Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Symphonia's Performance and Other News

Ugh. My hard drive is crashing. About a week ago, it seemed to be having incredible trouble booting up when I turned it on, and it started making a horrible clicking sound that I reluctantly identified as the click of death. My computer is considerably slower, but while this has put a bit of a dampener on the efficiency of my work, it hasn't succeeded to crush my spirits! I ordered a new hard drive for a very modest price on New Egg, so hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

There are only a few days left until the Symphonia Orchestra performs my composition live at Concordia, and I can't tell you how thankful I am for this opportunity. I'm extremely excited to have "Shards" performed and recorded, but I must admit that I'm also very nervous. Symphonia has done an admiral job overall with trying to prepare and coordinate such a difficult piece of music, and there are so many things being done well, I feel bad for demanding more polish. Many sections still sound sloppy for various reasons, and the biggest problem at this point is the tempo, which always seems to drag and sound muddy in places. Monday is the final tutti rehearsal before the concert, so I'm hoping things go well! Stay tuned for my report on the concert. UPDATE: Today's rehearsal went significantly better than the last time we played through Shards. Most things are sounding fairly smoothed out now, although the timpanist is having a hard time keeping up to speed. I'm concerned about that, since the timpani part is really the most important rhythmic part of the orchestra, and when he drags, the rest of the ensemble is pulled down as well.

Using Audacity once again, I recorded the Finale 2007 playback for "Shards" and uploaded it to Youtube as a demo of what Symphonia will be playing. This video can be found embedded at the bottom of this post. I also uploaded a terrifying slide show video of "The Snarly Song," a short and random recording I made a few years back. The lyrics have absolutely no significance to anything, so don't ask! Some of the horrible artwork comes from my friend and accomplice, Bryan Folstad.

I'm starting several new composition projects in addition to everything I'm already doing, which makes me think that perhaps I really am out of my mind, trying to write so much music at once! I'm nearly finished with "Ellipse," my ambitious percussion ensemble composition, and I'm beginning work on a choral composition for four male voices. Working with all male voices will restrict the range I can use significantly and add a fresh challenge to my plate, but first I need to write a poem to set to music! My roommate and his friend have asked me to compose a duet for alto saxophone and trombone, for them to perform at a spring recital. In addition to these projects, I've started drafting musical ideas for a ballad my girlfriend and I have been working on. It will be written for piano and our two voices in tandem. It's quite a surprise that I still find time to sleep and eat amidst all this music!

Here's the video I mentioned earlier in my post. It's the Finale demo for "Shards," my orchestral composition. As always, I'd love to hear feedback! Have a nice day :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Determining Goals for the Future

Trying to make a career out of some sort of art is very risky business. It's true that a lot of very talented artists get lucky enough to be successful at it in their lifetimes, but often this is not the case. Sometimes you just don't get recognized, despite your best efforts and promotion. Sometimes, untalented "artists" become disproportionately successful, and this can be even more discouraging (see Ke$ha). But I think it's important to remember that if you care about your art form passionately, and you know you have something to offer to the world through it, don't get discouraged. I've been more and more concerned about my future career as a musician and composer, since it is such a risky life to attempt. For a long time now, my plan has been to find commissions as a freelance composer and to try to work my way into the video gaming business, while teaching piano and composition lessons. While these are still future goal for me, I'm seriously reconsidering going to graduate school for a masters degree or something. I'd love to hear any thoughts my readers have regarding this!

I just finished writing "Inner Unity," a two-movement duet for bassoon and saxophone, and I'm super excited to announce that it will be performed and recorded with the help of two of my most talented classmates. The piece was a challenging one for me to compose, since I struggle with keeping purely melodic instrumentals interesting and consistent. Not being able to rely on the thick textures of a piano or a large ensemble is crippling for me, but obviously that was the point of the project; to push my creative boundaries. I'm very happy with how the piece turned out, so I suppose that makes the project a success!

The Symphonia Orchestra is doing great with my piece, "Shards," and with less than three weeks until the performance, I'm glad that it seems to be coming together. I wish I could share some demos with you, but unfortunately that won't be possible until at least next week, if ever! If you want to hear more of what I've written, just check out my Youtube. I've uploaded several new videos in the last week or so, since I kinda went on a video-making binge, and they showcase a lot of my recent work. As always, more videos are on the way as well! With every piece of music I write, and even the ones I learn, I make it my tentative goal to somehow get it performed and recorded.

