My dad is a very accomplished musician who has played piano all his life. He went on to fulfill his dream of owning a piano tuning and restoration business having contracts with the local school district, the city of Corpus Christi, Texas , etc. He also played in bands at local clubs, weddings, etc. as a second means of income for our family. He played rock when I was very young in a local band called “Stormy Weather” and a producer took interest in them and wanted them to play in a studio environment which was out of town for a long period of time. But, my dad and the other members could not leave work or their families without income to pursue it.
At the age of eight, my sister and I were placed in formal piano lessons. We learned to play , read music and also formally studied music theory. Eventually, we learned to play some very complex classical pieces from the likes of Chopin, Bach , etc. In my teen years, I had a desire to play electronic music which was growing in popularity. My parents would not accommodate or allow me to do so. I lost interest when I was 15 if memory servers me correctly. During the time that I was involved, I played very formal recitals at local museums, local concert halls, Del Mar college, etc. We participated in competition where we would learn a piece, then perform before judges and competed against students of other teachers. We also participated in competition on music theory; demonstrating how much we knew and were graded.
Fast forward from the age of 15 up to nine months ago. During that period, I did not even touch a musical instrument. By shear accident, I found an app for my Ipod called Nanostudio. A remarkable application that is literally a synthesizer, DAW, effects all in one small application. Very portable on an Ipod. With this, I started coming up with my own music. The desires of my teens rushed back to me to start playing music again. I never dreamed that I would actually make my own original music, but was surprised to find that I was doing just that. As good as Nanostudio was, I really liked playing an actual keyboard and my desire/dream from my teens was to play actual hardware synthesizers ; as soft synths were not yet in existence in my teens. So , over the last nine months, I have acquired two Roland JX-3P’s (one having the KIWI mod) and on PG-200. I also acquired a Roland Juno 60. All of these were suggested by a very good friend/acquaintance Marko Ettlich of the Retrosound project in Germany. I also bought a brand new Novation Ultranova which has been my work horse for my music production. And , from the knowledge of my dad, I knew Kurzweil was top of the line gear as he owns several Kurzweils . I bought a nice Kurwzweil K2000VP. Another close acquaintance from the U.K. suggested that I by some Korg ElecTribes. I now own a Korg EA-1 and ER-1 which is a drum machine synthesizer and a groove box synthesizer. I also own an Alesis SR-18 drum machine as well as an Akai Synthstation 25 mini keyboard for my Ipod and Nanostudio and a drum machine app called Funkbox.
The last nine months has been a huge learning endeavor into subtractive synthesis, proper mixing, proper use of effects, MIDI, etc. I have learned so much from some wonderful musicians on soundcloud. I have never had such a pleasant experience on the internet as I have with soundcloud. It’s a wonderful platform for musicians from all over the world to come together in fellowship and harmony.
So, that brings me to where I am at present. Still learning more every time I get behind the keys about my equipment and it’s capabilities. The Kurzweil in particular is a very deep and complex machine that incorporates just about every type of synthesis in existence. I am slowly learning my way around this machine and what it is capable of. I have a very strong foothold on subtractive synthesis now and really am having a lot of fun creating my own unique patches with the Novation Ultranova. A very powerful synthesizer given the cost. It’s so much fun when I create music now with my own patches. I also have been using the Korg EA-1 as an external sequencer for my synthesizers that lack this feature via MIDI. It’s been an invaluable tool to help me create loops.
So, to summarize, I have learned a great deal and I am still learning all the time. I have had some great coaching with some fine musicians on the cloud. In my opinion and in comments from others, I have improved a great deal in a short time. But, I always seek and strive to improve.
David Green (Green Divide) on Facebook