dick grove, rob birdwell, composing, arranging, program, CAP, studio city Audio from Rob Birdwell's time as a Dick Grove School of Music Composing and Arranging Program (CAP) student at the age of 20-21.

Brass Quartet

Track Cover Art for Brass Quartet

It seems as if Dick and his staff left no stone unturned when it came to the variety of assignments we were given. This was an in-class assignment - a brass group came to our class room and we all had about 3 minutes for them to play down our short little piece. Being a trumpet player, I enjoyed putting some effort into this project. I’m glad I brought my tape recorder with me.

The stakes weren’t particularly high for this type of assignment. Dick probably just wanted us all to have this opportunity to write for this type of group - a chance to get to know the ranges of the instruments, get accustomed to the sounds and timbres they produced and how they blended together. My writing seems confident here, even though it’s just a little in-class ditty. There’s a touch of campiness to it that works great and I was glad when my classmates clapped and laughed a bit at the end.

I’m amazed at the time and effort Dick put in giving feedback on all our CAP projects. While mostly succinct, Dick would zero in on one or two pieces of information that he felt would be of most value to the student. This must have taken him a good deal of time and energy. His written feedback was always very personal - it was him having a one-on-one moment, zeroing in on precisely what mattered most. And he freakin’ listened to all the CAP play downs! We’d put our scores in a box along with our cassette tape cued to the final take, probably on Tuesday, during our regular afternoon class time with him - everyone morbidly sleep deprived by this point in the week - and we’d usually have a page or two of written feedback from him by Friday of that same week. Lots of simultaneous things going on!