Thursday, October 29, 2015

It has been a while since I have given this blog any attention.  Over a year!  The last post I wrote covered my introduction to Boston last September.  Now I am back in Boston after a summer spent in Maine and traveling around for gigs.  I am well into my fall semester at SMCC and am back to applying for music schools.

Exciting news!  I just toured Longy, a beautiful, tiny music school with a lovely community and really great teachers.  It only has 250 students and its campus is made up of two converted manor houses complete with full sized, home-style bathrooms and spiraling, wooden staircases.  It has no on-campus housing, no cafeteria, no liberal arts courses and I love it!  It is perfect!

Now that I am done gushing, lets keep in mind that I have only visited once.  I hope to sit in on some classes and meet with more faculty members to get a better sense of it.  Also, there is one pretty scary drawback to such a small school and that is scholarship.  As a small school with a faculty to student ration of 2.5/1, they probably don't have a wealth of scholarship funds.  With that in mind I am definitely going to apply to BU.  BU is my best prospect financially because I will be eligible for financial aid, merit scholarship (because of my strong SAT scores and academic background) and music scholarships.  On top of that, they will probably accept most of the 60 credits I will have earned from SMCC and Berklee Online.  I was impressed by their music program and could see myself taking advantage of the resources of a large university while hanging out in a small music community.

Now the fun begins...applying to schools.  I am pretty darn worn out from going through this process the past couple years but at least I have it down.  I know the questions to ask, I know the information to give.  I have a very strong portfolio and I have a burning passion to make this happen once and for all.  MUSIC SCHOOL HERE I COME!!!!

Okay, enough of the annoying caps.  I have essays, resumes, bios, etc. to write and music to compose!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Life in Boston

The City

I am in my third week in Boston and am having a great time.  It took me a few days to adjust to being without my family and community.  I can no longer bike to the coop and see half a dozen or a dozen people that I know.  It was awesome living in a small town full of people that I loved, many of whom had known me since I was a single digit child. (Now I am 20!)  But I have been gradually meeting cool people, finding a good group of friends and becoming more familiar with (and less stressed by) the twists and turns of city life.

I have been spending a lot of time with my girlfriend, Audrey who is attending Berklee this year and I practically feel like a Berklee student already.  I know the class schedule, homework, dorms, students, and hopefully I will get to know the professors.  People assume I am a student at Berklee unless I tell them because why else would I be there?  I am even studying the same material because I bought the Berklee ear training and harmony books. 

I have been devoting a substantial portion of time to studying the Berklee materials, probably more than the average Berklee student.  Hours of harmony and ear training on top of piano practice, jam sessions and being in college (with online liberal arts courses from SMCC) make a job rather unrealistic but I have always been more interested in freelancing anyway.  I really do need to start making money but I think it will benefit me more in the long run to devote my time to building my music career in Boston.

There are so many musical opportunities and cool people to jam with in Boston.  Audrey and I along with our fiddling friend, Kathleen, played for the BIDA contra dance in Cambridge which was a blast (except that Audrey was sick).  After the dance, Mari Black (a national Scottish fiddle champion) contacted me wanting to jam sometime.  I have already started a couple weekly jams (and potlucks) with some fun Berklee and NEC fiddle players but I am excited for more. 

Another set of opportunities I discovered is the abundance of free concerts and events in Boston. New England Conservatory has a ton of master classes, lectures and workshops that are open to the public.  Both NEC and North Eastern are having workshops with film score composers in October which I am super psyched about.

My Home In Boston
I am living in Jamaica Plain with a nice, older woman who is a friend of someone in Belfast.  I am a five minute walk from the Arboretum (where I love to hang out and study) and a three minute walk from a food coop (already a member).  It is a twenty-five minute bike ride along a beautiful tree-lined path to reach Berklee and a forty-five minute cycle to get to Summerville where I have started taking piano lessons with my Fiddle Camp teacher, Neil Pearlman.

College Courses
I am taking Sociology which is interesting but the course is rather dry, Music Appreciation and History which is extremely easy so far, a Freshman Interest Group which is a one credit course required by SMCC, and Documentary Photography which is an awesome course largely because it gives me an excuse to take photographs and edit them.  I took classes this summer so I did not need to take a full course load this fall and I am glad to have the extra time to devote to music while I am in such a hub of music inspiration and opportunity.

