You Are Good | I’ll Fight | Salvation Army Music Publishing

You Are Good | I’ll Fight | Salvation Army Music Publishing

I’m proud of my Salvation Army heritage, having gained valuable experience as a trombonist and arranger with the Melbourne Staff Band, Ringwood Corps Band and Preston Corps Band. I created a number of arrangements from my time with those bands and was lucky enough to work with Silvie Paladino, The Idea Of North, Phil Smith and other amazing artists. A couple of the arrangements made their way into the Salvation Army Australian Southern Territory’s  Music Publishing arm, and you can find the links below. Stay tuned for more of these arrangements as I update my site.

You Are Good

I’ll Fight

Just A Closer Walk Brass Band

Just A Closer Walk With Thee | Brass Band

Just A Closer Walk With Thee | Brass Band

The Creation

In 2006, I was part of the Melbourne Staff Band‘s tour of the USA & Canada, and was pleased to be asked to write a piece to commence the second half of their concert. Ken Waterworth, the conductor, wanted something that would bring the band onto the stage, and then have them leave to introduce our vocalist, Rebecca Raymond. I chose the spiritual Just A Closer Walk With Thee, and ended up using a 5 piece “dixieland” style ensemble to achieve this effect.

The Arrangement

It proved to be a popular piece, but because it was tailor made for that concert, no other bands played it…until now! I’ve rewritten the ending and brought the band back, so it is perfect for the band who would like to feature a small group in the middle of a piece.

The arrangement starts off with a lush, jazz harmony inspired chorale, and weaves its way through a slow swing section, into a brushes solo (a la “Cute”) and finally into the dixieland combo, who whirl and twirl through the tune until the full band comes back in with a big chorale ending. Scored for Salvation Army Festival band, this arrangement is geared towards 1st and 2nd section bands (UK) and features every section in the band at some stage. A great concert opener and feature tune.

The Video

Check out one of my first Youtube mockup videos!

The Red Planet | Brass Band | Cardiff UniBrass Winner 2014

Original Composition

Full of anger and angst, The Red Planet portrays the closest neighbour to Earth as a vicious, warlike planet.  Drawing on the vastness of space to create a never ending atmosphere, this march should be played with ferocity and purpose, as if Mars itself was compelling you to declare war on the universe.

Winner of the Cardiff UniBrass Composition Competition in 2014, The Red Planet is a march for full band at a 1st section difficulty. The piece can be underscored by the first track from NASA’s Symphonies of the Planets and features corrugaphones and thundersheets in the percussion section.

Luminosity | Trombone Ensemble | Original Composition

Slide Factory 2013 Composition Competition

I was incredibly lucky to be chosen as a finalist in the Slide Factory 2013 Composition Competition with my piece Luminosity. Attending the weekend, I was blown away by the New Trombone Collectives rendition of my piece.

Judged by Johan de Meij, Hans Koolmees, George Wiegel and the New Trombone Collective, I was unfortunately not the winner.  However, I had an amazing time rubbing shoulders with some of the great trombonists of our time in Ian Bousfield, Bill Watrous and many more. As part of making the final, my piece has been published by the New Trombone Collective.

You can buy the piece here


Written as an exploration into the brightness of the modern trombone, Luminosity takes the names of its movements from the brightest objects in the universe, the stars; and as an additional subtitle, aspects of luminosity.  Accompanying the two Alto Trombones and six Tenor Trombones are audio files created by scientists through asteroseismology; detecting the frequencies at which a star vibrates and artificially boosting those frequencies into human hearing range.

The work is written mostly in the upper register of both Alto and Tenor trombones and should encourage a bright tone from the players.

What is Music Engraving & Typesetting?

Before the digital age, music notation was either copied by hand or set using a musical notation typewriter. It was a time consuming affair, and was prone to mistakes. These days, most composers elect to use software such as Sibelius or Finale to engrave their music. The terms typesetting, engraving and copying are these days mostly interchangeable, and usually refer to tweaking an already existing file to make it “print ready”. I tend to refer to it as making the music “beautiful”, as the default settings in notation programs are typically flawed.

Music engraving is the art of drawing music notation at high quality for the purpose of mechanical reproduction. The term music copying is almost equivalent—though music engraving implies a higher degree of skill and quality, usually for publication. (Wikipedia)

We’ve all seen badly set notation, and it makes the music much harder to rehearse and perform. Basic notation principles are designed solely to make music more readable and when these are ignored, mistakes are most often made by the musicians. A good engraver also has the ability to find mistakes in the composition of the music, whether it’s dynamic consistency or small mistakes in the harmonies. Sometimes the role of editor is taken on by the engraver as well, so a good knowledge of musical theory and composition is essential.

Have you seen bad examples of engraving? Or perhaps you’re a composer who doesn’t have the time or nous to painstakingly check and set every part in an orchestration? An engraver could be the missing link in getting your piece performed and published.


Michael Pilley Music

Pilbot’s Revenge | Big Band | Original Composition

Pilbot’s Revenge is written for Big Band, with solo sections for trombone, saxes and trumpet. Each horn section is featured at times during the piece and there is an open improvisation section for the full band.

The theme is centred around a 9 note motive and is set over a diminished 7th chord progression. Starting off in a funk style, driven by the bass, the piece moves into a half-time feel featuring a wailing alto sax and saxophone section feature, moving into an energetic samba that descends into chaos, before a driving swing style finishes the piece off.

Originally composed for the Kool Skools album competition during my time at Blackburn High School, this piece was given new life and three more movements during a recording project by the Blackburn Big Band, made up of alumni of the HS.

The recording is from that session and features solos on trombone, alto sax, tenor sax and trumpet.

Music Engraving | Composing | Arranging | Transcribing


Having worked for most major music publishers, I have extensive experience in typesetting, including proof reading and editing. What most musicians don’t consider is how much work goes into setting a musical work to enable efficient sight reading, and making sure that the notation is consistent to provide the best chance for a beautiful performance. With experience setting in all genres, my scores and parts are clear and well balanced, so why not contact us to see how inexpensive getting your composition typeset is.


An award winning composer, I am available for commissions for all ensembles. With contemporary musical influences, my works stretch common musical boundaries and are entertaining for the performer and listener. Able to tailor any commission to your needs and instrumentation, why not contact us to see what I can write for you.


I can provide highly accurate transcriptions of any audio, for any ensemble. With decades of experience creating bespoke transcriptions for professional artists and music publishers, my work is accurate and quick. Past transcriptions I have done range from full brass band, big band, orchestral and popular music and are note for note accuracy guaranteed.


Whether a bespoke arrangement of your favourite tune, or an arrangement resembling your favourite track. For your specific ensemble, I can create this quickly and affordably. Clients range from British Open champions Tredegar Town Band, the Maidstone Wind Symphony and solo artists such as Hilary O’Neil and Justine Balmer, and I am able to deliver professional looking and sounding arrangements that fit your needs and instrumentation.