Seven 9s and 10s

joshualapierre:



ENO



Oh man. Eno playing an EMS VCS3.
That synthesizer single handedly steered me away from music education and into composition and performance. My alma mater has (had?) one in their music studio and, as the only student at the college who had any interest in taking Intro to Electronic Music, I was given free reign to play with it and all the other great vintage gear in the studio (tape machines, Yamaha DX7 IIFD, some primitive orchestral sampler MIDI box… all kinds of great inspiring stuff). All that gear, combined with the realization that I just didn’t feel comfortable standing in front of a classroom full of kids, led me to give up on music education (though I still earned the degree).
I would spend, quite literally, all night locked alone in that studio playing with the VCS3. That joystick was badass and the routing matrix was a much better solution to patching than the cables typical of other modular synths, and the Ring Modulator was brilliant.
I still miss cranking the volume up, manually syncing those three oscillators, patching them into the filter, and slowly sweeping through its frequency range. I swear the whole music building would vibrate.
"Sccchhhhweeeeeoooooooooooouuuuuuuhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm"
That tactile control of synthesis - the feeling of the knobs and dials and switches in your fingers - is something I’ll never forget. Just looking at this gif I can still remember how smoothly those 30 year old pots turned, with just the right amount of pressure and resistance so that you actually had to put some effort into the action. Goddamn. I need to contact them and see if they still own it.

joshualapierre:

ENO

Oh man. Eno playing an EMS VCS3.

That synthesizer single handedly steered me away from music education and into composition and performance. My alma mater has (had?) one in their music studio and, as the only student at the college who had any interest in taking Intro to Electronic Music, I was given free reign to play with it and all the other great vintage gear in the studio (tape machines, Yamaha DX7 IIFD, some primitive orchestral sampler MIDI box… all kinds of great inspiring stuff). All that gear, combined with the realization that I just didn’t feel comfortable standing in front of a classroom full of kids, led me to give up on music education (though I still earned the degree).

I would spend, quite literally, all night locked alone in that studio playing with the VCS3. That joystick was badass and the routing matrix was a much better solution to patching than the cables typical of other modular synths, and the Ring Modulator was brilliant.

I still miss cranking the volume up, manually syncing those three oscillators, patching them into the filter, and slowly sweeping through its frequency range. I swear the whole music building would vibrate.

"Sccchhhhweeeeeoooooooooooouuuuuuuhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm"

That tactile control of synthesis - the feeling of the knobs and dials and switches in your fingers - is something I’ll never forget. Just looking at this gif I can still remember how smoothly those 30 year old pots turned, with just the right amount of pressure and resistance so that you actually had to put some effort into the action. Goddamn. I need to contact them and see if they still own it.

(via recordarchive)

John Cage - 4:33 from steelopus on Vimeo.

April 21, 2001
Senior Recital
Nazareth College, Rochester, NY

steelopus:

We’ve just passed the 10 year anniversary of my senior recital for my bachelors degree in K-12 Music Education.

10 years ago I performed John Cage’s 4’33” on stage in front of my family, friends, peers, and professors. 9 out of 10 of them had no idea what the hell was happening. I’m still proud of this performance.

A few thoughts:

  • My favorite thing about this video is the quiet little voice of my then-3 year old niece. “What is he doing?” It was the only moment where I lost my composure and let out a smile.
  • I wish someone who cared about me back then would’ve told me to cut my hair. I had long hair for a long time. Too long for too long. This was my poofy-curls stage. Also, terrible glasses. Also, fully buttoned-up shirt with no tie?!
  • Muted trumpet for the 2nd Movement = The  best idea I’ve ever had.
  • [Tacet]

Today would’ve been John Cage’s 100th birthday. Happy Birthday, JC.

Did you go to school to study music?

Asked by claviusrobinsky

Yes, I did indeed go to school to study music; In 2001 I received my Bachelors of Music in K-12 Education.

I regret choosing Education as my major. The way education degrees are structured is bullshit, but it’s necessary. Generally you don’t get to do your full student teaching placements until your senior year, mostly because you really don’t have the knowledge of how to manage a classroom before that point. Unfortunately, by then it’s far too late to realize you don’t actually enjoy teaching… so you’re stuck with that degree unless you want to waste another few years pursuing something different.

If I could go back and do it again I’d look into either Music Performance or Music Business. Better yet: I’d skip college completely, buy a van, and hit the road with a band that was intent on playing no fewer than 25 cities per month. It would be far cheaper and endlessly more rewarding.

