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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I came to an astonishing realization yesterday. Something that could very possibly strengthen the notion that I was and always have been destined to write music. It happened when my mother and step-dad visited Rich O's in New Albany after a really nice ceremony honoring the new Pinnacle Honor Society members. The PHS is an organization that honors non-traditional students such as myself for academic success and continued contributions for the school. After the past couple of weeks that I have had, it was very nice to have an evening of rest and relaxation. And of course, having a drink at Rich O's following the event was an added bonus.

So I got to talking about an article I had read several days ago about a school out in California that was using music to teach math. Of course, as someone who is an advocate for music in schools, I was overwhelmed with joy that this was going on. When I explained this to my mom, her response was that it made perfect sense because I had always been good at math and she believed that helped me with my music. My succeeding thought was 'oh, lord. Another MOM story about how great her kids were' Then she went on to support her claim by reminding me of my basic programming skills at the age of 5. Being able to retain code values and enter them onto a computer to make elementary age 5. That's when it hit me. For some reason, I had blocked a key memory out of my mind and it hadn't been an image in my eyes until yesterday. One of the many lines of code that I learned how to do was input musical note values (based on their letter name) into basic programming and then running the program so the tune would play back.

The code went something like this if I recall....

         10 PLAY "CEDD-DF#..."

Or here is an example of what the screen for basic programming looks like, though I couldn't find an example of the play command.


Though when I was doing this, there was no window or box. It was all purely on the screen.

I'm not sure the exact age I was when I learned to do this, but it would have had to have been around the age of 10 or 11, when I was taking piano lessons. But when asked how long I've been composing music, I had always dated the beginning to the age of 16, as a sophomore in high school. When in truth, I have been writing music a lot longer than that. And I spent hours upon hours writing different tunes with that coding. Had a blast doing it. Of course, it was only a PC Jr (ca. 1980), so the sounds that came out were monotonically computerized. 

My mom continued to tell me stories of how fascinated I was in elementary school every time a musical instrument was introduced to me. She said I would talk for hours about hearing Mr. Cornish demonstrate the different brass instruments at our school assembly. When I took Piano lessons, I was picking it up faster than most of the kids my teacher had taught - particularly the theory aspect (learning the notes). Even before I started writing music down on paper, I was always creating my own tunes. Using my ears to play things that I loved to hear. I never really appreciated it as much, but there was no question in my mind - I have always been in love with music.

It's been 20 years. Two thirds of my life, and I here I am today. Writing a symphony for a live orchestra. It's amazing to think of how far I have evolved from being able to write a single line of notes to organizing and constructing thousands of them together across a wide palette of musical instruments. But even after 20 years, I still enjoy it the same I did the first day I knew was a C was. That's what separates having an interest in something and being undoubtedly passionate about it.

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