Tag Archives: csula

Child of Sorrows

For my songwriting class at CSULA, we have to write a different kind of song each week. This week, Da Blues.

Here it is. My staggeringly white attempt to write the blues. I had to resist the urge to make the whole song about this time I ordered a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks, but got a Soy Latte instead. Oh Lord, why must I suffer.

Child of Sorrows

UPDATE
Finished it, here’s the full demo:
Child of Sorrows – Final

Child of Sorrows

I am a child of sorrows
The Good Lord won’t let die
I am a child of sorrows
The Good Lord won’t let die
Lord knows I’ve been trying
With whiskey and with rye
But I ain’t done suff’ring yet


I am a child of money
But that don’t mean a thing
I am a child of money
But that don’t mean a thing
She kicked me out at 17
And I ain’t seen her since,
Oh I ain’t done suff’ring yet


I married a good woman,
And you know I turned her bad
I married a good woman,
And you know I turned her bad
The joy I took away from her
Is the only joy I’ve had
Oh I ain’t done suff’ring yet


I went to see the preacher
About my heart of sin
I went to see the preacher
About my heart of sin
Well he looked me up
And he looked me down
And he kicked me out again
Said I ain’t done suff’ring yet,
No I ain’t done suff’ring yet,
Well I ain’t done suf’ring yet.

That’s a *&^ Idea

Tonight was the first night of actual classes for my MM adventure. I think I’m going to start a list of things that profs at Cal State are allowed to say, that I would love to say in my classes, but never could. First on the list, the prof for Advanced Composition, talking about what made Beethoven such a compelling melody writer.

Play the first 4 notes of the 5th Symphony.

“Your hear that, nobody’s waiting around for the musical idea to show up. That’s a f’ing musical idea!”

Testing, Testing, I ii iii (IV V7 vi viiº)

In about 2 hours, I’m starting a master’s degree.

I know what you’re thinking. “Michael, what could they possibly teach you? You know everything!”

It’s true friends, there’s nothing left for me to learn in music (or in life ((especially in relationships, I have that totally nailed))), but for the sake of appearances (so that the other professors don’t feel bad), I have to go back to school to get the degrees to demonstrate that I’m actually qualified for the position I’m already in (and to learn the appropriate use of parenthetical asides).

Step one of the adventure is a placement exam in harmony and commercial orchestration.

I didn’t even start thinking about the placement exams until a few days ago, and then started freaking out a little bit last night. It’s not that I think I’ll bomb, it’s that I think I’ll do just OK, and that would be terminally embarrassing for me. I’ve already met and been talking with the faculty who teach the program, and they all know that I’m coming in as a prof at another university “just to get the ink”. It would be a very, very poor reflection on me, and our school of music, if I didn’t absolutely rock the exams.

I do a ton of arranging, but I do all of it on computer, and the whole reason a computer exists is to do the menial basic tasks for you. It’s been forever since I’ve actually looked up the exact ranges of specific instruments – on the rare occasions when I take them a half-step too low, bells and whistles go off, and I rethink the voicing. It’s been an eternity since I’ve had to actually DO manual transposition from score to parts. I know how do to it, but I haven’t done it in a long, long time. There are a hundred little standard indications on a score that the software just inserts and manages for me, which is exactly the point of using a computer to do notation. It relieves you of having to think about all of those things, and lets you think about what you’re actually writing.

So, all that to say, can somebody please tell me the actual range for a Bb Trumpet?

School, Again

Well, it was a long and arduous process (I had to pay $50), but I was finally accepted as a graduate student at that most prestigious of all schools, Cal State LA (Go Golden Eagles! Or whatever!). Looks like I was wrong about never going back to school again …

As I went to drop off my transcripts at CSULA, I saw two girls feeling each other up outside the admin building. I think this is going to be a little different experience than my first master’s degree; at Biola, the lesbians are still in hiding.

I’m going to be getting a Masters of Music in commercial music, with an emphasis in arranging. I’m actually looking forward to it, for two reasons. First, I need some outside impetus and set parameters to move my writing along in new directions. Second, I feel like this is as close as Professors ever get to a “student teaching” experience, where we get to see someone else do their thing, and learn from them. I’m interested in the content, but also in the methods and techniques of the teachers.