Nick Brockamp is a music educator based in the Peoria, Illinois area. He is a 2016 graduate of Millikin University, where he received his B.M. in Music Education with a Vocal Emphasis. While at Millikin, Nick was a member of the prestigious University Choir and developed a handbook on the United States Copyright Law directed towards music educators. Nick currently serves as the Choral Director at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois after prior stops in Columbus, IN and Marquette Heights, IL. In addition to his teaching duties, Nick works with show choirs across the country as an arranger, consultant, and clinician.
1. Please describe your basic setup. (Your technical setup as well as the physical space that you work in.)
My setup has recently been updated for the 2023 season! My desktop PC is a Windows PC that I custom built running a Ryzen 7 3700X processor, while my laptop is a Macbook Air running the Apple M1 processor. Both computers have 16GB of memory and have 500GB SSDs to allow for quick loading of sound libraries and software. I use Sibelius as my notation software and Logic Pro to create performance tracks. My basic tracks are exported from Sibelius using the Sibelius sound set and Kontakt for drums and guitar (and some synths). For performance tracks, I export MIDI from Sibelius to import into Logic and use the instruments Logic has to offer to boost the sound quality on the performance tracks. I also currently use a PreSonus USB interface for recording and outputting sound through a set of KRK Rokit5 studio monitors. I also use a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M30x headphones when I need to work without the speakers at home or on the road.
In terms of my physical space, I have a wide corner desk that has plenty of space to use both a keyboard and my Korg Kross as input devices while arranging and a nice, comfy desk chair with a high back for those long arranging sessions. My office has a great view into our backyard through a ton of windows, so it gets a lot of natural light. It is a great space to work in! When I am on the go, I’ll pack up the Macbook and headphones along with an external keyboard so I have access to the keypad while working.
I LIVE in Google Drive – it is a great place to store all of my arranging files and tracks and works flawlessly jumping between macOS and Windows for accessing files.
2. What is your process for brainstorming or inspiration-seeking as you start a new arrangement?
I always start off by listening to as many examples of the song as I can find, looking for neat ideas that others have used and seeing if I can find connections to similar songs to spice things up. In addition, I like to reference previous arrangements that have been created to make sure that what I create stands out from the rest and isn’t a carbon copy of what someone else has already created. This can include not only choral arrangements, but also arrangements for other types of ensembles. That way, groups know that the product they receive is unique from what is already available and is worth the time and effort that all sides put in when creating custom arrangements.
3. What is your go-to snack and/or drink when arranging?
I’m definitely a sucker for Coca-Cola and unsweet iced tea, so I normally have those drinks nearby! As for snacks, I enjoy some Chex Mix or Gardettos as a snack mix to have.
4. What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started arranging?
How supportive the show choir arranging community is! I definitely had a lot to learn when I first started arranging and I credit members of the community in helping me get to where I am today.
5. What is your favorite shortcut or time-saving trick in your notation software?
My favorite shortcuts I use are using “Shift + note letter” to create chords and holding “Ctrl” to move the octaves of a specific note. It really saves time when notating choral parts!
6. What is a favorite arrangement of yours?
“Treasure” by Bruno Mars! I wrote this arrangement when I was directing Columbus East “Center Stage” in Indiana; it was a song I had been holding back for a bit and found Bruno’s live version which had some super fun band parts. It was definitely a challenge to put together but so worth it in the end! You can purchase it by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see it performed live here:
7. How can people get ahold of you?
You can visit my website at musicalityarr.weebly.com, email me at email@example.com, and find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @musicalityarr. There are some plans in the works to get easier access to my catalog of pre-arranged charts, so stay tuned to social media and the website for updates!