Day 1, Sunday 1st August
On Sunday we were introduced to our task. Our assignment for the week was to compose for a short film already given to us.
My short film was called Red Car Heist, and I immediately felt relieved as I recognised the film it came from (Baby Driver). We would solely be scoring and composing on Logic Pro X.
For the rest of Sunday, we were introduced to the players: Sasha (violinist), Jill and Peter (violists), Pasha (flute player) and Cassi (cellist). We would be composing parts for them to play live.
At the end of Sunday, we composed for the first ten seconds of our film and we had a mini concert to show each other what we had done.
Day 2, Monday 2nd August
On Monday, we worked on composing a solo for an instrument of our choice, and then composing an accompaniment for a solo instrument. We then recorded these parts and put them into Logic. If we finished either of those tasks, we would then begin composing. On Tuesday we began composing for the film and we started recording parts in from the recording studio, which was such a fun experience.
Day 3, Tuesday 3rd August & Day 4, Thursday 5th August
On Wednesday we continued this, and on Thursday we printed out parts for our sound check. At 7:30 pm we had a sound check in which all of our pieces were played for the first time with live instruments.
Day 5, Friday 6th August
On Friday we fixed anything that went wrong on Thursday and mixed our tracks. We finally had our performance in which everything went very well. We were all really happy with how it all went, although we were nervous to introduce our pieces. We then listened to the instrumentalists’ performances and the jazz group’s performances, finishing the day at midnight.
What have I enjoyed?
I really enjoyed recording in different parts. I have never been in a recording studio, and so it was amazing sitting in one room while the player sat in the other playing all the parts. I really enjoyed composing my piece as well. As soon as I got to the chase section, I got very excited and couldn’t wait to finish it. Aidan came around and then helped me to add in percussion to give it more pace and movement, which made it sound even better. I really enjoyed learning how to score in Logic and notating extended techniques.
What were some challenges? How did you resolve them?
During this process I had multiple setbacks that made me become very negative about my piece I had composed. On Tuesday Aidan came to my computer and told me to start at the chase section, and from this I knew I had to erase my whole beginning section to my piece. On Wednesday I retried my introduction after writing the chase scene. I struggled writing it as I had been writing for hours on end. I found that I was mentally drained and I couldn’t come up with anything creative anymore. Luckily, Sasha (the violinist) came round and helped me to use the extended techniques to create a motor type sound for the car in the beginning.
From this I used tremolo for minimalism and tension, and I felt much better about the project. I found it really challenging to get everything done in time, as the whole process is extremely time consuming. I felt very stressed towards the end of the deadline, and my piece went horribly during the sound check on Thursday due to too loud of a bass, but it was extremely rewarding during the concert hearing my final piece mastered.
What have I learned in the Summer School?
I have learned how to score in Logic, something that could sometimes become frustrating after using Sibelius for a while. However, towards the end of the week I felt much better in my skills and I feel confident in scoring on Logic. I will definitely take this away for the future. I have definitely learned more language and notation during this course. We had a session dedicated to extended techniques, which was my favourite part of the course as we got to see the cool sounds each instrument could do.
One technique that I won’t forget is called col lengo, which means the player will hit the back of their bow on the strings. I have learned how to do a click track for the instruments, which has been really interesting to use. Although it was confusing at first, I managed to put all the whistles in the right place with the help of Peter. The musicians played it perfectly during the final performance due to this. My biggest takeaway from this course is how going into a film career is not going to be straightforward. We were immediately given a brief and set of expectations for our films when we started, which meant we had to follow those instructions and limit our creativity. However, that is how it will be in real life, and I feel that this has been a big learning curve. It has taught me that I won’t have full control over what I’m composing unless I can persuade the director.
I think that all of the extended techniques can be used in my work. I tend to write very emotive music, and so I feel that these techniques will benefit my work. I plan to write music for my school orchestra, and I feel that these techniques will add a new layer to my pieces. I also feel that I know how to go into different sections easier, for example you add a reversed cymbal so that it’s not a sudden jump into a B section of a piece that’s contrasting. This worked particularly well in my piece. Reverse piano was also incredibly effective. Finally, I think that using logic scoring is something I will always remember.