It's time for some homework! Last week, my composition professor was like, "for your next lesson, put together a list of everything you want to accomplish in your major before you graduate." I'm a sophomore at Concordia in Moorhead, so whether I like it or not, I'm nearing the half-way point for my time undergraduate college. I have peter pan complex. I don't want to grow up! :'( But anyway, I thought I'd tackle this assignment in this post, to give you, my readers, an idea of what I'm planning for my near future.

> Finish my composition for percussion ensemble and have it performed
> Write an anthem for full choir with an african drum ensemble
> Compose something for a fully electronic ensemble in a techno/industrial style
> Complete all five movements of the Black Storm Symphony
> Attempt to create something feasible for a full concert band
> Finish a brass quintet piece, and finish my progressive metal song
> Try composing a soundtrack to a short film
> Somehow, write some music for a video game setting
> Push into different styles and periods of composing, such as Jazz, Impressionist, etc.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Azure (Thexhrsign) - A piece I wrote in Junior High!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Youtube Videos and Musical Self-Promotion

 Life has been getting pretty stressful lately. What free time I thought I had found when I started blogging again was quickly gobbled up by hungry, newly hatched massive homework assignments and projects, so it's a miracle I found time for this post. Perhaps I should be getting back to my school work... Nah, I'll write a post first. When I do have time in my schedule, I find myself spending more and more of it at The Piano World Forums, an impressive set of forums devoted to music, primarily pianos and keyboards. It gets decent traffic and has brought more attention to my blog and Youtube page! I've also been able to get a lot of questions regarding music answered there.

I have some more videos up on my Youtube Channel, again. While I was home over fall break from college, I managed to record "Thexhrsign" as well as a 14 minute long rough improvisation on Bryan Folstad's piano. Both of these recording are now public, so head over to my Youtube Channel to check them out! The improvisation is an important video because this is often the process I use to find new material for my composing, so if you only have the feedback capacity for one comment, write it about that video! Also, after finalizing the videos, I realized there is some accidental product placement going on; the almost overly conspicuous rubik's cubes, as well as the Capri Sun I was drinking before making the "Noodling" recording. :) I'll be putting up some recordings of The Maple Leaf Rag and Clair de Lune next, followed by the orchestra's performance of "Shards!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Hopefully, this will be a brief post; I just want to follow up my last full text post with an update, since my musical projects are moving forward so quickly! First, my two latest videos are up on Youtube, one of which can be found in my previous post. "Reflection" and "Only Dreaming" are chamber pieces that I have composed during my time at Concordia College so far, and both of these videos feature enhanced MIDI recordings with slide shows. I created the slide show videos using Windows Live Movie Maker, a free program I recently downloaded to help speed up the Youtubing process, since the standard Movie Maker sucks so much. In less than a week, my next video should be ready for uploading as well. This will be "Azure - Thexhrsign," an old piano composition.

The Symphonia Orchestra is doing fairly well with my piece, "Shards," although there have been some issues with rhythm and harmonic changes. Since I made use of several very strange chord progressions and rhythmic ideas throughout this composition, it's fairly easy to predict where problems will arise, but it's astounding just how much work I have to do to modify each and every part to accommodate common complaints! The string sections especially are struggling, although they are showing clear improvement. Everybody is working so hard at making this happen; I really can't complain! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a November 23rd performance!

 The last thing I really wanted to mention was that since I am officially done with my first commission, I'm actively searching out a new commission to work on. If you or anybody you know needs fresh, original music written for any occasion, hire me! Considering that I'm pretty desperate for exposure right now, I'll be working for pretty cheap prices, too. Thanks for reading!

Reflection - One of the New Videos!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Current and Near-Future Projects

I've been working on quite a few things lately. Juggling schoolwork, musical practice, composing, work, personal relationships, networking, and personal care-taking is difficult, as you very well may understand! I just thought I should post something about my current and upcoming musical projects, and mention what will appear on my various networking sites.

