Author Archives: AnnaChapmanMusic

Latest Obsession: Mozart’s 40th Symphony and Sonata Form

In the last week or so, I’ve been drawn to Mozart’s 40th. I have a student playing a piano reduction of the First Movement’s main theme, I’ve been feeling it’s quiet and raging emotions even without listening to it, and I’ve been teaching Sonata Form (the form of at least the First Movement) to other students who have pieces in that form and style.

So, before you get bored with my music theory nerdiness, go to Google, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, or whatever to find a recording of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and listen to it. Just the first movement is fine if you’re short on time, but the whole thing is worth your while. It is nicknamed Mozart’s “Great” Symphony, for that reason. The modulations (changes of keys) and orchestration (which instruments play what where) are particularly inspiring to me right now in the compositional realm.

Then after you listen to it, you can look at the picture below and be slightly less bewildered…maybe. This is what I’m using to show my students what Sonata Form is and also how to roughly diagram a piece of music.

And I love my new neon dry erase markers and my old mirror a little too much. I’ll try to check in again soon.


New Things, But Now Back To Work

Hello again.  Apologies again. Here’s what I’ve been doing.

I am on SoundCloud now!  My only track so far is a contest entry from a few months ago, but I hope to post more soon.  I want to try (keyword “try”) to post something on there every week, even if it’s just a few seconds long.  Here’s my link.

I have started an business on Etsy, com for my photography and crafting hobbies!  Please go check it out here, OrangeStreetNorth.

I guess that’s it for now.  I’m also still in the midst of juggling too many things at once.  Hopefully, this blog won’t suffer as much anymore.

I love singing Italian, French, German, and Latin, but English is my native tongue.

While researching for one of my vocal students, I found this: The 12 Greatest Operas in English

It’s an interesting list because I hadn’t heard of many of them.  I was also surprised that Bernstein wasn’t on the list until I remembered that many of his are probably categorized more as “musicals” than “operas.”  Modern classical vocal music in English fascinates me, especially because I’d like to write one.  Do you know of any other operas in English that you like?

Turning It Into Momentum

Don’t worry, “Part 2” is coming.  I just have several things to do, and time is flying.

As you know, or have noticed, keeping a blog is challenging for me.  Now I may have figured out why: I only like writing about what I’m feeling.

Well, just about everything that I’ve been feeling for the past…however long it’s been, has not been worthy of mentioning on my professional website.  The effect: I haven’t been blogging at all.  Once again, I say sorry for that to any and all of my loyal audience (even if you aren’t loyal anymore because of it).  But I finally figured out what all those emotions are doing in my professional life.  As I deal with them, they are helping me to grow, learn new things, and achieve more.  Obviously, these things can happen for anyone anytime there is a rough patch, but here’s how it’s affected my professional life in music.

Most of the time, I deal with turbulent emotions and/or circumstances through music.  This has happened in so many different ways in the past few months that I hadn’t realized what was really going on until now.  Sometimes it was lyrics in a steady meter in a journal; sometimes it was working out different and “biting” voicings in my jazz piano homework (yeah, I still take lessons too).  Other times it was escaping to an orchestral concert and playing my own “Fantasia” in my head or loosely analyzing the orchestration in the pieces (or sometimes both at once); other times I made the most dissonant and beautiful strains of sounds that I’ve ever heard myself compose (not finished pieces yet, just snippets).  I was amazing myself because I was just so overwhelmed with emotions, circumstances, etc. that I didn’t even “think,” I just had to “do” something, and it usually turned into music.

Dealing with all the emotion through music quickly turned into passion because I was excited about what I had produced (especially when I had never done it before).  Passion gave me more emotion (more positive this time) and energy that I actively focused on specific things such as my students, my family, myself, the piano, composing projects, etc.  Right now, I am finishing a song for a small band (a “pop” song, but I don’t like calling it that).  I am also entering a contest for a string quartet, even though I have a little less than three weeks left to write for it.

My life’s rough spots are not over yet, but I have some great momentum going right now, at least professionally; and that encourages me quite a bit.  Hopefully, this can encourage others as well.  Even though I still go through the same ups and downs, and I seem to blog about the same ups and downs too (hopefully not too boring), I keep learning new things every time.  And I want it to keep being an encouragement to myself and others during life.  And all I can think of to end with is this: “We lose our way; we get back up again.  It’s never too late to get back up again,” sings my still favorite artist, Tobymac.

