How long have you worked for PreSonus?
Five years. I started off in Product Management and then moved into Marketing Dept and then Sales and then Education…. Next thing you know, they’ll be asking me to mop the floors.
What was the first 8 track, cassette, CD, digital download you purchased?
What’s your side hustle?
I play drums in a band called Minos the Saint. Maybe you have heard of us… I also am the orchestra director at Istrouma Baptist Church, where I do some drumming, conducting, and arranging (using Notion). I also do a lot of work with soloists and groups in the area, whether it be side-man drumming, engineering, mixing, or producing.
What other products do you have?
All of them…. haha. I use ADL700, ADL600, Studio One, RML32, Studio One remote, Central Station Plus, Temblor 10, Eris 5, Eris 8, Sceptre 8, FaderPort, Air 12.
Why did you choose Notion as your favorite?
As an educator, Notion is the easiest and most fun product to teach others. You can do so much with it and it helps your workflow—more on that later. I like sharing that with others.
Tell us about a successful event you worked.
I attend education conferences year-round and work one-on-one with teachers to find the best solution for their instructional, rehearsal and performance spaces.
What are you currently working on–What’s next for you?
In the summer, music educators and students are involved in many music camps, marching band activities, and Drum & Bugle Corps tours. PreSonus provides the on-the-field reinforcement for The Blue Devils, The Phantom Regiment, Spirit of Atlanta, and many other successful competitive programs. Marching groups these days have significantly more audio technology requirements, whether it be scenes, routing, or remote control. I’m working with them to ensure groups have an easy-to-use, powerful, and flexible solution that fits their needs.
Got some tips?
The power of Notion is in the simplicity of the workflow and the flexibility to use it across multiple devices. The graphic display appears very sleek, but it’s a very powerful notation program, with some surprisingly quick engraving tools. My first tip is to learn the keyboard shortcuts on a computer, which are super intuitive (q=quarter note, d=dot, <=crescendo, #=sharp). On a computer/laptop or iPad, I suggest the handwriting feature, which enables you to write directly on the score with a mouse, finger, stylus or the Apple Pencil.
Anything else you want to share?
Notion is tightly integrated with Studio One. Sometimes, the classical musician in me wants to compose in Notion, then send the score to Studio One (I simply click “Send to Studio One”), where I can then use Studio One to produce tracks around my score. Other times, I’d prefer to write a song on guitar and vocals, and then “Send to Notion” so I can write scoring around my song.
Notion iOS update (2.0.171), April 2017
All this for nearly half price won’t last, so get it before May 12!
Compose on the go and transfer your work to Notion 6. New handwriting support for iPad. Works with notation, tablature, or both. Huge wealth of sounds available from the London Symphony Orchestra recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
Notion 6.1.1 Maintenance Update—click “Check for updates” in Notion to download and install 6.1.1!
Studio One interop
MIDI / MusicXML
Here’s your chance to save 30% on the Classical Saxophone Bundle for Notion—down from the usual price of $29.99 USD to $19.99 USD! This world-class bundle was recorded using London Symphony Orchestra section leaders and players at Abbey Road Studios, London. You get three instruments in the bundle, including:
Get Saxy this month–You’ll thank us later.
Notion user Michael Josephs is an award-winning American film and television score composer. He has written and conducted musical scores for many notable films and television programs including Wild Kingdom, National Geographic, and many PBS specials. Recent projects include scores for HBO, BBC, PBS, NBC, CBS, ABC, The History Channel, and many others. Michael received a National Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music for his score for the series Thoroughbred. He has received numerous other awards. He received a National Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 2001. He has received numerous other awards.
I compose and conduct music, mainly for long-form documentaries and TV series, and the occasional independent feature film. My first scoring job was doing a brand-new series called America’s Most Wanted for Fox Television. I did that full-time for a few years right at the start of my composing career, which was a great education because it was on the air around 50 episodes per year, so I was always writing and recording. Most shows only run maybe 8-10 episodes a year, so for Fox I was constantly writing and recording every week, which was a great learning experience, especially because I tried to treat every week like a completely unique score instead of just generic “crime music.”
From there I branched out and started to work for other directors and networks and do other shows like “Wild Kingdom”, “National Geographic”, HBO, a lot of PBS stuff, etc.
