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Friday
Mar112011

New interview on MG3Media posted!



Here's an interview that outlines some of the myriad projects I've been working on.  We talk about the new music school in Harlem, multitasking and the new project "Two Shades of Nude".

You can read the interview here.

Wednesday
Jan262011

Announcing Harlemschool.org

We've moved all Harlem School materials to the new website (or subsite, if you will).  

You can add the new Harlem School RSS feed by clicking here.

Friday
Jan212011

January 2011 Newsletter Update

Here's an archive of an informative newsletter that was sent out to January 20th.  If you would like to receive these newsletter via email click here.

It’s been a busy start to 2011 here in snowy and blustery New York City. I’ve been busy with a couple of interesting projects and have been reflecting on a productive yet challenging 2010. I’ll dive right in with a recap of 2010:

In this issue: West Coast Tour, Reviews, Harlem School Update, Conjunto Rovira Returns, Recommended Listening

 

2010 Recap

Two Shades of Nude2010 saw the release of my second CD as a leader, Two Shades of Nude. It was a humble pleasure and honor to record with this sterling list of NYC cats in 2007 and it brought much relief and a sense of accomplishment to finally bring out this jazz nonet recording to the world en masse on Origin Records. The album managed to peak at #33 on the Jazzweek radio chart and continues to collect very well-received reviews. The CD release party at Yoshi’s Oakland, CA was a big hit and resulted in sold out shows.

2010 saw plenty of traveling abroad with multiple artists including Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Pete Escovedo and Don Omar. We were able to visit beautiful people and parts of the world in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Spanish Harlem is nominated for a Grammy this year and I was thrilled to be a part of their first DVD release filmed at the HOSTOS Performing Arts Center in the Bronx, NY. Look for the release later this year.

On the composition front, my symphonic tone-poem American Transgressions for Orchestra commissioned by Timothy Smith and the renowned Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra debuted last November to some great reviews. This work is actually the first movement of a planned symphony that will involve the use of a battery of latin percussionists. More to come on the progress of this work!

In the education world, my relocation back to New York in October found me saying good-bye to my post as part of the jazz faculty at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, CA, a post that I grew increasingly fond of as I witnessed the amazing development of our students in that program. As I begin my new post as Program Director for the new Harlem School of Urban Music and Recording Arts, I will continually look to the development of these students as a goalpost for my own current students. More follows below on some of the cool things we are planning for this technologically innovative program!

The year culminated with my relocation back to New York City and the burrowing in for the long winter that is currently underway. While snowed in, I’ll be doing principal composition and arranging for my next release and re-connecting with my friends and peers from this great hive of activity. Here's what's on tap in the coming weeks:

 

 update: harlem school of urban music and recording arts

Pro Tools HD Accel 2 with C|24 Console @ Harlem SchoolCurriculum for the Harlem School is nearly completed and technology keeps on rolling in. We’ve just installed a brand new Pro Tools HD Accel 2 System (ours is pictured at right!) with a C24 mixing console in the pro recording studio, housed at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem. We are also in the process of installing audio interfaces for each of the 27” iMac student workstations running Apple Garage Band and Sibelius First. We are slating the grand opening of the school for March 1st!

 

conjunto Rovira returns!Wayne Wallace, Doug Beavers and Jimmy Bosch

Doug Beavers y su Conjunto Rovira returns to the SF Bay Area for two more hard-hitting shows:

March 9 Conjunto Rovira at Shattuck Down Low -Berkeley CA


March 12 Conjunto Rovira Titanes del Trombón (feat. Wayne Wallace, Abel Figueroa and Doug Beavers) headlines SF Salsa Festival 2011!

 

recommended listening/reading

I’ve added a couple of new features to the website, including a new arranging section/discussion and a “Currently Digging” section, where I outline some of the things I’ve been checking out in detail over the past couple of months. (#1 on my list right now is the new Stanley Clarke recording. Freakish!)

Feel free to visit and leave a comment as to what you are checking out right now.

