WILL TAYLOR ON ARRANGING: “As I sit down to write the arrangements I ask myself, ‘What can I bring
to their music? What will actually work?’ With a goal of preserving the original authenticity (staying true
to the artist and the song) I listen to the song in its purest form, sketch out new instrumental
accompaniment which might include new counter melodies and harmonies, and then allow plenty of
space for the players to expand it even further. Similar to the way Duke Ellington arranged for his bands,
I formulate ideas using the intuition that comes from closely knowing the players’ strengths and personal
voice. Going beyond the sheet music, I’ll also direct the mood and whimsy of how it should be played
(expressively) so that the listener feels something. In the end, I want the music itself, not just the novelty
of a re-envisioned composition, to excite the audience - a goal I adopted while a classical music student.
My teacher (Ed Lawrence) said to me, ‘Play so that every note moves the soul of your listener.’ I thought,
‘What a calling.’”
How It all started:
1979. It was an “introduce kids to music” day filled with interactivities at Austin’s Maplewood Elementary
School for the young, impressionable music-loving 6th-Grader, Will Taylor, who that day epiphonized
his desire for playing a forgotten instrument -- something obscure and underpopularized. So while browsing showcases from classroom to classroom, he asked the instructors, “What is the instrument that nobody
wants to play?” First being told “trombone,” Taylor gave it a thought or two but couldn’t really see himself liking it.
He kept browsing. As he was walking past the strings room, the sound-- like a Siren’s song-- drew him into the room.
As he sat mesmerized, he asked the instructors what they thought the most forgotten instrument was. They said
“viola.” (Deeper than a violin, but ranging higher than a cello, the viola bridges the gap between the two). So viola
it was.[And it’s no wonder that Will Taylor would one day start his own type of ‘introduce-kids-to-music’ showcases for
elementary school children called “American Roots.” More on that here: http://www.stringsattached.org/bios.php]