I Am Jon Brantingham
I am guy that just enjoys composing and teaching. I have always had a passion for music, even when I was a kid. But at some point in my adult life… around college, I started down another path that lead me away from music for about 10 years. Before we get into that, let’s go back… way back.
I was born in Southern California and lived there till I was 11. My musical career also started there, when I joined my school band and started playing trumpet, after being inspired by the Theme to Jurassic Park. I never did get to play the theme in the school band.
In 1996, my family moved to Durban, South Africa. It was a great experience. I joined the Kwa-zulu Natal Youth Wind Band and finally got a trumpet teacher (who was appalled that I couldn’t read music yet). I got better and better, and started branching out a little more on my own. This is when I wrote my first few compositions around the age of 12. They’re not great (I don’t think Mozart would be jealous), but at least it got me started. My Dad also taught me to play classical guitar.Below are the first three pieces I ever wrote, using a DOS program called IT Tracker. Be gentle, I was 12.
In 2000, we moved to Guildford, England, where I continued to compose and play. I taught myself piano, which really helped, and really got into jazz music. This was a major help for understanding harmony. My composing was getting better, but still needed a lot of work. This also started what I call my “precocious annoying child” phase. I thought I was better than I really was.
After high school in England, I was accepted into Furman University as a music major as well as ROTC cadet. I loved music. In particular, I loved theory and composition. But an issue arose between music and ROTC. At the time, ROTC was paying the bill for college, and was going to be my job after college, so to make a long story short, I switched to history as a major.
10 Years Later
The following 10 years after I started college, I learned to fly helicopters, went to Iraq for 15 months, got shot at, lived in 3 other states, learned to play the drums and saxophone, got married, had a kid, bought a house, got two dogs and a cat… but I hadn’t composed.
The Realization – “I Need to Compose Again”
Early in 2011, I had an urge to write a jazz tune, but instead of making an excuse, I just sat down and did it. And it was great. I loved the process and I loved the song. I posted it online, and others liked it as well. So I began thinking, “Maybe I need to do this more.”
Art of Composing
In August of 2011, I started artofcomposing.com in an attempt to push myself to compose more, and share what I was learning. It started humbly, a simple blog. But from there it grew, and more importantly, I composed… a lot. Since then, I’ve pushed myself far outside my comfort zone – leaving my job, moving to Los Angeles, and beginning my film scoring career. I’ve started getting some short films and making connections. Here is a short film I scored:
If you are interested in learning music composition, then join me on my journey at the Art of Composing Academy.