Mini-Me takes its inspiration, and name, from two primary sources. The first is the close connection that percussionists have with the great minimalist composers and works, many of which feature percussion instruments prominently (This also provided the “mini” part of the title.) I thought it would be important from a pedagogical perspective to have a piece for students to encounter the minimalist aesthetic early in their multiple percussion studies. Becoming familiar with working through a musical “process” and getting comfortable with a composition that is highly repetitive are important skills for percussionists to adopt, and they will be important tools throughout their careers.
As one would expect with a minimalist piece, Mini-Me makes use of limited musical material that is put through a simple process to generate a larger work. The source of the musical material ties back to the name of the work. As a parent, much of my life is centered around my children. I used their names to generate the rhythmic and pitch material for this piece. Not only do they bear a strong resemblance to my wife and I, but they also have adopted phrases, personality traits, and all sorts of other habits from us. They are our “mini-mes.”
Rex takes its inspiration from a few sources. The title is a reference to the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex, perhaps the most dominant predator that has ever walked on planet earth. My three year-old son loves dinosaurs, and regularly asks if we can walk around the house roaring like a T-Rex. With that in mind, I tried to combine the unrelenting energy of a toddler with the aggressive nature of the feared dinosaur to generate the overall aesthetic. While writing Rex, I wanted to create a piece that had a straight-ahead groove, and also incorporated some rudimental figures. Many students come from a strong rudimental background, and my hope is that this will provide a smooth transition to learning this piece. Rex is a five-part Rondo form, with the primary theme appearing at rehearsal letters A, C, and E, and also includes a short introduction and coda.