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Ben Tibbetts @BenTibbetts

32, Male

Pianist and composer

Massachusetts, USA

Joined on 9/27/09

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BenTibbetts's News

Posted by BenTibbetts - 12 days ago



Personal Life

As I mentioned in my last update, I'm moving to Austin, Texas in June. This past month was about preparing for that. I spent May 1-10 finishing up my caregiving for Donald (he's with our parents now and doing great). After that I drove to Austin and back, from May 15-25. I had a great time. I'll be driving down again on June 1 (tomorrow). I'm excited to move there, and especially excited to make music in person again.

Audio Store

I updated the audio store this month with some new music. My audio store is a collection of tracks for people who are producing media (videos, audio, and games). I'm trying to produce useful, high-quality audio that reflects my style and artistic preferences. I hope to add many more tracks over time. The new tracks this month were Caveman Cafe, Postcard Shuffle, and Water Mill.

Music in the audio store is free for listening. I've set up videos so you can follow the sheet music while the music plays. Just click the "play" icons on the website to see the sheet music.

If you're a content creator and you'd like to use this music in your work, you can subscribe to the website for unlimited access.

The Cutting Room Floor

I've increasingly noticed that my approach to composition generates much more material than necessary. Only a small percentage of my music actually makes it out of the studio. To change this, I've created a space for releasing unused sketches, scraps, and musical fragments that aren't completely fleshed out. I'm calling this page the "cutting room floor".

The material on this page occupies a weird in-between space; it doesn't really reflect my output professionally, but I think some people might enjoy it anyway. To start things off, I uploaded a couple short chiptunes. (A chiptune is a piece of video game music that evokes a classic or retro aesthetic. Imagine an arcade in the 80's or 90's, or a home console like the Atari 2600 or Super Nintendo.)

Subscribers

If you like what I'm doing and wish to support my work, you can subscribe to my website. Subscriptions enable me to create more original music and content. A subscription is $4 a month. Subscribers receive access to exclusive content like sheet music, the "Music and Ideas" podcast, and an unlimited license for music in the audio store.


To subscribe, you only have to sign up once, and then it's automatically billed every month. You can unsubscribe anytime. Subscriptions are safely and securely handled through PayPal, which is a large and reputable company. However, you do not need a PayPal account to subscribe. You just need an email address and a credit card. The process is similar to buying something off of Amazon, and I walk through it in this video: https://youtu.be/ekpnynYDqSw?t=552


Conclusion


I enjoy a support network that includes family, friends, students, collaborators, and supporters. That is a privilege I do not take for granted! Thank you for being part of that.


Take care, and see you next month. I'll wear a cowboy hat.


Ben

www.bentibbetts.net


Posted by BenTibbetts - April 30th, 2021


Hello, Newgrounds! I've started a mailing list to update people on my creative work, which is always posted on bentibbetts.net. If you'd like to join it, let me know and send me your email address. I plan on sending an update once a month. Here's the message I sent this afternoon. And here's a video version in case you'd prefer that format:



Personal Life


I'm preparing for a move I'll be making in early June, probably to Austin, Texas. It will be an adventure. Austin appears to be growing and it's a hub for live music. I like the idea of being around lots of other musicians. I've also never lived in a large city, which sounds fun and interesting. In mid-May I'll be taking a road trip down there to check it out.


Other than that, things are mostly the same. I'm still caregiving for my brother Donald up here in central Maine. He's doing great. He just celebrated his thirtieth birthday. We're having a good time. I'll conclude caregiving for him on May 10. That's when our parents come home from Florida and take over that work for the summer.


It's good that the COVID situation is changing. People are coming out and being in company again, which is heartwarming to see. It's also good news for me as a musician. I look forward to resuming in-person performances soon.


Subscribers


My website has a lot of free content, but it's also a place where you can support me if you wish.


If you enjoy my music and want to support me, please subscribe to my website. It is $4 a month. The transactions are handled securely through PayPal. In return you'll receive access to subscriber-only content, including the following:



If you subscribe, you'll also receive reduced rates on services such as lessons and piano accompaniment. Just contact me to negotiate the details.


Someday, I'd love to make a living from a subscription-style model like this, because it seems to offer both creative freedom and a direct connection to my audience.