 

Wishing you a happy and successful 2011,

Doug Beavers

 

 

For all the latest info, visit www.dougbeavers.com

 

Friday
Oct292010

Back in the Apple again.....via Calgary

Calgary- Alberta, CanadaI'm currently laid over on a Continental flight heading to Calgary via Chicago O'Hare for a show with Spanish Harlem Orchestra.  What to do?  Update the blog.

 After a month and a half of traveling, gigging, and generally living out of suitcases, I've finally made it and relocated back to the Big Apple, NYC.

 It's great to be back, and I'm really looking forward to being able to get my music to the world stage and to a broader audience at large.  I'm very excited to be back and surrounded by musicians of this caliber!

 I will be also spending a measure of time establishing a new music and recording arts that I'm currently designing in Harlem.  The Harlem School of Music and Recording Arts will focus on jazz, latin jazz & salsa, hip-hop and rock, all using formal music training as a major lynchpin of these musical genres.  The school will feature a state-of-the-art recording studio and music workstations utilizing Garage Band and Logic to enable the students to record their ideas and learn the process of sequencing their ideas to rhythms appropriate to the genre.  We will begin the first phase of this process by auditioning students of the Frederick Douglas Academy, where the school is currently housed.  In later phases, we will be expanding staff and admitting more students as the schools' needs grow.

So - it's feeling great to finally get settled in Jersey City Heights (featuring spectacular views of Manhattan!), indulge in the fine local food fare and get the "crib" up and running.

Now if we can make it to Calgary tonight; we've already missed our connection.....


Friday
Oct092009

FINALE 2010 TO SIBELIUS 6 CONVERSION - My Experience

Well, it's been quite busy on the road so I haven't been able to really sink my teeth into the business of getting my arranging and composing to be Sibelius-native. But alas - I started my first such venture en route to Brownsville, TX for a show with Spanish Harlem Orchestra. (Incredible band on this one BTW - percussionists were Johnny "Dandy" Rodrgiuez, George Delgado and the awesome Luisito Quintero (nasty solo on Ariñañara that night).) I have to say, despite a couple of blank moments where it's just inevitable that I have to consult reference, the transition is invigorating and just feels "right". No - I'm not working for Avid or anything, I just have to call it like I see it here as I'm sure that there are more folks in the same boat as I am.

 

OK, getting down to details. I'm going to start here with how I generally approach an arrangement for a client. I'm hoping to compare (and hopefully for the better) just how my process will improve during this transition. After this explanation I'm going to go about periodically comparing individual features and processes amongst the two programs.

 

My Arranging Process

This will give a little extra perspective on how I'm planning to implement this workflow into Sibelius. It goes a little something like this:

  1. Transcribe the tune from the client's audio example.
  2. Make sure everything is clearly notated in the transcription on to appropriate staves. For this process I usually 3-4 staves, the top being the lead line/melody and the grand staff below it being used for harmony and bass line. If harmony figures to be involved then I usually introduce a separate bass staff below the grand staff.
  3. Start noodling around the keyboard for some possible sub-melodies and harmonies. I immediately found myself using Sib's Ideas feature today for just throwing some of the ideas onto "paper" and capturing it with the function. I can tell right now this is going to be huge for me - it was one of the core features that brought me to Sib from Finale.
  4. Develop another set of 2 staves that go under the previous group - I usually call this group "Rearr" for "Re-arrangement Staves". (One thing that I'm going to need to figure out stat is how togroup/ungroup staves manually.) On these set of staves I start sketching out the guts of how I would like my arrangement to sound like.
  5. Upon completion of "Rearr" (usually takes the longest of all of these phases) I develop another grand staff and call it "Orch" for Orchestration Staves. This setup has been particularly useful when I need to go back and orchestrate the tune for any instrumentation; I just take the "Orch" kernel and paste to the top of the new file and simply orchestrate down from the those staves. I can see here howVersions will be incredibly useful as I go through the different phases of my arranging process - as work toward the final score I can do away with Orch, Rearr. I can also have a version with just Orch. or Rearr - I can paste these right into my new instrumentation set for orchestration. Yes, damn nerdy but cool!.
  6. Before I move to developing the final score I usually move right to my MIDI demo for the client's approval of my work in progress. This saves many an hour if they don't like what you've done and you have to undo all of your precious copying and engraving work in your final score! This is an area I'm especially excited to utilize Sib's new Rewire function which I just test drove today. (Opened Pro Tools and made a new instrument track. Inserts>instruments and Sibelius wasn't there as advertised (Booooo!) I googled the problem and ended up downloading the latest Rewire version from Propellerhead and "repairing" the playback in Sib's audio options. This took an hour. I don't understand why this just couldn't of worked out of the box. Oh well, no one's perfect.) One other area where I believe Finale has a leg up is they have an all-useful Latin Percussion plug in which I've used extensively in my demos. For the time being I guess I'm going to have to program my own congabongo and timbal tumbaos. If Sib could get this going they would totally rule. Unfortunately, I don't think a lot of these notation programs take latin percussion seriously - they need to.
  7. After the MIDI demo is completed, converted to mp3 and sent to client, I make yet another version and start the final, engraved score. (Again, can't wait to get Versions going here!) This is usually pretty simple as I probably will have orchestrated during the MIDI version. All that remains would be stripping away the MIDI Demo elements (curious to see how Rewire will come into play here), adding chords, processing the piano, bass, and percussion parts, adding articulations and marking to the horns, and adding lyrics if necessary. During this phase we will see about the true meat & potatoes of Sibelius. So - without further ado, features and procesees:

