My Life in Music: Composer Sandy Herrault
Some of the most important moments in my life have been when someone asked me a question. When I was 7 years old, a teacher in the Philadelphia public school system queried, “What instrument would you like to play?” I answered with the only name of an instrument I knew, “violin.” This started a pursuit of perfection on the instrument and an involvement in area-wide student and adult orchestras in Philly. After graduating high school, I attended West Virginia University as a violin major.
Years later when I joined a Celtic Rock band, one of my band-mates asked me, “Can you write parts for these pieces?” “Yes,” I answered though I really had no experience at the time. The next 12 years were filled with writing fiddle parts and solos for various types of bands. The genres I became familiar with kept expanding. I currently perform with a modern Celtic Americana band, The Merrows, www.myspace.com/themerrowsband
When I developed an interest in making music for film, I had no idea how to start. One day I was jamming with a guitarist outside an office building, when I met Composer Marcus Brown. We discussed music composition for film and Marcus asked me, “Can you write for multiple instruments?” “Yes,” I replied, thinking, well, I’ve actually never done that, but I should try. That led to a discovery; if I can envision what I want around a melody line, I can create it. I went home and immediately started using my composing program to write for up to three instruments. Then I expanded it, up to seven individual harmony parts. Yes!
I came to another crossroads when my husband posed a question while I was writing my fourth book of music for violinists. I decided it should have piano accompaniment. My husband asked me, “Can’t you write your own piano parts?” I contemplated and responded, “I don’t know, it won’t be easy.” I should know by now to listen carefully when I hear those life changing questions! I tried and I am happy to say I wrote the piano parts for Smart Violin Method Book Four, which is going to print in early March 2011. Details coming soon on www.smartviolin.com
I recently met Filmmaker Steve Gibson, Jr., and was inspired to write music for the Fall of the Hunter’s Moon trailer. Now Steve has asked Marcus and me, “Can you compose the score for the film?”