"Child's Game"


This past month, I had a piece recorded by the tuba player Tyler Woodbury: Child's Game is for tuba and harpsichord, which is just about the weirdest combination I can think of.


Tyler was a student at UMass who I worked with for a number of years. He's a talented, disciplined musician. At one point a while back Tyler and I tried to record this piece in person. Unfortunately, that day the harpsichord was tuned to Baroque tuning. Putting that with a modern tuba, let's just say it sounded...bad.


Thankfully this new recording sounds wonderful. You can hear it for free and sheet music is available to subscribers.


Donald Plays "Minuet in G"


This month, I uploaded another video of Donald playing the piano. Donald was my first piano student, back in high school. Every so often he'll finish a piece and we'll record a video of it. Recently he learned an arrangement of Minuet in G by Beethoven. The video is about a minute and a half and it's available for download on the students page.


It's really good to see Donald still playing the piano. I'm proud of him; he works hard to learn these pieces.


New Items in the Audio Store


The Audio Store is for people who make media. If you make videos, games, etc. that need music, these items are available for license. Basically, if you're willing to subscribe regularly for $4 a month then you can do anything you want with this music. There's no limit or fine print on royalties or exclusivity, you can use the audio as many times as you want, and $4 gets you access to everything in the store. That includes stems (different versions of the tracks featuring certain instruments or components of the original). The only thing I ask is that you don't pass it off as your own work; please credit me as the composer.


I've uploaded two new items to the store. The first is called "Magical Breeze", and it's a fantasy-style piece featuring harp, strings, and flute. The other is called "Near Infinite Tenderness" and it's a very soft, gentle piano performance.


I wrote a few more tracks this month, but I'm holding off on releasing them for now. Sometimes it's useful to take a break after composing something. Getting space before listening again helps me be more objective. Occasionally I'll think something is great, then I'll listen again a week or two later and say, "What was I thinking? This is garbage..." Anyway, those tracks will probably be released in May (unless they're garbage).


Conclusion


It's amazing to reflect and feel grateful for the positive relationships in my life. Whether you're a friend, family, colleague, or acquaintance, thank you for your support and interest in my work. If there's something I can do to support you in return please feel free to ask.


I think the next time I write one of these it will be from the road! I'll probably be in a hotel room or something.


Take care and thanks for reading!


Ben


2

Posted by BenTibbetts - March 27th, 2021


Hello, Newgrounds! I've started a mailing list to update people on my creative work. If you'd like to join it, let me know and send me your email address. I plan on sending an update once a month. Here's the email I sent last night.




Hello! If you're reading this, then you are on my mailing list.


I'm using this list to update people on my latest creative work, which is always posted on www.bentibbetts.net. I plan to send one of these emails every month.


This first email will likely be the longest, since it attempts to cover a backlog of previously unreleased material. I personally hate reading long emails, so in case any of you are like me I've created a video version of this message which you can watch here:



If you'd prefer not to be on this mailing list, please reply and let me know. Thank you!


Personal Life


I currently live in rural Maine and work as a caregiver for my brother. I'm playing piano, making music, and having fun. I'll be here in Maine until mid-May. After that, I'll be moving someplace, possibly to Austin. I'm experiencing wanderlust, like many of us after being cooped up during the recent pandemic.


New Website


BenTibbetts.net is kind of a professional-and-personal website, rolled into one. I revamped it this month, and this email will cover some of the new content.


I've added a page outlining my professional services. Basically I do piano performance, working with sheet music, producing musical audio, and teaching private lessons. If you know someone for whom any of this would be useful, feel free to pass on my information. (Except no new students right now, since I'm probably moving soon.)


I've also added an archive which gathers most of my content in one place.


Montague Falls and Prayer in A Major


Montague Falls and Prayer in A Major were two short pieces I composed last year and released together. Prayer is for violin and piano, and Montague Falls is for solo piano.


Nocturne by Baize Liu


I recently recorded Baize Liu's Nocturne, which he kindly composed for me after I left UMass last year. I got to know Baize through weekly meetings at UMass with student composers, during sessions we called "Composers in a Classroom Getting Coffee". (The name was obviously inspired by Jerry Seinfeld's show, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", which I recommend.)


