Friday, January 31, 2014

My Son Teaches Me a Lesson in Determination

Hey there, remember me? I'm waking this sleepy blog up for something C O O L. And of course there's a story behind it....

I was going to share this on Facebook, but it seemed too lengthy an explanation.

I was going to share this on Twitter, but 140 characters. Yeah.

This is a story of creative perseverance that I had to share, and it's about my sixteen-year-old son, and it'll end with a blow-your-mind video at the end. With lights and music!

Okay, back to my kid. My husband and I have always called him a Renaissance Man. He's an artist, a singer, a beatboxer (he's Plasma Music on Vine), and a deep thinker. He's shy-yet-confident and a very, very old soul.

He's also into music, always has been. At first it was electronic dance music at the tender age of six. Then it morphed into dubstep, complete with dubstep dancing (which he learned by watching You Tube videos). And now he's into what he calls the "completely underground stuff." He's constantly asking me and my husband to listen to new songs that he's discovered. I do like a lot of it.

He also stumbled upon this device called a Launchpad. In short: "Launchpad S is a powerful 64-button music controller that lets you make music or mix tracks using a super-intuitive grid of multi-colour buttons." It was the one thing he desperately wanted for Christmas.

When he opened it up he nearly burst, and he hasn't looked back since.

He recently programmed a song and performed it for my mom using the Launchpad. She thought it was great, but I could tell she had no idea what actually went into what she just saw. So I explained it to her.

He decided upon a song, imported into the Launchpad program, Ableton Live, and then parsed the song out into clips (most clips are one to two seconds long). The entire song. Then he assigned each clip to one of the squares on his Launchpad (the location is completely up to him). Then he programmed an accompanying light color to the Lanuchpad square, as well as light patterns, carefully taking into consideration the overall beat of the song.

Those steps alone just blew my mind. But the most difficult part is still to come.

From what I saw while he was creating and programming, he seemed to do the song in chunks, like, say, twenty second intervals. He would go over and over and over and over the pressing of the Launchpad buttons, so that he memorized where his fingers had to go. Very much like learning a piano piece. Lucky for him he had a mother who kept in piano lessons for six years, much to his chagrin.

Then he'd tackle the next part of the song, and the next, until the whole song was programmed and the button sequence learned. It took him just under thirty days to produce the video you're about to watch. And yes, he made this video himself as well. He's a determined, crafty young man.

Why am I sharing this here, on my recently silenced blog that was mostly about writing? Persistence, that's why. To remind you that whatever it is you're striving for out there in this world, chip away at it every single day. Do not give up. Have a plan. Do the research. Learn what you need to learn. Don't be afraid.

Do whatever it takes to make it happen. Power onward and "make your own music."

Oh, and I do miss this place and all of you.

In order for his You Tube page views to increase, you'll need to watch his Launchpad performance directly on You Tube by clicking HERE. Thanks for watching!!