Hope this makes up for the months I have neglected this blog.
All the best,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Make Berklee Affordable 101

Hello World,

Figuring out my plans for college has been quite an adventure and the work is far from over.

Ultimate Goals: Attend Berklee College of Music. Study film scoring and composition. Graduate with minimum debt. Find work as a composer!

Making Berklee affordable 101:

Step 1. Take cheap online courses from SMCC this summer/fall/spring to cover all transferable Liberal Arts courses required at Berklee.

Step 2. Study to test out of core music courses at Berklee (ear training, harmony, counterpoint, music history, etc.)

Step 3. Move to Boston this fall. Make connections at Berklee. Work to cover living expenses. Find kindhearted Berklee professors to give me advice, composition lessons and put a good word or two in the ear of higher authorities for me.

Step 4. Work on my musicianship and be awesome at my audition!

Step 5: Apply for scholarships/grants outside of Berklee.  Find people interested in sponsoring my education.

Quite a bit of work ahead of me to make this happen.

Let's do it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Hello All,

Wow, I have been neglecting this blog terribly.  Having a Facebook page now isn't helping.
What have I been up to?  A lot of things have been happening in my musical life.

Violinist Audrey Buddington and I have enjoyed growing success with our musical careers.  We have been finding gigs, working on music videos, invited to play for the Ooh La La dance weekend in Quebec, working on an album of our originals, writing tons of music, and having a lot of fun.

I am currently working on intensive music theory, ear training and piano technique.  I am entering a busy composing stage as I am writing music for a Shakespeare production, composing pieces for a short stop-motion film, an infomercial, and am looking into possible payed work through Compass Light in Camden.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Away With the Wind

Here are two pieces I fixed up for the Berklee Writing and Composition Scholarship application. The First is the piece I composed for my Orchestration Course this summer through Berklee Online.

A Successful Day

I have been having such a wonderful day and I realized it was a perfect opportunity to give my blog some attention.
I started out the day by getting some letters posted in the mail which I had been putting off for no reason. I printed out the three musical scores I already submitted to the Berklee Writing and Composition Scholarship and I burned a CD of the music to drop off at my piano teachers house.  Then I hopped on my bike and delivered the letters to the post office (one was heading to a friend in Ecuador), the scores to Mary Anne's and stopped by the Co.op to hang up a new poster for my concert on the 9th.  I also talked to Sheryl and she agreed to sell my Album there.  In my confidence I was ready to hit every store in Belfast that might be willing to sell my CD but I only had one copy with me so I gave it to Coyote Moon and left for home.

On the way home my head was swirling with inspiration and I stopped a few times, pulling out a notebook, and writing most of the first draft of my college admissions essay (a process I have long been dreading).

When I got home I lay on the couch and read a fantasy novel.  This was a calculated step as I have not been reading enough lately and with all my inspiration that morning I didn't want to push myself too hard as I have a tendency to do and loose my productive streak.

My two hour piano practice was focused and productive.  I could see huge improvements in my playing since last week.  I was also inspired and wrote down a few melody lines I came up with and started an orchestration in Cubase which I will probably never finish.

Checking facebook I discover that the filmmaker I have been working with, Jon Cunningham, has recommended me to a conductor looking to work with young composers.  I have no idea where this might lead but I contacted her and am super excited to hear back.  I also told Jon about the film class I am teaching and suggested we teach some classes together this winter.  I can't express how excited I would be to be collaborating in teaching film.  Film is my hidden passion and teaching has been my excuse to work on a film project that I might otherwise not make the time for.

I have a bunch of gigs lined up for November.  I am working hard on my Berklee audition piece and I'm looking forward to playing Ultimate (indoors, now) and more contra dancing.

Anyway, that is it for now.
Things are shaping up for my music career it seems.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CD Release Concert Nov. 9th

My CD release concert is coming up!

Pianist Clayton Clemetson will be performing at the Belfast Free Library on Saturday, November 9th, 6:30 to 8:00pm. 

A resident of Belfast and world traveler, Clayton Clemetson has been composing and improvising for 11 years and has developed a New Age style influenced by film music and traditional fiddle tunes.  This event kicks off the release of his most recent album, "From the Treetops," a collection of original solo piano compositions.

Listen to his music at:
Saturday, November 9th
Belfast Free Library Gammans Room
light snacks and refreshments!