All of the titles that I give myself; sound designer, composer, voice teacher, exist to give a label to my obsession with listening. All of the facets of my artistry deal with creating, harnessing, projecting and shaping sound. The goal of all of them is the same: to elicit a positive emotional reaction to an aural experience.
As a sound designer, no matter what the project, be it abstract dance or theatrical realism, I attempt to tease out the deeper meaning of the work, and represent it sonically. Something I always find myself going back to is the overtone series: When a pitch is sounded, it is made up of a series of overtones, first the octave, then the fifth, the third, until each scale degree is represented. This parallels the evolution of western music. First it was chant in unison, then octaves, then polyphony adding in fifths and thirds, all the way through to the 20th century when tonality was broken apart. All this is to say, everything exists inside itself. When I approach a new piece to design, I try and find the aural elements and themes that exist inside of it.
As a composer my role is similar, yet I get to pluck things out of the air. No one has ever heard the music that I will create, so everyone’s relationship to it is the same. This is different then design, when you might hear a particular song that has cultural impact, or even the sound of crickets…everyone has a pre-existing relationship to those sounds. But composition eliminates that relationship, and can do absolutely anything.
As a voice teacher, I work primarily in how it feels to sing, rather than how the voice sounds. It is my belief that how a voice sounds is shaped by how it is produced, and how it is produced is through a coordination of feeling and moving your body. When we sing, we turn breath into sonic vibrations. It is an emotional impulse that produces a physical response, which in turn affects the emotion that began it. This is the same as design. It is the same as composition. All of what I do is to physically harness the emotional, either through an instrument, a speaker, a room or a voice, and translate it into an experience.