Do you have a process?

In the beginning, I would sit at the piano and hunt for an inspiration that would unfold into a musical gem … sometimes it would happen; but most of the time, with a deadline looming, I continued to hunt at the piano searching and searching for hours. Around 12 a.m.  I would say, “I’ll go to bed and let my subconscious handle it”. Truthfully, that did work some of the time. However, those days and times were never fun. Why? Because a deadline is a drag when you have little control over your creative process.

Then one day I became blessed when I became friends with a guitar player named Ted Greene. We became very close. Ted was a wonderful educator and gave me some truly amazing guidance. Ted’s process came from extracting scores from movies like “Gone with the Wind (1939)”. The Max Steiner score was a magnificent and thematic effort that was written the same year Max did a dozen other scores. Within these great scores were classical and 20th-century musical devices that were all part of the Steiner process of composing. I was a young composer/guitar player and wanted to be successful. I realized that there were methods of composition out there and that I needed to find my process and method so I could avoid the stress of hunting. I began the search for my process. I started my search with George Van Eps (7 Guitar), then on to Albert Harris (Composer/Orchestrator/music theory), followed by Jack Feirman (Conducting), Ted Greene (Music Theory), Howard Heitmeyer (Classical Guitar), Lyle Murphy (EIS music theory). USC, UCLA (Scoring for T.V. extension). Wow, I was learning so much but there was no process!! Basically, I just learned what other composers did, and tried to emulate them … not really a process. I finally decided I would create my own process and develop it. That was almost 40 years ago. The result? – M.I.T.A.: Music Interval Theory Academy, a composition course designed to give the composer a process that does not confine the artist spirit but frees it. A way to think musically that makes hunting fun.


P.S. My incredible luck continued when I met Frank Herrlinger in Baden (near Vienna), Austria. Now I add him to my list of great composers/musicians I have in my life. We have been working together for many years now on M.I.T.A.!

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