Ready to Fly represents a parallel between young birds and young developing musicians. Just as fledglings learn to use their voices to make the beautiful bird sounds we all know and love, young musicians develop a familiarity with the language of music and learn to communicate and inspire through sound. 

The melodies in this piece were inspired by real bird calls: the charming and easily-recognizable two-note call of the black-capped chickadee, and the musical fanfare-like three-note call of the red-winged blackbird. I was also inspired by songbirds in the construction of the piece, using layering and call & response sections to imitate antiphonal bird calls.

In working on this project, I felt strongly about creating a piece that contributes to both the musical and social-emotional growth of students at this level. My hope is that this piece will empower students of all levels to feel “ready to fly” in their musical and personal pursuits. 

This piece was commissioned by Tammy Wahlin for the Robbinsdale Area Schools, with support from the Seven Dreams Education Foundation. This project was made possible thanks to the generous support of Marlene Johnson, who has asked to dedicate this piece in memory of her brother, Arnold Johnson, who was a lover of birds. Marlene and Arnold are both graduates of Robbinsdale high schools.

One dollar from every purchase of this piece will be donated to Birds Canada.
[Cover image by Cait Nishimura; red-winged blackbird at an Ontario park]