Orchard Covenant Church Preludes


From June 2019 to March 2020, I recorded most of the preludes I performed at Orchard Covenant Church. Those are now available on the website. These musical fantasies were improvised using material from the services.


Music and Ideas


Music and Ideas is a podcast I did last year. The idea was to talk about music and composers I liked and then perform improvisations based on them. The last episode, which is on The Godfather and Fortunella, is available for free. The other episodes are available to subscribers.


Subscriptions


I'm using a subscription-based model for access to some of the content on my website. A subscription is $4/month. If you sign up you get access to anything I put behind that paywall. Right now, that's the Music and Ideas podcast, sheet music for my compositions, free copies of anything I put in the store, and a series of "work logs" where I (informally) show my working process. Subscribers also receive reduced rates on services such as commissions and piano accompaniment.


I hope to build this library of subscriber-only content over time. Someday, it would be wonderful to be fully supported by these subscriptions. I think that would give me a lot of autonomy and creative freedom. I could compose and produce content full-time without answering to anybody except my audience.


UMass Recitals


I've posted most of the UMass student recitals I worked on from 2018 to 2020.


Four Seasons


There is a newly released collection of four saxophone sonatas which depict the four seasons. There's one for summer (baritone sax), autumn (tenor), winter (soprano), and spring (alto). They were beautifully recorded by Nick Suosso and Peter Da Silva. That was a large, very satisfying project and I'm grateful to Nick and Peter for their hard work on these pieces.


Smosh Mosh Animated Miniseries


I've been writing music for a new animated miniseries, Smosh Mosh. I have to issue a warning here that Smosh Mosh contains mature-/adult-themed material including sexual content and nudity.


I have loved working with its creator, Janina Putzker, who is a delightful and passionate collaborator. We've almost finished the music for the pilot episode, but we still meet regularly to discuss and tweak the music. She hired a singer recently to record some of the cues I wrote. At one point I even sang music for the show myself, so I actually have a vocal performance in this pilot episode...what a crazy, fun project! (Hey Jani, if you're reading this: you're awesome, and thank you for hiring me. <3)


Student Recordings


I've posted several new recordings of my students playing the piano. Recently my brother Donald's performed a few pieces. Donald was my first piano student back in high school.


Conclusion


If you got all the way down to this sentence...well, you made it! This is the end.


And in the end, the love you take is equal the love you make.


Thanks for reading.


Ben


3

Posted by BenTibbetts - October 14th, 2019


Hey Newgrounds! It's been a while and I'm very happy to check back in here, loving the creepy wall art by VonGrimsworth I'm seeing on the site right now. I have some time this morning so I thought I'd write a little about what I've been up to.


My professional life recently has been intense and mostly enjoyable. The last few years I've settled into a career of mostly piano accompaniment with the rest of the time spent on other music freelance work. I would say the time split overall has been around 70% / 30%, with 70% being piano accompaniment gigs, especially at UMass Amherst where I work as a staff accompanist for the music department.


I feel like I'm growing a lot as a musician, working with lots of players I admire and getting their feedback on my playing and writing. I'm sitting on a lot of recordings and original music that I need to sift through and share online at some point. The downsides have been that it's exhausting and not very lucrative, frankly. I'm supporting myself totally through my musical work, especially through playing the piano, but there is a lot of truth to the stereotype of the starving artist. At least there has been for me so far. I'm certainly not starving but looking ahead, I hope to boost both my income and my output, shifting more to projects that are close to my heart, without doing 100 hour work weeks or anything like that. That said, unlike a lot of freelancers I definitely wouldn't say I'm looking for more work. I have lots of musical work in my area, which I'm grateful for. I'm just looking to eventually shift the type of work a little bit, perhaps to more audio production (?). I'm really not sure, I'll just have to see how those things shake out as I move forward and collaborate with other people. I will say that for me the absolute best thing about making music is doing it with other people, feeling that energy, hearing how they think and going to creative places that I would never have thought of trying.


