Sophomore Victor Giraldez composes his own Jazz Pieces. In a recent interview with him, we discussed his musical career.
“I am a jazz drummer and classical percussionist in the Gulliver Prep Music Program. I started to write music last year since I had a lot of time in quarantine. I wanted to start writing music because I saw how much fun it was when I heard Jason Fieler’s album, and how uplifting [music production] could be for people. Music evokes all types of emotions and that is what I wanted to express through mine.
I started to work on the fundamentals of composing and taking a couple of music theory classes, but I was creating very basic compositions. It was not until November of this year that I really started to expand upon my writing abilities, due to the help of my jazz theory class that I take at the Community Arts Program, in which I learned about melodic minor, bebop, blues, half/whole diminished scales, and improvisation skills. All this aided me with writing my first big composition, which is a ballad entitled “This Thing Called Love” that I recorded with a trio. I have so many memories of writing “This Thing Called Love” and I remember how relieved I was when I finished it. I was impressed and proud of myself, and then it only got better because I recorded it with a trio.
When I am writing if there is something I hear that I don’t like and I want to change it, I usually sit at my piano and just play some chord progressions that might sound nice. I usually feel happy when I’m writing, but sometimes I can also become frustrated because it is hard to write when I reach a roadblock. I am not satisfied with the things I write. I constantly edit or replace something in my work, either because I think I could write something better or I found something that was wrong with the specific measure or note. When I am done I feel satisfied. It feels like getting a 100 on a test, especially if I record the piece. Writing something and then recording it is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done in my life.
I am mostly inspired by the music I hear. I listen to a lot of jazz. To listen is one of the best ways to start composing. I listen to a lot of jazz. Whether it is from the old classics such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, or Ella Fitzgerald, or more modern artists such as Jacob Collier, Chris Potter, Joey Alexander, Chris Mcbride, and so many others. However, due to the things I have written so far, I have to confess that I am probably most inspired by Thelonius Monk. He was a fabulous pianist who wrote and arranged many classic standards and ballads, who also happened to be unique. No one plays like Monk, which is why in my music you can hear some of the inspirations from songs like “Ruby, My Dear” “Round’ Midnight” or his version of “Body and Soul”. I really look up to Thelonius Monk and I will continue to use him as someone I can use for inspiration. The same goes for the artists that I listed above.
I am currently in the process of writing a huge arrangement of a classic song from the ’60s, for the Jazz Ensemble, and I am using everything I have learned so far to make it exceptional. I also want to take these skills to college so that I can pursue a degree in Jazz Studies so that I can become a professional. I write every day and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Plus, I am planning to take AP Music Theory next year so that will also bring up my compositional skills to a higher level. I have a couple more projects on my plate now and I owe my ability to compose music to my teachers, peers, MuseScore, and time in quarantine.”