Articles

  • What makes me tick? What makes Stephen P Brown tick?This does. In SO many ways. Afterwards, tell me what you think of it (especially if you want to hear my observations and opinions!). Did you even get through the entire video?
  • Do you remember when? TearApplause does make us feel good, and it is the easiest way for audiences to let us know they liked what we did for them. There are lots of people around us who say they don’t perform…
  • You Cott me thinking round peg square hole“The arts are finally at the adult table.” Ugh. I think that’s upside-down: like a child serving their teddies and parents fake tea from a tiny plastic teacup: at some point one of those parents must return from play land to…
  • It’s easy to be Smarter piano trophyAfter the rehearsal and before the performance we walked to a nearby eatery and Geoff opened up about his problem. He had heard that making goals was important but never really subscribed to it. I asked if he had…
  • This makes me so angry Opera audiences in the ROTW are not declining as they are in the USAMy response: Highly educated in WHAT? For decades we have been drilling the arts OUT of education, out of people’s lives, and removing exposure…
  • Your resolutions are too extreme New Year's Resolutions Don't WorkIf some of your New Year’s Resolutions are already waning or behind schedule, have no fear. The first step to overcoming any concerns of failure is very simple. It is also the first step to establishing a healthy balance in life.
  • Harness your passion Stephen P Brown helps emerging and amateur musicians keep their balanceBalancing the need to survive with our desires to participate in music is how I help, and clearly the most pressing elements include…
  • Why “Go To A Concert?” Human InteractionWhy do 20,000 online bloggers meet for an in-person conference? What’s the difference between a smiling face and a video of someone smiling? It’s the same with music but on a deeper and more human level.
  • Great Picks For Your Holiday Classical Music Christmas_MusicIf you are planning to host a dinner party, be sure to set the tone with some good Christmas classical music playing softly in the background.
  • Annual Reader Survey 2014 – Summary Stephen P Brown's Annual Reader Survey 2014I am so very, very, VERY grateful that my cloud server deletion occurred just after my Annual Reader Survey, which I outsourced! The results and my analysis were not lost and I can share them with you now, a little earlier than anticipated (because it’s so exciting!) This is the first year I invited participation from everyone interested in ...
  • A sample of the new concerto Stephen P. Brown composes a concerto for Bass Clarinet  My next composition isn’t quite ready yet. But I really like it and want to share it with you NOW. So, there’s a sample below! It may seem my 7 year #PsalmQuest has been on hiatus and maybe you even thought I’d given up already. Well, I was ahead of schedule so after all the Christmas performances I did ...
  • Flashing is popular again Flash Mobs are popular by Stephen P. Brown  More and more musicians are doing it. Apparently there were over 40 reported incidents worldwide in 2013. Fortunately, many of them were caught on camera. Which of the following incidents from the past few years are worthy of international attention, and which are lucky not to find themselves in the Establishment’s penal custody for flashing in public? I’ll tell ...
  • 12 books for the growing career Rework Book recommended by Stephen P. BrownI’m working hard on my next #PsalmQuest piece – a concerto for Bass Clarinet and Strings, and it is going well, but with the holidays and lots of travel it’s been hard to keep up. Should have something to share with you in a month or so. In the meantime, here is a list of 12 ...
  • Why I’m the slowest car on the road Stephen P. Brown is the slowest car on the road  Over the past few years I’ve noticed I’m usually the slowest car on the road. Today, find out why. And hear about one of the decisions/ choices I’ve made that causes it! And then, if you dare, listen to how your own driving decisions are directly affecting the society we live in today. Click to play the video below ...
  • Who cares about live music? Stephen P. Brown asks "Who cares about live music?"Time for a rant/ rave/ vent, methinks. It’s been a while. Bear with me: Who cares about live music? Everywhere I look there are stories of musicians being yelled off their stage, performers crying for “decent” pay, orchestras and opera houses closing down, music schools diminishing beyond recognition, and a host of other music-related news that simply ...
