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Topic: Why music?

  1. #1

    Why music?

    I get this question a lot from friends as I show off my latest works... why music? It\'s so time consuming, it\'s so expensive, you\'re not making ANY money with it...

    I agree, and yet, I can\'t stop, it\'s like I\'m addicted! A brief history if I may:

    I got my first keyboard when I turned fourteen. It was a CASIO from my parents for my birthday, I loved it, but could never picture myself being a keyboard player. So for birthday number fifteen came an electric guitar.

    I played Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails covers as these are my favorite rock bands (I actually started on the guitar because of RUSH though, I heard Tom Sawyer once and was \'hooked\') and ended up starting a rock/funk band with a neighborhood drummer (he actually lived under us in a duplex).

    About six months ago I saw Amedeus and was turned on to the orchestral \'beat\'. The scores were dark (which appealed to a formorly-depressed teenager) yet powerful and not draining to listen to as much of the new \"depressed\' rock music is now (that was actually one of the things that has drawn me to NIN so much is Trent\'s energy).

    So I started snooping around these orchestral forums, brushed up on some theory, ordered DIVA and GPO and, well, if my server crashing is any indication, you guys have all heard my first orchestral composition \"October\". For those that haven\'t, click here: http://www.alanjoseph.com/OktoberGPOex.mp3

    These new sounds (thank-you Mr. Garritan and Mr. Belardino) have widened my music creation to a much more (what I would call) elevated plain, and I\'m loving every second of it. As I said, I\'m addicted!

    So where and why did you guys start in what most believe to be the lonely art of making music? (especially when working with samples instead of live musicians...) I\'d love to hear what drives your inspiration, your passion and desire for this art form.

    Me? I\'m driven by others. Other\'s music, other\'s inspiration and the look on other\'s faces when they are moved by a piece I wrote.

    Okay, I\'m done, if you\'ve read it through all the way, thank you, and I can\'t wait to read your\'s!


  2. #2

    Re: Why music?

    Wow, you must be young.

    My mom got a piano for her anniversary when I was 5 or so. I started tinkering right away. They forced me into piano lessons which I despised (and now thoroughly regret despising). I took lessons for about a year or 2. My teacher hated me cause I never read the music, instead relied on my ear. After a couple months she gave up and just started teaching me basic composition. Just scales and triads. That\'s about it.

    When I was 11 I started on guitar, and wanted to be Jimi Hendrix. (this was \'84, I ain\'t no hippie). Around that time we also inherited a 1926 5 1/2 foot Steinway. The best piano I ever played. I was also given a Commodore 64 around that time, and I learned how to program songs into it. It had 3 voices, very high-tech!

    Took percussion in high school. Both my brothers were trumpet players and turned out to be drum majors so it was a family tradition to be in the band. I\'m probably more skilled in percussion as I learned that correctly.

    Got some keyboards when I was 21 and joined a band in Denver, CO (Cosmic Pond). We smoked weed and claimed we were in a new age because we just improvised everything. Stayed in that band for 7 ****ing years. Through-out those 7 years I was serious about music and spent a lot of time reading up on theory.

    Moved back to LA in 2000 (my sister was dating an engineer). He hired me on as his 2nd and I recorded albums for a couple of years with him. Really cool guy, he did most of Joni Mitchells stuff, did Elton John\'s album for that one Disney movie. I didn\'t learn much. Got sick of engineering and my brother wa working as a programmer for games. He made sound design sound cool so I made a demo and sent it out to all the game companies. Got hired at Artifact Entertainment. Eventually got them to listen to my music and now I\'m the composer as well as the sound designer. I\'ve been working with sample libraries for about a year now, and I\'m still reading up on theory.

    I do enjoy doing this for a living, but it\'s frustrating when you feel like there\'s so much to learn and you have to spend your time writing what other people want. I guess that\'s the best experience, but I\'d love to use these libraries and make something for me. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    EDIT: My biggest mistake was not getting good at sight reading. I can read, and if it\'s in Cmaj I ROCK!!! But the more comprehensive my writing gets the more I realize that it\'s 400 billion quazillion times easier writing stuff out!

    The most amazing thing about music is that it\'s an internalized, introspective creative process. The songs I\'ve written are me, and yet you can be on a stage and play those expressions and see that people are getting it, they understand what you\'re doing. It\'s a religous thing. It\'s connecting the internal with the external. That\'s where my love for it is anyway. The libraries just expand my expression [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Re: Why music?

    You said it all, man...I\'ve walked away several times in my life, but always came back with a new perspective.