First, I have four new Youtube videos planned for the coming two months. Two of these are going to be simple slideshows with computerized recordings of "Reflection" and "Only Dreaming," chamber compositions I've written in the last year. Out of the many non-piano pieces I have created, these two are the only ones that really sound half-decent with Finale's playback engine! The third video will be a live recording of "Azure (Thexhrsign)," a rather simple piano solo I wrote in junior high. This piece is significant to me because it won me my first scholarship to the Junior Composers' Institute through a composition contest. And, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, the final video in this set will be "Shards," my full orchestral piece. I should add that there is a possibility that this won't be performed until March, depending on how the next few rehearsals go.

I'd also like to mention the composition projects I'm working on here at Concordia. This semester, I have a smaller project and a larger project. The former is a collection of short duets for bassoon and soprano sax utilizing contrasting moods and methods of two-part voice leading; this assignment was meant to help me work on my weak points as a composer, namely melody/countermelody without texture. With nothing but the two monophonic instruments playing, I cannot rely on texture and rhythms to sustain any gaps in melodic strength as I usually do, and this is a big challenge for me!

The latter is my larger project, an extended piece for Percussion Ensemble. Since I perform in a percussion ensemble here at Concordia, I have no trouble hearing the sounds I am attempting to create. However, such a strange an principally similar group of instruments poses many challenges for a composer. In contrast with my other project, this work will have to rely a lot on carefully constructed rhythm and texture, and finding ways to vary the sound is not easy with nothing but percussion instruments. Still, the challenge is wonderful, and the 2 minutes or so of music I have written so far sounds really good; it's bizarre with a lot of emotional contrast. My only worry now is if the parts I've written will prove too difficult for some of the members of the ensemble!

I've been updating my social networking sites a lot lately, so please, check some of them out! They can be found in a list at the top of the right hand column of my blog. Thanks for reading! Let me know if there's any questions I can answer or comments I should hear.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Memories, my newest composition for solo piano!

At last! A new video and a new post!

Hello everybody! I've been absolutely swamped with homework and events through college, but I at last have some real free time! Since it's been a couple months since my last blog post, I suppose I should fill in what's been going on. First and foremost, I finished my commission for the Hutchinson School District! Since this was my first real commission, I cannot express how exited I am to have completed it. I received my paycheck for it, but the money really isn't the real gain here; it's the finished composition and the knowledge that it will be heard by hundreds of people over the next couple years. The school district loved the final product! The piece I composed was a piano solo in three movements entitled "Memories." I will embed it into my next blog post shortly, but for now, here is the link: MEMORIES

I would advise listening to it with good speakers or headphones and in Hi-Def quality, since there seem to be some strange digital disturbances here and there that only show up on crappy speakers and/or in low quality, for whatever reason. It's really quite strange. But anyway, the recordings turned out great overall! My composition professor here at Concordia College, Dr. Steven Makela, helped me record the piece on an extremely nice Steinway Grand. I really cannot express in words how happy I am to have completed this project; "Memories" has taken on an extremely special role for me, since it is connected to the city of Hutchinson, Minnesota, an extremely special place for me. The piece is meant to evoke various images of youth and growing up, and I'm sure the memories brought out will be different from listener to listener!

Movement 1 is entitled "Childhood" and was written last summer (2009). It is by far the simplest of the three parts musically speaking; the harmony is relatively basic and predictable, the structure is very much straight forward and comfortable, and for the most part it is driven by an elegant bass melody. For me, it brings up memories of my earlier youth, a (relatively) innocent time that I only wish I could go back to. Movement 2, "Maturity," is about the memories of growing out of this stage into adolescence and the accompanying feelings. This part shifts between modes and styles, containing sections of smooth complacency and sections of unrest. The form is much more sporadic than the first movement, and the harmonies are much more developed. This section was written during the 2009-2010 school year. Lastly, Movement 3 is named "Departure" and was written this past summer (2010) to conclude the project. It is the most experimental and also the longest of the three sections, containing mixed meter, fluctuating key signatures and a well-developed structure. It is also much more peaceful overall than the first two movements, despite many dark undertones. For me, it evokes the feelings of leaving home for the first time and the reality of slowly growing up. I put a lot of effort into making subtle musical connections between the three movements; various major themes from each section will show up here and there in the other sections, integrated into the framework.

