an art opening at Trotter's Cafe in St. Paul, MN from 6-8 this Wed Dec 7th. The event will feature hre paintings I've been composing music to as well as some of her other paintings and photographs. And! I'll be playing live music during the show. If you're in the area, stop by and say hi.

If not then, I'll see you next week.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 47 | Autumnal Reminiscence (Original Piano Improv)

Guess what!? It is week 47 of 2016, and I'm back to working on the Seasons Past series which is based on artwork by Alison Albrecht. Autumnal Reminiscence is the final installment in this set.

After this post, there are 4 weeks left in the year! Over the summer I wrote a piece for water called Calming Water. So, to finish out the year, I'll be creating music for the rest of the Elements; Earth, Air, and Fire. This will leave me with one additional week to round out 2016. Not entirely sure what I'll be doing for that. I have jury duty the last two weeks of the year, so maybe we'll have some sort of court room inspired music. We'll just have to wait and see. But for now, here is Autumnal Reminiscence.

See you next week!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 46 | Midwest Game Jam - Winter Still - Video Game Music

Hello hello,

Welcome to week 46 of 2016! I just had the pleasure of attending Gamer's Rhapsody 3. While there, I participated in the 2016 Midwest Game Jam. For those of you who don't know, a game jam is where you get a bunch of developers, artists, musicians, writers, and more together to create a video game within a certain time limit. These people may or may not know each other. They are always super fun and a great networking opportunity. This jam went from 10am on Sat - 10 am Sun (this morning). The theme was "Winter Wonderland."

There were A TON of musicians at this one, and not a lot of developers, so I decided to take a crack at making a game myself. My minimum viable product was a 3D landscape that could be explored and would have different music based on where you went. I can't believe I made this start to finish in less than 24 hours.

I took the name for my game from a piece of music I wrote a few weeks back. Winter Still is a sonically interactive, snowy mountain exploration experience. I created all the music in Pro Tools using mostly EastWest Samples. A lot of the 3D assets are from the free-to-use Infinity Blade set. I created the landscape/map/texture, placed and scaled the assets, and programmed the music transitions accordingly using Unreal 4.

The game can be downloaded for free here (Windows 64-bit):

To see the rest of the games, visit:

Lastly, here is a playlist of all the music I created for this game.

See you next week!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 45 | Spring Awakening (Original Piano Improv)

We're getting down there! Week 45 is here. That means we have only 7 more Things to go. I'm continuing working on my series of piano miniatures based on the seasons and artwork by Alison Albrecht. I'm really happy with the way these are turning out. What a fun project to be a part of.

Also, this is neat, I just noticed Those Who Make Sound just reached 7500 blog views. Very cool!

I don't have a lot more to say about this piece, so I'll let the music and visuals speak for themselves.

Enjoy :)

See you next week!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 44 | Winter Glow (Original Piano Improv)

Hello again,

I'm am back to working on music based on the paintings of artist Alison Albrecht! She has made an amazingly beautiful series of paintings based on the seasons and the elements. Over the summer I created music for "Summer Garden" and "Calming Water." Today I am sharing with you my music based on her painting of winter. I am calling this piece "Winter Glow." I know I probably should have worked on autumn next considering the beautiful fall weather we're currently having here in Minnesota, but, I was inspired by winter, and you can't argue with inspiration. So here it is :)

Thanks for watching/listening. See you next week with more piano music and more art!

Until then,

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 43 | Piano Improv

Hello hello,

Welcome to week 43 of 2016. We have less than 10 weeks left in the year! How about that!? I feel like it has been a while since I've done a piano improv video, and looking back, it has been a little over two!

For this one, I was toying with a key I haven't really worked with much before. Generally if I'm using all the black keys, my hands tend to go for C and F as the white keys, but today I purposely pushed myself to use B and E as the white keys. What a different mood. I like it.

I set a minor and a major theme back and forth for this one. I'm really starting to find that music works best for me when I don't try to go too many places. When it comes down to it, this is really just two relative key centers alternating back and forth a couple times. But it really works and I'd probably be okay hearing back and forth several more times if the range and arrangement where to change (maybe even if not). I'll have to keep that in mind.

Hope you enjoy this little improvisation.

Thanks for listening and see you next week!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 42 | Gymnastics - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 6 - Composer Choice

Welcome to Event 6 of the 2016 Composer Quest Olympics!

Composer’s Choice

Due October 27th
Maybe you can’t compete in a REAL Olympic event, but you an at least compose something in honor of one. You’ll pick an event and decide what style or form captures its essence. For example, if you picked javelin throw, you might compose a long continuous arc in your melody. Or maybe you want to capture the improvisation of a boxing match with competing jazz solos. Or maybe you just want to write a song about a bobsled team. Provide a recording to share with the group, plus a short written description of the event you chose and how you represented it in your composition.


I (like many others) was highly impressed with Simone Biles's floor routine in the 2016 Olympic Games. So, I decided to use that routine as inspiration for a piece of music for piano. I put the sound of the video on mute, and composed a character piece that is cued to the routine itself. This was a lot of fun to write and is very enjoyable to watch (IMHO).

