Growing Up

Life Through the Lens of a Big Kid

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New Endings

This past week I began my final semester of my undergraduate degree! The joy – is unexplainable. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my undergrad experience (because that is exactly the opposite of how I feel) but more because I am excited for what’s going to come/change.

Five year ago I began school as Biblical Studies/Church Music major at a small Christian school. After spending my entire childhood involved with the church my mother attended, I was convinced that the thing I was meant to do was become a pastor; looking at life now – it would have to be an EXTREMELY reformed liberal congregation. Anyway, I spent three years learning how to “pastor people” and read the bible and after a rather harrowing experience (which I’m sure will be blogged at some point) I decided to transfer out of that school and into a music performance program where I strictly study classical music. Now if that was the only change in plans that were to occur in my undergrad experience I guess we could make the tie between the past and present. But now as I’m heading towards graduating – and frighteningly enough Graduate School – plans have changed again.

I guess the point is, plans are always going to be changing. Life changes (thankfully!). So often we are only grateful for change when it is in our favor or we gain something from it. But that’s not always the case. So how do we go from seeing change as a “giver” and “taker”?

I think we take ourselves out of the equation. Situations are rarely stagnant. And that’s a boring place to be anyway. This is not a message of “lie down and take it” because I have in no way approached my own life like that. There are things that happen in life that we can address and challenge because we choose to – but there are others that are out of mine, yours, or anybody’s control. And when these things happens I pray I don’t sit and complain about how something is unfair, or this or that was taken away from me. I hope to embrace this thing called life – which could also just be called….

Change.

How a contemporary composer I randomly met unknowingly led me to start a successful company.

On Marc-Thoughts.

In the spring of 2008 I was a junior in college and the main thing going on in my life was playing in a rock band with my friends. One especially exciting weekend, my bandmate Ben and I were driving from Cleveland to Williamstown, MA to play a big show at Williams College. En route however, we had lined up some time to stop by a major recording studio in New York City called Clinton Recording Studios (RIP) to be considered for internships for the summer. We arrived outside the studio but our contact there said he needed more time because Yo-Yo Ma was recording and going over-time. We needed to wait somewhere close by and Ben had a cousin who was working as a line cook at a restaurant called Esca, just a few blocks from the studio. We headed to Esca to hang at the bar.

As per usual when we'd kill time, Ben and I ended up talking music. Since at the time we were each deep in music history classes at school, we were talking about pretty esoteric, OLD music. I don't remember exactly what we were discussing but probably something in-between Gregorian Chants and Einstein on the Beach, and that was enough to get the attention of the gentleman sitting next to us. The stranger jumped in and started enlightening us to a number of aspects about the pieces we're discussing that we hadn't learned about. The three of us proceed to nerd out on everything from the romantic era to the The Talking Heads and it's a lot of fun. When we finally ask who he is, it turns out he's an acclaimed contemporary downtown composer named Mikel Rouse. Cool! Eventually we leave for our interviews at Clinton, head up to MA, and prior to crashing in the hotel I friend Mr. Rouse on MySpace (remember MySpace?). With no expectation that meeting him would provide any relevance to the rest of my life, I go to bed.

Fast forward to the fall of 2008. Now I'm a senior in college. A senior who majored in music in college. I knew I needed to spend most of my time finding a job for after graduation.

The majority of my time on campus during those college years I spent cooped up in a recording studio. So it made sense to me to find a job in the audio/production world. But I had spent the summer of '08 interning for a major Manhattan recording studio (not Clinton) and realized that many of the people that end up working in that environment just weren't happy people. So I thought I'd take a look at post-production instead. I applied to intern/work/whatever at every reputable mastering house in NYC. No one responded.

I had thought I ran out of leads when one bored night I went back on good old MySpace and saw that I was still friends with Mikel Rouse. I decided to look him up and saw that he had his own writing studio in Manhattan. I looked up the address and noticed that on Google Maps there's another business located in the same building called "Vault Mastering". I look up that business and lo and behold, it's another Mastering House I hadn't yet applied to! Amazing. I read the bio of the principal engineer and he just so happens to have the same alma mater as my school, The Cleveland Institute of Music, and interned at the same company while in school as I did, Telarc International! I was furious that my school hadn't already connected me to him, but that's a different rant. I contacted the engineer, and got an interview for my next visit to NY. Long story short, he couldn't afford to hire me, but very kindly introduced me to a very successful mastering engineer who had just purchased a legendary mastering house, Masterdisk. I got an interview at Masterdisk and was accepted! Second semester of my senior year hadn't even started yet and I had a job lined up. Mission accomplished.

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