Every once in awhile, we all need a bit of a kick in ass. Over the last year I’ve been spending quite a bit of time exploring new workflows when it comes to writing music. I’m sure anyone following the blog has noticed I’ve been buying, using, and then flipping gear rather quickly to fund something else quite a bit recently. Partly because I wanted to try out some pieces of gear I kept hearing good things about, and partly because, well… Let’s just say I was hoping that one of these purchases would reinvigorate me to get out of a creative rut I’ve been in. We’ve all been there.
However a few weeks ago, one of my wife’s co-workers asked if they could bring their 11-year old son to the studio. He had been working on writing electronic music, and they wanted to see if I could answer any questions he might have, or just let him listen to his songs on the bigger speakers. I sometimes have local school kids here for just this reason, I love to help out, so it’s something I don’t mind doing at all.
I have to say it was the first time in awhile that I was generally blown away by the music someone else had written, not bad for an 11 year old!
It wasn’t so much the quality of his songs, as it was his excitement and determination to write music no matter what. Don’t get me wrong, he was writing Avicii-style tracks, and the sounds and arrangement were actually pretty well done. But I had to keep reminding myself that he was only 11!
The cool thing was that he was doing all of his writing using the demos of Fruity Loops and Sylenth1. So he wasn’t able to re-open his work in progress if he closed the app, and he had to work around the annoying voice-over copy protection that Sylenth had. I mean, he’s only 11, it’s not like he can even mow lawns or get a paper-route to pay for this stuff yet!
But it didn’t phase him at all. If anything he didn’t know that it didn’t have to be so difficult, so he just got on with things. Ultimately he didn’t really have any questions for me to answer, and if anything was just super eager to have someone else listen to his songs. He had a really good handle on the production process already, just from watching YouTube videos. Heck, he even spent 10 minutes explaining to me how he sets up his side-chaining! Freaking 11 years old!
What I didn’t expect was just how motivating the experience would be for me. Seeing this little kid have so much passion and commitment when it came to writing music really was a great reminder for me of a lot of things. Like how the gear we use doesn’t matter as much as we might like to think, or how much fun I used to have when I first started writing myself.
Over the last few weeks I’ve thought about that encounter a lot, and it’s been a real kick in the ass to get me reinvigorated in the tools I already have (notice the recent Live songs I’ve been posting for instance). Sometimes the way out of a funk comes from the least expected places, and this was definitely one of those times. So hats off to little Ben, and I hope his dream of being a famous producer some day comes true. Given his determination, I have little doubt of it!
Special thanks to Lennar Digital as well. When they heard about his story, they were extremely supportive and helped Ben get around that annoying Sylenth1 demo limitation. Very cool of you guys!
Peace and beats,