  • What is Classical Music? Violin Enjoying live music concerts could be one of the most exciting relationships you’ll ever develop.   But here’s one thing any valuable and interesting article or document shouldn’t start with: a definition. The term “Classical Music” is difficult to embrace for three reasons: – It conjures up images of rich elitism, boringness and dead white men. – It actually ...
  • The Last “Substance Leader” – Nelson Mandela Stephen P. Brown gives tribute to Nelson MandelaWell, we can decidedly close an entire volume of human history: another era has come to a close. Although we still have a 110 year old pianist who remembers meeting Gustav Mahler, we have lost the last bastion of trustworthy social leadership. Nelson Mandela worked for a living despite his royal heritage, and all the ...
  • #PsalmQuest 11 – String Quartet 2 String Quartet 2 by British American Conductor Composer Stephen P BrownIt feels like forever since I published a #PsalmQuest piece, and I guess it was, really – over a month ago! In fact, I finished composing that last piece at the end of September, so it’s really been 8 weeks. Some of that time was spent resting, but much of it was actually spent re-writing. This ...
  • Back to Choral Roots Stephen P. Brown conducts the Clearwater chorusA couple of months ago I was appointed Conductor of the 40+ year old Clearwater Chorus. It’s an ensemble of people who like to sing, and encourages adults of varying ages and abilities to make and share music together. At least, that’s what it is now. Although not titled a “Director” that is effectively my role and ...
  • Seeking Leadership Stories Leadership2As a Conductor I am often held responsible not just for the instant moment-by-moment success of live music-making, but also the entire image, direction and resourcefulness of the whole organization. Every action and decision a leader makes directly influences outcomes and sales. (Click it to tweet it!) As you know, that basically sums up the outcome ...
  • #PsalmQuest Bass Clarinet Joint Commission! clarinetsWell, this turned into an amazing project! A local performer reached out to me and said “We should work together!” He was very generous in sharing what a good reputation I have amongst some of his colleagues, so with my esteem duly stroked I said, “Sure!” Bass Clarinets rule! Turns out Calvin Falwell is a Bass Clarinet geek. ...
  • #PsalmQuest 10 – Mirror 2 for solo harp Stephen P. Brown has a history with the harpWriting this piece of music was probably one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever done. Perhaps that’s why it turned out to be a good one. The harp can be a daunting instrument: it is large yet delicate, piano-like but not a piano, strings plucked with four fingers per hand not hammers hit by five ...
  • Quest #9 – Perspective Stephen P. Brown composes a concerto for Bass ClarinetThis was an odd composition that kind of came out of nowhere, but ended up being the ninth composition in my psalm composition quest. And it’s a little strange, being written for bass clarinet and drum kit. Uh-huh. I met Calvin Falwell recently and during our chat he mentioned a project he and his USF Faculty colleague Robert ...
  • Please… be our conductor! Stephen P. Brown, conductorUh-oh! I completely forgot to write a blog post this week! So, instead, here’s an entertaining video. If you ever want to be a conductor, the best advice I can offer is to be in the right place at the right time: I hope you find a similar opportunity near you soon!     My first rehearsal with the Clearwater ...
  • 6 Degrees Experiment Network with Stephen P. BrownSo I’m wondering just what kind of impact you and I have in the world. Are our efforts truly worth something in a stranger’s life, or do we slog away for our own misguided satisfaction? Let’s find out. I’m going to write a short statement below and see how far your followers, friends and email list actually ...
  • Piece #8: Sonata 2 for Viola, Marimba, Piano marimbaThis is a fun little ditty! Another stab at the traditional Sonata Form, this piece is for a trio of performers: viola, marimba and piano. To my thinking, there is not enough marimba included in the standard instrumentation these days, (click it to tweet it) yet like the saxophone or bass clarinet, it has a great many ...