I'm so grateful to have been a part of this Composer Quest. It has been a long road and a lot of work, but well worth the effort. I've gotten to know a bunch of other composers and their work, and have written a lot of music that I would not have otherwise written. Hat's off to Charlie McCarron for putting this whole thing together.

I hope you enjoy this little video :)

The idea is that these are perfectly synced in time. I had a video up on YouTube that did the work for you, but got hit by NBC even though I didn't monetize it...@$$ holes...

Anyway, if you mute the sound on their video and then hit play on mine and hit play on theirs immediately after, you can get it pretty close. Good luck ;)

Simone Biles Gold Medal Floor Routine Video

Thanks for watching!

See you next week :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 41 | Relay Race - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 5 - Gold Medalist

Hello hello again,

Week 41!
(I don't know why I'm always so amazed at what week it is over and over. I guess I've just never measured a year of life in weeks before. I highly suggest trying it sometime).

This week, we have another Composer Quest Olympics Event!

Relay Race

Due October 17th
Charlie will randomly assign you to a team of 4-5 composers, and you’ll collaborate on a composition by passing it from one person to the next. You decide as a team who will go first, and each person will contribute 20 – 30 seconds of music until you have a roughly 2-minute collage composition. You can also decide as a team if you want to notate it and have someone record it as a whole, or you can send recorded chunks to each other.


I had the pleasure of collaborating with 3 other composers from around the US. Keevin Droster is from Colorado, Diana Salier and Richard An are based in California, and I'm in Minnesota.

We started out by hearing each others' music and talking about a good tempo and general key center. We then decided what order to go in, and set up a timeline to get this thing completed by the deadline (today).

It's been really fun seeing this piece of music grow over the past 6 weeks. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. To me it is like a collage artistic visions with a subtle thread of cohesion throughout.

Hope you enjoy it!

First Leg: Keevin Droster
Second Leg: Diana Salier
Third Leg: Richard An
Fourth Leg: Bryan Schumann

See you next week!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 40 | Hurdles for Weird Ensemble - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 4

Holy Guacamole! Week 40!!!

I cannot believe how quickly this year is flying by. This week, I have another Composer Quest Olympics piece to share. This is Event 4.


Due October 7th (I turned it in on time, just waited until today to blog about it).

Charlie will provide a lead sheet for you to compose over. Each measure will have one chord (the hurdle), and you decide how to compose around it, in any style. Provide a recording to share with the group.

They later changed the rules to allow us to choose our own length of each chord, use any inversions of each chord, and add any 7th or sus notes. The chord progression is:

Bb, F, G min, Eb,
Bb, F, Gb, Db,
C, F min, F, Bb min,
Bb min/Ab, Gb, Db, Gb,
Db, C, F, Bb,
F, G min, Eb, Bb,
F, Gb, Ab, Bb.

I had a lot of fun with this. I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary from what I typically write. I used a some strong synth tones which I typically don't do all that much. I decided to not do too much of a literal representation of the hurdles sport for this piece as well (compared to some of the other events I've done).

Hope you enjoy this little ditty!

See you next week,

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 39 | Inside the Music Box for Solo Piano

It's time to play the random inspiration game. Was looking for an intriguing title to inspire a piano improv, and landed on "Inside the Music Box." Not much more to say about this one. Hope you enjoy this whimsical, angular little thing.

Oh hey, guess what else, this marks the completion of the 3rd quarter of the year. Only 13 weeks left! Welcome to fall! Next up I have a few more Composer Quest Olympics as well as more music based on Alison Albrecht's art. We're going to make an album with 8 pieces based on the seasons and the elements. The visual art is done. Time to make the music!

Until next week,


Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 38 | Weightlifting for Solo Tuba - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 3

Week 38 is here and it's time for Event 3 of the Composer Quest Olympics!


Due September 27th
Write a 30-second or less tuba solo, which will be recorded by friend of the podcast Eric Ebeling.

I decided to go for a bit of a character piece on this one. Can you hear it?

This recording here is my audio rendition using samples (EWQLSO Close Mics to be exact). I can't wait to hear Eric's performance of this :)

See you next week :-D


Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 37 | Table Tennis for Two Trumpets - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 2 - Gold Medalist

Welcome to Week 37!

Time for more 2016 Composer Quest Olympics music! Event 2:

Table Tennis

Due September 17th

You’ll be randomly paired with another composer, and you’ll collaborate on a short composition in any style, for any instrumentation. The only requirement is that you and your partner must alternate contributing notes/beats one at a time, ping pong-style. You can try sending a notation file back and forth, or send recordings, or just email note names and lengths. When you’re done, provide a recording to share with the group.


So as fate would have it, my original partner dropped out just days before the composition was due. So, with a last minute addition to the Olympics, they allowed me and Kate to work together on this one. What else would two trumpet players do?

Table Tennis for Two Trumpets. 100% improvised.
Check it out (listen in headphones or earbuds or on a stereo system):

In case you were wondering, I'm on the left and Kate is on the right (in the stereo field). This was fun :-D

See you next week!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 36 | Angel for Solo Piano

Hello again!

It has been one heck of a week. First of all, I have been working my butt off on the new studio space. I'm not sure I've mentioned it here before, but we are adding solar panels to our home which is also our studio space. SO, by this time next month, finger's crossed, the new studio space will be done and I'll be making music off the sun!