What I did last summer…Part 1

Three music for media projects during my final, thesis semester.

-Animated short film (for a film scoring contest): Virtus Vitae

Clip (not used in the final version) from the opening of a documentary about breast cancer called “Baring It All”

-Commercial/promo spot from C-SPAN: White House Week

I am Master, and I shall call you Padawan.

In August, I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts!  Consequently, I “feel” like a Jedi Master of Music or something, especially because I currently have students.

I feel like I have a thousand more ideas now too, but first I have to” work.”  I have a freebie children’s piece that I’m doing for a friend, and I have some transcribing and editing work that is paid!  I’m trying to write an orchestral piece (originally, I wanted a symphony) for a contest next month.  I’m also busy with my students, my “little padawans” as I now sometimes refer to them, with festivals, holidays, and recitals coming up.

This time around graduating, I’m thankful that I haven’t gotten much post-graduation depression, as I have in the past.  I’ve still had many ups and downs, but thanks to my many friends (mostly musical) and family, I have a lot more hope for my future of making it in the world.  I feel more prepared, but I have also learned that I’ll never feel perfectly prepared for anything worth that is trying.  So, I have to just remember my support system and take leaps of faith.  Not too hard, right?

So Close

Tardy again, but I was really busy, and with music stuff!  Finally, I am feeling like a working adult with some kind of career path in front of me.  It’s harder than I thought, and I still can’t always do what I want (all you seasoned professionals are saying “duh” right about now).  But I am so excited about my progress so far (in everything!) and all the possibilities that I can see in the future.

I have a total of three music for media projects done (and hopefully up on my YouTube channel soon) and my music for my Thesis semester project almost done.  Only a little more polishing to do…and some re-writing…and writing my Thesis paper…in less than a month.

Most recently, I’ve had a lot of discouragement.  Right after a big school deadline and right before important commitments that I had (and had to fore-go), I got sick, and the sore throat is still hanging on a little.  Also, today I found out about a terrible tragedy that has overtaken one of my fellow MFA students.

Sorry about the depressing note.  I’ll try to turn my depression into artistic genius in the mean time, but please pray for my fellow student and friend.  And then pester me if I don’t get another post up soon about my projects.

Stay Classy

Just a little tidbit from a good friend. I am finding this to be more and more true in writing music also.

Draw You, Draw Me

In my illustration class this semester, a student asked our professor, “When do you know when a work is finished?”

Admittedly, I can say that this is a question a lot if not all artists will ask themselves about their work. In fact, one of my drawing professors once said that you can keep working on one piece for 10+ years if you wanted to. Though, will a piece ever be done, or will it just reach a point of rest? A place where it can sit and show itself to the world…is that finished or is it just one step of the journey?

Who knows, it’s all too deep for me, even as an almost college graduate.

I used to define “finished” as something smooth and flashy, which it may very well be. Whether it be from laziness or perhaps I’m not bold enough and too hesitant in my…

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Busy, busy, busy, but not much getting done…

Wow, it has been a while.  Sorry.  I’ve been getting busy again…new students, two student recitals coming up, more homework, past homework catching up with me, habitually taking on more than I can handle, etc…

But I finally have it posted on YouTube! (The contest’s short film that I wrote music for.)

Hope you enjoy.

Also, I’ve been seriously considering (finally) getting my own domain name.  Unfortunately, I just ordered 500 more business cards with WordPress in the domain name.  I guess that will have to wait a bit.

Self Promotion

Yes, like the title says, I’m advertising myself right now.

If you haven’t “liked” me on Facebook or “friended” me on MySpace (, please do so.  You can also follow me on Twitter@ACMusic101, YouTube (, and LinkedIn.  I’m also on,, and, but only recently with these.

I have a piece of my short film score (the credits music) from the recent competition that I entered posted on my MySpace page, and the filmmaker has given permission for the entries to use his film with each original score for self promotion.  I will have it up on YouTube soon with my score, even though I was not chosen as one of the finalists.  (But one of my fellow classmates is a finalist in the competition!)

On another note (haha-I haven’t yet gotten tired of using that pun), one of the non-musical things that I do is photography, where I consider myself an amateur:

That’s it for now.  Happy browsing. 🙂