Q&A: Romeo and Juliet rendition questions

These are questions I received about my musical “Romeo and Juliet”. My musical version of RJ premiered in January 2015 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. Directed by Joe Bowen and presented by META Performing Arts. The challenge set for this production was to score the entire musical using only Shakespeare’s original text. No watering down the words. No slang and updated lyrics. And no hipster modern setting. We set the set and costumes to the original Shakespeare time period of the late 16th century. It was a very challenging project and extremely fulfilling. Here’s a link to check out original musicals by Conrad Askland.

How have you adapted the themes of the play to adapt and suit the modern day audience and politics?

Yes and no. In my rendition,  I use Shakespeare’s original words. For the premiere run I requested period costumes and sets (1590’s). Of course, a future company could choose to change that approach, but to me those considerations are superficial. To my personal taste, those changes detract instead of adding to the production. Musically, I scored the show in a combination of North American Broadway style and light opera. So it was the music itself that was tailored to a musical theatre crowd while the text and presentation was true to the period in which it was written.

Continue reading “Q&A: Romeo and Juliet rendition questions”

Email Q&A: What Is a Music Producer?

Email question received:

hi i’m joseph i’m just intersting to know what is a music producer, what are
there jobs and what do they do

My Answer:

Hi Joseph,

Direct answer to your question is that a music producer produces music. I’m not being a smartass when I answer that. A music producer needs to produce music. And actually I think for many up and coming artists that doesn’t really sink in or connect.

Continue reading “Email Q&A: What Is a Music Producer?”

Email Q&A: Keyboard Patch Changes

Email question received:

I’m just starting to play more shows with patch changes and such. Is there computer software that’s best for setting this up and controlling. Right now I control throughout the keyboard pedal. I’ve seen on broadway they have computers hooked up to the keyboards. Any help is great.


Continue reading “Email Q&A: Keyboard Patch Changes”

Email Q&A: Please Give Me a Christmas Tree

Originating from one of my old blog posts about giving Donations as Christmas Presents:

I received this email:

i am member of a Shaloom Church in Pakitan. i am founding a Christmas Tree But i have no meet a Christamas Tree. Sir Plz Send me a Christmas Tree. Before a 25 December . My Pastor is a very upset. For a Christmass Tree. My all Planing is panding. i am waiting your’s to gift.

Continue reading “Email Q&A: Please Give Me a Christmas Tree”

Q&A: Next Step for a Producer

Email question received:

I’ve been producing for about 8 years now and now i’m ready to take that serious step I stay in Lincoln Ne, and it’s hard for a producer out here, so I was wondering how do I just really start I make hiphop,r&b,dirtysouth,soul and blues beats and i’m still not getting paid like I want to I know i’m damn good at what I do but just need to get with the right person, how do I reach or find that person, where do I look it’s hard for me here and at the same time I have family here and I want to do what I like, to make money that way I know i’ll stick with it


Continue reading “Q&A: Next Step for a Producer”

Does a Piano Player Need to Read Music?

Question received:

In order to make a good pianist do I really have to learn notes and play them? Since 4 years from 12 to 16 I have played music by ear all the way through. I have also watched others play and I play what they play in a day literally. God gave me this talent to where I can play music that I want to within about 4 hours.

Continue reading “Does a Piano Player Need to Read Music?”

What’s it like to work at Cirque?

Received this email today asking me what it’s like to work for Cirque Du Soleil.

Hi Mr. Askland,
I am curious to know how it is to work at Cirque? What are the hours you work as a musician? How long do you have to prepare for an audition after they choose you to be part of the show?

Please let me know.
Best regards

Continue reading “What’s it like to work at Cirque?”

Do You Need a College Degree for a Music Career?

Email question received – How important is a degree for a career in music?

Hey conrad i have an interest in music production/recording and need some advice if you have the time. Im thinking about school at mtsu outside of nashville and i was wondering about job oppertunities and the long hrs was a concern. Is it long hrs no doubt or does it depend on the area of study? Is a degree a must?


A degree or certificate sure looks good on a resume when you’re starting out. Many people I work with that have good positions for their age have some sort of degree or certification. That being said, I don’t have any – but I studied very hard for years at different universities, workshops and with many artists. If I had to do it again, I may have jump started with a degree instead of learning everything the hard way.

Best University for Music Production

Email question received:

I am trying to get into a good music school for music production, vocals and maybe even to have my own music label. I’ve been singing for 8yrs and my goal is to make my own music and sing for a living, I LOVE IT. It’s my passion. I was wondering if maybe you had a good choice of school for these specialties.??

Continue reading “Best University for Music Production”