Hey, I should post a picture of the progress...It isn't pretty at the moment...

So this first one was from last week. I was cleaning out the suspended ceiling and pulling it away from the wall so we can frame in on top of the block.

And the second one is a picture after adding the insulation board. This should help keep it warm in the winter and help reduce sound coming in from outside as well.

Anyway, I've been burning the candle at both ends and actually ended up sick for the past few days here. Finally starting to feel better today. So, I've been ending my days for the past week by watching some good old comfort TV. We're re-watching the Angel series. I forgot how good these were. For some reason this music reminded me of how dark and brooding Angel can be. Hence, the title.

For next week, I'll be working on more Composer Quest Olympics. This next event is ping pong. I'll be collaborating with another composer going back and forth each note. This will be interesting!

Until then,


Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 35 | US National Anthem - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 1 - Gold Medalist

Guess what!?

I'm participating in the official Composer Quest / American Composer Forum Composer Olympics.

Compositions will be ranked, and they'll determine bronze, silver, and gold medalists for each event. The rankings will be based on votes from other participants.

The first event:

National Anthems

Due September 7th
Make a creative arrangement of one of your favorite national anthems for any instrumentation (acoustic or electronic), and record it to share with the group.

Okay, so given a certain happening to do with the US national anthem recently, this post might be a little hard to make without getting into it. So I'm just going to dive in. There are a lot of really messed up things going on in our country in terms of our justice system (cops not being tried for murdering civilians...for example).

In my mind, not standing during the national anthem is a perfect way to bring awareness to the issues at hand. In no way is this meant as an act of disrespect to those who have fought to make the rest of us safer. But, what good is being safe from foreign threat if you are not even safe from those who we are all paying to keep the peace in our own communities? If you are outraged that somebody is silently protesting the problem, and not outraged at the problem itself, then that right there is part of the problem.

I understand the lyrics of the US Nation Anthem (verses 2-4) actually reference slavery. My understanding is that it is referencing the US battle with the British in Canada on Sept 14, 1814. The USA was trying to take a part of Canada, but through the recruitment of American slaves, the British were actually able to push back and nearly take DC. So why does this matter? Well, Francis Scott Key is specifically talking about beating the British and slave army. This is all sorts of messed up.

Sometimes the origins of a thing can be masked, especially when a thing is turned into a symbol that represents something else (freedom, bravery, hope, liberty, justice, happiness), and the meaning and value of that thing can completely change to an entire population over time. When people hear the US National Anthem, I don't believe they are specifically thinking about all of the terrible things that happened in this country to make it what it is today and hoping for more terrible things and a return to the way things were in the past. I believe most people hear it and think about their families and their friends and hope for good things in the future. I believe it is meant to be inspiring to us all, despite its origins.

Any way you slice it...stand, sing, put your hand over your heart, bow your head, take off your cap...or don't. That is the freedom that the US National Anthem is all about. We should all be free to do what we please so long as it doesn't interfere with the freedom and happiness of others.

Hopefully I didn't ruffle too many feathers with that little mind dump.

Without further ado, here is my rendition of our National Anthem.

Until next week,


Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 34 | Waiting for Solo Piano

Hey Everybody,

I've decided I want to release an album of solo piano pieces sometime this fall/winter. I figure the best way to get this thing composed is to just start making a ton of solo piano music and then when I start to see an overall vibe and feel  forming I can pick from the best and make a compilation. I'll probably go back through the year and start revamping and polishing some of my improvisations as well.

Here's a little ditty for Week 34, Waiting.

Thanks for listening,


Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 33 | Calming Water (Original Piano Improv)

Can you believe that there are only 19 weeks left in 2016!?

But for now summer is still in full swing. I got to spend some time outside this weekend. Nature always fuels my creative process. This week's thing, which happens to be an improvisation for solo piano, is also inspired by a painting by artist Alison Albrecht.

For Week 33, I present to you, Calming Water.

Until next week,


Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 32 | Weather Patterns for Trumpet & Piano - Complete

Hey, so I just finished up another huge work! Remember Weather Patterns for Trumpet and Piano?

I finished the final draft of the sheet music which looks great. Also, the studio recording is now completed and sounds great as well! Hat's off to trumpeter Kate DeVoe for her stellar performance.

Time to share it with you all :)

So this piece is my Opus 13. I know Opus is technically in regard to the order in which things are published and not the order they are composed, and I published A Guitar Quartet of Sorts last week which is my Opus 14, but Weather Patterns was created in full and premiered prior to the completion of A Guitar Quartet of Sorts, so, I'm gonna do it this way. Here it is, my Opus 13, Weather Patterns.

Here is a link to the sheet music!

Thanks for all your support. We'll see you next week :)


Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 31 | A Guitar Quartet of Sorts - Master Audio & Sheet Music

Hey Everybody!

I spent the week cleaning up the tracks for A Guitar Quartet of Sorts and doing a final master of the full set and making sheet music! Getting these ready for a grant proposal. I'm also planning to release these on Spotify and iTunes. So, here it is in all it's glory, my Opus 14, A Guitar Quartet of Sorts.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week,


Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 30 | Piano Improv

I just spent the weekend with friends at a lakeside cabin in Wisconsin. It sure feels great to spend some time out in nature and swimming in a lake. Needless to say, there wasn't a ton of time to be working on new music. So, here is a little piano improv for this week's thing.