Note Entry

This is probably the toughest area to address for me as Finale's note entry has just become muscle memory after 12 years of use. However, as I get more and more used to it, it seems at this point and time that it makes more "sense" than Finale's speedy entry. My preferred mode of entry has always been MIDI step time and it seems that Sibelius' implementation will dramatically pick up in speed once I get used to it. One of the things I have to be really careful with currently with Sib is auditioning notes. If I haven't escaped all the way out of note entry then my "auditionings" will find their way on to staves in the music. Advantage for the time being - Finale.

 

Parts

Wow. Typing "W" gets me looking at a part instantly. I transcribed the client's tune with the melody resting on my "Lead Line" staff. Just for kicks I wanted to take a look at the part so I hit "W". There the part was - looking amazingly decent for being untouched. Magnetic Layout is just amazing. I would've spent 4-5 minutes getting this part to look like this with Finale, period. Advantage - Sibelius, overwhelmingly.

 

Playback

Playback in Sibelius is just dimensions ahead that of Finale. Sib's playback is amazingly robust, intuitive, and very elegant. I can audition incrementally tempos for the piece by just dragging the tempo bar back and forth. (Finale eats it bad here.) I can play from any part of the piece by selecting a bar and hitting "P". (Sib's keyboard shortcuts are amazingly intuitive). I audition a single stave by selecting that bar and hitting "P". Sib just plays back that bar. In Finale I can't do this. I can't just move a slider to forward and rewind playback. Advantage - Sibelius, overwhelmingly.

 

Lyrics

I haven't gotten this far in the arrangement as of yet - but I have to comment on this in any case. You can actually import a .txt file and have Sib lay the text over the syllables of the melody. Are you kidding me!! This is going to again save me hours. Adv. - Sibleius.

 

Chord Entry

I toyed around just slapping in some chords on top of the melody. Sibelius again has Finale brutally beaten in this category. All I had to do was Cmd-K and click on a note or a beat. I typed in my chord - E7(#9). The chord laid out beautifully - the "#9" in parentheses and raised just the perfect amount above the "7". I didn't have to go hunting through tiny boxes of chord suffixes. I have always loathed this in Finale and thought it ridiculous. It was even to the point where I had .txt files of full of Chord Suffixes with their identifying "Suffix Numbers" to somehow speed up the tedium of Finale Chord Entry. I feel "cleansed" and relieved that I'll never have to go undergo this torture again.

 

Enharmonic chords in Sib work beautiful. The cats in my bands know I use some pretty intricate chords - these very chords would sometimes take up to 10min a piece to format properly in Finale and document in my chord sheet and save into the Finale "Chord Library". In Sib I can even play in a voicing of the chord and Sib gets it right half the time. If not, I simply cycle through the enharmonic voicings and I'm done. Advantage - Sibelius, overwhelmingly.

 

Much more to come - I'm only beginning this chart but this is what I've noticed so far.

 

-db

 

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