iClassical - Academy.Com and More Recording Adventures

I have kept a journal for many years, and have collected quotes that I think have a message of some sort. I have also included some of my own musings about life and music. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful. I also urge you to keep a journal, as it always inspires me to add something new, or use the journal to keep my own thinking positive. ‌


Wear your mask! ....Mike Vaccaro

When you are right and the time is right, providence will provide. ........Bill W

We are all actors who cannot be anything until we have pretended to be it. ....W. H. Auden

Those that talk don't know and those that know don't talk. ....anon

Learning is the new form of labor. ......Shoshanna Zuboff

The only alternative and artist has to being himself is being nobody. ......Roger Sessions

A person with a talent for listening can hear things not yet spoken. .....Gary Jennings

Even little white lies deny people their autonomy, their ability to decide for themselves on the of true facts. Lies are a means of coercion. .....Michael Josephson

The moral question is not: should we lie or tell the truth? It is rather: To whom do we owe our honesty. ......Anon

Where there is clarity there is no choice, Where there is choice there is misery. ....Jack Nicholson

We were born to strive and endure. ......Charlotte Bronte

Truth is the cry of all, but the game of few. ....George Berkley, 1744

Common sense is not so common. .......Voltaire, 1764

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. .....Tacitus, 56-120 AD

Part of teaching is helping students learn how to tolerate ambiguity, consider possibilities, and ask questions that are unanswerable. ....Sara LIghtfoot Sometimes a man must fight so hard for his life, he doesn't have time to live it. .....Charles Bukowsky.

Social Connections play a fundamental role in a successful career. ......Isabele Allende

Talking Music is like Dancing Architecture ....Anon

Deny the cause and the cure will remain a mystery. ......Richard Anderson

If you want something you never had, Do something that you have never done. . ......Judy Simms

The difference between a master and a neophyte is that the master has failed more times than the Neophyte has ever attempted. .....Dan Jacobs

Me vs. Me has been my biggest fight. ......Sanga Noona


I have a new CD. It is now released and for sale. This is the first classical CD I have come out with in a while, as I have been recording in the Jazz and Pop idioms as of late. I think you will enjoy this CD quite a lot. It features the original Chamber Music of John Scott, with a Clarinet Quintet and a Saxophone Quartet, and the music of Damon Zick with his Jazz/Classical oriented Sax Quartet. The CD is finished off with the unaccompanied A Minor Sonata of Bach (Mvt1) for flute, and also the unaccompanied Du Style by Theo Charlier, which was originally written for Trumpet, and performed on Clarinet. Visit our website While you are at the web site, check out the other CD's that are available and give them a listen, as you are bound to find a style you like.Please take a moment to peruse the rest of the website too.There are videos of various groups and reed, mouthpiece, and ligature videos, and under the article tab older versions of today's e-broadcast. Other articles in this series can be found in more articles (Click Here).

Am I Nuts? A recording Studio?

I don't think we can say these are normal times. The Covid -19 virus is upon us and getting worse in many places. Politics are meaner and more contentious than they have ever been. Our ability as musicians to make a meaningful living has become increasingly difficult to maintain. In fact a nurse that I know thinks this kind of living is going to be the new normal. We can all hope she is wrong.

So whats the answer?

I don't know.

What I do know is many young musicians are using the technology of music to try and even the playing field. Most musicians between 18 and 60 are build recording studios along with video capacity in their homes. They are putting parts down on other peoples recording projects as well as producing their own projects. The cost of good recording equipment has come way down so it makes sense to invest in the technology. That may be the new normal or it may be something we don't know about yet. However since we know about the future why not learn a technology that is available to us and include it in your repertoire. I guarantee you from what little I have tried it will make you a better musician as it helps you listen and see yourself in a new way.

I am not a big fan of the Zoom bands and vocal groups, as frankly after I see one Zoom presentation, I want to listen to some music without having having to focus on twenty or thirty musicians in little video boxes.

So what did since I was retired, well actually the last two weeks, is I went out and bought a recording rig (no video quite yet) to see what it was all about. My recordist for my past several projects, Tom Zink suggested some equipment, which I bought and when I got it all set up I looked at it and said now what?

I was talking to my friend Tom Kubis who receives these email blasts and has had a studio in his home for many years. He suggested, since my attitude was "now what" that I write in this blog on what my experiences are as I learn my new system. So that's what I am going to do once in awhile. I can't tell you about everything because I am only learning one method. However you can feel my joy and angst as I learn my system.

