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IT and Musicians? Expand / Collapse
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:28 AM



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I fiddle around with a bamboo flute, but honestly, I can't carry a tune in a bucket.

On my team, of 14, we have one musician (not counting my screetches). So this place doesn't carry the model very far down the track.

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Post #501173
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:30 AM
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Violinist here. Started playing when I was 6. Performance was my first major in college. But back a step, when I was 12 I received my first computer - a Timex Sinclair 1000. I started programming that thing right away, and certainly it was natural for me. With nothing to go by but books, I did quite a bit of coding for a youngster. When reality hit me in college with having a family on my mind, I switched back to my second love - which was computers. Musicians have a much harder time making good money, benefits, etc than a programmer. So I switched to a CS program and degree.

There are strong underpinnings of math and creativity in BOTH music and software development. Whether it is realized or not, music depends heavily on a different and non-spoken 'language', as wel as dividing time. Music obviously requires creativity and interpretation of what written music was intended to sound like - just as reading software requirements, and meeting with clients requires an interpretation to provide the solution that the client can't always even visualize themselves. Another facet is discipline. All the creativity in the world won't make you the best musician. It takes hours and hours to perfect a musical technique and sometimes hours and hours to perfect a particular musical piece. Isn't programming much like that? You won't be too successful if all you can do is visualize a solution - your job is to apply the discipline to see it through to a finished product.

I guess my first post on this board has ended up being quite long.... Sorry. It is just that I too have recognized this over the years. Many musicians I know, are also in the IT field, and quite a few of my colleagues play gigs on the side.
Post #501174
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:34 AM
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I've noticed this as well. I began playing music when I was 9 and began composing at 11. So I've been a musician over 30 years. I began coding with QBasic, so I've really kinda dated myself here hahaha. But I've noticed that other musicians I've played with are also IT people, and vice versa. It may be that when the conversation turns to one or the other, you find common ground which you wouldn't have known existed otherwise.
Post #501178
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:51 AM

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Trombonist - Jazz Performance. I don't play anymore, but want to get back into jazz piano so I can entertain myself. I always just played for myself anyway, and trombone isn't as much fun as a solo instrument.

I think IT and music are very much entertwined. The basic premise behind performing a piece of music is taking a predefined structure and making it your own, whether it's classical, jazz, pop, rock, rap, etc. We do the same with software and hardware, we work to stretch our limits and make the same old program/language/piece of machinery do new things in new and creative ways.

I think musicians and IT professionals all have the ability to follow a thread of idea, while bouncing all around that same idea in order to find the best (or most interesting) way of getting there.

And Phil, I think we'd make a great ensemble, but we'd never sell any records, can you imagine the arguments over the group name, or the negotiations on the deal with all of our technical bents? It'd be miles long . . .

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Post #501193
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:53 AM



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Been playing drums since '78 when I was 13, and later on when I got into relational databases in the late '80's, I couldn't help but notice the similarities in the rhythm's I played on my set and the patterns of logic and match that I used to program my SQL code. Both of the activities seemed to fit together and be connected, but none of my friends or family could see that except me. Later on when I mentioned it to my professional database peers, that, inexplicably would also be musicians, they would agree. Weird, but definitely true and there is a link.
Post #501195
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:59 AM


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Yes, I knew some ppl that are musician, or at least like a lot of music, specially Heavy Metal, lol...

About me, I play electric guitar for about 15 years, play bass but more for my own recordings and compositions. I sing too. Play a little of tin whistle, a little of pan flute, and being involved in play Great Highland Bagpipe too, lol... I like many Metal bands, and classical, medieval songs, celtic, spanish... I have a metal project that I´d like to record this year (in 2007 I said the same...) and a more "folk celtic" project.. many songs are "idealized"...

I´m sound engineer too, producer, have a little but (I think) nice studio in home in the same room that is my tech (sql/asp/aspx) home office ^^ But this room is connected to another accoustical isolated recording room.

Well... I don´t have any sound completed online yet but have this Actually there are just an experiment of a recording, a cover from the band Savatage. Originally just piano and 1 male voice. I composed a female second voice that my girlfriend sang (she´s pianist and vocal but the only technology that she uses is the software for music recording, mixing and production).


Post #501200
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:59 AM
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Val Byref (5/15/2008)
string together little black dots on a page (music) or string together little black dots (well, ANSI characters) on a page (code). It's really the same kind of skill set -- the ability to imagine a finished work and then construct all the minutely detailed components acting together in concert to make it happen.

I think you hit the nail on the head.
As the lead of a web development team and being responsible for the architecture of the sites, I've often thought of myself as a composer or conductor, rather than a programmer. I think the ability to see or hear the finished piece in your head before ever writing a node or typing a line of code is what seperates the top-notch programmers from the drones in our industry.
Also, while I don't play an instrument, I've been singing since high school and am just learning guitar. Two of my team members play instruments and a former employee actually had his degree in music.
Post #501202
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 6:01 AM
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Not having the funds for musical equipment back in the 70's, I built my own guitars and amps and ended up studying electronics. With the arrival of MIDI in 1983 I realised that the automated test rigs I worked on could be persuaded to output musical notes, and was immediately bitten by the programming bug, writing music software on the C64, Atari and Amiga before coming to the PC.

None of this paid the rent of course, so now I'm in IT.

It might of interest some readers to know that current professional music creation software now often uses SQL database technology, e.g. Sony's ACID Pro has used MSDE/SQL Server Express, while Steinberg's Cubase 4 uses SQLite to provide certain functionality; another example of a crossover development would be MusicXML.
Post #501205
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 6:13 AM


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IBM used to look specifically for music majors to hire them as developers. It might be worthwhile to ask them about that policy.

I think it has a bit to do with discipline. To sit there and practice 6 hours a day on a single passage is the same mentality necessary for success at debugging that irksome and elusive bug.

Post #501218
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 6:18 AM
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I did not think about this till now but most of the people on the motorcycle forums i visit are all IT guys. I ride with a big group of people from a few forums and i am sure 60-70% of them all ride motorcycles are from IT. I never really thought about this till now.

but the newest sport-touring mounts come with xm,gps and every gagets and i think being from IT we make perfect host as this segment is growing. I have seen more wifi hooked up systems for on the road blogging the last 2 yrs and ever before. Also, riding a sport bike in say a track is very technical with hitech technology which i love to tinker and work with.
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