Monday, May 22, 2017

2017 Spring "Tour" Recap!


I was on the "road" for almost two weeks, and had the best time! We won't mention the stomach bug I managed to catch while in Colorado, but other than that it was amazing. I hope its something I get to do more.

Three-Nine Line and French Quarter were performed by members of Flute New Music Consortium at the Music By Women Festival at Mississippi University for Women. Flutist Mary Matthews and pianist Edith Widayani gave a beautiful performance of the first two movements of Three-Nine Line. And members of FNMC, Nicole Riner,  Katherine Ementh, Shelley Collins, and Olivia Boatman performed the first movement of French Quarter. It was a wonderful festival that I hope I can return to soon.
The students of Boulder Country Day School premiered "E Pluribus, Unum" during their Fine Arts Week. I loved working with the students and even made my percussion performance debut. Composing for young students is always such a challege, and I hope its something I get to do more. They get so excited to perform and its fun to watch.





The students at the University of Wyoming learned how to "Beatbox to a Better Bach" and why I'm such a "Glutton for Gimmicks". "Beatboxing to a Better Bach" is the most requested workshop and I have given it serveral times. "Glutton for Gimmicks" explains why I compose the way I do, and what my process is like for implementing into my work.





Then it was off to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to present "The Piccolo Music of Nicole Chamberlain" thanks to piccoloists Elizabeth Robinson and Alyssa Borrell. I am always flattered when musicians want to do a full concert of my works, and I was glad that I could be out there to be a part of it and witness other people playing my music so well.





Finally, I made to Kansas State University where I got to present "Beatboxing to a Better Bach", "Glutton for Gimmocks, a Composer's Addiction to Extended Techniques", and "The Hustle". Everyone was such great sports, and I had the best time everywhere I got to visit. I love travelling, but its even better when I get to visit with friends, make new ones, and make music. Its a great job!

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 NFA Awards!

There's no way to post this article without it being humble-braggy. It's totally crazy. Here's what happened for this year's NFA awards:

2017 Flute Choir Composition Competition Winner - Chivy for flute choir

2017 Newly Published Music Awards:
Asphyxia - Winner for Solo Flute
Wail for flute and trombone - Winner for Flute and Other Instruments
In Cahoots for flute duo & Orion's Belt for flute trio - Finalists for Flute Chamber Works
Trisection - Honorable Mention for Flute Chamber Works
Lilliputian - Honorable Mention for Flute and Other Instruments
Dizzy - Honorable Mention for Flute Choir

See y'all in Minneapolis. I already bought my plane ticket.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

We're Recording an Album of My Music!


A New Year's Resolution of mine every year has been to make an album of my music, and every year I find the task to daunting to do it. Come to find out, it was only daunting because I didn't have friends I love, trust, with amazing chops to help me. This is the year, we make an album.

It's finally happening! I'm recording an album of my flute music with a couple of amazing musicians, flutists Mary Matthews and Matthew Angelo. We've been long time collaborators and schemers. They've have premiered the bulk of my flute music, we've gone on roadtrips, and there's been amazing performances. It only makes sense that these be the first people I record an album with.

So here's the catch. It takes quite a bit of money to make that happen. A successful album can help a musician's career, and we're hoping this album will shake some things loose for us. We have a contract with MSR Classics label, but we need to hire a recording engineer, cover CD manufacturing costs, and promotional materials. If you could pitch in some money, we have some wonderful rewards including the CD, signed scores of Asphyxia, and even online video flute lessons! We started a Go Fund Me Campaign, and hope you will contribute so we can make this happen. And if you were looking for a belated 40th birthday gift, this would be awesome :)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Metallica's "Enter Sandman" for beatboxing flute quartet


Metallica's Enter Sandman for Beatboxing Flute QuartetI don't do many competitions. I prefer to self-publish for reasons I won't get into here, but this blog article by John Mackey says it all. However, this time I made an exception to both.

I don't like to do competitions unless: A. It costs me nothing (or minimal), B. I can get a good performance by another group in the likely event I will lose, C. If I feel its something that would sell, and D. If it feels a void in my catalog. This competition let me do all sorts of things I couldn't do on my own.