    I don\'t know why it\'s such a part of me. I\'ve played since I was 5 or 6, even earned a few bucks here and there. I\'m getting on up in years, but it seems like music is even more important to me now than when I was young and had hair...there\'s always such room to grow. I\'ll never achieve what I want to achieve, yet finding a new chord, or putting together a little composition and arranging everything excites me like a child at Christmas.

    Sounds corny, but there is something magic about the whole thing...frustrating, time consuming, expensive...but magic.

  4. #4

    Re: Why music?

    Originally posted by His Frogness:
    Wow, you must be young.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Turned twenty a little while ago...

    Originally posted by His Frogness:
    I do enjoy doing this for a living, but it\'s frustrating when you feel like there\'s so much to learn and you have to spend your time writing what other people want. I guess that\'s the best experience, but I\'d love to use these libraries and make something for me. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I haven\'t really written for anyone else yet, not exactly anyway. I do this as a hobby, I don\'t think I would really be ready to handle working under someone else\'s expectations, I don\'t believe I know enough yet. But then again, if you\'re never doing anything but your own stuff, it makes it hard to grow outside of what and where you\'ve already been.

    Sounds like you\'ve had some fun though, and made a little money with it along the way, I guess that\'s the ultimate goal, to make a living doing what you love... now if only I could find someone to pay me for writting my own music. [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]


  5. #5

    Re: Why music?

    My humble little story,

    Started drum lessons in grade 2 because it was like being goalie in hockey. Lots of cool gear. Played in cover bands in western Canada for 7 years after high school. Actually backed up Motley Crue in Lloydminster Alberta just after there first album came out. A couple of years later they were playing the Pacific Coliseum and I was pumping gas (Such a fine line between stupid and genious!) Also sent out a bazillion demo tapes to record companies of my original songs that I recorded on a 4 track Portastudio playing all guitars drums and a rented minimoog - just to end up hanging the reject slips on my wall. (Cool Warner Bros Logo!) Elektra Asylum\'s A&R guy said send me some more, was going to produce my demo in Fleetwood Macs studio, and then he got fired. (Joey Averback if your out there, I have a killer demo!) Quit playing, kept writing. Got married had a child, stopped writing, got divorced, started writing, got remarried, had another child stopped writing, now back to writing. Along the way I turned my other hobby, 3d animation/multimedia, into my career, and now I mostly hate it. Although I do get to write music for my animations and videos which is the best part. Have enough money to buy the gear I used to drool over but have no time to play with it. Got commisioned to write a piece of music for a Cirque de Soliel performer. 1st time in my life I dreaded writing music. (Did I mention something about turning a hobby into a career? [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ) Somehow ended up in Atlanta, Georgia. Sold all my hardware bought a DAW, Cubase SL, Xphrase, FM Heaven, Atmosphere (this weekend!), and ordered Silver as well. Met all you fine people here at Northern Sounds [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] and will continue to write and submit \'til I make it. Whatever \"it\" is!

    Why music?

    If you have to ask...

    I thank you all for your thoughts and words of wisdom on this forum. Kinda sappy but it\'s a nice part of my day.

    All the best to you and yours and Happy Holidays,


    PS Alan, Awesome post!

  6. #6

    Re: Why music?

    This is a nice thread. I am enjoying learning more about everyone.

    A brief and probably boring bio on myself.

    My family:
    My father is a Jazz guitarist and vocalist and my mother has more knowledge about popular music then anyone I know.
    A strange match. My father taught me about Sinatra and classical music. My mother blasted Led Zeppelin and the Stones!

    Crazy huh?

    Anyway, I was surround by music growing up. From watching my fathers band rehearse to stealing my mothers Beatles albums, there was no escape.

    At 12 or so... my mother bought Moving Pictures (RUSH) for me. I played Tom Sawyer and I was hooked. (Funny huh, Al?)
    So I broke my fathers heart and said I wanted to play bass - not guitar. Hey gave me a 1979 Rickenbacker 4001.

    Moved into MIDI and Synths because Geddy did.
    Taught myself recording, computers, web design...
    Built and ran my own 24 track {2 inch tape} with SMPTE lock to ProTools studio for 5 years.
    Toured as a bassist with a band that toured along side of Eddie Money, Joan Jett, Marshall Tucker etc. 3 years

    Meet my wife on that tour [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Came off the road (whew!)

    Took a job as lead sound designer for an corporate audio post firm. 5 years.

    Started Bela D Media.

    Zzzzzzzz Hey! Wake up!!! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    What are your favorite things?


    RUSH and more RUSH - Go Geddy!
    Studying the American Civil War
    Touring Battlefields
    The Sopranos
    Favorite score composer? Randy Edelman.