  • Why the next 20 years of classical music will smash the last 20 Stephen P. Brown predicts the future of classical musicOPINION. That’s all this is. Totally unmerited, unfounded, unresearched, unverified I’m in the UK right now, where I spent my childhood and early professional career. My teens and current professional career were/are in the USA. My college life was mostly spent up & down the UK, throughout East & West Europe, and later a sojourn in ...
  • How I compose 3 – Chords How Stephen P. Brown composes chords“A chord in music is any harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously.” (Wikipedia, accessed August 7, 2013) To me, chords form the shell of a piece of music – the walls and roof of a house, so to speak. For me, this is the most difficult part of ...
  • Highest Chart Position Yet! Stephen P. Brown reaches the top of the charts!Well, I was going to write another “How I compose” post, but this topic topped the chart – literally. Reverbnation is an online outlet for all unsigned/ independent musicians – any style, any genre, any age, any stage of life. There are currently 3m (that’s 3,000,000) performers active on Reverbnation promoting their wares, and guess what… The ...
  • Next Piece #7: Bagatelle for Violin SPB-at-St-Peters-Judy-KangThis was a surprise! In my 7 year composition quest, piece #6 took a little over a month to write. This one took a day. Yes. One day! Solo violin It helped that the piece was being written for just one instrument alone, which is a complete contrast to Warrior Peace. Another contrast is the style: actually, I’m ...
  • New psalm composition #6: Warrior Peace Stephen P. Brown composes a piece for non-string chamber ensembleWell, this was an unexpected mammoth! (If you are not aware of my current composition quest, click here to read the introduction.) I knew that composing for larger ensembles would take time, and was sort of risking things a little when I decided to write for a larger-than-normal ensemble but I didn’t plan for this piece to ...
  • 17 insane (but probably true) things about music Conductor Composer Stephen P Brown shares an insane fact about musicThis is just a fun post. None of these facts have been verified, but I bet at least one of them will put a smile on your face! Have a great week 1. There is a law in New Hampshire that prevents you from tapping your feet, nodding your head, or in any other way ...
  • How I compose: Step 2 – Instrumentation Composer Conductor Stephen P. Brown discusses instrumentationA couple of weeks ago I shared how I start composing each of the pieces in my composition quest. It seemed to be a popular post! So after I’ve read the psalm, understood its meaning through commentary, and established the structure for my piece, the next step in composing music for me is choosing the instrumentation. Instrumentation. The purpose ...
  • Piece #5: Rescue Me! for choir Composer Conductor Stephen P. Brown composes soprano soloThe fifth piece in my composition quest was quite an adventure. Definitely surprising. “Rescue Me, Recover Me” is based on Psalm 130, and the title stems from the term “redeem” which this psalm seems to be all about. It has a simple ABAB structure, so knowing that I wanted to write a choral work I began ...
  • How I compose: Step 1 Composer conductor Stephen P. Brown discusses musical structureI am now working on the 6th piece in my composition quest. This is not the first time I’ve composed music but in the past I have approached pieces from a variety of angles: systematically using someone else’s process, systematically using someone else’s process that I adapted slightly, systematically using a process I developed myself ...
  • Next piece: Wind Quintet 2 Stephen P. Brown composes a piece for woodwind quintet  Yes, I’m forging ahead! Why? Because I know that as I improve my composition skills (the purpose of this entire project) I am learning how instruments sound and work together and I will be wanting to compose for larger combinations of instruments, such as a full orchestra. Writing such a piece will take a lot more ...
  • New piano solo – Covered Stephen P. Brown composes a piece for solo pianoHere is my psalm composition quest’s third piece of music: Click here to get your copy of the score For those of you “Psalmsters” following along with this project, you’ll know that this piece of music is based on Psalm 32. This psalm explains how sin is not eliminated, but covered from God’s view. Hence the title ...
