From Beats to Cello, and Back Again

Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.

On the weekends I spend hours hunched over my computer, studio headphones in my ears, bobbing my head to the throbbing kick drum. Listening to the drum pattern, I pull out my MIDI keyboard and begin to play chords in rhythm with the drums. Over the chords, a melody emerges, in harmony with the chords I have just layered. Adding in the hi-hats and snares gives the beat more movement, and a background synthesizer contributes more atmosphere and increases the depth. Slowly, the layers of sound begin to blend themselves into a cohesive track.

Making instrumental beats has been a passion of mine for years, but I am often met with raised eyebrows when acquaintances realize that I both pursue classical cello and produce rap beats. Electronic music, which is often created on the spur of the moment and is sometimes viewed as unskilled, is seen by many as a polar opposite to the refined and time-tested classical instrumental techniques. Yet, I find that the same skills and qualities which are necessary to be successful on the cello are equally vital when in front of a computer producing electronic tracks. The fine tuning of synthesizers and equalizers demands just as much perceptiveness and acuity as the fine finger movements needed to...

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