I really enjoy making these even though (and maybe because) they require such little commitment. It's such a good way to get a quick idea out of the ol' noggin without spending a ton of time expecting it to turn into a masterpiece. I think after this year is over I'll go back and revisit a lot of these piano improvisations and develop the ideas into longer pieces and arrange them for larger ensembles. If nothing else, maybe I'll just polish them a bit and publish an album of piano music. Good idea, yes/no?

Either way, hope you enjoyed it :)

See ya next week!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 29 | Piano Improv

I'm so glad I recorded this random little piano improv right after posting last week's thing because I have had a crazy busy week. I've been working on a couple cover songs for future posts, cleaning up a bunch of scores and work samples for a grant application, and archiving some old client work because my Pro Tools sessions drive is nearly at capacity. Man alive!

Okay, I'm having a hard time even recalling what I was thinking about when I recorded this little piano improv. Listening back now it seems to go a lot of places. I think that tends to happen with slightly longer improv pieces. I did manage to squeak in a little compound ternary return to A right at the very end though. Not that I'm saying that is required to make something complete. It's just sometimes nice to play for 5+ minutes and have it loop back around in some way, shape, or form. And now my blog post is quickly becoming a random stream of consciousness just like the piece of music...somebody stop me.

Here goes:

As always, thanks for watching/listening.

See ya next week!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 28 | Summer Garden - MIDI Splatter Stamp Improv for Piano

Hello again!

So here's the deal. I've decided/discovered that what I've said so far with A Guitar Quartet of Sorts is really all that I wanted to say with that ensemble for now. So, A Guitar Quartet of Sorts (No. 1) is officially completed. I really like where it starts, goes, and ends with the 3 movements, and when I inevitably write more music for that ensemble in the future (maybe still this year), I'm going to start fresh and call it A Guitar Quartet of Sorts No. 2. Sorry to anybody who was hoping to see/hear more of that right now, but I think it is the right decision for the art. Thank you for all your support getting me through that piece of music :)

On to this weeks thing! Week 28!!!

After last week's post, I got a great response from the artist/painter Alison Albrecht. She said that because of my A Thing a Week project she was also inspired to begin painting something every week as well. Her first painting is really amazing, so I decided to write some music in response to her post and inspired by her art. I decided to draw some literal inspiration from the splatter/stamp style artwork and do something similar with the music by improvising a few lines into the computer using MIDI, and then copying and pasting and transforming that material into a full piece of music. I call it "MIDI Splatter Stamp Improv!"

I really enjoyed making this, and I'd love to being collaborating with others as well. Please let me know if you'd like to make something together with me in the future. Let's make it happen :)

See ya next week!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 27 | A Guitar Quartet of Sorts: Movement III

Man, this guitar quartet just keeps getting better. I'm so happy with the way this movement turned out. I went for faster and more dense than the last two movements. Tossed in a little distortion on the electric guitar while I was at it. Ooo la la!

A little random side note, unlike the last two movements, this one took me more than one full day to record. I think you can see my beard growing from the first recorded classical guitar to the last recorded electric guitar...maybe it's just my imagination.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy this next installment in the "A Guitar Quartet of Sorts" series.

If you missed the last two movements, check out my YouTube Channel Playlist which has all three movements in sequence. As always, please like, share, and subscribe.

Until then,


Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 26 | Downhome Groove


I can't believe we are already half way through the year! This week I set out to work on Movement III of A Guitar Quartet of Sorts, but then realized I want to make the next movement the fast movement,  which turns out makes it harder, which turns out requires me to actually practice the parts...

So, I worked on that for a bit, and then started playing around with some of my new instruments. A couple weeks ago, my dad asked if I wanted his old 12 string guitar. I said yes (of course). Also, I've been holding on to my mom's childhood violin for some time now and finally decided to get it fixed up and playable. Got it back from the shop last week. First time I've ever played violin in my life, so go easy on me. I don't usually play much percussion either come to think of it. I've played shakers on a lot of audio recordings, but I believe this is my first video debut as a percussionist. Using my relatively new Casio Privia PX-560M keyboard as well. I'm really diggin this ensemble. Weeeeee!

Hope you enjoy this little Down Home Groove. A little Americana seems appropriate for the 4th of July Celebration. Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend :)

Until next week,


P.S. I'm using a Stellar CM-6 tube mic to capture all the acoustic instruments. I highly recommend picking one of these up. Great for vocals too.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 25 | Up for Piano & Strings

Hey, guess what!? We're approaching the half way through the year mark! Week 25 is here!

I'm releasing this a day early because I had time to make something today, but tomorrow I'll be marching and playing trumpet in the freedom band for the PRIDE parade in Minneapolis. I'm super pumped for that. We're playing "We Like to Party" and "Thriller." If you live in the Twin Cities, you should come on out :)

I felt inspired this week to make something that sounds hopeful because I thing that is what we all need right now; don't you agree? Whatever it is that you're working on, or working towards, or hoping to achieve, just keep at it and good things will happen. Onward and Upward.

