Yearly Review

This year has been one of growth, change and exploration. I finally got my website up and running (tadaa!), worked for new clients in new genres and lived in some lovely houses in new places. Here’s the review you’ve all been waiting for!

New clients

Late last year, I started doing some arrangements for a new startup music publisher, NiceChart. Their new system of publishing involves a complicated program that takes standard arrangements and makes them customisable to your ensemble. Any instrumentation and difficulty can be delivered instantly to your inbox. You can find three of my arrangements up on their website – After You’ve Gone, All By Myself and Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Another exciting new client was Helena May. She was putting together a vocal quartet performing pop tunes in different style for professional functions. I really enjoyed working with her to create some weird and wonderful versions of those tunes, and hope to see their success in the future.

House Sitting

On a personal front, I’ve been lucky to find a way to continue to work as a musician and not have to take jobs that I don’t really want to do, just to pay bills. And that way is house sitting! With my partner Fiona, we’ve been looking after a number of different houses through a website called  Trusted Housesitters. The whole premise is that we look after someone’s house, pets, etc. whilst they go on holiday. They don’t have to find a kennel for their pets, their house is secure and we don’t have to pay rent or bills. Perfect for the self employed digital nomad. The only downside is the uncertainty of knowing where we will be, the constant moving and the fact we don’t have a place of our own. But these houses have been beautiful, the pets amazing and I’ve really enjoyed seeing different parts of the country and meeting the locals. Here’s just a sample of what that’s looked like.

New Music

If you’ve got this far, congratulations! You get to find out the most exciting part of this year for me – new music.

Probably the highlight of the year was the performance by Maidstone Wind Symphony of Six Songs from “A Shropshire Lad”. Commissioned for their remembrance concert “A Time For Peace”, I really enjoyed taking a beautiful work and orchestrating it for a chamber wind ensemble. The delicacy involved really took me on a journey to explore how sensitive wind ensembles can be with this style of music.

I continued writing charts for Jenene Caramielo – a classical crossover artist with a beautiful voice. She is a cruise ship entertainer, very busy, and also very easy to work with.

One more avenue of writing I found was for Sheet Music Press. Their ArrangeMe program is perfect for artists like me who have a large collection of charts written over years that are arrangements, which cannot be sold without paying lots in copyright permission fees. I’ve had a few titles sell really well on their site, without not much promotion from myself. You can check out the full range of what I sell here: Michael Pilley Music. I’m also able to link to these titles through my shop.

There were many other single jobs, plus writing music for ensembles I play with such as Swing Punks, High & Mighty (function band) and SuperBone.


With the constant moving around due to house sitting, it has been a struggle to find a consistent band to play with. I also have far too many interests in different genres, so I haven’t settled on any one so far. Highlights have been:

  • Playing 1st trombone for a Black Dyke rehearsal
  • Performing with Salford University Brass Band
  • Playing with Cardiff M1 Band at the Blackpool contest
  • Playing with Swing Punks
  • 1 Month contract on the Queen Vic in the Queen’s Room
  • Function gigs with High & Mighty
  • Joining my first ska band, Filthy Militia
  • Conducting the Merton Concert Band (first conducting gig in years!)
  • Playing with King Brasstards, street brass band

There has been some real highlights this year, some struggles, and definitely lots of potential going forward into 2019. Here’s to a fine year, and stay tuned for exciting new prospects in the new year.

Posted in Life & Work.

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