Rory Bennett, music composer and pianist
Hello my name is Rory Patrick Bennett and this is my CV / presentation.
My Linkedin CV - http://dk.linkedin.com/in/rory55
I am writing to you about a possible position of employment in your music program. I am a graduate from the Staller Center for The Performing Arts at Stony Brook University in the state of New York, USA class of 1982. I hold a bachelors degree in composition and theory of music. During my four years at the university I studied a wide range of historical and theoretical musical styles, from Gregorian chant to 20th Century modern music.
I have had the privilege of attending classes and studying with some of the 20th century's most influential composers and instructors. My teachers included Prof. Daria Semegen and Prof. Bulent Arel noted modernist composers of the electronic music genre; both of which had been working with keyboard inventor Dr. Robert Arthur Moog.
In my junior and senior years I was one of the fortunate few students that attended (by initiation only) discussions on the avant-garde music of the 20th century by renowned and controversial composer John Cage. In addition, I studied with Concert Pianist and author of “The classical style” The Honorable Charles Rosen. I was honored to be chosen for independent private study for 3 years with composer and director of undergraduate studies; professor Peter Winker to whom I refer to as my mentor.
During my sophomore year at university I became a tenor member with the university's chorus for 3 years under the guidance of choral director Maggie Brooks, performing such works as Carl Orff's – Carmina Burana, Handel's – Messiah and Mozart's – Requiem.
After graduation and much thought I was guided into the recording industry, landing my first recording contract in New York City. I was commissioned to write and record adult contemporary pop songs for the prestigious recording studio Planet Sound – noted for there Jazz greats such as Steve Gat, The Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, and Will Lee.
I became a member and student of George David Weiss – president of the Songwriters guild of America – and composer of such songs as: Can't help falling in love (recorded by Elvis Presley), What a wonderful world (recorded by Louis Armstrong), and The Lion sleeps tonight (recorded by The Tokens). Under the advice of George David Weiss I became a writer/publisher member with A.S.C.A.P. When I moved to Denmark I became a writer member with Koda. Presently, I am still active in both organizations and recording on speculation with House of Scandinavia Publisher Ejvin Schytte.
My experience as a private teacher, composer, vocalist, pianist and recording artist has been extensive for over 30 years from New York to Europe. The body of work which I have presented to you in this CV – presentation, has been the driving force that challenges me to go beyond my limits, always looking for that special student who will provide me with the gratification of knowing, that I have contributed to his or her originality.
Being on and off the road these past 11 years in Europe, has been both humbling and rewarding for me. I have traveled the world and experienced many different musical cultures, all of which have profoundly influenced my present compositions both in the classical and pop idioms. So with the support of my family, friends and peers I have decided to pass all of my hard earned wisdom onto the next generation of potential musicians and composers.
I would like to teach and continue my writings, if you will consider my application of employment. You will find that my hands on experience will be more than beneficial to all of your student body. I will turn the learning process of music instruction into a fun and productive adventure for all ages, and will be more than willing to tap into all the resources that I have presented to you in this CV – presentation.
Along with this CV I have included a presentation of some of the courses, which may be of interest to your student body. Respectfully yours, Rory Bennett
Ryesgade 76, St.th. 2100 København Ø, Denmark
Mobile: +45 27 28 72 22 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Basic Piano Instruction: For students who wish to learn an easy way to get started at the piano. I have found that new students can become easily frustrated when it comes to the basic principles of application. First and foremost, I will work towards empowering the confidence of the student to play. I use the Barnes and Nobel Basic piano instructions series, which can be fun and rewarding for both student and teacher. The Hanon book of exercises is a great tool, but can be complicated for many new players, so I gradually work my way into the Hanon methods. Theory, technique and dynamics are essential for the beginner as well as the use of the pedals. Eliminating frustration and having a good time in the early stages of development, will insure the student's capabilities, and get rid of any anxiety they may have experienced early on. I give the student the choice, as to what kinds of music they want to study from classical, jazz, Broadway or pop, while adhering to the methods I learned from my own peers. Piano instruction should be fun to learn not a burden.