Securing rights to anything is tricky and seems like a daunting task that I would not enjoy at any point in the process. Sheet Music Press does make it easy for me to look through their catalog of titles and find something that appeals to me and decide to do it. In this instance, I thought how crazy fun it would be to make an arrangement of  Metallica's "Enter Sandman" using extended techniques then get my flute quartet to perform it (none of them have or had listen to heavy metal).
The other great thing about this competition is that it is based on sales, so it makes me push things more (get back to blogging!) So here I am, pushing and hustling. Get on it kids! Buy my cheesy arrangement of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" for beatboxing flute quartet. I have to get my sales in by June 24! 






Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Florida Flute Convention

All ready for Florida Flute Convention! #spottedrocket

A photo posted by Nicole Chamberlain (@nikkinotes) on

I live in Atlanta, Georgia. So it may come to a surprise to many that I had never been to the Florida Flute Convention, even though many of my students had thanks to being members of Kelly Via's fabulous Metro Atlanta Youth Flute Choir. Many students and colleagues have urged me to go and sell my compositions down at the Exhibit Hall at the Florida Flute Convention. I've always had one conflict or another, but this year I took the plunge and made my way down to Florida.

I was incredible lucky to by joined by a dear friend who made a living in the past in sales. She's a flutist who has performed quite a bit of my music and was familiar with the extended techniques. Let's just say I learned a ton about sales and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by friends who believe in what I am trying to accomplish. She would be mortified if I mentioned her name. But I hope she knows how thankful she came and what it meant to me.

Along with selling my compositions, part of the reason I traveled down to Orlando was because a couple of my pieces were being performed. Laura Clapper from the Flute New Music Consortium performed my work Asphyxia for solo flute. To my surprise, I got a lovely email a few days before the convention from Paige Long that Dayton State College and Community flute choir would be performing my work Railroaded for flute choir. Having a piece or two performed at these conventions helps people take your work more seriously. More than a few times people would walk up to my table and casually browse, but once I told them a couple of pieces were being performed, I got their attention. Its rare that I get recognized at these things, so winning people over when they don't know you from Adam is probably the largest obstacle. I enjoyed meeting all the new people and why they were at the convention.

The Florida Flute Convention was encouraging. We made more sales than I thought we would, and people seemed to enjoy my pieces that were performed at the convention. I also met many people who are interested in what I have written, and perhaps interested in commissioning more. Seeds were planted, and let's hope I'm better at cultivating paid commissions than I am a actual vegetable gardening.  It has motivated me to try a few other regional fairs. I will be attending the Atlanta Flute Fair in a couple weeks, and have added the Mid-South Flute Fair as well. Now I just have to pray my poor printer can hold up. That's another blog post.

Monday, January 02, 2017

2016, the year I started saying "No, thank you"

Last year, my real New Year's Resolution came quite clear around February. It became evident that I
had agreed to take on too much, and my own health and sanity were the victims. During February, I was conducting a musical, composing a commission, getting ready for the Atlanta Flute Fair, finishing an Atlanta Flute Club newsletter, updating their websites, and performing several concerts when I wasn't conducting the orchestra. Let's not forget I still had a full load of private students, and my school sectional obligations. I wasn't sleeping well, and pretty anxiety ridden. It wasn't healthy, and I needed to make some changes.

I took hard look at a long list of my obligations for the concert season, and decided I needed to make some tough decisions in order to keep this from ever happening again - which was going to require me to disappoint some people. I'm always flattered that people want me to be a part of their projects, but I can't do everything. So I had to decide how I was going to untangle myself from which projects, and how I would determine which projects to turn down in the future.

It turns out I was doing a ton of stuff for other people to help their organization or careers, with not much to boost my own or even getting paid for it. I decided that if I wasn't getting paid then I needed to decide if a certain project was helping my composing career. If neither were true, then I had to decide if I was going to enjoy the project.  I found that made my decisions incredibly easy.