I hope you enjoy this little 'thing' for 2 pianos and strings.

Until next week,


Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 24 | Crunchy Chords - 5000 Page Views!

How exciting! Those Who Make Sound just broke 5000 page reads!

Thank you so much to everybody who finds the music I make and the things I say interesting enough to keep coming back for more :)

In celebration, here is a swanky little cocktail hour jazz trio piece called Crunchy Chords. Let's keep those cymbals splashy and take that bass line for a walk.

See ya next week!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 23 | (more) Piano Improv

...Sitting at the piano working out this somber little melody. Trying to stay positive in the wake of all the terrible things happening in this country and the world. Sometimes words just cannot express my feelings. Music usually does more justice (for me at least). My heart goes out to you.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 22 | Composer Quest MIDI Remix

Hello and welcome to this week's A Thing A Week!

This week's music is a collaboration of sorts coordinated by Charlie McCarron of Composer Quest. A quick reminder that he currently has a Kickstarter Campaign in progress for the final season of Composer Quest, so if you haven't yet, please go over and help out the cause because there is only 3 days left and $771 still to be pledged. Very cool project! Great rewards!

Now for the music!

The idea for this collaboration was actually brought into existence during my interview on Composer Quest. Episode 148.

A lot of music these days is created using MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface). Inside a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Pro Tools, you can create what is the digital equivalent of an old time music box roller, or player piano roll, or even digital sheet music, and then tell the computer to use piano sounds, or harp sounds, or string sounds, or synthesizer sounds, or any combination of anything you can possibly imagine to then play those MIDI notes. Being a composer in today's world is a lot of fun :)

...So, it is very easy to create raw MIDI data and then later assign the tones (or instruments) used to play those raw notes. It is also very easy to share MIDI files over the internet. Bingo!

11 composers participated in this experiment. We all created a short piece of music using MIDI and assigned our own instrumental tones to the data but kept our version secret. We then threw into the proverbial internet bucket a file that contained our raw MIDI data (just the raw notes). We all then got some other composer's MIDI file from the bucket and without any extra info, remixed that MIDI file using our own interpretation and own ideas of what instruments should play the music.

The results are amazing! It is so cool to hear your own music arranged through another composer's perspective because it sounds like nothing you would have ever created just by yourself. It is equally as fun and interesting to be able to work with another composer's notes and simply focus on 'auditioning' sounds and instruments to play music notes that already exist.

For you to hear here, I have my original piano piece which was then remixed by Mike Manor, as well as an original work by Paul Sampson (I later found out was originally for wind quintet and electronic percussion), which I had the please to remix for synthesizers and middle-eastern instruments (turns out this is a really bizarre combo of sounds). The rest of the original music as well as the remixes are hosted here at Composer Quest episode 150. The tracks will also be up at the Composer Quest Band Camp profile for free download shortly. So check back later in the week :)

Until next week!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 21 | Piano Improv

Hey Everybody!

As an artist, there are some weeks when you spend a lot of time working on your art. Other times there are weeks when you spend a lot of time working on your life, and gardening, and client work, and business, and socializing, and having some fun...this week was one of the latter for me.

So, here is a little piano improv for this week's Thing!
No less love goes into this music, just a little less time ;)

Hope you all have a wonderful week full of art-making and fun-having!

See you next week,


Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 20 | Bitter Plants (Video Game Music)

Hello again!

Week 20 of 2016 has arrived and with it we have some VIDEO GAME MUSIC!!

A few weeks back at GlitchCon I had the pleasure of meeting a ton of  talented game developers and artists. I highly recommend attending next year if you a developer, or gamer, or interested in video games at all.

There, I met Darrel Cousey of Lakehome Games who is currently developing a really great puzzle game for Android called Bitter Plants. Turns out he was right at the stage in development where he needed music!

Creating the music for this game has been a very interesting and innovative process (and somewhat of a puzzle itself). For hardware memory sake, we wanted to be able to make around 3 minutes of music last a whole lot longer and not be too repetitive. Without getting too technical, I wrote the music so that it can be broken down into much smaller pieces based on the phrases (usually around 4 bars). These pieces can then be randomized to be played in any order. This way the music is always slightly different each time it is played. In other words, it can be looped over and over while not always being an exact copy of the last time it was played.

I ended up making music for 3 different ensembles as well (which are not interchangeable). So the pieces of one set can randomly play for several minutes, then the pieces of the next set can randomly play for several minutes, and so on.

Click the Bitter Plants link above or go to to check out the game and try it out on Google Play for Android.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 19 | A Guitar Quartet of Sorts: Movement II

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Charlie McCarron for his Composer Quest podcast. Be sure to stay tuned to his page. The interview should be post in a couple weeks. Also, he is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the final season of Composer Quest, so be sure to check that out as well and become a backer today!

The main point of that little intro is so that I can now let you know that as part of his podcast he does something called "The Traveling Question" where the previously interviewed composer gets to ask a question to the next composer to be interviewed. The question I received was, "If you could spent some time anywhere outside composing music, where would you go?" Considering it is just now becoming the most beautiful time to be outside in Minnesota, I chose my own back yard. Everything is green and blossoming, and there are no mosquitoes yet!