Learning electronic keyboards: Although I favor the acoustic Grand Piano, I think that learning how to use electronic keyboards, synthesizers and drum machines has been very valuable to me these past 30 years; they have revolutionized the music industry. I have seen the rudimentary development of keyboards from the Moog synthesizer to the current sample digital pianos. Sound modules also have had a profound impact on today's industry, let's take, for example, the Roland P-180 keyboard (which is void of any sample sounds and is in effect a dummy keyboard) connecting it via midi to one of a thousand sound modules is standard practice today. Although today's keyboards practically play themselves, there is still a complexity involved. As a teacher, I can provide a window into the past and the future of electronic keyboards. Through the years, I have owned and still have many keyboards. My first keyboard was the Yamaha Analog Prophet 600 synthesizer (this was the first keyboard to have midi input and out put, which would change the evolution of keyboard and eventually lead into computer application). The next step in keyboard development was the first portable Grand Piano with amplified strings – the Yamaha CP 80 electric grand. Fortunately, I was one of the first artists in New York to purchase this instrument while attending university. The CP 80 was followed by one of the most ground breaking technologies of the 20th Century. The Korg SG-1D sample grand, with its weighted keys and its near perfect grand piano sound, not to mention 1/3 of the weight of the CP 80. I pondered on how much better can it get? Well, not surprisingly, along came the Roland G-800 arranger work station. The samples were amazing, the piano, the strings and basically all the instruments of the symphony orchestra were at my finger tips, not to mention all of the percussive sounds; it was and still is an extraordinary writing tool. Although, considered a dinosaur in the keyboard world, I still use the G-800 to write my most current pop songs and piano compositions. As a matter of fact, every year a previous keyboard becomes obsolete. I feel that with such a multitude of options in electronic keyboards, that we must return to basics and redefine, what exactly is the right choice to make in such a diverse landscape of keyboards and modules, and not be so overwhelmed with today's technology.
Vocal training: Having studied voice between private lessons and 4 years of university chorus, has taught me that vocal training consists of many different aspects; for instance, teaching a student how not to loose ones voice, mental imagery such as telling the pupil to imagine there is a circular opening in the center of your forehead, you will use this opening as a porthole for tones to travel through, in order to reach those higher more difficult notes, therefore, giving the student more confidence in their performance. Learning how to control ones intonation under extreme conditions, for example, singing over high volumes produced while playing in a band, which can cause a major strain on the vocal chords, perhaps singing in a chorus while performing a more difficult piece of music, for example, Mozart's Requiem, which can be very demanding on ones vocal chords. Vocal exercises are an important tool to use before a performance or perhaps just rehearsing. Singing scales using vowels and consonants, placement of the tongue and palate, also massaging the sides of your jaw can really make a difference in ones intonation. Vocal abuse, as in straining certain neck mussels, screaming, throwing up, coughing and whispering can cause nodules to develop on the vocal chords, this can be extremely debilitating to a singer. Teaching the student that they don't have to scream to reach a higher register, by just using the diaphragm mussels and breathing properly, can make all the difference in their tone. Bad food habits and the hours at which you eat can have a devastating impact on the vocal chords, such as reflux laryngitis or vocal chord infections, all of which I have personally experienced. Many of these problem areas can be avoided by demonstrating self discipline and persistence. Again, giving the student a choice as to what genre of music they prefer to sing, will remove any unnecessary pressures or insecurities which will cause intonation problems. Using conventional teachings as well as my own techniques, will insure the student a long and productive career as a vocalist.
Theory and composition: A comprehensive study in the theory of music. Touching on topics such as: 1. Pitches and clefs – Understanding musical tones and different clefs 2. Intervals – sharps and flats, major and minor intervals, perfect intervals, augmented intervals. 3. Scales – major scales, minor scales, Modes such as Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian etc. 4. Major and minor keys – Using key signatures, the circle of fifths and changing keys. 5. Rhythms – note values and basic notation, whole notes and half notes etc. Taking a note and dotting it, taking 2 notes and tying them together. 6. Time signatures – measuring beats, changing time, grouping beats. 7. Tempo dynamics – beats per minute, tempo terms, speeding up, slowing down, getting loud, and getting soft. Finding your way by repeating sections, measures, notes and rests. 8. Melodies – combining tones and rhythms using common and unorthodox melodic techniques. 9. Cords – forming a chord, different types of chords, cord extensions and inverting chords. 10. Chord progressions – chords for each note in the scale, ending a phrase, and common chord progressions. 11. Phrases and form – introduction to Sonata form. Recognizing a verse, pre chorus, chorus and bridge. Following the rules and making them easier to understand by putting it all together. 12. Transposition to other keys – ways to transpose, stepwise transposition, degree transposition, interval transposition and bass transposition. 13. Harmony and counterpoint – voicing and inversions, voice leading, creating your first counter point, what to avoid in your counterpoint. 14. Lead sheets and scores – following the rules of creating chord charts, taking shortcuts by converting 5 sheets of music into one or two lead sheets, studying theoretical analysis of different scores. 15. Composing and arranging for voices and instruments – vocal arranging, vocal ranges, instrumental arranging, instrumental ranges, instrumental characteristics, theoretical transpositions, good and bad keys of instrumental ranges. I will show the student how a linear line of music (as in a passage from Beethoven's 6th Pastoral) can be studied through harmonic analysis and be broken down into chordal structures, giving the student a basic visual look into the compositions of some of the most important composers of past and present. Having composed a vast quantity of music myself, I will show the student how I personally use the fundamental principles of exposition, development and recapitulation (Sonata form) as a tool to compose some of my most complicated piano works; to my more marketable compositions such as pop songs.
