Works in Progress

Debra Lynn's Compositional Journey



Music Professor and Composer.

23 January: Belly Up to the Bar

Bedtime at the Lynn house on Friday -- Bethany: (comes out of her room singing) "Ta-ra-ra-BOOM- dee-ay!" (Spoken) "Hey mom, I'm ready for my bedtime pill!" Me: "My goodness, you are in a spunky mood." Bethany: (filling a glass with... Continue Reading →

19 January: Prayer Request

By some bizarre misaligning of the planets, we seem to be out of Ranch dressing.

12 January: Bad Hair Day

Just realized I forgot to brush my hair yesterday. So, if any of you Wabash County Gen X-ers are wondering where the 80s punk show is: Sorry, that was just me.

3 January: Naughty Manon

Emily has been reading "Manon Lescaut" - in the original French, of course - and giving us regular updates on the story: (looking up from book) "Wow! Manon cheated already, and I'm only on page 28! (Shakes head and returns... Continue Reading →

#3 A Bird in the Hand

I had the great honor of being invited, as a mere doctoral student, to conduct the combined choirs at Ball State University in a performance of John Rutter's "Gloria" (the original version for brass, percussion, and organ). The organist for... Continue Reading →

#2 A Lucrative Freudian Slip

Part of any job interview for conductors involves directing a mock rehearsal so the potential employer and the ensemble can see your working style, pace, and problem-solving ability. It was during just such an interview for a church choir gig... Continue Reading →

#1 A Seedy Bit of Latin

I was conducting a full Mozart Requiem rehearsal (about 250 people including orcs, several area choirs, plus 4 guest soloists) when I felt the choristers weren't singing with as much conviction as I deemed necessary. So, I proceeded to give... Continue Reading →


Quincy Jones (b. 1933) Ego is just over-dressed insecurity. Greatness occurs when your children love you, when your critics respect you, and when you have peace of mind. You have to know that your real home is within. Young people... Continue Reading →

What’s the Score?: Episode #24 Clarinetist Lila Hammer, dedicatee of “Manchester Sonata”

Episode #24: 18 July, 2021 Clarinetist, Lila Hammer, dedicatee of "Manchester Sonata," talks about premiering several works by Debra Lynn (1:11 mins) Works Discussed: Manchester Sonata After Apple Picking A Family Portrait Kandinsky Suite I Find My Feet Have Further... Continue Reading →

Conducting as Dance

17 July, 2021 I am beginning to understand more about my lifelong fascination with dance. It stems from my deep belief in the art of conducting as a simultaneously choreographed and improvised kinetic (and kinesthetic) story-telling device. Beautiful music inspires... Continue Reading →


Meredith Monk (b. 1942) That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something. I think about that 'empty" space a... Continue Reading →


Enheduanna (c. 2285-2250 BCE) I, who am I among living creatures? With your strength, my lady, teeth can crush flint. What I have done here, no one has done before. You, who in accordance with the life-giving me, Great Queen... Continue Reading →


Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) In my view, the composer, just as the poet, the sculptor or the painter, is duty bound to serve Man, the people. He must beautify life and defend it. He must be a citizen first and foremost,... Continue Reading →

What’s the Score?: Episode #23 Drum and Fife Signals during the American Revolution

Episode #23: 4 July, 2021 Debra examines the use of Drum and Fife to convey military commands during the American Revolution. (31 mins) Suggested Links: Williamsburg Virginia Drum and Fife Mini-Documantary US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corp Concert... Continue Reading →

Waxing Philosophical

Tidbits about composing and performing from Debra's interviews and articles. A composer's best friend is their 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... Continue Reading →


Leonard Bernstein¬†(1918-1990) This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a... Continue Reading →

What’s the Score?: Episode #22 Stravinsky’s thematic use of thirds in “The Firebird”

Episode #22: 27 June, 2021 Debra offers a thematic walk-through of Igor Stravinsky's ballet "The Firebird" with particular attention to his use of thirds as a compositional building block. (55 mins) Terms: Arpeggio Chromaticism col legno Diminished Pentatonic Round Dance... Continue Reading →

J. S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul. I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music. There is nothing... Continue Reading →


Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon. Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind. The idea comes to me from outside of me -- and is... Continue Reading →

My Sabbatical Corona-Bonus

11 June, 2021 Summer-Fall of 2020 was the third sabbatical during my tenure at Manchester University. I had no idea when I applied for that sabbatical, it would end up occurring during the Coronavirus pandemic. What a surreal experience that... Continue Reading →

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