Anyway, those are some candid thoughts on my professional life at the moment--mostly very happy with how things are going and proud of the music I'm making with college students, ensembles and other collaborators. I haven't been uploading much at all to Newgrounds, though. Sorry about that! I did upload a couple of things since my blog post in late 2018, though. If you've followed my work here in the past, you should take a look at my latest audio to hear a podcast I did with my friend Mike Foster, a weird and not-very-successful experiment with Virtual Singer, and some video game music I had a lot of fun tinkering with. I'm especially proud of the podcast, which is about the split-brain syndrome.


Lots of thanks and appreciation as always to Newgrounds, to Tom Fulp for creating this weird and lovely place to share bizarre and beautiful things! I plan on continuing to support this site, and if you're a regular here and you have the means I would encourage you to support it too by going to newgrounds.com/supporter. I really don't think Newgrounds will ever be like YouTube or anything like that, but it's cool that it exists. Even if most of my own work is mainstream and SFW, I really appreciate some of the out-there things that have come from Newgrounds over the years. Like the Salad Fingers series, which I think is ingenious, or even that disturbing/surreal animation by Jaime-R that came out last month. There always need to be spaces where people can experiment and try things out and not worry too much about being disgusting or breaking taboos.


Best wishes to the Newgrounds community, I'll see you guys around. And feel free to reach out if you'd like to use my music in an animation or another project. My email is contact@bentibbetts.net and that's probably the best way to reach me these days.


6

Posted by BenTibbetts - November 20th, 2018


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Hello, Newgrounds! I hope you are well. Just wanted to pop in and post a recording I made of "Earth" by Takatsugu Muramatsu. This recording features flutist Emily Kaplan (and me, on piano). Also releasing a music video created for this track by Maruki, a talented pixel artist I noticed here on Newgrounds.

WATCH THE VIDEO

LISTEN (AUDIO ONLY)

Visit Maruki on Twitter and Patreon. Find Emily on Instgram and help Kickstart her current project, disemBODY. And as always, if you enjoy my work visit my website to see new releases and follow this account to be notified of new posts. Cheers!

Ben


2

Posted by BenTibbetts - August 29th, 2018


Hello, Newgroundsers! It's been a while. How are you? I haven't been regularly posting updates, but I do check this site somewhat frequently. As usual it's been great to see and hear beautiful work shared here. Since I just updated my profile picture, I felt I ought to pop in and write a little about what I've been doing these past few months.

As I wrote in my previous post, this appears to be a time in my life when I've had many opportunities to make live music. I've rediscovered a drive within me to play the piano and connect with musicians. It's been great, but definitely a detour from most of the things I do online (hence my silence on Newgrounds). The truth is I've felt for several years like there's been a disconnect between my different personal and professional interests. Making video game-y audio is a different vibe than playing Respighi, which is a different vibe from transcribing recordings, which is a different vibe from teaching lessons...I feel like my career is sort of a patchwork quilt. I don't know that there's much talk about there except to say that I enjoy doing all these things and find these activities fulfilling. I've discovered that I can get gigs playing the piano in ensembles and accompanying people, so that's what I'm spending most of my time doing these days. This summer I also spent a lot of time traveling and spending time with family and friends, which I'm grateful to be able to do.

Once the academic year starts up, I'll be doing a lot of work at UMass Amherst. As I've prepared for the fall semester and attempted to tie up various summer projects, I've had time to reflect on how things have come together for me and how I might like to spend my time in the future. My feeling is that the more autonomy I have in my professional life, the better. I want to be able to choose the work I take on and the pace at which I progress. Having the freedom to work hard on a project that might not be profitable is really valuable to me. I want to experiment and tackle creative projects that make me excited and curious, not just what people tell me to do because it pays the bills. That's the sort of thing I've been thinking about lately.

The most recent big project I've finished is a huge batch of audio and art content I just uploaded to www.bentibbetts.net. That includes an exclusive content section for subscribers to the site, which is my way of saying thank you to anyone generous enough to donate. I'm really proud of the content on my site; please go check it out if you like my work. I'll also be posting some of the best stuff to Newgrounds. And coming up, I'll be working on playing a lot more piano, editing some videos of myself playing with a talented flutist named Emily Kaplan, and creating another episode of the podcast (overdue!).

Thank you so much for checking in. Until next time :)

~Ben


1

Posted by BenTibbetts - March 14th, 2018


Hello, Newgrounders! This is a brief update on my recent activities.

