Grade level: 4+

Duration: ~4'

Sandbox - Score

  • My sister Zoë and I are very close and always have been. I am her older brother by 3 years and 1 month (but I’m pretty sure that at one point when we were young, she was either as tall or taller than me). See; we share our mother, but we have different fathers of very different physiques, so it makes sense! It’s that, or I’ll just keep telling it to myself to make me feel better about my small frame ha ha! All jokes aside, my sister is one of the best people that I have in my life in terms of being able to connect with me on a musical level - she understands every rhythm, chord progression and janky melody I come up with and more importantly, she knows exactly where it comes from emotionally, especially as it relates to our childhood. This bond is something that I cherish greatly and I think the crux of this musical relationship we share was cultivated once her and I were given the game ‘Guitar Hero III’ for Christmas when I was in 3rd grade and Zoë was in Kindergarten. That game was my first-ever experience performing any kind of music...hers as well, despite her only being 5. My experience with ‘Guitar Hero’ was also the first time I realized how much I enjoy interfacing with instruments on a technical level and in general, how much I love making music in really any way that I am able to. I'm going to be honest; her and I were absolutely horrible at the game at first (c’mon, I was 8 and she was 5)...but after years and years of practice, she and I became pretty darn good. We have a semi-competitive musical rivalry that is so fun which is why I even mention it. When deciding on what kind of piece I wanted to write when I started ‘Sandbox’, I knew that I simply wanted to embody the childhood joy that I remember from the days when me and my sister were young and to just have fun writing. I ended up exploring the usage of meters that I was previously hesitant about composing with and found ways to use rhythm as an extremely integral part of the piece as a result. There are drastic dynamic and harmonic changes that I honestly think were inspired by some of the types of music I was playing on ‘Guitar Hero’ as a kid! So much of my compositional influence genuinely comes from the music I enjoy and have enjoyed listening to or playing. I don’t know if I am creative enough to conjure up a true ‘original-never-before-seen/heard idea’? We are creatures that reason primarily from analogy anyways! So in light of that idea, I decided to include melodic references to “When Johnny Comes Home” in this piece. This tune is also commonly known as “When the Ants Go Marching” and is how I associate with that melody. When me and my sister were little, we had a book that was about ants marching and that melody was how the story was told. It was really fun for me to read to/with her and that is why that is something that was perfect to include. That is actually what inspired the title - when we were in elementary school, our mom was a teacher at our school, so we were stuck there at the end of the day until the teachers went home. So sometimes we would play in the playground sandbox after school, the sandbox that was periodically infested with fire ants...

  • 2 Flutes

    2 Oboes

    2 Bassoons

    3 Bb Clarinets

    Bb Bass Clarinet

    2 Eb Alto Saxophones

    Bb Tenor Saxophone

    Eb Baritone Saxophone

    3 Bb Trumpets

    2 Horns in F

    3 Tenor Trombones

    Bass Trombone



    Double Bass

    Timpani (Low to high: F, A, C, E)


    Percussion 1: Xylophone, Crash Cymbals, Suspended Cymbal

    Percussion 2: Marimba 1, Crash Cymbals

    Percussion 3: Marimba 2, Tam-tam

    Percussion 4: Vibraphone, Tam-tam, Crash Cymbals

    Percussion 5: Tom-Toms (4 lines)

    Percussion 6: Maracas, Congas

    Percussion 7: Brake Drum, Snare Drum

    Percussion 8: Bass Drum, Maracas