Track:
Only in dreams

Artist:
weezer

Album:
steelopus

weezer - Only in dreams (steelopus version) - arranged for Mallet Percussion Ensemble

It’s been a while since I’ve reposted this…

I arranged this 8 years ago, just as I was finishing up my undergrad Music Education degree.  It is essentially a note-for-note transcription of this classic song.  I was a trumpet major and a percussion minor and I dated a talented marimba player for a while.  Her talents were what originally inspired me to explore mallet arrangement.

My experience with percussion, under the direction of the fantastic Dr. Kristin Shiner McGuire, introduced me to many a varried new technique, including my favorite which was bowed vibraphone.  When you bow the bars of a vibe, they emit a pure pitch that fades in and out (youtube example).  The first time I heard the technique, I immediately thought it sounded a lot like electric guitar feedback, and decided I would find a way to use it in that sense.  That spawned this project.

Unfortunately this recording is just a somewhat unfortunate MIDI version, but it gets the point across.

For years I’ve wanted to set up a live performance. Last week I saw the Eastman Percussion Ensemble perform and ever since I have been inspired and reinvigorated to make it happen.

Please let me know what you think!

John Cage - 4:33 from steelopus on Vimeo.

April 21, 2001
Senior Recital
Nazareth College, Rochester, NY

We’ve just passed the 10 year anniversary of my senior recital for my bachelors degree in K-12 Music Education.

10 years ago I performed John Cage’s 4’33” on stage in front of my family, friends, peers, and professors. 9 out of 10 of them had no idea what the hell was happening. I’m still proud of this performance.

A few thoughts:

  • My favorite thing about this video is the quiet little voice of my then-3 year old niece. “What is he doing?” It was the only moment where I lost my composure and let out a smile.
  • I wish someone who cared about me back then would’ve told me to cut my hair. I had long hair for a long time. Too long for too long. This was my poofy-curls stage. Also, terrible glasses. Also, fully buttoned-up shirt with no tie?!
  • Muted trumpet for the 2nd Movement = The  best idea I’ve ever had.
  • [Tacet]

Track:
Only in dreams

Artist:
steelopus

Album:
(weezer)

steelopus - Only in dreams (weezer) - arranged for Mallet Percussion Ensemble

I arranged this 8 years ago, just as I was finishing up my undergrad Music Education degree.  It is essentially a note-for-note transcription of this classic song.  I was a trumpet major and a percussion minor and I dated a talented marimba player for a while.  Her talents were what originally inspired me to explore mallet arrangement.

My experience with percussion, under the direction of the fantastic Dr. Kristin Shiner McGuire, introduced me to many a varried new technique, including my favorite which was bowed vibraphone.  When you bow the bars of a vibe, they emit a pure pitch that fades in and out (youtube example).  The first time I heard the technique, I immediately thought it sounded a lot like electric guitar feedback, and decided I would find a way to use it in that sense.  That spawned this project.

Unfortunately, due to the limitations of crappy MIDI instrumentation, all the bowed vibe parts are simply struck traditionally in this performance of the arrangement.

For years I’ve wanted to arrange a live performance by a genuine percussion ensemble.  If that ever happens, I’ll be sure to share the new recording.

Please let me know what you think!

Track:
La Resistance

Artist:
Stephen Lopez

La Resistance - Stephen Lopez

File under: Shit you shat out in or around the year 2000 for MUS 321 - Orchestration and Arranging.

Also file under: 30 minutes of work that was more enjoyable than the combined 14 weeks you spent student teaching.

Additionally file under: You chose the wrong major, dummy. What made you think Music Education was a good idea?

Don’t forget to file under: Things that you wrote that were performed - on recorders - by an ensemble of your classmates.

Most of the stuff they study in school is completely useless. But some incredibly valuable things you don’t learn until you’re older – yet you could learn them when you’re younger. And you start to think, What would I do if I set a curriculum for a school? God, how exciting that could be! But you can’t do it today. You’d be crazy to work in a school today. You don’t get to do what you want. You don’t get to pick your books, your curriculum. You get to teach one narrow specialization. Who would ever want to do that?

Steve Jobs discussing bureaucracy in US schools (via) (via austinkleon) (via infoneer-pulse) (via morrowplanet)

With this quote, Steve Jobs pretty much sums up exactly why I decided not to teach after graduating with a Bachelors in K-12 Music Education nearly ten years ago.  Standardization and testing is what currently rules American education and while that can be effective in certain subject areas, it has absolutely no place in arts education.

I wanted to teach kids how to make music and how to love music, not how to meet the standards set by people in D.C. that were completely disconnected from the actual process of teaching and learning.