I rarely have the luxury of seeing something before it’s handed to me to start writing. I do try to take a day or two at the beginning and just work on thematic material at the piano, some of which, and sometimes none of which, will end up in the film, but it gives me a moment at least to close my eyes and think about what kind of score it will be. The deadlines are always very tight so it’s nice to have a little space to imagine before diving into the mechanics of writing.
From there, I put the film up and start writing from the first frame. I tend to write sequentially, so I go cue by cue straight through the film, rather than jumping back and forth to different scenes. Sometimes themes develop as you work, so I’ll jump back some times and incorporate things or hints of where things may lead.
I started my career before computers, recording live directly to 2” tape for many years, so the computer and digital-video still seem like an incredible luxury to me! Some of the sequenced parts stay in, and I write and copy charts for everything that will be played live.
If it’s a smaller score, I do most everything at my own place, including a lot of overdubs, and then I’ll mix here. I’m set up for 5.1 mixing, and it’s very comfortable working in my own space. If it’s a larger ensemble I’ll do some tracking and mixing at a commercial studio because room is just too tight here. I also conduct the sessions too.
When I track somewhere else I’ve started a new thing lately, which is to just use their physical space and microphones and cue-system, but record right into my own portable rig and rack, which saves time and confusion transferring files back and forth.
Most of the time, at least with documentaries, there are no temp scores or preconceived notions. Directors want me to come up with the concept, direction, vibe, really everything. It’s the opposite of people loving a temp-track…there is no guidance at all, so I really try to give each film something completely different and unique.
As far as directors and producers, it really doesn’t matter how much or how little they know about music, but rather what kind of creative spirit and vision they have. I work with people who know absolutely nothing about music and are wonderful and creative to work with, and others who know a lot about music but have bad instincts with it. It’s really all over the place! I don’t feel it’s their job to know a ton about music. If they could compose music, they probably would!
Notion is AMAZING! I love it. I own both Finale and Sibelius, but they have to be the most difficult, not-intuitive programs I’ve ever encountered. Just doing some little tweak requires me to pull out the manual, and even then I still can’t figure it out!
From the day I tried Notion, I was hooked. It is completely intuitive, and I have never looked at the manual. When you want to do something, it is always very obvious how to do it quickly. It can go pretty deep if you need it to, but the basics are right there and not hidden fifteen deep in some hidden sub-menu. For day to day trying to get work done, it is unparalleled. With the budgets I have, I need to do my own orchestration and copying, and the last thing I would want to do is take three days off of precious writing time to do charts. Film music usually has a ton of key, meter and tempo changes, so this further complicates that process.
Sure. I do a quick clean-up of the music before I export a midi file from my DAW. I then import that file into Notion. I also open my empty “template” file in Notion that is set up the way I like, add the relevant instruments to the staff, then do a mass copy / paste of the imported midi file into the template. This is great because Notion reads all of the key and meter changes beautifully. From there I quickly add articulations, dynamics, clean stuff up, and extract the parts. It all goes very fluidly with Notion.
I did a really good film recently called Dateline Saigon, which both has a score and also arrangements of period music. I dove right in with Notion on that, and it was fabulous. I compose 99% of the time, so doing arrangements was a little different for me, and Notion made it possible to do the charts and also change them up and re-print them really quickly when there were re-edits of the film.
I also did another terrific IMax film right after that, but it won’t be released until next year… so watch this space!
Where can we find more about you and your music?
Notion 6 is here!
Notion 6 Offers Over 50 New Features and Enhancements:
Here’s a good one–how do you know when a saxophone player is at your door?
They don’t know which key to use or where to enter.
Now’s your chance to save 30% on the Classical Saxophone Bundle for Notion—down from the usual price of $29.99. This world-class bundle was recorded using London Symphony Orchestra section leaders and players at Abbey Road Studios, London. You get three instruments in the bundle, including:
One more thing, did you know you can demo Notion for FREE for 30 days? Learn more about it here.
If you’re looking to add some acoustic instruments to your mix, this bundle has you covered... You get four instruments with this bundle which include banjo, mandolin, acoustic fingerstyle guitar and the ukulele samples recorded by Brad Newell, Neil Zaza, and David Doucet. Also included are additional samples for open strings, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and left-hand and right-hand fingering control. This bundle plays nice with Notion 5.1 or later and Progression 3 or later.
Not a Notion user? Well Notion 5 is on sale for the month of July 50% off! Click here to learn more about this offer!