Post-COVID I’ve decided to release more of my music library online and that includes over 260 rap beats and instrumentals that I produced for Rap Track back in 1999-2004. The new YouTube channel for some of these rap instrumentals is currently called Rap Dogs Rap Beats.
“Search For Me” – Words and Music by Gailyn Addis and Conrad Askland.
“Search For Me” was a song collaboration with Gailyn Addis. We wrote the words and music together, recorded the song and it was released through Orchard Music on the 1999 Gailyn Addis self-titled debut album. Gailyn was one of my all-time favorite vocal artists to record with and this is one of my favorite songs that we wrote together in preparation for her 1999 album release.
New video I created by animating the faces of the most famous 100 Classical music composers. I felt a very strange connection with each composer as I saw their faces come alive. There were several on this list that I was not familiar with so I also spent a lot of time on Wikipedia learning more about many of them. I hope others have the same experience where, after seeing these classical composers come to life, they cannot help but learn more about each composer’s life and music.
I have several favorite animations in this group. My top favorites are #15 Franz Liszt, #19 Antonio Vivaldi, #22 Dmitri Shostakovich, #27 Claudio Monteverdi and my top favorite composer face animation of the whole group is #45 Christoph Willibald Gluck.
Christmas Gloria © 2007 Conrad Askland. Christmas Gloria in the Baroque style for SATB Chorus, SAT Trio Soloists, Flue, Oboe, Bb Clarinet, Trumpet, Horn, Tuba, Harpsichord and Percussion. Composed by Conrad Askland for the 2007 Christmas Eve service at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.
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For 2021 I’m revisiting my full-length musicals to update score layout and orchestrations. Here’s a compilation of workflow and tips from music composition sketches to final scores and parts for musical theater. An ongoing project.
In my writing room I have several printed promps that hang in front of me. One of these is:
SONDHEIM THREE RULES
1 Content Dictates Form
2 Less Is More
3 God is in the Details
All in the services of CLARITY, without which nothing else matters.
In the seven promps that hang in my writing room, these three short rules by Sondheim are the ones that I put that most importance on. “Less Is More” can be simply interpreted as “Don’t Do What You Don’t Have To Do”, or don’t write what doesn’t need to be written. “God Is In the Details” can be simply put as “Do your homework, work hard and uncover every needed nuance and needed detail.” But for me, “Content Dictates Form” is the one that keeps coming back to alternately reward me and slap me in the face.
“Content Dictates Form” is the rule that I keep discovering over and over again. Let me share with you the mistakes and successes I have had with this rule.
Scroll down and you’ll see a list of all my writing reference books that I use for preparing new musical theater works. I’ve read each of these books cover to cover and some I have read many, many times over and over. I do have some favorites in this list but I’m not listing them in any particular order because what you get from each book may be wildly different than what I learned from each book. We all have “holes” in our knowledge which is different for everyone. For me, these books helped fill in the holes of my knowledge with a deeper understanding of structure, character arcs and story development.
A couple of these books I’ve had for many years but most of these I read in 2018-2019 in preparation for my fourth original musical. This latest musical was widely considered by audience members to be my strongest musical theater work yet. I put the credit to many factors, but mostly it came down to really, really hard work and understanding the content in these books at a gut level.
So I earned a couple degrees: Bachelor of Professional Studies from Berklee College of Music and a Master in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management (MALCM) from Colorado State University. I actually just finished these in the last couple years so I’m what they refer to as a “mature learner”. Was it worth it? In short, yes. Does anyone really care? Not really.
Both my degrees were earned online. One of the reasons I didn’t finish my degrees many years ago is that in my line of work you often get a call for a tour with a short window of prep time. If I was back in a brick and mortar school and I got the call for a gig then I would have had to turn the gig down (or drop out of school to do the tour). I didn’t want just any degree. I wanted a degree I felt proud of (or at least wasn’t embarrassed by). There is one well-known online university that I didn’t want to sign up with because every time I imagined writing down the name of the university, well, it was not a feeling of pride. No, I won’t mention that school name because I’m “nice”.
Music has been an integral part of the Christmas celebration since the earliest years of the celebration. From traditional sacred music to up-tempo tunes, the songs of Christmas are a major part of the holiday.
But how much do you know about the origin stories of your favorite Christmas carols. Here is the story behind some of the most popular and well known Christmas carols of all time.
I composed this piece as part of a music production course for my Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with Berklee College of Music. While taking classes I was on tour as music director with the Cirque du Soleil show Varekai and was fortunate enough to have our violin player from the show, David Piché, record the violin tracks while in Vilnius, Lithuania.