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.

Buckle Up (30-second version)

Track Cover Art for Buckle Up (30-second)

Jingle time! This was a great CAP assignment because we now had the opportunity to write something ridiculously commercial - literally bed music for a radio spot. I have no recollection of any of the cues my classmates wrote. I’m guessing we were all weary and focused on our own charts. But there was something to be learned from watching each other and seeing and hearing the session progress.

Jeff Siri, my roommate, carries the vocals for this jingle which comes in two versions - sixty and thirty second takes. Jeff does a great job on these and it was as much fun as it sounds.

For this project I’m assuming we were assigned to write not only the original music, but to craft some sort of voice narration or voice-over. By this point at my time at Grove I was probably back together with my high school flame who was now living in Southern California, so there’s a spring in my step and I’m clearly in full cheese dog mode, gushing with love, even on an assigned project! I’m pretty sure there’s never been a better commercial for raising seat belt awareness than this. The best commercials should be shamelessly cheesy with a catchy hook and this one delivers.

The sixty second version starts right off with a big band sound and Jeff comes in with a spoken intro which then transitions into him singing the main message of the tune:

I buckle up because my baby loves me / I buckle up because I love her too / I buckle up because my baby loves me / You should buckle up / Because your baby loves you!

While I conducted there was a microphone on the podium and the sound engineers were able to seamlessly turn it on for my narration for the middle part of the sixty second version. We’re also recording to a click (maybe for the first time) and I was a bit over on the first take (guess my math skills aren’t that great) so we must have bumped it up a few BPMs and it all turned out fine.

This was yet another example of how practical CAP was. Although most of us probably never went on to write jingles, it was still a great learning experience. We all took a course in jingle writing taught by Marc Cashman and his course and material were excellent. We wrote many cues in class and Marc would critique our concepts - it’s not easy concentrating and writing by ear in a room with other students humming, and scratching down their notes, but that’s what we were expected to do. I don’t recall producing any pearls from those efforts but it was good to struggle a bit. Marc would always show up to class in a shiny gray suit, looking ready to walk the red carpet. Seriously, the due was snazzy and very committed to his craft. To this day he’s still active teaching and writing - http://cashmancommercials.com/ - check his work out!