VDL user spotlight: CHRIS THOMPSON

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

As Virtual Drumline has been a mainstay in the creative arsenal of composers and arrangers for over 15 years now, we’d like to shine a spotlight on some of the people who have done exceptional things with it. Today, we’re excited to feature Chris Thompson.

photo by Shervin Lainez

Originally from the San Francisco bay area, Chris Thompson is a New York City-based music composer, arranger, and percussionist. His music blends the high-energy sound world of modern drum & bugle corps with the experimentalism of contemporary classical and electronic music.

Chris’ work as a percussionist and arranger greatly influences his composition: for over a decade he has been a member of Alarm Will Sound and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), he recently toured internationally as a performer with Tyondai Braxton’s HIVE, and at age 15 he was one of the youngest-ever members of the Santa Clara Vanguard drumline.

Having performed, recorded, or arranged for artists and ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, ACME, Björk, Dirty Projectors, Medeski Martin & Wood, the Metropolitan Opera, Nico Muhly, Brian Reitzell, They Might Be Giants, and Valgeir Siggurðsson, Chris has participated in the world premieres of over a hundred new works and can be heard on 30 studio albums. For ten years he has performed in the pits of various Broadway shows, including Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera.

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All Virtual Drumline Demystified lessons available for free

Sunday, January 20th, 2019
The original VDL Demystified DVD. People used to watch stuff on these.

Over the years, our onscreen tutorial Virtual Drumline Demystified has helped countless VDL users on the road to mastering it within Finale and Sibelius. Another thing that has occurred over the years is that software has continued to evolve, making the onscreen examples in VDL Demystified appear a bit dated. VDL expert, and founder of Visaudio Designs, Bryan Harmsen, did a fantastic job in presenting these lessons in a friendly, progressive manner. Bryan is a good friend of ours and subjecting him to ongoing rounds of endless video shooting and editing to stay current with frequent OS and applications updates isn’t feasible.

As such, we’ve decided to take this product off the market and make it available for free. While the older versions of Sibelius, Finale, and Kontakt won’t look entirely current, the main theories will still apply. We’ve removed a couple lessons in which outdated methods of installing template files was no longer relevant and would create more confusion than assistance.

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Tapspace Newsletter – October 2018

Friday, October 5th, 2018

IN THIS ISSUE: New Solos: The First Steps in a New Direction (Michael Charles Smith), The Fairview Hymns (Holst & Vaughan Williams; arr. Brian Mueller), New Duets: My Beautiful Chaos (Thomas R. Marceau), New Ensembles: Aeolian Dreams (Chris Roode), Nzuri Mwana (Stuart P. O’Neil), Nimrod (Elgar; arr. Michael Charles Smith), Angels in the Moonlight (Brian Slawson), TRiBE (Chad Heiny), Sofapilla (Chuck Ricotta), A Work of Fiction (Tyler Nechamkin), Concertpiece for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble (Taylor; arr. Jason Baker), VDL Tip: Timing Suspended Cymbal Rolls in Finale.

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Tapspace Newsletter – June 2018

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

IN THIS ISSUE: New Ensembles: Schnabel (Robert Sanderl), Three Scenes from the Desert (Alex Stopa), New Solos: Danny Boy (Traditional; arr. Brian Mueller), Impromptu No. 3 (Schubert; arr. August Pappas), Tristesse (Chopin; arr. Benjamin Holmes), New Books: The Golden Age of Ragtime (Ralph Hicks & Eric Rath), Sequential Studies-Level 1 (Julia Gaines), Nine Minute Drill (Hicks/Rath), VDL Tips: Impose Sketch onto Template, Zero-G (Roger Carter).

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Festival Scores

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

With festival season upon us, we’re very excited about the ‘study score’ options on our website. It makes securing extra copies of scores quick, easy, stress-free, and (most importantly) legal!

Some of you may be familiar with the Festival Score 3-PACKS we used a few years ago. Well, it’s been improved! Rather than receiving a watermarked score that expires after your festival, we now offer the option to purchase two or three individual scores*, each at a significantly reduced price. You can use them for any number of reasons such as festivals, personal study, or rehearsals, and they can be used indefinitely.

Here’s how:

Search for your desired ensemble. Once you’ve navigated to the page of the product you wish to purchase, simply select how many scores you’d like from the Package Selection drop-down menu. If you only wish to purchase 2 or 3 copies of the score you do not have to change the Quantity, just keep it at 1. This will ensure you don’t get double or triple the amount of scores you require.









Once you’ve selected how many scores you’d like to purchase, add it to your cart and check out. It’s that simple! Once we’ve processed your order, we will ship them to you. No paperwork, no photocopying, and no need to destroy your festival scores!

It’s our sincerest hope that you find this process intuitive, easy, and a RELIEF. Best of luck at your festivals!


*Study scores are only available for ensembles (individual parts not included), and not for duets, solos, or book products.