Kate Agioritis is an Australian composer, arranger and music educator. She primarily writes educational resources for use with her own students including various orchestral and band works, and her small ensemble arrangements have proven popular with student and adult performers worldwide.
Kate holds a Master of Music Education, as well as an AMusA in Saxophone and has most recently studied arranging through Berklee College of Music in Boston. She is currently the Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Whitsunday Anglican School in Queensland.
Kate is the top earner in Sheet Music Plus’ Digital Print Publishing, with over 400 titles uploaded and nearly $10,000 in royalties since joining in late 2012. In a recent interview with our very own Ryan Brown, she provides some helpful suggestions for composers and arrangers hoping to achieve success through self-publishing.
1. How long have you been arranging/composing?
Well it sounds corny, but in high school I used to arrange pop songs for my school concert band (by hand back then – no such luxury as music software!). I was quite into songwriting in my teens and at university I started arranging pieces for a sax quartet I performed in. When I started teaching I found it a struggle to find sheet music for the exact instrumentation and level I wanted, so I took to writing it myself and then went on to complete post graduate study in music technology and arranging to learn new skills to fuel my interest in writing. I find that writing pieces for my students not only enables me to cater for their needs and abilities, but also means I can motivate them by providing fun repertoire that they are capable of mastering and that sounds great when they perform it.
2. What inspired you to begin arranging/composing?
It was really my desire to play music that that wasn’t necessarily available (remember this was before the internet age – so sheet music was limited to what was available at the local music store). It seemed logical to write my own!
3. Who are some of your musical role models?
I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some great musicians all of whom have been role models in some way. My musical tastes are quite broad, although I am a huge fan of jazz, funk and soul. In terms of composing, I love a clever arrangement – I love the idea of taking something and reinventing it – so I have a great deal of respect for artists who can create a unique arrangement. My composer ‘idol’ would probably be Gordon Goodwin – he is a master jazz writer who clearly has an amazingly creative musical mind.
4. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Well, much of my repertoire is in a jazz style, and unsurprisingly, I have quite a number of arrangements of traditional tunes, as well as some original works. I write a lot for small ensembles, particularly saxophone quartet (as I play in one).
Obviously, it’s a great way for me to share my music with others, but from a consumer’s perspective, it’s just so great to be able to view a score sample, hear a recording, and instantly download a copy with the click of your mouse. No more waiting for hard copies to arrive in the mail!
As much as I would like to be able to write music for a living, it’s still fairly much a hobby (I’m a music teacher by day). Being able to share my music online and hearing from others who have enjoyed performing something I’ve written certainly motivates me to keep writing. It’s nice to be able to make a little extra pocket money from something you enjoy doing, too!
7. What do you feel has been the “secret” to your success with Digital Print Publishing? Any helpful hints for those just getting started?
I think including a recording with each score is a big one. It’s definitely something I look for when I’m shopping for sheet music online – being able to hear the work is far more useful than the score sample alone. Also, I think making sure your music is ‘playable’ for the intended instrumentation and notated correctly, etc. is also imperative.
8. What advice would you give to arrangers/composers looking to get their music out into the world?
Definitely give it a go! I started online publishing with the idea that I would ‘give it a go’ so that one day I wouldn’t look back and regret not doing it. There isn’t really anything to lose by giving it a try!
9. What are you working on now that may appear on Sheet Music Plus soon?
Actually, my husband and I recently welcomed our first child into the world (a daughter – Ashley) so motherhood hasn’t really left much time for writing at the moment! Consequently I have a number of half-finished works in the pipeline which may end up staying there for some time yet!
Shop Digital Print sheet music by Kate Agioritis here.