Directory

Kenneth McGuire

Kenneth McGuire

Associate Professor of Music Education

Education

  • Ph.D., Syracuse University
  • M.M., Binghamton University
  • B.M., State University of New York at Fredonia

About


Kenneth Michael McGuire is Associate Professor in the School of Music at the University of Alabama where he teaches courses in songwriting, piano/keyboard improvisation, and Musicians’ Collective, which offers all instrumentalists and vocalists collaborative experiences in improvisation, composition, and performance through chamber groupings.

He earned degrees from Syracuse University, and the State Universities of New York at Fredonia and Binghamton. Prior to his appointment at Alabama, McGuire taught music in New York public schools and worked extensively as a songwriter, arranger, performer, and producer of audio recordings and music videos.

McGuire’s composition and performing interests are diverse and his efforts include both solo and collaborative productions. Items from his catalog are published by Cabin 5 and are distributed by Livingston Records (Listen to some samples below). His teaching approach encourages students to examine their preferences and craft personal, original art.

Dr. McGuire’s other scholarly activities include numerous research presentations, workshops, articles, and conferences on music education. His articles are published in Journal of Research in Music Education, Journal of Music Therapy, International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning, Southeastern Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, and Teaching Music. He has served the National Association for Music Education, Alabama Music Educators Association, Alabama State Education Department, and locally situated arts and arts advocacy groups in multiple leadership roles.

Lyrical Inspiration

“If You Want It” is about how vision, risk, hope, goal-setting and perseverance can lead to success. Some might see it as an expression of striving toward the “unalienable rights” mentioned in the United States Declaration of Independence: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Musical Influences

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Billy Joel
  • Phil Collins
  • Genesis

Personnel

  • Kenneth Michael McGuire – songwriter, arranger, producer, lead vocal, keyboards
  • David Weaver – Guitars
  • Brett Holton – Bass
  • Randy Doer – Drums
  • Beth McGuire – Harmony vocal
  • Binghamton Crew – trumpet, alto & tenor sax, trombone

Recording Technology

Recorded on 2” reel-to-reel tape. Mastered on digital tape. Copied to cassette tape. Transferred to mp3.

Lyrical Inspiration

For some people, New Year’s Eve often is associated with measuring or evaluating the significance of a year gone by: People reflect on whether or not they used time wisely, enjoyably, lovingly, etc. Other people, however, experience different annual events that affect similar introspection. During most of my formative years, my family spent one week every summer camping in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. It was an experience that provided me an opportunity to slow down and ruminate and it functioned as a sort of guidepost or measuring stick in my life. “Minerva Lake” is homage to that important place and time.

Musical Influences

For me, the music of The Allman Brothers and Bruce Hornsby are associated with “open-air,” “outdoor” life. The influence of both artists can be heard in this song.

Personnel

  • Kenneth Michael McGuire – songwriter, arranger, producer, lead & harmony vocals, piano, keyboards
  • David Weaver – Guitars
  • Brett Holton – Bass
  • Randy Doer – Drums

Recording Technology

Recorded on 2” reel-to-reel tape. Mastered on digital tape. Copied to cassette tape. Transferred to mp3.

Cover art

Original oil painting by LaRochelle.

Lyrical Inspiration

“When I Was Young” contains imagery and thoughts about eras and experiences gone by.

Musical Influences

The vocal melody and instrumental motive are reminiscent of 60s folk music; however, the arrangement is flavored with pop and rock elements from that era as well.

Personnel

  • Kenneth Michael McGuire – songwriter, arranger, producer, lead vocal, piano, keyboards
  • David Weaver – Guitars
  • Brett Holton – Bass
  • Randy Doer – Drums
  • Beth McGuire – Harmony vocal
  • Binghamton Crew – trumpet, alto & tenor sax, trombone

Recording Technology

Recorded on 2” reel-to-reel tape. Mastered on digital tape. Copied to cassette tape. Transferred to mp3.

 

Musical/Keyboard Techniques

  • Improvised melodic & harmonic variations on a one-phrase theme while maintaining form continuity.
  • Improvised 3-layered approach: melody (upper voice), harmony (middle-voice), and bass. At various times, a counter melody occurs in the middle-voice, a descant occurs in the upper voice, and simultaneous improvised contrapuntal melodies occur between upper, middle, and bass voices (i.e., independent two-hand improvisation).
  • Organ-fingering technique employs sustained notes without the aid of a sustain pedal.
  • Implementation of resolved and unresolved suspensions and anticipations.
  • Use of Acciaccaturas, Glissando and Slides or Glides.
  • Motifs generate improvised melody.
  • Implementation of Modal Interchange.
  • Maintaining cadential principles for pitch selection to conclude phrases.
  • Rhythm syncopation applied in selected voices while simultaneous voices utilize non-syncopated rhythms.
  • Shorter rhythms create movement without speeding up tempo.
  • Hammond B-3 timbre reflects simmering anxiousness articulated in the song’s lyrics while harmonic and melodic choices emulate long term optimism (prosody).

Recording Technology & Technique

  • Recorded in Logic Digital Audio Workstation using an organ timbre (without bass pedals).
  • Performed in one pass using two hands (no overdubs).
  • Transferred to mp3.

Musical/Keyboard Techniques

  • Improvised 3-layered approach: melody (upper voice), harmony (middle-voice), and bass. Middle and bass voices provide alternating rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment for the upper voice.
  • Improvised contrapuntal technique applied to upper and bass voices.
  • Dynamic emphasis of targeted notes in chords and melody.
  • Rhythm syncopation applied in selected voices while simultaneous voices utilize non-syncopated rhythms.
  • Improvised grace notes, acciaccaturas, and glissando
  • Reharmonization
  • Altered Bebop Scale
  • Keyboard timbre chosen as prosody for the song’s lyrics.

Recording Technology & Technique

  • Recorded in Logic Digital Audio Workstation using an electric piano timbre.
  • Performed in one pass using two hands (no overdubs or foot pedals).
  • Transferred to mp3.

Musical/Keyboard Techniques

  • Chord rolls
  • Modal improvisation
  • Rhythmic displacement while maintaining rhythmic continuity
  • Reharmonization
  • Improvised chord extensions and inversions
  • Open (spread) and closed voicing
  • Motifs used to create periods (antecedents and consequents)
  • Dynamics and rhythm tailored to emphasize specific notes within chords
  • Timbre, harmony, melody, and rubato intone Hughes’s poetry (prosody)

Recording Technology & Technique

  • Recorded in Logic Digital Audio Workstation using an electric piano timbre.
  • Performed in one pass using two hands (no overdubs or foot pedals).
  • Transferred to mp3.