Wednesday, August 31, 2005

This is All Derrak's Fault

I'm setting myself up for the self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. I believe I'll never be able to maintain a blog. It's cool now. It will be cool for a while, but I don't know about typing comments into a computer, sending them into the great internet abyss, not knowing if they'll ever be considered, processed, thought-provoking, inciting of a reply, etc, etc. Were it not for a recent conversation with Derrak, I don't know if I would have made this venture. Thanks a lot Derrak.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Who I work with

There aren't many jobs where a somewhat mandatory day retreat includes a little scenic train ride followed by a bicycle ride back to where we got on the train. I hate things like this because I see such little value in them (it's such an unproductive day!). BUT, I'll admit it was a great time, perfect day, and I always enjoy being with my friends! Here's a picture of our music staff at The Chapel and my biking companions for the day.

Back Row: Derrack Ostovic, Matt Kandel, Dave Craig, Jim Mitchell, Kenton Kober
Front Row: Rick Zuercher, Karan Armstrong, Emily Dickey, Donna Bower, Yours Truly

Great people, great friends. I'm including their names so that they all have the benefit of a Google hit when they do a vanity search.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Herbie Hancock - Possibilities

Thanks to Nick Francis's Podcast "Jazz and Conversation," I learned about a great new recording soon to be released from Herbie Hancock called "Possibilites." In Francis's blog, one can learn a lot about this release. which features Hancock accompanying vocalists like Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon and Christina Aguilara. If you like old mixed with new, I encourage you to take a listen!

Friday, August 26, 2005

I use Finale

Most of my job is spent using a music notation program called Finale. I currently use Finale 2004 on my Mac G5, a wonderful machine that The Chapel has provided for me to use. Until recently almost all of my work on Finale has been strickly job-related. However, I've begun to do other projects for hire which has been a lot of fun, and I've learned a lot, but I have encountered a dilemma for which I have not been able to find a clean resolution.

When I work for people, making a chart, it took me a while to come up with a clean way to charge. The fees must vary for different purposes. Am I doing an original arrangement, or am I doing a transcription?

For all you engravers out there, here's a place I've kind of settled on.

I've started with a base fee, which is tied directly to the number of staves required. Let's say I'm doing a string arrangement. There will be five staves (two violin parts). At $5 a staff, that's a $25 base fee.

From there, I add a negotiable fee of $.03-.05 per element. Using a finale plugin, I have it count all the various elements, total them, then add the sum to the base fee.

So for this string arrangement, I may have a base fee of $25 plus 324 notes, 89 rests, 98 smart shapes, 45 text expressions, etc, etc (whatever element-type I think is worthy of a charge) add those elements together and you get 556 elements times $.03 = 16.68 or times $.05 = 27.80. Add this to the base fee of $25 and you get either $41.68, or $52.80.

The reason I think this is equitable is because it helps the buyer know that he/she is not getting ripped off if your entire arrangement is a lot of whole notes. On the other hand, if you've taken the time to put in intricacies, articulations, etc, etc, you will be compensated for it appropriately.