Other than this, not much has happened in my life as a musician. I've started my Sophomore year at Concordia College in Moorhead, and as always, the composing is my favorite part of any week. It's what helps me get through the stress of writing papers and studying for tests; it's like a video game for me, which is such a privilege. This coming weekend, I am drumming for a wedding reception in a small jazz band with friends of mine here at college. Since jazz is far from being a strength or passion of mine, this will be a welcome challenge! Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know, and thank you so much for reading! I really need to keep posting more often! XD

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Official CD Release

Hello to you all. A lot has happened since I last updated my blog! Where to start, where to start? Well, the local High School of which I am an alum has recently purchased a brand new 7 foot Yamaha Grand Piano, which put a huge dent in the annual budget. To help raise some money, the music department is putting on a large concert centered around the piano on July 18th, and I was asked to perform. Since I have completed the majority of "Memories," the piano suite for the school district's website, I decided to perform the first couple movements at the concert. I will also be selling copies of my new CD, "Beginning," for 10 dollars. Half of my sales will go towards the school's music program; they need the money badly!

That brings me to my second item of news. I recently completed my new CD, which features 12 tracks of my original compositions and cover performances. It is primarily solo piano, although a bit of my vocal work appears as well. Since this is my first true album, I have titled it "Beginning," and you can purchase it for as little as 5 dollars! Just contact me at to ask about it. But enough advertising. Aside from my many new composing projects, I am also preparing to record "Friend," a simple but heartfelt guitar and vocal song I wrote a couple years ago. The video for that should be up on Youtube in about a week, so be sure to watch for that! I think that just about covers everything... Thanks for reading my blog! Before I wrap this up, here's a track list for my new CD:

1) Rain (Original)
2) Maple Leaf Rag
3) Ponder (Original)
4) Lilac - Live
5) Flight (Original)
6) Clair de Lune
7) Window (Original) - Live
8) Prelude of G Minor - Live
9) Mandarin Orange
10) The Epic Song (Original)
11) Moonlight Sonata Mvt. 1
12) Flight (Original) - Live

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Composition demo finally on Youtube!

As I promised, the demo recording of my new piano composition, "Memories," is finally uploaded to Youtube! You can listen to it on my personal Youtube Channel, which can be found HERE. Since I have not completed writing the piece, I am still open to critique and feedback from all of you, so please, feel free to leave your comments here on my Blog or on Youtube. Thanks for listening! "Memories" was commissioned by the Hutchinson School District as background music for a series of community-based videos that will appear on their website. The next step for me now is to contact the school district, and once they are done with the videos, the project can be completed. Since I don't know how many videos there will be, nor how long they will all be, I am currently unable to truly finish composing this piano piece. The first two movements are performed in my demo, and they are entitled "Childhood" and "Maturity," respectively.

In other news, I'm still plugging away at my 3M factory job, which is actually going fairly well. I'm getting along with my coworkers quite well, and by bringing blank sheet music and pencils with me, I'm able to combat the extreme boredom of working in Extruding through composing music! Once again, thank you all for reading, whoever you may be. Have a great week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New piano composition, "Memories," is nearly finished!

I am just about done composing my new piano solo, entitled "Memories!" I feel that I did a great job on this piece of work and I'm very excited for people to hear it. Broken into three movements dealing with all the the many memories of childhood, the project was comissioned to accompany the Hutchinson School District's new series of community slide shows, which will be completed soon and uploaded to their website. My friend Bryan has agreed to help me record and videotape the first and second movement, since the third movement is not quite finished. You can expect to see the demo recording on my Youtube Channel in a week or so!

Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on the second movement of "Memories" and polishing up any errors I can find throughout the entire composition. Although I'm not positive about the titles of the individual sections of the piece, my working titles are as follows: Movement One is "Childhood," Movement Two is "Maturity," and Movement Three is "Departure." All three sections are separate of one another and can be played in any order, but there is a certain degree of musical unity and reference between them. I hope you all enjoy it as much as the head of the school district has so far! I'm somewhat bummed that I have to go back to work tomorrow night, but it is the night shift, so it's not all bad! Have a great day, everybody.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Music is infinitely better than 3M!

