I never really listened to music until middle school. My parents may have played things from time to time, but I don’t remember much of it.
One day, I decided I wanted to listen to music, but I was very opinionated about what I wanted to listen to. I decidedly didn’t want to listen to anything with words in it, since the pop music I heard on the radio gave me a very particular and overly specific idea of what the lyrical content of “music with words” necessarily had to be about. Anyways, I decided to search “techno” into Youtube since, having no real idea about anything regarding music, let alone electronic music, it seemed close to what I wanted. I subsequently fell into a deep rabbit hole of Youtube electronic music producers who have influenced my taste to this day.
Somewhere in middle school, I started playing around on an electric keyboard. It was nothing fancy, but I took a class which taught me some basic skills like reading sheet music (slowly) and playing simple songs (from sheet music). I would also learn to play melodies from the aforementioned Youtube music and RuneScape, which I was very obsessed with at the time.
As I got older, and especially in college, I branched out a lot in terms of what genres I liked. I also purchased an 88-key digital piano with fully weighted keys and started teaching myself from Youtube. I also created some tangentially-related web apps and tools such as MIDI sequencer and MIDI converter. My favorite project of that time though was a colaborative MIDI jam-session app, Jam Circle. I co-created Jam Circle with a classmate and music producer who went to Georgia Tech with me.
Later in college, I started pursuing a Music Technology minor. I didn’t end up completing the minor because I graduated before I could, but I really wanted to take some music theory classes for elective credits, and those classes were only available to students who were members of the School of Music. I met tons of awesome musicians, engineers, and developers through my music classes, and I learned a ton. Along with a couple of awesome music theory classes, I also had an Audio Technology class, where I learned about the mathematical properties of sound waves, and how circuits can be designed to synthesize and alter sound. It was like a crossover between an electrical engineering and music class.
At Georgia Tech, I also had the opportunity to participate twice in the Moog Hackathon, hosted on the GT campus. At these competitions, my team designed and built two versions of a gloved instrument, which played music from an analog synthesizer.
Throughout all of this, I continued practicing piano, and while I can’t say I ever got particularly good, I did learn how to play, in the sense that I was having a lot of fun. My favorite college memories include jamming with my friends at their house and improvising songs on my piano.