2012 was a good year for me. In January, the Playground team and I showcased Playground Sessions at the NAMM show, a music convention held in Anaheim. Not only did we meet talented and visionary musicians in the industry at NAMM, but we were also nominated as one of the top music products at the event! One of the highlights of NAMM was when I was introduced to Sibelius 7, a music notation software that I now use.
The following month, I released my third album, “The Collection, Volume III.” The album featured covers like “Halo” and “Lollipop,” just to name a couple. My favorite thing about this album was that I allowed for a fan to design its cover art. The cover art for Volume III was designed by Jordan Mason and I think he did a great job!
Over the course of the year, I also joined a couple organizations, one was a video network, Maker Studios, and the other was a video sharing site, Vumee. One cool thing that happened to me this year was becoming “verified” on Twitter. If you go to my Twitter page, you’ll now find a “Verified Check” next to my name.
In June of this year, I was featured in the magazine of my Alma Mater, University of California, Riverside. I am honored to be recognized by the college I went to, and I look forward to continuing to make my schools and everyone who helped shape me into who I am today, proud.
Let’s see, what else… In August of this year, the Playground team and I spent a few weeks in Utah filming a lot of videos to add to Playground Sessions. While we were there, we were reviewed by TopTenReviews, who later released an article about us, naming Playground Sessions the best music learning software out!!! Of course, that was music to our ears! In case you haven’t read the article yet, click here.
The following month, the team and I found ourselves in New York as we were finalists in Fast Company’s “Innovative By Design Awards,” being named one of the products of the year. Unfortunately, we didn’t take first place, but just the fact that we were recognized for such a high honor was still a blessing, not to mention we walked away with a spot in their magazine as well as a trophy for being a finalist. Here are a few pictures from the event.
Looking back on all of these things, it was a really good year. With all that happened in 2012, the one thing that topped everything was when I got to meet Quincy Jones as he helped the team and I in our efforts with Playground Sessions! I look forward to continue to work with him in 2013 as we all work hard to continue to innovate and create the best experience for our users with Playground Sessions!
I want to thank every single one of you for riding this year with me, and especially those of you who have been with me from the start. None of this would be possible for me if it wasn’t for your support. Here’s to a prosperous 2013! Happy New Year!!!
This was the first song I played that had a dubstep vibe to it, so I figured I’d try something a little different with this arrangement. Whenever I make my arrangements, I try to listen for the most recognizable and unique elements of the song, and then emphasize them, kind of like a caricature artist. In the verse, there’s a recognizable melody in the beat of the song that I wanted to bring to the forefront of the arrangement, and the reverb of the snare inspired me to create a buildup to that melody, using 16th note sextuplets. To help give you an idea of what I mean, I wrote out the notes that are being played in the first sextuplet of my arrangement - here’s a shot of it (a picture is worth 1,000 words):
In order to play all of the notes, including Justin’s melody, I had to alternate material with my left hand and right hand. That was the hard part. Getting past the verse to the chorus, I wanted to emulate the rhythm of the song with my left hand by switching between octaves and triads, played on different counts. In the right hand, I played the melody as octaves, mixing in 16th notes and 8th notes to match Justin’s “chopped” vocals. The intro and outro were pretty simple. The only complexity was the multiple voices being played in the right hand of the intro as I played Justin’s melody as well as the recognizable melody of the beat (that I mentioned above). I wrote it out for you so you could have a better understanding of what I’m talking about:
So now you have a closer look at what’s going on in my arrangement. Keep an eye out for more “up close” posts in the future!
So I just watched Skyfall and I loved it! I love how the Bond movies always start off and jump right into the action! I honestly didn’t realize how long the movie was, I wasn’t prepared for that, but I still enjoyed it. I think the humor that was added to this film was a good touch, especially from the villain, and I was definitely feeling those suits Bond wore in the various scenes. I think I need to go out and pick up a few more suits, after watching that film. All in all, I give it two thumbs up and recommend that you all go see it.
So I just got into New York last night. I’ll be here for about a week, but the main reason I’m in town is so I can attend Fast Company’s “Innovation By Design” awards ceremony tomorrow night. Playground Sessions is one of the finalists in the competition and we’re hoping to walk away as the winner, but we’re facing some pretty tough competition (Microsoft, Ford). I’m confident that Playground has what it takes to win, let’s just hope that the judges feel the same way. I’ll report the results after the ceremony tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be reporting that we took 1st place! Wish us luck!