Alexander Publishing, has released the first of two training programs: Writing For Strings/Living Music Book Level 1.
This new course is based on 30 lessons and includes QuickTime videos, MIDI files, a sample library, recorded audio examples, PDF scores, a thesaurus of Orchestral Devices, a text on Orchestration, and can be supplemented by a mentor program, live recording sessions and summer workshops.
Created by Peter Lawrence Alexander, the Writing For Strings/Living Music Book Level 1 program is specifically designed to be used with either a high quality professional MIDI keyboard or a computer with a sequencing program and software sampling library. Students on a budget are encouraged to use the new Garritan Personal Orchestra which gives the student everything needed to do the lessons. Those more advanced and professionally driven are encouraged to consider the Kirk Hunter Concert Strings to supplement their learning experience.
“The whole process of recording with high quality sample libraries is based on how composers, if they want to earn a living in music, are required to write, produce and record their own music, whether in Los Angeles, New York, London, or my home town of Petersburg, Virginia,” explained Alexander.
Starting with the opening lessons and using a MIDI keyboard, students record existing violin, viola, cello and bass lines from the classics, which they can then compare to budget recordings from LaserLight or Naxos. This way the student discovers what strings sound like in each register and how to properly phrase for strings. As an added bonus, they can hear how realistic sampled strings can sound in each register. “This is how professionals learn to create as authentic an orchestral sound as possible using electronic means,” Alexander stated.
Through the first half of the lessons, students progress through principles of string orchestration and referencing scores. In the second half of the lessons, students are taught specific arranging techniques that are then applied and recorded with five songs they chose from different music styles. “This way you learn which techniques work and don’t work. Plus, everything written is recorded, so the Learner can return to the exercises later and judge their progress,” explained Alexander.
In addition to the courses 30 comprehensive lessons, students get Quick Time videos of string bowings created by Dr. Michael Hopkins of the University of Vermont, a solo strings sample library in GigaStudio format (which imports into major software samplers), MIDI files of the major examples, bonus audio lessons for additional demonstrations, analysis of a student recording session, 15 PDF scores, and for electronic orchestration, a Thesaurus of Orchestral Devices derived from Debussy’s Jeux de vagues movement from La Mer as performed by composer for the BBC Andrew Blaney, a graduate of Bournemouth University in England. The training materials are supplemented with Mr. Alexander’s revision of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Principles of Orchestration which has been endorsed by winners of both the Academy® and Emmy® Awards.
Students wanting assistance in this section of the Writing For Strings lessons are eligible for the Mentor Program which provides them with an average of seven lessons with qualified professional instructors.
Alexander Publishing’s Writing For Strings program also solves a major problem for both schools and students alike. Since an overwhelming majority of music composition majors around the world rarely get to hear their final projects performed by a live orchestra, much less a string ensemble, Alexander Publishing has initiated affordable Recording Sessions that enable students to get a 1-2 minute work recorded for around $250 USD. “By comparision, the going rate in Los Angeles is $895 to $1500,” said Alexander.
Writing for Strings/Living Music Book Level 1 is an independent self-study training guide that can be purchased by individuals and licensed by any college. Two packages are available from either $159 USD or $179 USD. The 845-page Revised Rimsky-Korsakov’s Principles of Orchestration by Peter Lawrence Alexander is the required text and is available as either a printed book in a 3-ring D-ring binder or as a downloadable PDF.
For a complete course description of and ordering information for Writing For Strings Level 1, please visit the Truespec site.