This then turned into another challenge where Charlie has each composer he interviews write their own theme music! So, combining all these things together, I spent some time outside this weekend, got inspired, and decided it was time to write the 2nd movement of A Guitar Quartet of Sorts. Be sure to check out Week 3 if you haven't yet heard Movement I.

So, without further ado, here it is!

A Guitar Quartet of Sorts: Movement II / Music inspired by Outside / My theme music for Composer Quest

See you next week!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 18 | Mother's Day Piano Improv

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Also, I just did the math, and we are over 1/3 of the way through 2016! How did that happen!?

This week I'd like to share with you a simple piano improvisation. Just trying to keep it light and lovely. Special sound effects in the background by my two furry children trying desperately to get into the pantry for a little early morning cat nip...

See you next week!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 17 | Boarderfalls

*in a game-show singing voice*
It's time for a game I like to call "RANDOM ASSOCIATION!"

Last weekend I got to spend some time up on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Grand Maris while visiting my mom. While there we visited the Cascade Falls as well as the Pigeon Falls which are way up in Grand Portage on the boarder of Canada. Everything about the weather and setting reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows, Twin Peaks; the music from which I love, which also reminds me of the music from one of my favorite video games of all times, Final Fantasy VII.

What does all this mean for A Thing A Week 17!?

Footage of awesome roaring waterfalls with music inspired by Twin Peaks and FF7 of course!

Thanks for watching! Don't forget to leave comments, like, share, and subscribe :)

See you next week!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 16 | Whispers for Piano & Electronics

Okay, I know I said I was going to be doing more soundtracky type music for a bit, but this week's piece turned out a little more on the electroacoustic, semi-avant garde, instrumental side of things. ...Well, come to think of it, isn't that actually just what a lot of soundtrack music is...yeah...we're good ;)

Anyway, as is tradition, I began this week's thing with a piano improv. I then layered in the electronics to strengthen the desired mood and reinforce the emotional setting. This piece is basically what the inside of my head sounds like while trying to fall asleep when I know I have a lot going on the next day. The ol' thought factory seems to never stops churning out ideas sometimes. I'm sure you've all been there before as well.

In other news: I spent the weekend on the north shore with family and had the chance to see the Pigeon Falls and Cascade Falls on the boarder of Canada. I took some great video of the falls in full spring roar and plan to share it next week along with a musical soundtrack.

Don't forget to subscribe, share, and comment.

See you next week!


P.S. Let me know if you have any special requests for more future things.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 15 | Intro to an Epic Tale

Welcome to Week 15!

Thank you so much to all those who came out to Studio Z last week hear and see Weather Patterns for Trumpet and Piano performed live. The performance went really well, and I'm looking forward to making a full recording and publishing the sheet music soon!

Two weeks ago I started playing around with making some soundtrack-esque music. I really enjoyed that piece, so I decided to do a little more for this week, and will probably continue down this path for a bit. This week's piece is a dark and broody mix of piano, strings, and orchestral percussion.

Thanks for listening. Please leave comments. I'd love to hear from you :)

Until next week,


Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 14 | Weather Patterns for Trumpet & Piano - Part 3

Well hello there!

As promised, this week's thing is part 3 of "Weather Patterns for Trumpet & Piano."

Hooray, for having a final title for the piece. Hooray, for having it complete. Hip-hip-hooray for having it performance ready for our show at Studio Z on Tuesday the 12th at which Kate and I will be performing this piece in its entirety.

If you haven't been to The New Ruckus performances at Studio Z in St. Paul, now is your chance to check it out. Each month 4 composers, singer-songwriters, performing ensembles, electronic name it..., use the space and time to show off and air out new or old works of all kinds. After each performance the audience has a chance to ask the composer & performers any questions they may have about the creative process, make comments about their reaction to the music, etc. It's a great experience for everybody involved and we're really looking forward to it. Hope to see you there :)

Update: Something goofy happened when I was moving my videos over to the TWMS YouTube channel, and the original footage was corrupted on my clue... Anyway, here is the video of the final product. Part 3 starts at 5:30.

Until next week!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 13 | Medieval Future Fantasy

Gonna take a little pause from "Music for Trumpet and Piano" this week. Don't worry, I am still working on that piece. In fact, it's pretty much done. Kate and I are just working out a few little kinks in the last section/movement before we get a video put together. Expect to see that next week :-D

In the meantime, here is a little ditty I made for fun. It started out as a piano improv and I decided to add some layers. Working in D dorian and blending the old and new. Going for Medieval Future Fantasy. Somewhat of a soundtrack vibe. Enjoy :)

See you next week!


Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 12 | Weather Patterns for Trumpet & Piano - Part 2

Working out some ideas for the slow movement/section of Music for Trumpet & Piano. Experimenting with reverb, delay, distortion, and a looper :)

As of now the score for this looks something like:

Start looper.
Push air through trumpet and click valves while using distortion pedal for 10 seconds or so.
End looper, start overdub, turn off distortion.
Play A & B long tones in mid range.
Play the A E D / A E B motive in a low register.
End overdub on looper.
Play a soaring melody of long tones using A, B, D, & E.
Fade out.
So, great work on Kate's part making something that sounded great with my minimal instruction!

