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Topics - WishfulThinker

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Stuff from You / Carya de Mio
« on: September 14, 2014, 05:07:03 PM »
I had a song stuck in my head today and finally realized it was Carya de Mio from Melolune. I thought it would sound kind of neat with recorder, so I took a stab at playing it. I'm sorry this is so unpolished, and I'm afraid my piano skills aren't up to scratch, but it's a very pretty song and I enjoyed playing it.

Dev Logs / LearnToPlayRecorderSongs
« on: April 04, 2014, 10:58:48 AM »
Early this year I put together a free little Flash web app to help people play songs on recorder. It's a simple app that displays notation and shows the fingering for each note as the music plays. I posted a YouTube video that showed the app, and I eventually started getting a dozen or so people a day coming to learn some songs with it. Since there seemed to be a little interest, I went ahead and expanded the concept some to make it community driven, giving users the option of uploading songs. Since then it's grown slowly but fairly steadily to around two or three hundred visitors a day. It's been cool to hear from students and teachers who find the app helpful.

Little by little I'm experimenting with ideas for building things up more. Over the last few days I put up a forum and Disqus message boards to try to get a little bit of a community thing going. I also added the ability to record and share performances. It's too early to say if any of these things will really take, but there has been some light use that's encouraging to me.

If this sparks any thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them. This is very much a new area for me, including web development in general. I find it kind of cool because I think it's a little underestimated how much potential there is for recorders to help people get into making music without too many barriers.

Creative Works / Wishful musical experiments
« on: January 07, 2014, 09:50:19 AM »
I don't get time to do much with music these days, but every once in a while I like to try to play something on recorder or compose/arrange a song.

Yesterday I decided to play "Let it Go" from Frozen. I love the music in this movie.
Let it Go on Recorder (from Frozen)

Here's an arrangement of "Misty Mountains Cold" from The Hobbit.
The Hobbit on Recorder (Over the Misty Mountains Cold)

And this is a battle theme that I wrote for a little music RPG I made to help students practice rhythm. My friend Alex did all of the production, which anyone familiar with this stuff will tell you is 95% of the work.

Dev Logs / CommunityBand
« on: July 10, 2011, 01:49:11 PM »
This is a music application/game project I've been working on, tentatively called CommunityBand. I'm finally getting to the point now where I can start showing it to some teachers and students to get feedback. I came up with the idea about 7 years ago, and after a few years of trying to get help, I decided I had better just learn programming and try to tackle it myself.

The application is intended to make practicing more fun for kids and to give composers a way to get their music performed by musicians (both of which are obstacles I faced as a musician). It's sort of a combination of a game and a collaboration tool. Students use their instruments (or voice) to play music that's displayed as music notation, and the software listens to them through a computer microphone and scores them in real time. In that sense it's sort of a Guitar Hero for band students, except we have exploding quarter notes :-). At the same time, the software records the performances, and users can share their performances with their classmates. The recordings are synced back with the original accompaniment track, and when watching a user's performance, you see it played with the notation. The recordings that users submit can then be combined into a "virtual ensemble" performance using a very simple built-in mixer.

I'm trying to really push the collaboration and team aspects of the software. Right now the game keeps track of your best scores on each song, but I'm extending this to allow the points you earn for each performance to be combined with those of teammates whom your teacher groups you with. If I can get students actually encouraging each other to practice, I'll feel like I've accomplished something. :-)

I have a lot left to do - not the least of which is to find help with song creation. I'm targeting beginner band first, and I'm using songs found in common beginning band method books which are also in the public domain.

In a future version I also want to let people post their own songs. The application reads MusicXML files, meaning people can use programs like Finale or Sibelius to make songs for it. This will really help teachers, but I also hope it can become a tool for composers looking to get their music performed.

If anyone wants to take a look, I've posted the link to the game here. It's still ugly... I need to have an artist draw up a good design at some point. But the functionality is largely in place.

Introductions & Farewells / Hello :-)
« on: March 03, 2011, 09:50:25 PM »
I've been enjoying reading everyone's posts here, and I thought I should say hello. Like many of you, I'm interested in game and software development (especially music related) as well as music composition. I can relate to the experiences shared here by others about listening to and being inspired by video game music. I still have my old collection of cassette tapes with recorded music from 80's/90's era video games. Games like Final Fantasy, Warcraft, Zelda and Mario Kart accounted for more than a small portion of my youth and still influence me today. I'll go ahead and date myself by admitting my first video game system was the Intellivision, and I'm happy that the gaming habit I developed as a child is one I still hold today.

These days I enjoy working on games and applications that I like to imagine might one day motivate students as they learn music. It's nice to be able to come to a website like this and read about other people who are working on large projects of their own. This forum seems like a great place to learn from and encourage each other.


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