Musical Influences and Those Who Gave Me Inspiration

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Musical Influences and Those Who Gave Me Inspiration

As a child, my parents were forever playing classical music alongside the classics from the 50s/60s and is probably why I never got into mainstream pop growing up. It wasn’t until around the early 80s that synthesizer music first crept into my psyche. This was due to the hype being created by Jean-Michel-Jarre and his huge outdoor concerts. I remember seeing the news reports from 1986 when he brought downtown Houston to an absolute standstill with his outdoor concert.

I also remember sitting at the back of my local church listening to the organist play. It was at this stage that I started to become very interested in learning to play a keyboard instrument. However, it was not until the age of 11 that I received my first Casio keyboard. It only had 6 instruments selected by a slide, coupled with about the same number of rhythm drum tracks. I still have this keyboard, stored in the loft, as a memory of how things all started.

“However, it was not until the age of 11 that I received my first Casio keyboard. It only had 6 instruments selected by a slide, coupled with about the same number of rhythm drum tracks.”

Sadly the organist never knew that he was the one who created that first spark inside a young boy to play. In August 1998 I got to live out one of my aspirations, to play the organ that I had once heard as a young boy. Some twenty years later I am still the organist at that church and I can put this one down to the fine gentleman, Mr Bill Caulfield, that created the spark as being my first true musical influence.

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Interests in Synthesizers

This is a funny one really as aside from listening to Jean-Michel-Jarre I am not sure what made me want to listen to more of this style of music. I do, however, remember a friend of my brother who suggested I check out Tangerine Dream. I picked up a couple of records from the local store, Le Parc was one of them, and that was me set on a massive love affair with the synthesizer and electronic music.

This experience also sparked my interest in composing my own electronic music. For those of you who have heard any of Tangerine Dream’s tracks from the 70s and 80s will clearly hear the influence that they have had on my music. It was those driving bass line sequences and arpeggiated counter melodies that hooked me into the Berlin School of music.

This experience also sparked my interest in composing my own electronic music. For those of you who have heard any of Tangerine Dream’s tracks from the 70s and 80s will clearly hear the influence that they have had on my music. It was those driving bass line sequences and arpeggiated counter melodies that hooked me into the Berlin School of music.

Education

For many years I took no formal lessons and went down the self-teaching route to play the piano and latterly the pipe organ. It was not until the mid-2000’s that I took my first formal lessons on how to play the piano and learn theory up to post-graduate level. This was thanks to a retired army bandmaster John Gibson who opened my eyes on the art of composition, harmony and how to flesh out ideas when none seem to be around. I look back on those lessons quite fondly and they still continue to give me inspiration to this day.

Those theory lessons have been invaluable in allowing me to understand written sheet music and also compose pieces for the choir where I play the organ. They have also got me out of a few tight spots when deadlines have been looming and the sheet of music paper is still blankly back at me.

Summing up

Well, that’s a brief a tour of what first started the music journey for me and the main characters who influenced where I am today. If I didn’t cross paths with these people I very much doubt I would be where I am today musically speaking.

Who first influenced you musically and how did it impact on your journey?

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