The recording industry: Having a long history in the recording industry both in the U.S. and in Europe, gives me the credentials needed to teach a topic, which students must touch upon in order to compete in today's competitive music market. Teaching the student how to network and market their songs is a never ending task, which can be done in a number of ways. Sending your music directly to a record company is now a things of the past. Today you must invest in the best possible demo you can afford, for the competition is extremely fierce. The number one choice – which is not affordable to most students – is the more conventional one, a music attorney, the reason being obvious, record companies will not except unsolicited material and as a result, most of the time, they will not return your hard earned demo, so when a student has no financial means for a music attorney, the next best thing to do, is to integrate ones self into the industry. Music publishers are always looking for songs and don't require music attorneys. I will show a student how to become their own publisher, and how to join organizations which expose and inform students to current industry standards, organizations such as: A.S.C.A.P. And BMI (USA), KODA, NCB or Gramex (Denmark) all of which are excellent ways of getting into the inner circles of the record companies. Another option could be songwriter competitions. There are many songwriter competitions that are legitimate and high profile – all of which can lead to a more probable outcome. On the other hand there are many bogus songwriter competitions that one should avoid. Playing live performances as much as possible, can be excellent public exposure, lending itself to the expression - “you never know who's out there”. The computer/internet are excellent tool's to be considered. There are many outlets such as; Music2deal.dk, Iamradio.com, Broadjam.com, Taxi.com, Myspace.com, Facebook.com and Mysongs.com. Here hundreds of songwriters listen to each others songs and share information concerning producers, publishers, song competitions and record companies. Also the all important personal web page, where an artist can display their works via MP3 or MP4, and posting Links to your other music sites. The key word is exposure, making the probability of your song's being heard more tangible, which leads me to mention copyright laws; important things to know concerning the protection of artist's songs from piracy and copyright infringement. Mailing your song to yourself in a sealed envelop from the post office has been a long time practice of mine and will hold up in any court in the world.
Songwriters workshop: My songwriters workshop is a hands on group discussion, which entails analysis of the so called Pop song. Touching upon topics of past, present and future song structures, taking the song apart and breaking it down into its most basic elements. I will explain in detail the purpose of the motif, developing a verse, the definition of the pre-chorus and how it affects the all important chorus or hook, as it is so often referred to. Leading into the bridge is something that many new songwriters find difficult to manage. A strong bridge must be reinforced by the harmony of the song, therefore many times ( but not always) modulating to a different key, lets say a minor 3rd, can give the song a stronger texture. I will then show the student how to return back to the original key in the chorus, this will reassure a smooth harmonic transition. The ending or (Vamp) of the song is just as important. This takes shape in a number of ways: ending with the chorus to a fade out or modulating the chorus once or twice giving the song a dramatic build up to its finale. Another possibility is to recapitulate the opening of the song, so as to give the song a sense of closure. As the pop song makes its transition into the 21st century, radical changes in structure are appearing. Some songs now do away with the traditional bridge and put more of an emphasis on the verse or more importantly the chorus. It would seem that the pop song of the 21st century has become, an entangled web of improvisational melodies and hooks, supported by a much more dominant bass and drum beat, all of which depend on networking and marketing as a platform to launch itself from. I must stress that there is a constant and desperate search for originality. It would seem that up till now everything has been written, but I believe that group discussions and ideas open the window to many possibilities. The pop song industry today is in affect, the most lucrative business in the music world, whether it be pop, country, rock, hip hop or adult contemporary music. Every week students will have a chance to show their songs in whatever genre they choose - demos or live performance. This in turn will be followed by an objective and constructive criticism by fellow classmates, a virtual compositional debate. Songs will be taken apart musically and lyrically. I will show the student how to dig into their own personal experiences or perhaps just everyday news occurrences, in order to construct an original story line or lyric. I personally have a large catalog of music that I have written through out the years, not to mention 4 music videos I shot in New York, all of which would serve as a gage into the mechanics of the pop or classical song. Rejection plays a big role in the songwriters career. I will always emphasize to the student that "Rejection of ones song doesn't necessarily mean it's demise" The student will hear time and time again "Never give up, just keep on writing because eventually if not sooner, something will bite" Consequently giving the student the reassurance they will need to continue writing and developing as a songwriter.