No matter what system you choose below it will be good enough for a professional presentation. It's up to your budget and commitment. Of course a Pro Studio means you are spending more time doing that than just improving your music and helping yourself stay in the business. So don't forget to practice a minute a day.

There are four basic types of recording setups that are in use today. They are:

Bedroom Studio – which is typically a small setup next to your bedside, and is the absolute minimum you need to record sound into your computer. Dedicated Home Studio – which is typically a room in your house used solely for recording, that includes both studio furniture, and acoustic treatment. Semi-Pro Studio – which can be either at your home, or a different location, and typically includes the equipment necessary to record multiple musicians simultaneously. Pro Studio – which is typically located at a commercial facility, and includes whatever tools necessary to produce professional results in the most efficient way possible.

They all use a variety of computer interfaces to record and most of my professional friends are using one of the three below: Pro Tools Logic Digital Performer There are many other computer interfaces though. And there are plenty of professionals and specialty stores that can help you decide what your needs are.

I chose Pro Tools as it is one of the easiest programs to use and I did not see myself doing a lot of midi tracks for quite awhile. I wanted to become fluent at recording myself and my friends live. I also have not considered video even though that seems to be part of the new, self made, entertainment model.

I had bought books on the system and went You Tube crazy trying to get up to speed. The problem being the books were not very current and the You Tube videos went so fast that If I watched them 20 times I would still not have a clue. The video guys seem to assume that us novices know much more than we do.

I suggest private lessons. I have a friend and wonderful composer, Victor Vanacore, that had a specialist sit behind him for a week straight while he learned. Since I don't have that kind of cash I think I am becoming a once or twice a week type of a guy for lessons.

So, I thought my first lesson went well. I went through the basics of the computer screen and what most of the nobs, dials, and icons did and thought I had fairly good understanding of what was going on. I took notes and made myself a cheat sheet on many of the keyboard shortcuts (which I suggest your learn) so I could work a little faster. I was feeling very good.

The next day I opened the program and nothing worked. My teacher suggested a digital memory disk and he figured out what was wrong and we even went through setting up a project. It was becoming obvious to me that my equipment especially my computer might not quite be up to the task. It worked,, but it worked SLOWLY. I also, with some help, figured out that there are many types of cables and that my regular USB cable system was going to work for my home system which uses USB cable. I also found out as the more powerful equipment might require Firewire, Thunderbolt, Optical, or Ethernet. ( I am sure there is more).

The very next day I opened the program and guess what. It didn't work again. So Tom Zink my teacher decided it was best if we video taped every lesson WHICH IS A GREAT IDEA. We went through most of the instruction again with video that I could review on a daily basis and it really helped.

He even made a template that I could open and do a SAVE AS that was repeatable for what I wanted to do. Which at this point was just record an unaccompanied suite for clarinet that John Scott was writing for me. It went slow but well and I even got a finished product, but of course not to my liking. I needed to be more particular about my own equipment like reeds mouthpieces and ligatures and realized that I would always play with someone else and just adjust to them. Now even the slightest slip up seemed like a bomb going off. And now I had to play perfect and pay attention to the recording too. Yikes. The good news was I only had to call Tom a couple of times.

Since then I have gotten much faster in that when something doesn't work, I can mostly figure it out on my own what is wrong and finish a movement of my new music. In the last few days I was even able to start working faster and learn a couple of things on my own. I can't wait to see what Tom thinks of my own decisions. There are many issues in sound production.

I will suggest to you that you buy the best equipment you can afford for the type of recording your are going to do.... especially microphone(s) and speakers.

The best news is I think if I can be patient with the learning curve I will actually be able to do this and learn from my mistakes.

Well of course there has to be a P.S. or two. My friend Victor Vanacore didn't like my reverb and so I messed with it and now everyone thinks it was better. Truth is I created a file with no reverb on it. just one little and I mean little button. Today I woke up and many of my files seem missing and the ones I have are not getting sound again. At least the program is loading. I am taking Tom Zinks advice and getting a solid state internal hard drive for my old computer. I just arrived in the mail. It will make everything faster and easier to use. I guess it lets it breathe. The only think I can say to you as I send this out is "two steps forward and one step back"

Until next time......

AND REMEMBER: Always be happy with where you are at, while you are trying to get to where you want to be.