FURSCA Feature: Sarah McDaniel, '16

Sarah McDaniel, '16, working on her musical arrangement with Prof. James Ball.
Sarah McDaniel, '16, working on her musical arrangement with Prof. James Ball.


Your Major:

Music and anthropology/sociology.

Your Adviser:

James Ball

Briefly explain your FURSCA project.

For my project, I am arranging jazz music for small ensembles. I'm taking already existing tunes (for example, "At the End of the Day" from Les Misérables) and I'm creating new versions of them, kind of like covering a song. In order to do this, I've been reading extensively about arranging and listening to music analytically. I use the music notation software Finale to create scores and parts for my arrangements).

What have you learned so far in doing your research?

I've learned a lot about harmony, melody, form and various other essential aspects of music that are involved in the arranging process. I've really deepened my understanding and appreciation of jazz and music theory as well.

Why did you pick this particular project?

I've always wanted to try arranging as a way of utilizing my music theory knowledge in a different and more intensive way than I have before. This project gives me the perfect chance to really delve into arranging as a form of creative musical expression.

How will this FURSCA project help you after Albion?

My project is helping me to become a better, more experienced and versatile musician, which will help me greatly after Albion. It's also helping me to further develop my self-discipline and creativity, which will help me throughout my life.

What's next for your project?

In the last weeks of FURSCA, I'm finishing up my last few arrangements. Hopefully, in the upcoming year(s), the Albion College Jazz Ensemble will find an opportunity to play some of my arrangements.