Rehearsal and voice lesson quotes compiled by students from recorded sessions – also things found penciled in the margins of music returned at the end of the semester.

  • Rational thinking? Not so much. Creative thinking? We’ve got this!
  • Perspective changes everything.
  • Blunder boldly!
  • Why choose to sound like a dying moose if you don’t have to?
  • Listen like an archeologist searching for artifacts. What can you find beneath the surface?
  • The problem is rarely the high note. It’s usually the approach that needs fixing.
  • Tenors are the Evel Knievels of the singer world.
  • Let go of the reins. Trust the horses. They know the way home.
  • What note is that?  Q Double-sharp???
  • Nobody gives a damn about the bottom of the staff.
  • Trajectory! Trajectory! Trajectory!
  • That’s not even good enough for jazz!
  • Always shop from the top shelf. Squatting in the grocery aisle is messy and dangerous.
  • Never hit the brakes on an entrance ramp, baby!
  • Put it. Don’t force it.
  • Release the air faster. Blow the letters off the library!
  • Yay! You remembered to take off the emergency brake!
  • There’s a profound sense of rhythmic constipation going on here.

Thoughts about composing from interviews and articles.

  • A composer’s best friend is his eraser.
  • Composing music is best when it works like projectile vomiting.
  • I never consider a composition complete until it is performed.
  • Then, there’s that moment when you’re standing on the podium in a full Mozart Requiem chorus and orchestra rehearsal and offer a very literal translation of the Latin word “semini,” after which you remember there are high school students in the chorus. Oy.
  • I was just informed that a friend of mine sent me a gift from a winery and it is due to arrive on Monday. I have never looked so forward to the end of a weekend in my life!
  • I definitely get “in the zone” when I’m creating and this causes me to ignore phone calls, e-mails, children, pets, my spouse, my friends, and sometimes even my own needs. You’d never know it from looking at me, but I forget to eat all the time.
  • The craft of musical notation is as much about preventing the performance you don’t want, as it is ensuring the performance you do want.
  • My own approach to setting texts is very intentional, because I truly believe the sound of words, as well as their meaning and context offers a colorful palette for creative expression.
  • Melismas help add linear motion and flow to what might be an otherwise wooden syllabic rendering of the poem.
  • Most of the time, composition is work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable work; but, while it does require some giftedness, it often comes right down to spending time both writing and erasing.
  • Setting private letters to music is a bit invasive. I am making public something that was intended to be private, so I take the responsibility seriously.
  • Composers and performers have a mutually dependent relationship. Musicians are nothing without compositions, and compositions are only dots on a page without performers.
  • Creativity isn’t just something one can shut down indefinitely. It happens, whether we have time for it or not. I think this is the most misunderstood aspect of creativity.
  • I am fortunate to live a life engulfed in music, and that I can bask in some of the most creative, positive energy imaginable.