See you next week for Part 3!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 11 | Weather Patterns for Trumpet & Piano - Part 1 - Work in Progress

Here it is folks! The first look at the upcoming trumpet song cycle.

I'm so excited for what this piece is becoming. It's been really fun working with Kate on the trumpet parts. It's always extremely gratifying to write music for such a skilled musician.


Update: Something goofy happened when I was moving my videos over to the TWMS YouTube channel, and the original footage was corrupted on my clue... Anyway, here is the video of the final product. Part 1 is the first 1:42.

Next week we'll be working on the 2nd song/2nd section of the work. Time to experiment with some electronics  >:)
(That is supposed to be a devious smiley face if any of you are wondering...)

Until then,


Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 10 | Found it! - Whirlwind Piano Part

Found the motive I want to use for the piano part! To me, "whirlwind" not only describes the feeling of this little ditty, but also the way the year has been flying by. Double digits! Week 10 is here!

I've already begun laying down some trumpet ideas to go with this piece. This will be song 1 of the trumpet song set. I believe last week's will end up being song 3, and the week before that will be song 2. Time permitting, Whirlwind may also make a reprise as a 4th song to close out the song cycle.

Looking forward to working on this project more and sharing the final product as part of The New Ruckus series at Studio Z in St. Paul on April 12th with Kate DeVoe on trumpet.

See you next week!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 9 | Piano Improv - More Ideas for Trumpet Songs

Working out more ideas for my upcoming piece for piano and trumpet. I think I'll do a set of three "songs" for this work. Looking forward to working with Kate on painting some trumpet lines once these piano canvass are in good shape to start working with.

So, one more piano idea for next week, and then it'll be exactly one month (March 13th to April 12th) to write the trumpet lines, finalize the interaction between the two instruments based on the new material, and rehearse for performance!

Stay tuned for updates. See you next week!


Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 8 | Piano Improv - The Start of Something New

This week's thing reveals a glimpse into my creative process.

To give some background, in past weeks with improv I've often been sitting at the piano playing around long before I hit record. I'm usually just playing around without intention of recording when I come across something that I like, I mess around with it for a bit, and then think to myself, "Hey! I should record this!" While the videos I've released that I've called "improv" are definitely still improvised, they are somewhat more refined and I started recording when I already had some ideas in my head and fingers.

This week is something quite different! This week, I decided I would set up my camera, hit record, and then sit down as a blank slate. This is typically how I approach composition. I improvise for an extended amount of time. I decide what I liked about it. I work out those ideas further. Then I record the ideas (with pencil and paper if I have time and am looking for a zen experience or with an iPhone if I'm in a hurry).

Starting today, I'm working on writing a piece of music for trumpet and piano for my wife, Kate DeVoe, and myself to play at a New Ruckus new music event on April 12th at Studio Z in St. Paul. So this week, you get to see "The Start of Something New." I plan to expand this out a few minutes longer and obviously add a trumpet line as well. Watch for an update on the progress sometime in March.

...oh wow! Just realized March is only two days away. Just about time to get the piano tuned :-D


See you next week!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 7 | Ambient Electric Guitar Improv

This weeks thing is a little ambient electric guitar improv. Playing around in pandiatonic e minor; based on whatever sounds I hear in my head.

Pedals used:
MXR Phase 90
Boss RV-3 Digital Reverb/Delay
Boss DD-20 Giga Delay
Boss OC-3 Super Octave
Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter
Boss BF-3 Flanger
Boss TR-2 Tremolo
Boss RC-20XL Loop Station

Also on the board are a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, a Way Huge Electronics Swollen Pickel MKII Fuzz, and a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah. But they didn't make an appearance this time around.

I recorded this using an Acoustic G100FX amp and a Shure SM57, using an Allen&Heath QU-16 for the interface and Pro Tools 11 for my DAW.

Don't forget to subscribe to my You Tube, Soundcloud, and Facebook Page to get the most updates and information.

See ya next week!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 6 | Valentine's Day Piano Improv

Love, what a wonderful thing. This weeks 'thing' is a little piano improv. Like love can sometimes be, it starts out small like a whisper and grows into something powerful and moving.

Stay tuned for ATAW - Week 7.

Until then; wishing you a wonderful day filled with love,


P.S. Please excuse the slightly out of tune piano. I've noticed certain pitches bending more and more as the winter rages on. Can't wait for spring to settle in so I can justify getting it tuned to a more humid climate :)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 5 | Winterflight

Working with limitations: I had a super busy week filled with client work and follow-up from last week's game jam. I also did some traveling this week.

Since I was traveling and didn't have my studio with me, I decided that a good limitation for this week's 'thing' would be to create something solely with my iPhone and laptop. I used the iPhone camera to shoot the video, Garage Band to compose the music, and then assembled the video using Adobe Premiere on my laptop.

It was a fun little experiment, but I am excited to be back in my studio with all my tools at hand to create ATAW - Week 6.

Until then,


Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 4 | Global Game Jam - Video Game Music!

What a weekend! I love being a part of game jams. It feels so good to be surrounded by so many creative minds and highly passionate and motivated people.