Making A Living In Music: There are numerous ways of making a living in music. I will show my students how to perform and more importantly entertain in venues such as night clubs, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, bands and private functions. In order to do so, one must find an agency who will keep you working all year round. Many entertainers have 2 or 3 agencies booking them. Generally speaking you are your own boss, and the agency is working for you. I will show the student how to obtain an international agent, so that they can sustain a consistent income, what kinds of salaries they can expect, and also how to read and interpret an artist contract. The student must learn how to obtain work permits in different countries, many countries don't require work permits if you are a member of the European Union. there are also many countries that are not in the EU that will except EU passports. The term "starving musician" is one of the most misconstrued slogans ever coined. With proper tools and guidance, a musician can make a very generous living and see the world at the same time. Traveling and interacting with so many diverse cultures can shape a musicians persona and be beneficial in more ways then one. I will teach my students how to be confident enough to take that first step into the music market. Lack of confidence can be a major obstacle for first time students, so I have developed a strategy for these problem students. Techniques I myself was taught by my own teachers: reverse psychology, ways of dealing with intimidation within the business, overcoming stage fright and turning your worst fears into a fun and fruitful experience. I will teach my students how to make a proper demo to present to legitimate agencies, also the correct format for a promotional photo. Most importantly, the different kinds of music that various agencies expect of an artist, so that he or she can perform to their full potential. It is not the large repertoire that impresses the agent, it is the correct songs and the right attitude that will make or break the decision on, whether or not the agent will represent you. I will teach the student, that they don't have to be a virtuoso player or vocalist in order to make a living in music. They must learn first and foremost how to entertain, the audience will pick up on this right away. The audience is there to be entertained not to be judgmental on your technical abilities. I can only advise and teach my students the "Tricks of the trade", which direction they will take in the music business will be entirely left up to them. While being objective, I will reassure my students of their capabilities, and serve as a bridge that they will need to cross in order to reach the next level of success in the world of music.
Reference letter from one of my students
Rory Bennett show details 6:25 PM (0 minutes ago) From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: letter Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2010 11:55:00 +0000
Rory Benett took me on as a teacher 6 weeks before my optagelsesprøve for musikvidenskab at Copenhagen University in May this year. I had never had any theory or aural training , and was very bad at sightreading , so he explained things in a simple and understandable way .With his teaching,help and support I managed to learn things I had tried and failed at for years. I suffer from attention deficit disorder, so it has been impossible for me to comprehend/follow the theory and notesystems before,but with his individualistic approach I finally managed to understand it . He was just as involved and concerned with my progress and hope to succeed as I was, and was constantly there for me in his free time to answer questions etc. As we had such little time he was very flexible with the teaching hours , sometimes even giving me lessons late in the evenings or weekends in order to meet the deadline. I passed defying all logic. But my application at Copenhagen university was unfortunately cancelled due to reasons unrelated to the test ,so I decided to apply to Århus university since they still had space and hence were recruiting for a second time, in August. I unexpectedly found out that i had a new optagelsesprøve in Århus , which differed from the one in Copenhagen,in just 3 days time . I panicked as i only had 2 days to learn chords etc that the previous test had not involved. Rory stepped in once again ,and gave me a marathonlesson ,7 hours, on a saturday evening , even though he had had other plans. He was throughout very determined to help me pass ,and did everything in his power to do so . I passed once again and Im now very fortunate and happy to call myself a student at Musikvidenskab at Århus university,as from 31/8. I would never had made it without his help. He even gave me a massive discount as he knew I was on sickleave and could not afford the lessons I needed, as he beleived in my natural talent and thought I deserved a chance. He is the most dedicated teacher Ive ever had. Regards Anna Mina