  • What kind of choral music do you like? Stephen P. Brown composes his next piece of choral musicSo, composition #3 is complete – a piece for solo piano. It is most charming and my wife Melissa loves it. I’ll publish it next week as there are some administrative details to wrap up first. Composition #4 is already underway and called “Wind Quintet 2″ (how imaginative is that?), and I was thinking about where composition ...
  • Dedication. Dedication -- Stephen P. BrownThis week I came across a fascinating exploration of the history of King Arthur’s England. There is so much myth and legend surrounding our dreamy esteem of this perfect man that I’ve often wondered if he really existed. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the knights in shining armor adventures, and one day hope to rid ...
  • Next Piece: A Brass Mirror Stephen P. Brown composes a piece for brass trioAccording to the countdown clock on this page there are now LESS than seven years for me to complete the whole project (click here to find out what the project is all about). All is well, though – I seem to be on track. Already I’ve completed two compositions in this massively huge project, and here’s ...
  • When to say no Stephen P. Brown knows when to say "no"Last night I performed at an awards ceremony. It was a great show directed by a great showman Peter Stark (the former American ballet dancer, not the English conductor). One of the musical highlights for me was conducting a special arrangement of “Kashmir” made famous by Led Zeppelin, and more recently by the electric string quartet ...
  • Tried something new recently? Composer Stephen P. Brown tries something new  This new routine is tough! Getting up an hour earlier every morning isn’t like an on/off switch – it is taking lots of discipline but you know what? I’m getting a lot of work and reading done. But that’s just one new outcome of this Psalm Setting Quest. Another one is being adventurous. If you look through my list ...
  • Do you ‘wing it’? Stephen P. Brown makes a plan of actionSetting up a plan of action really does seem to work, wouldn’t you agree? As the Psalm Setting Quest was formulating, for fun I figured out a way to determine in which order I would use the psalms to compose music to. A few columns, sorts and ranking formulas were added to a spreadsheet and “voilà!” ...
  • I’ve got 7 years left – #PsalmQuest Compositions Composer Stephen P. Brown has until 2020Some of my compositions were recently submitted as materials for another Masters-level qualification which would permit me to teach higher education in the USA – something my experience and approach is well suited to. The application was not approved, and that hurt. When I shared the assessor’s report with my select circle, most of the reactions ...
  • Psalm 19 Poll Composer Stephen P. Brown composes a piece based on Psalm 19Should my next piece of music be composed for just violin and viola, or should I include a soprano as well? For more information about this 7-year project, click here.
  • People Matter. Stephen P. Brown says people matterWhat are you working on? Do you have a hobby or skill that you pursue outside of your day job? Some people build model train sets, others go ice skating. Some folk coach Little League baseball, and others knit. What’s your hobby? (Tell me in the comments below). It’s interesting that over the past 10 days or so something has ...
  • Unexpected advice and a possible way forward What an incredible week. My last blog post “Keeping up appearances” attracted the most views I’ve ever had, as well as the most comments. Thank you! It is clear that many of you believe a small group of advisers or friends with whom you can share disappointments is a good thing, but even better is a mentor ...
  • Keeping up appearances Composer Conductor Stephen P. Brown shares some disappointing news,I recently received some rather disappointing news. Normally, no-one would know except my poor wife who would end up tolerating my pottering around the house and moping through the kitchen cupboards kidding myself I needed something to munch on. But the rest of the world wouldn’t know. Blog posts would still appear on schedule, uplifting tweets would ...
  • Fire the musicians! orchestraYet another terrific #OrchChat last week! Thank you to all who participated in the lively discussion. For one hour several people from around the world gradually joined in as schedules permitted, and there was much intense and passionate discussion among the group. Based on feedback, we kept the format to three topics and as usual, they ...
  • Dreamy… to start with. The composer Zoltan Kodaly has a special place in my heart and history. I like much of his music, which is very folk-based. He was the chap that pioneered formal classical music based on local regional folk & popular music. He actually traveled around his native Hungary with wax cylinders recording peasants, villagers and gypsies ...

Comments

Comments are closed.