Unfortunately I didn’t find out I didn’t like “teaching” until my student teaching semester, which didn’t occur until my senior year, and by that point it was far too late to change my mind or my major.

Nostalgia

Indecision and Abandoning the Past is an article over at AllThingsWeezer.com that has stirred up a universe of memories of my life circa 1997-2000.  Anyone that is interested in the history of weezer, specifically during that post-pinkerton/pre-green album time period should give it a read.

Specifically speaking, it reminded me that at some point in 1998 I became one of the site administrators for weezerfanclub.com, which was at the time one of the most heavily trafficed weezer sites on the web.  Shortly after I came on board, the other admin, a guy named Sam Means, sorta fell off the face of the earth and the site went away with him, soon to be replaced by some other great weezer fansites of the day (most importantly: weezer.net - rebel weezer alliance - which would eventually be taken over by weezer themselves in the year 2000).

I remember how tightly knit the online weezer community was at that time.  All of the fansites linked to one another (remember webrings?), we all shared information, we were all subscribers to alt.music.weezer usenet group, we were all members of the weezer-rules mailing list.  The communication amongst fans was abundant and we were all rabid for new pictures, audio (Real Player!), magazine mentions, and rumors.  We were the fans that kept the flame alive and I honestly believe that without our interest and web-presence during the time when the internet was really starting to get a foothold, weezer may not have found the new audience that inspired the invitation to play at the SummerSonic Festival in Japan in 2000 and the Warped Tour in the states.

Anyway.  It’s really hard to believe that was 12 years ago. I had forgotten just how deeply involved I had become with the weezer scene at that point in my life.  Those were good times.

High-res Sometimes I really miss college.  Now is one of those times.
I just found my concert band arrangements of NIN’s Closer and Weezer’s Falling For You.  They were my final projects for MUS321 (Orchestration/Arranging) in April of 2001. Somewhere I’ve got recordings of the Naz concert band sight reading them.
Those were good days. The life of a music major is just about the busiest life you can lead (I’ll fight anyone who tries to tell me their program was more demanding), but it was the kind of busy that I loved. I was busy making music and learning about that which I care most in the world.  I don’t know where I lost my way, but once I’m settled into my new house I think I’ll be ready to get back on the right track.

Sometimes I really miss college.  Now is one of those times.

I just found my concert band arrangements of NIN’s Closer and Weezer’s Falling For You.  They were my final projects for MUS321 (Orchestration/Arranging) in April of 2001. Somewhere I’ve got recordings of the Naz concert band sight reading them.

Those were good days. The life of a music major is just about the busiest life you can lead (I’ll fight anyone who tries to tell me their program was more demanding), but it was the kind of busy that I loved. I was busy making music and learning about that which I care most in the world.  I don’t know where I lost my way, but once I’m settled into my new house I think I’ll be ready to get back on the right track.

weezer - Only in dreams - arranged for Mallet Percussion Ensemble.

I arranged this 8 years ago, just as I was finishing up my undergrad Music Education degree.  It is essentially a note-for-note transcription of this classic song.  I was a trumpet major and a percussion minor and I dated a talented marimba player for a while.  Her talents were what originally inspired me to explore mallet arrangement.

My experience with percussion, under the direction of the fantastic Dr. Kristin Shiner McGuire, introduced me to many a varried new technique, including my favorite which was bowed vibraphone.  When you bow the bars of a vibe, they emit a pure pitch that fades in and out (youtube example).  The first time I heard the technique, I immediately thought it sounded a lot like electric guitar feedback, and decided I would find a way to use it in that sense.  That spawned this project.

Unfortunately, due to the limitations of crappy MIDI instrumentation, all the bowed vibe parts are simply striked traditionally in this performance of the arrangement.

For years I’ve wanted to arrange a live performance by a genuine percussion ensemble.  If that ever happens, I’ll be sure to share the new recording.

Please let me know what you think in the comments if you’re feeling chatty.

Hmmm. What do you do when someone on Facebook suggests you become friends with an ex-girlfriend from college that:
Denied knowing you even existed when she was asked about you by your best friend (himself a stranger to her) a few months after the relationship ended…
Hasn’t spoken a word to you since the breakup occured (about 8 years ago, including the duration of our senior year of college)…
Is now married with a baby…

Hmmm. What do you do when someone on Facebook suggests you become friends with an ex-girlfriend from college that:

  1. Denied knowing you even existed when she was asked about you by your best friend (himself a stranger to her) a few months after the relationship ended…
  2. Hasn’t spoken a word to you since the breakup occured (about 8 years ago, including the duration of our senior year of college)…
  3. Is now married with a baby…