An Ill Presence~To Arms! (orchestral and rock mix)

Hello, everybody!

My latest video is a combined version of two of my compositions – An Ill Presence (orchestrated) and To Arms! (rock version). They were originally written as a pair and were released that way on my solo piano album, Let the Journey Begin!.

When I was working on the orchestrated and rock versions, I made and released them one at a time, and while I think they can stand alone, I also thought it would be good to recombine them as originally intended. Music can take on a different feeling depending on the context that it’s in, which is why the original release had them combined into one track, and why I released a whole album rather than individual singles.

A big thanks to Ainsley Stones, of Girl Gone Bad, for the guitar solo in To Arms!. Please check out their music: https://www.youtube.com/c/GirlGoneBad

Many thanks also to Thomas Slimm for writing and programming the drums.

The artwork is by my wife, Iryna Zastavna.

Onimusha 2 – Oda’s Army Attacks~Intro (arranged for two pianos)

Hello, everybody!

This week’s video is an arrangement of the music from the opening cutscene of Onimusha 2, arranged for four hands. I’ve been wanting to make for a while, but felt like I needed to do some simpler arrangements before jumping into this one. I specifically decided on two pianos rather than four hands on one piano so that one part could use the sustain pedal without interfering with the other – this is very important in this piece as some parts are very percussive.

This is the first time I’ve arranged a piece for four hands. It was a great learning experience but I’m sure that someone with more experience could make an even more interesting version of it. I plan to do more arrangements like this in the future, in addition to more for a single player.

Memento Mori – Piano Solo (cover)

Hi, everyone! This week’s video is a performance of the Main Theme from the South Korean horror film, Memento Mori. Specifically, this is the piano solo version from the soundtrack, with some of the repeats removed.

I’m currently working on a piano arrangement of the full, orchestral version of this piece, but wanted to do this version as well, to highlight its simple beauty.

Orchestration – An Ill Presence

Hello, everybody!

This week’s video is an orchestrated version of one of my piano pieces, An Ill Presence. As with the previous orchestrations I made, I leant a lot from this. I limited myself to violin, flute and oboe in addition to the piano part. I’m happy with the result, though feel like I need to learn more about the production side of things as occasionally it sounds a little muddy.

My wife drew the colourful tree that I used as an image for the video. I asked her for a tree with unnatural colours and I’m really pleased with the result!

Tormented Souls – Main Theme Tutorial

Hello everybody, just a quick mid-week post.

I had a request on YouTube to create a ‘tutorial’ video for something that I played and I’m looking for some feedback. Tutorial in this meaning was having the notes coming from the top of the screen and landing on the keyboard, as is a pretty popular way of doing things.

I’m curious to know how people find it – the person who requested it said it was perfect for their needs, but I’m going to be making more videos like this is the future and would like to know how easy it is to follow for other people. Does the glow around the falling lines detract from the clarity? Are the colours for each hand easy to follow? That kind of thing.

Main Theme from Tormented Souls (cover)

Hello, everybody! I have a performance video this week – the main theme from survival horror game Tormented Souls. It’s the first thing that plays when you boot up the game and I’ve spent time just listening to it on the main menu before playing the game as it has such a nice atmosphere.

It’s not a complex piece – just four chords: Am – F – G – Em. It loops round those four chords for the vast majority of the piece, but the melody starts off fairly structured and eventually becomes looser and feels more improvisational.

Part of arranging this piece was deciding how to condense the other instruments on to the piano and which ones to miss out. The end of the original track has a build up, with more instruments joining in until it finishes – I decided to fade out once the original melody returns, as I don’t think I could have done justice to all of those instruments with only two hands. A duet or arrangement for two pianos might work well for it.

If you’ve enjoyed the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!

Piano arrangement of ‘All That I’m Living For’ by Evanescence

Hello, everybody! Last year, a piano pupil of mine asked me to teach her how to play All That I’m Living For by Evanescence. I took the 2006 AOL Music Sessions performance as a starting point, as the piano is much more prominent than in the original version of the song and arranged it to have the piano and vocals combined on the keyboard. Recently I listened back to it and realised that there was quite a lot of direct repetition of parts, so I worked on it a bit more. Some of the melodies were harmonised, and I added a guitar riff from the original version to the chorus. This video is the result.

I’m a big fan of alternative arrangements of music, as I believe that we can learn a lot as musicians by seeing what other people can do with a composition and thinking about how we would approach the same material.

Piano arrangement of an excerpt from Metal Gear Solid 3 Main Theme

Hello, everybody!

I’d like to announce my newest video – a piano arrangement of the music from one of my favourite scenes from the Metal Gear Solid saga. I’ve had ideas for this going round in my head for a while and finally decided to nail them down to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I hope you enjoy it!

There are some parts which are lower in the original music that I moved up an octave to be playable with two hands, though I did consider an arrangement for three or four hands, but don’t have much experience with duet arrangements. That said, I do have ideas for a duet arrangement of a piece from the second Onimusha game, so keep a look out for that in the future.

Lessons update 31.03.22

Hello, everybody.

I haven’t posted here for more than a month, so I’d like to give an update on why that was how things are going.

At the end of last year I spent three months living in Kyiv, Ukraine. My wife (who is Ukrainian) and I got married during that time. Once my visa free 90 days were up, I came back to the UK, got a visa, and went back to Ukraine with the intent of staying there for longer. I was teaching my pupils from England remotely during that time, via Skype and Zoom.

One week after I received my temporary residency permission, the Russian military invaded and started the horrific war that has caused so much, death, destruction, and disruption to peoples’ lives. My wife and I were displaced by the war – it took us about a month to make it from Kyiv to Sheffield, via Poland and Germany. Obviously during that time I wasn’t teaching at all and outside of updating my current pupils, didn’t think of updating this website.

Now that I’m in Sheffield again, I’m restarting face to face lessons as well as continuing with online lessons for those that prefer them. I’ll be happy to take on new pupils – anyone interested can get in touch the usual way through the contact form. I’m glad to be teaching after the forced break and glad to be able to continue making music.

To Zanarkand (cover)

Hello, everybody! This week’s video is a cover of one of my favourite piano compositions – To Zanarkand from Final Fantasy X. It’s a great example of economical use of chord progressions – harmonically, it’s pretty simple and uses (for the most part) two variations of the same progression that get moved into different keys.

There’s a brief analysis of the chords involved in the video description, for those who are interested. I’m considering expanding that analysis into a full video in the future.

If you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my channel.