Composer • Arranger • Editor • Educator • Producer
I was born in 1953 and raised in Portland, Oregon. My mother likes to tell the story of how when I was four, I would sit down at the piano after my older brother had finished practicing his lesson and play his pieces by ear. I'm sure he just LOVED that! I began piano lessons at age five (thanks, mom and dad) with Mildred Nye to whom I can never really repay for her consummate musical guidance. In third grade I told my school music specialist, that “When I grow up I want to be a music teacher, just like you”, and was encouraged to spend my school years singing and accompanying choirs and playing violin in our school orchestras. My first experience with composing and arranging was for my high school orchestra. No doubt about it—music was in my bones, right from the very start.
After graduating in music education from the University of Oregon, I began teaching elementary school general music. At this time I began to write music for my students to perform. Three years later I took a leave of absence to complete a master of music degree program in England. It was while in college and in England that my love of choral music specifically, truly blossomed. There is nothing quite like the sound of a Renaissance motet beautifully sung in a cathedral. It is an experience much more than music—it speaks to the very soul. I was hooked on choral music and have never looked back.
While in England, I met composer, Joyce Eilers, who encouraged me to write more choral pieces for my students back home. Joyce was invaluable both as friend and mentor. She suggested I send my piece, “My Music” to a publisher. I remember our conversation—my asking “Are you kidding? Why on earth would they want to publish it? Her response, “What have you got to lose?” So, I submitted it to Studio PR Publications and to my surprise (shock, really) and delight it was published.
From England I returned home to find that I had been reassigned by the school district to teach middle school choral and general music, so for the next five years I taught and used my spare time to compose and arrange choral music both for my own students and for publication. It is absolutely true that our students are our greatest teachers, and to this day my music is crafted with my students' interests, abilities and education in mind. Composing eventually led to accepting a full time choral composing and editorial position with Columbia Pictures Publications* and thus, forego teaching.
Besides composing and arranging, my editorial responsibilities were to select and prepare choral materials, and produce demo recordings of them. Over the next ten years I spent hundreds of hours in recording studios in New York City, Spokane, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles learning the producer craft. My thanks to you, Mark, Michael, and Andy for sharing your considerable expertise and for your patience.
Several years later I switched to choral composing and arranging full time with Hal Leonard Corporation where I continue to this day. I also enjoy doing part time editorial work with the Discovery catalog at Hal Leonard as well. I am truly grateful for the creative, supportive colleagues with whom I am honored to work each day.
For over thirty years (can it be that long?) I have had the privilege to regularly appear as lecturer and clinician at choral workshops throughout the US and Canada. I have met many wonderful, caring and dedicated music educators at these venues and know that to their credit, music is very much alive and well in their classrooms.
I am ever grateful that I have had the privilege to do each day what I love best.
*Columbia Pictures Publications acquired Belwin Mills and became CPP/Belwin, then later purchased by Alfred Publications. If you are interested in reviewing or purchasing Audrey Snyder chorals published prior to 1994, go to: http://www.alfred.com/Browse/Formats/ChoralOctavo.aspx