Are you interested in commissioning original music, taking composition lessons, or having your music professionally engraved? Or are you looking for a freelance copyeditor? Read on! Or read my bio, or see some reviews, or download my CV.
Do you want original music for your ensemble? String quartet? Church choir? Piano or vocal solo? Film score? Musical theatre? Folk band? Full orchestra? I’ve composed extensively in multiple genres, styles, and techniques for everything from the concert hall to the movie screen. Whether you want melodies set to your original lyrics, a unique score for your indie film or documentary, or a world premiere credit for your choir or instrumental ensemble, I can work with you to bring your musical ideas to life.
My music has received praise for its blend of accessible melodies with unexpected harmonies and rhythms, a combination one listener described as “whimsical songs about death.” Pastoral Music (vol. 36, no. 5) described one of my published choral works as “a fresh, exciting, and well-crafted piece, standing apart in its unique harmonic progressions and complex meter changes.” The Chicago Sun-Times, on the other hand, simply remarked:
Move over, Andrew Lloyd-Webber.
No. Really. Please move over, Mr. Webber.
– Zay N. Smith, Chicago Sun-Times, May 2006
See my full list of compositions and hear samples of my music at this link: Compositions. For more information on commissioning music, or to purchase the score of one of my existing pieces, contact me.
As a teacher, I have several years’ experience teaching music theory, songwriting, composition, harmony, and ear training, in and out of the classroom, for all ages from preschool to college. I hold both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in music composition, and have tutored students since my own college days. In the space of one semester I helped a student turn a handful of harmonic sketches into a two-hour production for musical theatre that was fully staged for her senior recital at the end of the year. In my current position as Graduate Assistant at the University of Maryland, I regularly guide students from learning the most elementary aspects of music theory to writing a complete composition in just a few months. Whatever your level of musical ability, I can help you learn how to become a composer. You’ll learn the essential skills of writing music, including music theory, harmony, counterpoint, instrumentation, and notation, to help you understand how music works. Just as important, you’ll improve your artistic techniques of turning your initial ideas into a finished, professional, and ready-to-perform composition.
Transcribing / Engraving
Want your music to be professionally engraved? I’ve used Finale® notation software for over 15 years and know how to quickly turn out a fully professional print-ready score for any size project, from lead sheets and charts to full orchestral scores. If all you have is a recording, no problem; I have perfect pitch so I can transcribe it for you exactly the way you played it.
(Note: you must be the copyright holder of the music or be able to show written documentation giving you permission to reproduce it.)
Rates vary depending on the size and length of the project; contact me for more details.
When I worked for three years as Senior Copy Editor for an educational publishing house, I was responsible for helping writers and editors get their words ready for publication, whether that involved simple spelling and grammar fixes, fact-checking, or detailed comments and rewrites to polish your manuscript. I apply the same skill and attention to detail as a freelancer. I’ve worked on publications and books including Precepts for Living, Urban Faith, Vienna Music Guide, and Unsettling Wonder. If you’re a writer in need of review for a manuscript or query, or a publisher in need of extra hands, I offer quick turnaround times and competitive rates. Contact me for more details.