I don't know about all of you, but for me, composing original music is a far more fulfilling career path than blue collar 8-hour work days at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, day in and day out. I just got off of work an hour ago and I am not particularly excited to go back tomorrow. I work in an area called Extruding, where the plastic film used for 3M's tape is produced, a process that does not utilize my personal abilities whatsoever. Why am I doing a job I take no pleasure in, you ask? Because I, like other college students my age, need money to pay for continued school. Working at 3M has inspired me to launch my career in music composition sooner rather than later.

But enough of my complaining and ranting! Today I am uploading two new videos to my Youtube Channel, bringing my total number of uploads to 21 videos of music. The first is an all-vocal song called "The Epic Song" that I wrote spontaneously several years ago, using Audacity to record and track my own voice. It's a simple, silly, and upbeat little tune with only two basic but memorable melodies and two chords. If you like comic music, The Epic Song is for you. The second video is a recording of me performing the piano solo "Mandarin Orange," which I did not write myself. It's fast, quiet, and sort of mesmerizing; a far different character than my first upload. If you enjoy my original piano work, you will probably enjoy this obscure gem, written by C. Michael Ehrhardt.

Also, I am trying to find more original composition recordings to upload onto my musician Myspace page, which can be found HERE. At this point, I don't have many recordings of my original works, but I'm considering uploading some MIDI recordings for the time being, at least until I can get some more performances of my orchestral and chamber composing recorded. Let me know what you think of all of this! I need all of the support I can get for these endeavors, so even something as simple as Youtube replies from you, my readers, goes a long way for me. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a great day! Send me links to your blogs and I will check them out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Window - An original composition by Jared Hoeft

Getting Started...

Hello again! Now that I've gotten my blog started up, I'm hoping to reach more people in an effort to begin my composing career. Aside from this site, I've been working on a Myspace page, a Twitter account, my Facebook page, and of course, my Youtube channel, and let me say, it's quite a bit of work! Again, if you like what you see and have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I can't tell you how much I would love to get out of my rotating shift work at 3M!

I have to be honest, I'm really bad with categories and genres. But I realize the importance of having a personal niche as a musician, so I'm placed in a bit of a conundrum. I suppose I should start with my musical interests; this is difficult since there isn't much of any music I dislike (except perhaps the dingier pop and rap music these days). However, what is clear in all of the music I write is the heavy inspiration I draw from New Age music and Progressive music. I'm very enamored with intelligent, creative, yet tasteful music that stirs the mind and emotions; I enjoy artists such as George Winston, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Frederick Chopin, George Crumb, and many others. However, I'm also a huge fan of heavy metal, particularly the progressive edge of it, which is once again quite carefully crafted. Groups I enjoy include Dream Theater (perhaps my favorite), Tool, Slipknot, Apocalyptica, Motoi Sakuraba, Porcupine Tree, and many more. For these reasons, I will label myself "Progressive/New Age" for the time being. Lastly, because of my proficiency at the keyboard, most people will remember me for my myriad piano compositions and performances, more so than my work for large ensembles and chamber groups.

I hope this is a helpful first step towards finding my place in the world of music, both in the physical world and online. I will continue to post my Youtube videos to this blog every so often, and I hope you enjoy what you hear! Here is a link to my channel, where you will find all of the videos I can get online: MERTx123 Jared Hoeft's Music Thank you so much for reading, and have a fantastic week!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Flight - An original composition by Jared Hoeft


Hello and welcome to my blog! I'm new to this place and I'm trying to link my networks together to reach more people with my music. I am a young musician and composer looking for exposure and work, so if you're the type of person who's interested in fresh new music, I may have something for you. If you want sheet music composed, I can do that. If you want recordings, I can do that, too.

Here is my Youtube channel: MERTx123 Jared Hoeft's Music
Aside from composing, I am an exceptional keyboardist and a decent drummer. If you like what you see on my Youtube, please let me know! I love hearing from people. If you need a piece of music written for any occasion and on any set of instruments, give me a call at 320-296-9492 and hire me for the task! Thank you all.