In Life - Debriefed

Sorry. I’ve done that thing I do – Not blog in a timely fashion. It’s the same reason every time – I’ve been busy. (Note I said reason because it’s not really an excuse.) So, my apologies.

But in my defense, I really have been busy.

Busy? Doing what?

I have lately been consumed with the countless details involved with producing a series of choral anthems, which I hope will be available here at this website in the not-so-distant future.  Unless something fairly cataclysmic occurs in the choral music publishing world, I have reached that place where it seems to make more sense to publish my own music, rather than rely on the Standard Operating Procedures that have served me well in the past.

Yes, I’ve been publishing my own orchestral music here at the site for some time.  But orchestral music is another world really. Choral music has a lot more moving parts.

I have not yet figured out all the details – especially the financial ones. (If anybody out there wants to contribute to a worthy church music cause, I’m your guy.) But over the past couple of years, I have amassed a series of symphonic hymn arrangements and original choral music, all of which remains unpublished. I believe this to be some of my best work ever. In the old days, working with a publisher, my job was done when the writing was completed and the studio recording was produced. In this new paradigm, I am not only the composer/producer, but also the typesetter, the editor, the orchestra itself*, the marketing department, the distribution company, and the collection agency.

* Yes. I said the orchestra. The single most backbreaking expense incurred producing modern choral product is the recording of an orchestral accompaniment. This feat is achievable by only two means: 1) Be a millionaire and hire an orchestra, or 2) Buy a boat load of orchestral sample libraries and create the most believable mock-up orchestra you can.

Crazed & Unshaven

I chose Option#2. And that is what has kept me unshaven, locked in my home studio, semi-crazed for the past four weeks, unable to blog in a timely fashion. (See the attached photographic evidence.)  You see, it takes a qualified studio orchestra, like the awesome Nashville String Machine, only about 45 minutes to record a full-blown track for a single song.  However, if you create every single instrument of the orchestra yourself in a computer, aiming for a realistic sound, a single song takes two or three days to record. Long, tedious days. Days that often involve swearing at the computer.

So that’s my reason for not blogging lately.  I’ll let you decide if it’s an excuse or not.

I hope to keep you apprised of my progress here.  In truth, this is an exciting thing to attempt. Scary, too.  A genuine leap of faith.  And I will be seeking out choral music directors soon, who might be interested in this new music.  So – if you get an unsolicited email from me – this will be the reason why. And – no kidding – if you are interested in this venture at any level, whether it be as a potential customer or simple curiosity, stay tuned and stay in touch.

Back to the cave now.

Showing 14 comments
  • Brian Summers

    This makes me so excited and curious!

    I pray I’m on your short list of choral guinea pigs!

    Brian S.
    FBC Marion, IL

    • rsterling

      You are. you are…

  • Bruce Cokeroft

    You are the man, Rob! So thrilled you continue to keep on keeping on and that you keep bringing well-designed, creative choral and instrumental offerings that stand up well and provide ministry tools for “the masses!”

    Blessings to you, my friend.

    PS – sorry I don’t have money to send this month!

    • rsterling

      Haha – that’s okay, Bruce! I appreciate the the emotional support, too, you know. Thx for the kind words.

  • Marty Funderburk

    What software are you using for your orchestrations? I’ve dabbled in all of this, but would love to find more realistic samples

    • rsterling

      Marty – I have a more detailed list on the site under “Tool Box.” But in a nutshell: My DAW is DP8. My primary orchestral library is CineSamples (perc, harp, winds, & brass). My primary string library is LA Scoring Strings. I use Ivory II for pianos. For pop sounds I use a lot of the Spectrasonics stuff. And my drum software is Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 2.

      Now – I would looove to update/upgrade ALL of this. I’m pushing my Mac to its limits – and need to go to a “trash can” model with all Thunderbolt SSDs. I am lusting after the Orchestral Tools Berlin sample libraries. (You should check them out.) The new Keyscape library from Spectrasonics looks amazing. And Toontrack has just released Superior Drummer 3, which looks like a quantum leap forward. I need a new keyboard controller with more sliders, etc. It is a never-ending journey. And it’s difficult to justify the cost against current music sales.

  • Janis Mitchell

    Sounds great, Rob. Since I’m no music expert, it all sounds like greek to me. But with you at the helm, I’m sure it will be a success. Good luck on all that you are doing these days. Miss you guys!

    • rsterling

      Thx, Janis. These days music business sounds greek even to those of us who have been in it for decades. 🙂

  • Wes Ramsay

    Dear Robert: Very heartened to see this underway. Your voice is much needed in the marketplace, both in creative and business terms. I think you are finding–as others do, in all manner of businesses–that the entreprenurial journey calls upon your creativity and energy at least as much as the purely ‘musical’ parts. And, I think you will find that the entreprenurial and musical ‘sides of the equation’ will inform one another in a continuing conversation. It’s a very very good thing you are undertaking.

    Here’s wishing you great success–that choirs sing bushels of your music, and that you make a heap o’ money in the process. No more having to write ‘it’s difficult to justify the cost against current music sales.’ this time next year.

    Go get ’em.

    • rsterling

      Thx, Wes. It’s a scary thing. But I’m afraid I’m left with few other choices. I appreciate your kind encouragement.

  • Chris Machen

    Swearing at a computer, hmm? Never, ever done that!!!!

    This will be greatness Robert. Can’t wait to hear it.


    • rsterling

      Thx, Buddy.

  • Eric Benoy

    Okay — piqued my interest — always loved your work

    • rsterling

      Will keep everybody posted here and on FB. Thx Eric.

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