Music Part 5: My Contributions

I’ve made music on my own in addition to listening to the work of others.  In fact, I love music so much, I was planning on majoring in music at BYU.  This plan fell apart when I realized I was headed for four years of music theory, conducting, history, and practicing of an instrument.  I’ve since switched to animation (which is going well so far; BYU is actually noted for its excellent animation program) which seemed to be a bit more fun and much more likely to get me a job.  Instead I’m planning on taking a few music classes in addition to my major, minor, and general education requirements which will cover songwriting, drums, guitar, recording technology, and probably some theory.  I’ll talk more about college in another post, however, as this one is devoted to music.

As a kid (especially as a Mormon kid), I took piano lessons starting in 1999.  I have since developed a reasonable skill in playing piano, and while I no longer take formal lessons (not for about 3 years or so) I still practice by playing hymns out of the LDS hymnbook and by improvising.  Improv is quite fun, as a competent improv player can supply all the interesting, emotional sound of a finished piece with none of the practice.  I still practice written music so I can steal techniques other artists, but I think I can hold my own rather well with my current music level.  In fact, in a few weeks I plan on performing in a ward talent show without practicing what I’m going to play beforehand at all.  I find that if I am emotionally overwhelmed (positively or negatively) it is much easier to find creative things to play.  I live in a college dorm now, but because it’s at BYU there is a piano in the basement that is usually free for me to use.  If you live nearby and hear someone playing music that sounds like improv downstairs, it’s probably me.

Besides piano, I’ve tried my hand at recording music as well.  At first I tried to get together with some of my musical friends back home in Newbury Park.  We had a few jam sessions before I realized that 1) my leadership capabilities weren’t nearly developed enough to handle directing a band and 2) we had no idea what our end goal was concerning music.  One of my friends got together with some of his family and started Baldwin Games.  It looks like they’re doing rather well.  On my own I released music under the pseudonym Light Matter before changing it to Creator.  Essentially everything I have was recorded using the built in mic on my MacBook Pro and a PSR-E413 MIDI keyboard.  I’m not sure if my voice sounds different now; since I recorded “Galaxies” I have had my tonsils taken out.  I’m also not quite sure that song was in my vocal range when I wrote it, and I still feel embarrassed sometimes when I listen to it.  Maybe I’ll record over it later.

Before my mission I’m planning on releasing whatever music I make for free.  I don’t want to try to manage money earned over my mission or anything like that, so you can download my music if you like it.  I’m not sure how much time I’ll have after my mission to make music, what with college and getting married and all, but if I ever develop something reasonable I might try to squeeze some money out of it.

I really hope I can make some good music simply because I want to give back to the world.  Sure I pay artists (and Apple) when I buy music through iTunes, but I want to return something less replaceable than money.  I want to add to the world’s repertoire of creative expression through sound.  I have in a small way already, but I want to take it further.  Maybe someday I will.  Even if it is after my kids have left the home and I have retired – I’m pretty confident I will always enjoy music.

–Brandon

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