It's been a very busy couple of months for me. I seem to be going through a phase in my career of playing the piano a lot. As a collaborative pianist at UMass Amherst and elsewhere, I've cobbled together a truly full-time schedule of practicing, rehearsing, and performing music. I am absolutely loving this, but one resultant downside has been that non-performance projects have been put on the backburner. That said, I do still have a few updates for you:

  • My website has been renovated and updated with some new content (much of which has been geared towards my students).
  • I conducted an interview with Malcolm "Bill" Rowell, a conductor and music educator, in which I picked his brain about his career, analyzing musical scores, and being an effective teacher. Bill is a treasure trove of information and insight so it was great to chat with him.
  • Since finishing the third episode of my podcast, I indulged recently in composing a short video game loop called Bandicootie, which I uploaded here to Newgrounds. This little track takes as its initial inspiration the music from the Crash Bandicoot playstation games, but it definitely has its own thing going on as well. I'm pleased with how it came out.

Upcoming projects include a bunch of new chiptunes, which are currently sitting mostly finished on my harddrive; an audio store and library containing hundreds of unreleased tracks, some of which will be free and some of which will be for sale; and a fourth episode of the podcast, this one taking as its subject the split-brain phenomenon.

Thank you as always for following this account! Until next time...

~Ben


1

Posted by BenTibbetts - December 31st, 2017


Happy New Year, Newgrounders!

My latest podcast, The War of Art, is now up on Newgrounds. Go check it out! This was a HUGE step up in ambitiousness from the previous two episodes; hopefully it was worth it. Please let me know what you think via the comments.

It's appropriate that this should be released on December 31st, the day before the New Year. Most New Year's resolutions fail--mine included--and this episode provides both a diagnosis and a solution for procrastinators like myself. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is about overcoming the internal resistance we all feel toward making good decisions. Spoiler alert: the answer, according to Pressfield, is discipline and professionalism. There are many talented people on this website and elsewhere who will find valuable insights and useful reminders in this book. If you're on this site right now because you're procrastinating, or you've put off pursuing your long-term creative goals for reasons that never quite felt right, this is the episode for you.

~Ben


Posted by BenTibbetts - December 3rd, 2017


Hello, Newgrounds!

I am experimenting with a podcast in which I talk about things that interest me. The first episode, Everything You Should Know About Sound, was released on November 18, and I just finished editing and releasing the second episode, A Thousand True Fans.

This episode deals with the question of how big an audience needs to be to support a content creator. In this podcast, I read Kevin Kelly's article, "A Thousand True Fans". Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine; you can read his original article here.

I'm still very new to this sort of thing and would welcome constructive feedback via comment, personal message, or email.

Thanks very much!

 

Best regards,

Ben

www.bentibbetts.net


Posted by BenTibbetts - November 18th, 2017


Hello, Newgrounds! How are you? Just a quick announcement regarding the podcast I launched yesterday:

The last few years, I've started listening to podcasts and audiobooks while driving and doing chores. This habit has been immensely enjoyable. Absorbing good books and discussions during my downtime has added a lot to my life.

I've always had a bit of a compulsion to make things like the things I enjoy. I read a great book and I immediately feel like writing; I watch a great movie and immediately feel like filming or photographing something; etc. So when I started listening to podcasts on a daily basis, it wasn't a surprise when I started feeling the itch to get out a microphone.

Yesterday, I had some rare free time and finally caved, spending a few lovely hours recording and editing the first episode of what I'm calling "The Ben Tibbetts Podcast". Not the most imaginative title, I know...

This first episode covers the physics of sound as explained in an article by TIm Urban (WaitButWhy.com).

Making this was incredibly fun for me, like indulging in a guilty pleasure. I plan on doing more of these and already have a long mental list of topics I'd love to cover. My idea at this point is to use each episode as an excuse to talk about subjects that interest me. Since my background is in music, I might explore topics through the lens of music and musicianship. Regardless, I would like to improve at doing this sort of thing and would really appreciate feedback.

As always, if you enjoy my work you can follow me to be notified when I post new content; finally, you can also check out my website for full access to dozens of interviews, articles, music, and more.

Thank you!

~Ben