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Hi All,

My goal for 2021 is to get more people listening to my music. At the moment, I don't care if they pay for it or not. I'm 60 and retired, so the money thing is behind me. 

I compose in a style that can be best described as contemporary classical. I like to think of it as something similar to Prokofiev, I know, that's a huge call, but it's the best way to describe my style to people.

Now, I have the same problem in getting people to listen to and too play my music as I did 40 years ago. I just cannot get people interested and I'm not sure why. Maybe my music is not their style, maybe players and groups think it is poorly written, I don't know, because no one will tell me what they think. The usual response is "this is not for us". Which tells me nothing.

I feel there are several reasons why people will not play or listen to my music, one is because it is almost impossible to hear my style of music on the radio or on streaming sites. So people are simply not able to hear music in my style and grow accustomed to it or like it. Actually, I feel this is the main reason why I can get my music heard. Plus, I live in Australia, and we are pretty musically conservative here.

Almost all my music is tonal as well. So there's nothing too scary for people who love classical music. Here's a sample, my piano quartet No. 1.

I'd love to know what you would do in my position?



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Hi Rob,

I joined the Baltimore Composers Forum a couple of years ago and have had more performances of my music than I ever did prior to that. If there is a Composers forum or society in your area, I would give them a try.



Hi Gav,

I wish. Australia, particularly where I live, which is the capital, Canberra, is wasteland for groups that will play contemporary music, and, it's almost void of people willing to go to new music concerts.

I went to one new music concert this year, here in Canberra, there was five in the audience.

Thanks for the suggestion.



My aims are similar: expose my music as much as possible whether in rendered form or live. As composing goes it'll probably be a year of consolidation.

2020 was a write-off because of the pandemic: Various projects that might have aired were mothballed. Our town orchestra was closed - not exactly world class but I play in it (and an ensemble drawn from it). There's a county orchestra and another in an adjacent town which are accessible and quite good. A couple of other outlets: an appreciation group and a movie-maker club are closed.

I intend to run up a couple of scores during 2021 to send to the BBC not that I hold out much hope but if one doesn't try one can't expect results!

I also write contemporary - impressionistic and through composed - more chromatic than atonal. The results are probably as difficult to listen to as they were to write! The potential audience is very small. In some ways it harks back to the contemporary sound of the 1970s.  Rather than Debussy/Delius-styled impressionism I seem to be moving towards musical drama - the use of voices. It's a style I'm comfortable in but limits any chance of live performance - singers in this style are a rarity. But it's the way I'm going at the moment. I have no idea what might develop from it. 

For all that I sometimes dive into 'light music' which has won favours with a couple of local groups. At least it keeps me in touch with 'standard' orchestration and harmony!

Perhaps it's time I set up a web site. I've made too little effort to 'get my music out there' generally, let alone sell it. Financially it'll never pay. If I bought Dorico and created 5 scores, each would cost £100!

We shall see.

Interesting, Gav,

I joined the London Composers Forum and there's potential for performance but of smaller scale ensembles which I'll be moving into this year.

Gav Brown said:

Hi Rob,

I joined the Baltimore Composers Forum a couple of years ago and have had more performances of my music than I ever did prior to that. If there is a Composers forum or society in your area, I would give them a try.



Here's something I'd like to put out there.

Years ago, I was into poetry. And, I had the same problem in getting my stuff read and bought, until one day, I met another poet, who said that she had the same problem when she began. What she discovered was that her audience and paying customers was other poets and not the general public.

I reckon many of us composers are in the same boat. I reckon that other composers and maybe some musicians are our public. 

If we had a site for composers to share, buy, subscribe and to listen to each others music, that would help us keep going. That would help us to get better at our craft because people were willing to support us, in place of us having to work some crap job to pay for our music creation.

Even if it is just us selling our digital music to each other, that would be an amazing start in my opinion. That could be the start of grass roots movement to getting our music wider attention. Perhaps even an online radio station that played our music would be a way for greater exposure.

I use Bandcamp, and that's pretty much what I have just described. But Bandcamp is every genre. If we had an orchestral/ensemble "classical" music site, that could be our specific platform; it could be our voice out to this world that is not listening to us.

I think collectively, this would not be a difficult business to start. 

What do you think?


Very nice ideas, Rob. I particularly like: 'Piano Quartet No. 1 3rd Movement'

I'd suggest (if I may) losing the awful strings sounds. Absolutely no feeling in them at all. I feel the constant vibrato will most definitely put folk off after listening to the first 2 pieces.. Plus, the strings are lagging behind the beat due to a slight delay in sample attack it seems- I'd suggest pulling them back a bit in your DAW to get them on beat as such. If this is deliberate then my apologies.. Just my honest opinion on hearing for the first time. You're 60 yrs old=youngster:)



Hey DC,

I created this in Sibelius, using NotePerformer sound set. It's actually better than anything I have in my DAW, not that I have much.

I can't get groups to play my music, so this is what I'm stuck with. The delay/attack is the crappy reverb Sibelius has, but if you turn off the reverb, and export the WAV and apply reverb in a DAW, the sound is much worse. 

I simply cannot play all this into a DAW and use better VSTs to recreate my music. That takes longer than the whole compositional process does, I don't know how people do that.

Cheers and thanks for your thoughts.



Now, I have the same problem in getting people to listen to and too play my music as I did 40 years ago. I just cannot get people interested and I'm not sure why.

I seriously feel what I've suggested is part of the problem, Rob.

IMO you really need to spend some money & upgrade your gear.

Much of what I listened to is beautifully written/ arranged etc & what you're using to put your feelings across isn't doing you justice. Just my opinion for what it's worth.



Hey DC,

I do agree with you. And I know it will make my music sound better, but for me to play in each part, and then to apply all the key switches, which would be hundreds in one 3 minute piece would take weeks to get right. And the chances of me playing each line in accurately, is for me, impossible. I am a composer, not a performer.

Unless I am missing something that is. Say with a good sound set like Vienna Virtual Instruments, you have to play each line in, apply expression, then set the key switches for staccato, legato, marcato, pizz and so on. Is that not the way it is done to create a life like sound quality?



Rob, me ol' mate- it's NOWHERE NEAR as difficult as you seem to think my friend..

In fact, it's easy. You'll just need to spend a little time, not a lot, learning how to use it. Like everything in life.

I personally use spitfire's Albion & British Drama Toolkit. I'd suggest looking up spitfire software (there are many others of course) youtube tutorials.

Trust me, it'll be worth it... I'm older than you. If I can do it anyone can- & I'm as thick as two short planks as well mate:)

Peace, Rob.


PS. I'm not sure what you mean by this but when you say 'each line' do you mean each string? If so then no.... You play a chord on your keyboard & just add a quick key switch to tell the whole chord what you want it to do: staccato, legato etc..

Have you tried adding a midi file in and manipulating it in your DAW with Spitfire like you would if you played it in by hand? I assume it will not be as authentic as playing in by hand. 

If I write for string quartet, I'd have to play all four parts in separately wouldn't I. The same for a 20 stave orchestral piece?

Thanks DC, you are helping me to understand.



sorry, Rob, i'm not quite sure what you mean:

why would you import midi files? from where?

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