  7. #7

    Re: Why music?

    I guess it\'s time for us to bare our souls, is it?

    I haven\'t been on this forum very long so I\'m relatively new (and relatively inexperienced with the entire forum etiquette thing). I\'m digging it.

    Like Alan, I just turned twenty, but that was eight years ago. My first touch of making music was in grade school with music class once a week or so (gee, like that would happen in today\'s climate...). Also sang some parts in some church musicals. Around 8 or 9 I started piano lessons with my mother & older sister. They eventually dropped out while I kept on going for a couple more years. I studied most of the classics--the \"hardest\" piece I ever played being Rachmaninoff\'s Prelude in C# Minor. (Oh, if I could only play the Rach 3...)

    Throughout this time I was dinking around on the piano during my \"practice\" sessions. Improvising, in a nutshell. Completely free of any limiting theory, and in my rose-colored hindsight terrible as all getout.

    Fast-forward to high school. Church choir, a cappella choir, and still piano lessons. I loved it all--especially the a cappella stuff. It was my first introduction to 100+ people singing together. Talk about a rush. Though it ain\'t nothing compared to 25-30,000 people, which I have done, but which is also another story entire. I wanted to do that--I wanted to conduct a choir. So...

    College. Start with music theory. I learned more than I thought that I would learn in two years. Specifically, what harmonic changes have worked over the years, why they have, what hasn\'t worked, why it might now, melody, form, etc. My piano improvisations got a lot better. Technique didn\'t. I sat at the piano one day and started improvising. Liked it a lot and tried to think of a text that might go with it: Libera Me. Aha! Improvise, no, maybe...no...what about?...yes! Write-write-write. Lather, rinse, repeat. Finished in a couple hours, threw it into Finale for manuscripting and clean up, presented to my choir director. Four weeks later it was performed at our spring concert.

    That was in 1995. I haven\'t looked back since.

    Why music? It\'s who I am. It\'s how I express myself. A hermit by nature, when I get to writing something magic happens. It\'s weird, and wonderful, and damned exciting--kinda like Native Instruments\' Reaktor 4, my most recent drool-enducing carrot.

    I have neither the experience, the time, or the fiscal resources of most people here--lately a month with $50 left after all the bills & food is a good one. What do I have? A love for the sport. A love for the journey of delving into ourselves and finding those little moments--of despair, agony, love, joy, warmth, sadness--and expressing those feelings to another human being by just moving some air around.

    \'Tis a funny business, no?

    (OK, it\'s Ostin. Pronounced the same, but spelled differently. I gotta be me, I guess... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] )

  8. #8

    Re: Why music?

    What a great thread. You sure you didn\'t start this topic Joanne? (No offence Alan) LOL. I\'ve really enjoyed everyone\'s story so far.

    Well here goes, I\'ll try and keep it brief;

    Come from a non-musical family. (My father is a working blue collar Bruce Springsteen minus the musical bones.)

    Started as a drummer in the 80\'s, toured around the country in a synth/pop band. (Hey Frank, Neal Peart is the reason I gave up drumming! He was too dam good and too dam frustrating to try and imitate.)

    - Stopped drumming, picked up guitar and became a singer/songwriter.

    - Nearly got a record deal, went through a few different big name managers.

    - Won songrwiter of the year. (here in Australia)

    - had some tunes played on the radio and one used in a tv commercial

    - left music, worked in multimedia and web development (big mistake).

    - joined army (BIGGER mistake) left army.

    - Late last year, went for walk and decided that there is only one thing that truly makes me happy and gives me peace within myself - making music.

    - this year, bought a truckload of gear and sample libraries.

    - next week: quit day job to make a go of being a full time composer. (Seriously!)

  9. #9

    Re: Why music?

    Why music?

    Here\'s my spiritual answer...

    The universe and you and I were created. Maybe by a being. Maybe from a force like the big bang. I have no idea how. I don\'t need to. Not my job.

    Let\'s call this creator \"God\". Make no other assumptions. Religious assumptions can cause wars. Let\'s define God as simply that which created everything.

    They say that man (and woman) was made in God\'s image.

    They ask \"why are we here\"?

    I\'ll tell you.

    To create.

    So maybe one chooses to build bridges. Or write software. Or to create happiness for those who are sad.

    We happen to choose to create music.

    What will you create today?

  10. #10

    Re: Why music?


    Too cool, man.

    Hey I forgot my older bro. Jerry. He is a studio drummer. He toured with a Rush tribute band. Need I say more?

    There is noone like Neil!

    Best of luck to you Scott. GO FOR IT!

    There is no greater feeling then doing what you are meant to do and make a living doing it.

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