After CHAMBERlain MUSIC concert
It turns out saying no isn't hard, once you start saying it. Actually, it got pretty addictive. By May I had managed to give clear intentions about the responsibilities and obligations I would no longer be able to continue. It was plenty of time for the other groups to find my replacements. In fact, it was easier to find people to take up the torch than I initially thought it would be. Of course people were disappointed, but because I gave references for other people and plenty of notice I managed not to burn any bridges. The key was that I was clear, adamant, kind, and prompt when addressing concerns about me leaving organizations. Most people are put out when notice or help to find a replacement isn't offered. I gave help, and a deadline when I could no longer help.

By summer, I found myself composing more, and when I did perform it was music I enjoyed. I no longer do any web or print design, which makes me immensely happy. So here we are about the same time as last year, and I am looking ahead to February. With all of the other time consuming obligations from last year obliterated, I now have a schedule that looks more like I care about my composition goals.

2017 is starting to show the fruits of some hard labor since I quit the old day job in 2009. The tough decisions I made in 2016 really did kick start some other things and help me focus on my ultimate composing goals. Now its time to buckle up and start the daily hustle, and remembering sometimes saying no is the best for everyone.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Every day at NFA

I didn't plan to go to the National Flute Association's Flute Convention in San Diego this year. Going to the convention is an expensive endeavor especially when it involves flying to the other coast. Unless I had something major being performed I was going to sit this one out. So when my friends started conspiring to perform and commission new pieces with the hopes they would be selected to perform at NFA, I had my doubts any of it would be selected - especially the proposal that involved playing 30 minutes of my works on one program. I had made up my mind that we couldn't swing going to NFA this year, and that if would be crazy to think any of those proposals would be selected.  So when 5 of the 7 proposals were selected, I was in total disbelief.

from last year's NFA
This year's NFA really is going to be an extraordinary experience for me. First of all, I've never been to California - yay, travel! Secondly, I have 6 pieces being performed. SIX!!!! I always feel lucky to just get one piece performed during the 5 day convention. This means every day at the NFA convention I am having a piece performed. Thirdly, in spite of my printer's attempts to die, I've managed to convince Flute World to sell my music at their humongous booth at the Exhibit Hall at NFA. Lastly, I get to take an epic road trip with two of my friends and conspirators from Boulder, CO to San Diego, CA which includes stopping at the Grand Canyon for a couple nights. The best part about going to NFA is a chance to see and meet all the wonderful people who have performed my pieces and friends I rarely get to see. I also hope to meet people who I've made connections with online who have performed my music. It's a rare opportunity and I had to figure out a way to get to NFA.



So how do you get to NFA on a budget. I have been putting some money away from my sheet music sales since Christmas on. With that, I was able to pay all my NFA fees and plane tickets. The hotel is expensive, especially in San Diego. Luckily, nothing like friends to help defray the costs on the hotel. My 3 other cohorts and I are splitting a hotel for 4 of those days. I have to stay over by myself one night. Believe it or not, the cost of my hotel with my 3 friends was cheaper than my one night alone.  The only thing I have left to pay is food. Food, in my opinion, is the easiest way to save money. If the hotel doesn't serve a free breakfast, I can run to the grocery store and get some Luna Bars for the week. Lunch is usually catch if you can - if I remember to eat. Dinner - well dinner is always worth a good sit down meal with some adult beverages. For someone who didn't plan to go to NFA, I was able to do it. Now next year, I'll have to play be ear again. The lesson is "Always Be Saving".

Last year's NFA with my sister and FNMC
What do I hope for this year's NFA? I hope that I reinforce previous relationships with performers, learn some new tricks for my student's sake, and make new connections for more commissions. I've reached a lull in commissions. It happens. I may have exhausted my current connections and its time to make new ones. While I hope to have a good time with my friends and get a chance to see a bit of San Diego, I will have to put on the used car salesman hat my grandfather left me and go shake some hands.I'm just lucky that I enjoy my job so much that it doesn't always seem like work. Let's face it, its a Sunday afternoon - I should be relaxing, but I love what I do and it doesn't seem like work.