Andrew Martin, a choral conductor, clinician, and arranger, is in demand as a choral clinician and adjudicator and his arrangements are performed by choirs throughout the country. Martin currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Coordinator of the Fine Arts Department at the University of Tennessee Southern in Pulaski, Tennessee. Martin also was a graduate teaching assistant at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where he conducted the University Choral Union and was the assistant conductor of the Ball State University Singers. From 2006-2016, Martin served as the Director of Choral Activities at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1. Please describe your basic setup. (Your technical setup as well as the physical space that you work in.)
I write in my home office on a relatively simple studio setup using a Mac (2013 trash can Mac Pro for the win!). I used Encore for notation for the longest time for ease of use, even though it didn’t always produce the prettiest final score. But, since it’s taken them so long to update for 64-bit operating systems, I bit the bullet and switched to Sibelius. I use a Kurzweil SP76 for note entry and create rehearsal tracks in Logic Pro along with a couple pro-level sample libraries.
2. What is your process for brainstorming or inspiration-seeking as you start a new arrangement?
Arranging is only a side-gig for me, so I’m generally not writing something unless a director or choreographer has specifically requested it. Generally, those folks have a pretty good idea where they want the arrangement to go, so that’s always my starting point. Then, as I write, ideas will come to me that I’ll then run by the client to see if they like them. It’s a collaborative process, as I want to make sure the ensemble gets the arrangement they need, the one that serves the show and matches the capabilities of that group of singers, not the one that I think is the coolest.
3. What is your go-to snack and/or drink when arranging?
Vanilla chai latte in my “Expressions of a Stormtrooper” mug.
4. What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started arranging?
That songs are sometimes recorded in between two keys, or at least processed such that they end up there. How annoying to try to lift, amirite?
5. What is your favorite shortcut or time-saving trick in your notation software?
“Renotate Performance.” I prefer live not entry as I think it’s the best way to get articulation data into the score that will then make the rehearsal track come together that much more quickly. But, I’m not a pianist, so the rhythmic precision of my playing can leave a lot to be desired. Sibelius will often interpret my note entry with rhythms I could have never even conceived of if I wanted to! Renotate Performance does a pretty good job of functioning as a “yeah, that’s what I meant” button. 🙂
6. What is a favorite arrangement of yours?
A tough question, there are a lot of arrangements I’m proud of. I’ll just encourage people to check my website for my current list!