The Music Magician

Jim Carrey Hollywire SiteI feel like you’re probably not a good magician unless you have long black hair and a goatee. There’s a tall, skinny guy at work who has both qualities and always wears black vests, and I’m pretty sure he’s a magician. Not knowing is the secret, and a true magician never reveals his secret.

I didn’t really have a segue from this. Every time I don’t have one, I’m just going to use a picture of Justin Beiber riding a Segway…

Justin Beiber Dailymail Segway
Music has been a big part of my life and I’ve always been drawn to it. I grew up listening to Country Music because that’s what my mom listened to. My mom would play it when she drove us to and from school and when I figured out how to use the “Sleep” feature on my radio alarm clock, I would listen to it every night and set it to 8:45pm since I had to go to bed at 8:30. And that was the heyday of country music. Achy Breaky Heart was a new, legit song and not a gimmick yet. If you’ve never heard Boot Scootin Boogie, you’ve never really lived…

I had to play the Recorder like everyone else did. I was part of the elementary school choir, and there was basically no try-out, so I nailed that one. I went to the same school as Judith Hill, and she sang the lead on Joyful Joyful, which was one of the 3 songs we knew. That’s the first time I was ever exposed to how well live music could be sung.

In 1997, I started 7th grade at a small private school in Sylmar, California. In order to “get in,” you had to sit down for an interview with the principal. (By the way, if you have money to pay tuition, you’re pretty much enrolled. Small private schools get two kinds of kids: Kids whose parents believe a private school education is a good choice, or kids how got kicked out of public school, but have enough money to pay for private school.) Anyway, the principal was selling me on why the school was so great, and he mentioned that they had a band. When he noticed I was interested, he asked what instrument I might like to learn. I replied “…maybe…the piano?”

It was a marching band…

The principal either thought I was nervous or an idiot. Either way, I got to go there and that was cool. But you know what is not cool? Trying to make friends when you’re a shy, Asian boy that likes Garth Brooks. I eventually made friends (that’s an entirely different story) who would go on to ridicule me for my musical taste. And that’s the first time I was exposed to different kinds of music. I started listening to new stations, and got into 90s Rock and Alternative. At that time, I had no idea that kind of music was really even out there. There weren’t Apple commercials to play catchy songs (Feist). Major sports didn’t have theme songs for their Finals yet (Black Eyed Peas). I just didn’t really know anything else aside from Country. In the 8th grade, I remember liking a girl and listening to pop music because of her. I was also in my second year of band so I was exposed to classical and marching music (holla at me if you’ve ever had to suck a reed to generate sound out of your woodwind). In high school, I started to learn about jazz and funk. I was part of a rock band that played shows at fairs and chapels, so…that was a thing…

During the summer of 2001, I started to get into rap (thanks, Dr. Dre). During the summer of 2002, all I listened to was Oldies. But I then pop rock started taking over (I blame you, Something Corporate). When I graduated, I couldn’t definitively say I liked one genre over another, except I knew Country was probably at the bottom of the list.

A couple of years into college I learned about old school hip hop and couldn’t believe I hadn’t discovered an entire genre of music. Techno and House music were always kind of there (thanks, Magic Mountain). I watched some Cartoon Network Adult Swim, and learned about a unique new type of Electronic Music that originally served as transition music between scenes and credits. That later led into the electronic Club and Dubstep music we have now.

From the moment I started to figure out what was “good” music, I’ve wanted to share that. I don’t know why I’ve never written about it, but I think that’ll start happening soon.

Thanks for reading.

– The Marching Pianist


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