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Topic: Orchestration and Composition Maestros

  1. #1

    Orchestration and Composition Maestros

    Real professionals use pro coaches to help them solve technical problems and keep them in top form. Tiger Woods has four, and Luciano Pavarotti has an acting coach, a voice coach, a music coach, a language coach and a personal fitness (!) coach.

    So even Doug Smith will eventually need a coach for his orchestrations. (Maybe he will need four.) I suspect some other GPO users may also like to have a highly experienced professional composer or orchestrator examine their works to offer corrections, improvements, and advice.

    Is there an approximate going rate for polishing a finished score? (I use Sibelius 3.) How's it charged? (Page, measure, hour?)

    In my case the standard would be a score which a professional symphony or ballet conductor would expect to see.

    Who's out there and available to do this sort of thing? References appreciated.

    I'm of course aware of the Tips & Tutorials subforum, but I think this may go beyond that in scope.

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestration and Composition Maestros

    You underestimate the ego of your typical composer. If you are talking about copyist services, then yes that is availible and common. but be prepared to spend a ton of time going over their work and sending it back with corrections. Athletes and performers can and sometimes do use coaches, but not most by any stretch. Once most of us composers get our DMA or PhD I am pretty certain we are done being coached save a few Master's Classes with living composers.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  3. #3

    Re: Orchestration and Composition Maestros

    Rather than calling it a "coach", if you seek an "editor" you might have better luck, someone who wouldn't train you, especially, just help fix up your printed scores to professional level. And that will involve issues of clarity, mostly, but also possibly orchestrational details. And for that kind of service, I think most professional composers (classical/modern publishing world, anyway) get help. After a few rounds of good editing, of course, you get better at forestalling the problems, but even so another trained eye and ear can be very helpful.

  4. #4

    Re: Orchestration and Composition Maestros

    Good point about calling it editing rather than coaching. Many people on this forum, however, didn't study composition or orchestration formally, or not very long, so they may profit from some more professional education.

    Too bad for the composers who don't think their works are amenable to improvement. I have a plenty big ego, but it's balanced by a desire to be realistic and identify and correct errors so my finished work will be better. I published a long music history book a few years ago, and enlisted a couple dozen colleagues to read parts or all of it before publication. They not only pointed out mistakes, which I then expunged, but also ways to add to or improve it here and there. In scholarship in most fields this practice is common, but I think many artworks, particularly large ones, could benefit from peer review as well.

    A large work of art demands multiple talents or skills, and a team can sometimes put it together better than an individual. Operas, films, ballets, are made by teams. Composers in the popular arena -- such as Lloyd Webber (I heard, at least in his earlier works) often don't do their own orchestrations. If they're good at melody, fine, that's a legitimate gift, so let an orchestration whiz finish it up.

    But back to score doctors: is there a central source of information about this? Where do I find out whether I can afford this? Artistically, I probably can't afford not to afford it.

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