This is my 2nd year at the Global Game Jam which is a global event with over 600 jam sites around the world. The objective is to find a team and make a game from start to finish with 48 hours. Our site here in Minneapolis, MN is hosted by Glitch at the U of M and is called Gamecraft.

Similar last year, I ended up working with 4 different teams. (Being an audio and art guy, it is a little easier to work on multiple projects since you are not responsible to make the thing actually work). Hats off to all the programmers!

One thing I'd like to mention in regard to my creative process while being part of a 48 hour game jam, is how the time frame really helps me be to highly prolific. By the nature of the beast, you are required to be very confident and decisive. There is no time to second guess your ideas. I'll admit, for the Zen Garden game I did work for a few hours on a completely different idea, but then decided to scrap it and start over. So glad I did. When time is of the essence, you must have quick editing eye (ear) while be attentive to details, but not let it stop you in your tracks. It's all about having an end product that works.

Below is a list of the games I worked on and Soundcloud players for the music. Click the game name to go to the Global Game Jam site, play the games, and more!

Full disclosure, not all of the games are 100% playable...yet. There is a follow up meeting and presentation of all of the games next Wednesday, Feb. 10th, so be sure to check back after that as the games will be more complete and functional after that point in time.

So, without further ado, the music!

Zen World:
Place different seeds in different areas of the zen garden and see what grows. Each type of seed has a small sound that can grow into several different full musical themes depending on where you place it within the garden. There are endless possibilities to create your own beautiful garden and soundscape.

Here is a full cue of the of the ambient zen music that exists as the canvas for you to place items on and watch/hear them grow:

Here is a full cue I made to show off the a potential final result (...with some artistic liberties...I am the composer so I can do what I want...Buahahahah!):

...and now for something completely different!

My cats are famous! Ruby and Aggie are the stars of this game. Late night in Da Kitty Club lookin' to get some tail. Purrrfectly mimic the moves of dat curvy feline on the dance floor and you could be the luckiest tom cat this side of the Mississippi. Step outa' line and you'll end up at home alone face down in a sad, heaping pile of cat nip.

Here is a full cue of da hottest track eva' spun...Drake, gimme a call. Lets collaborate :-P

....and another 90 degree turn!

Tiki Torcher: (Yes, it's a pun).

You must appease the gods’ need for blood by sacrificing mortals into the molten lava of the fiery volcano. Fight for your life in the depths of the volcano in this multi-player death-match. The gods WILL get what they want. The only question is, will it be YOUR blood they receive?

...Lastly, I was approached within the final hours of the jam by some jammers I had worked with last year. They needed music...NOW! I was happy to help them out. 

You play this game from the very terrifying perspective of a farm goat. Among the cartoon-like guise of a scenic pasture, you are ruthlessly and relentlessly hunted by the farmer. Run for you life! ...The thing that is totally F.U.B.A.R. is that THIS IS REALITY FOR COUNTLESS EARTHLINGS. The advocate in me says, "Play this game and then reconsider you daily meal choices."
Here is the full cue. It may look and sound serene, but deep within your being you know there is only impending doom...Sorry to end on such a somber note.

Many thanks to all the Jammers I worked with over the weekend. I couldn't have asked for a nicer, more passionate, and highly dedicated/talented group of collaborators. 

Stay tuned for A Thing A Week: Week 5

Until then,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 3 | A Guitar Quarter of Sorts: Movement I

I had so much fun creating this music and video! I've had the idea of doing something like this for a while. What better time than Week 3?

I wrote this piece to showcase some of the different tones and roles of the guitars I play. I'm really looking forward to creating more music using this instrumentation. I plan on writing at least a few more movements total this year.

Listen in stereo or with headphones for the optimal experience!

Also, here is a link to the sheet music for your perusal.
Let me know if you want copies of parts for performance :)

View the Score

See you next week with some video game music. Time for the Global Game Jam!! :-D

Until then,

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 2 | Aftermath

Last week I spent a lot of time refining "Soundscape No. 1 for Solo Piano" by improvising in a certain style and key. A number of ideas and themes that I had started with didn't make it into that final work, but have stuck with me never the less. This short refined improvisation represents the aftermath of boiling down a different piece of music into a concise idea.

I should also mention that I've been listening a lot of Bowie this past week (along with the rest of the world). Apparently a certain amount of Neuk├Âlln from Heroes has made its way into my brain and fingers for this piece (I only noticed it after listening back...strange how inspiration works).

Already working on "Thing Number Three" for next week. Time for some guitars :)

Until then,

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 1 | Soundscape No. 1 for Solo Piano

I've decided that all of 2016 I'll be writing/creating/releasing one new piece/composition/song/soundscape per week.

This is week one!

The first in a future set of works for solo piano, Soundscape No. 1 is an exploration of C Locrian as discovered through pandiatonic improvisational composition. Focusing on the overtones of gestures amid silence.

The inception of the idea for this piece actually happened over the holiday break in 2015 and I've been improvising on these gestures since that point in time. The actual writing of the sheet music and recording of the audio took place this first week of 2016.

Audio Stream:

Sheet Music Flipbook: CLICK HERE

See ya next week!