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About Me

My name is John Mackin and I have been involved with music most of my life. I started playing the alto sax in fourth grade at my mom's encouragement. For over 50 years, I have played in various groups from combos to big bands. After retiring from science teaching in 2018, I decided to focus on composing and arranging music which is what most of this website is about. During COVID, I learned to play flute (and am still learning!) and I continue to play sax in The Philosophers (check the link above) and in the Southwestern Illinois College Big Band (under the direction of Dr. Tom Birkner!).

Why this website?

This website highlights the music I have written and arranged for small group instrumental, small group vocal, and big band. The scores and parts are readily available if you would like to try any tune. For the small group charts, the XML file is also available if you need to re-arrange the horns to match your group. Audio versions are available as mp3 for listening or downloading. If you have questions or would like me to re-arrange one of the tunes or arrange a new tune for your group, click Contact Me above and send an email. 

Creative Journey

Over a career spanning about 40 years, I expressed my creativity first through food product development and quality assurance problem solving and then through teaching chemistry and aerospace engineering at the high school level. (Teaching was way harder!)

In retirement, my need to create has led me to compose music for both small group and big band, to improvise music with the Philosophers, to try my hand at art, and to develop presentations and other media to share NASA missions past, present and future. This website highlights my 'need to create'.

The Process of Creation

Whether it is writing and arranging music, playing and improvising music, drawing art, or designing presentations, everything requires creativity. Sometimes it starts with a single idea or a waking moment. Sometimes it requires emerge, to ruminate, to refine (again). But, in the end, it is all problem solving......

“I apply the term ‘creativity’ broadly… it’s problem solving. We are all faced with problems, and we have to address them and think of something new, and that’s where creativity comes in.” – Edwin Catmull, American Computer Scientist

Playing Into Longevity

Jazand drugs were often connected leading to the loss of great creators. 

Now, it's more about healthy longevity with more time to create.

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