You may have noticed quite a few changes to the website recently —what you haven't seen, however, is any new content from me. For some reason, I've been having trouble with words over the past few years. I find myself becoming significantly more introverted with each passing year, and I think that's caused me to be a lot more reserved about public introspection —which is sort of sad, because I've always enjoyed sharing my work with people through this and other mediums. I just don't feel quite so comfortable talking about it anymore —so these days if I post anything online, it tends to be a picture or a video, and it tends to be on social media. Quickly posted, quickly consumed, and quickly forgotten.

I'd like to change that, and reopen the ol' blog a bit, especially because I've been doing some really exciting things in the past couple of years, things that I really want to share. So, to break my four-year blog silence, here's some of what I've been up to:

Still learning

Believe it or not, I'm still working on my master's degree in jazz arranging. It's difficult to complete such a monumental task while simultaneously working full-time in an unrelated job and raising two children —so I'm going slowly. But that's not to say I haven't made strides; in fact, just last semester I presented an hour-long recital of my own compositions and arrangements, which you can find in a playlist on YouTube. Here's one of my favorites from that show:

The logistics involved in putting on such a large program were significant, to say the least —I believe there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 musicians participating, all on a volunteer basis, and I can't even begin to describe how much I appreciate their contribution. It was a very meaningful performance for me, as I was not just presenting my skills as a trombonist, but also my heart and soul as a writer —every piece I put together had something personal about it, not just because of the art itself but because of the connection with my life. The whole experience really inspired me to continue working towards such big goals; I'm taking steps now to get started on an album of original works for big band, which I hope to share with you through this site within the next several years.

I'm also trying to keep up my chops. That's been the toughest thing to do, musically speaking, in the past few years —my daytime is spent on the job, my evenings are spent with my family, and my late nights are usually spent trying to get a couple of hours of sleep. But one thing that's been helpful for me is following Jam of the Week on Facebook —I've only posted my own videos twice, but listening to everyone else's (and sometimes trying to put together videos I end up not posting) has given me some inspiration to continue practicing. Here's my latest entry, if you're curious:

Prospecting

One of the nice things about being in school is that there's always somebody around to assign you something. For the past few years I've been focused in on composing new works for my degree, without much consideration given to what comes afterwards. Now that I'm done with my recital, I'm starting to explore some other areas that have long interested me —writing arrangements for worship services, for instance. I've had three pieces played in services at Denton Bible, where my wife and I are also active members of the orchestra, and I'm hoping to be able to share some of that work with other churches soon. If you're curious, I've got most of it posted in my new online store.

Sales, however, is a bit of a foreign world for me. I've worked in business contexts before, but only rarely on the front lines, trying to convince people to start a brand-new business relationship. I find I'm not quite certain how to begin promoting my work as a writer, but I hope to have some insight on that soon, once some strategy or other starts working consistently.

Fathering

I've posted a few times about my experiences as a young father, and that continues to be the most interesting/challenging/rewarding part of my day-to-day life. My eldest (remember her?) is now four years old, with her own goals ("I want to be an en-to-mol-o-gist") and interests ("can we watch Big Hero 6 again?"), and I'm having a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that she's going to be in elementary school soon. Meanwhile, we had a second child two years ago, and had to learn everything about parenting all over again since the two of them are just so different. We also now own a great many items of Thomas and Friends paraphernalia, which has not been easy on my bare feet.

My life as a dad actually factors into my life as a musician quite a bit. If you look back at my recital music, you'll see a couple of pieces dedicated to and/or inspired by my kids. On the one hand, there's my arrangement of So This is Love from Disney's Cinderella, which was my daughter's favorite movie several years back and still very much on her list. On the other, there's Toddlin', an original big band chart that's supposed to remind you of a young child learning to walk:

People often act like becoming a parent means you won't get to do any of your favorite things anymore, but in my case I've found that parenting provides more inspiration for art than just about anything else —so I'm incredibly grateful for that.

Working

Just a few months before my youngest was born, I decided to leave my job at UNT and venture out into the world of business as a technical account manager at Acquia. The job provides me with a lot of interesting opportunities to provide high-level web consulting to some very large clients with very high-profile websites, working primarily with Drupal. I don't get to do as much programming work as I used to, but being able to advise on an architectural level is often just as rewarding.

This is nowhere near a full description of everything that's been going on in the past four years, and I apologize for that —if you're interested in hearing about what's going on in my life, please feel free to subscribe to the blog, or to follow me on any of the various social networks you might use. I hope to have more information to share with you soon, particularly as far as my big band album is concerned —it'll be a few years before it's complete, but I plan to keep this site updated with progress, notes, and so forth as I work towards that goal.