IT and Musicians?

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  • Never really thought about it that way.

    I occasionally play guitar & enjoy the break from using technology i.e PC's, games, TV, microwaves (:D) etc...

    But deep down I probably aproach it the same methodical way as developing/working.

    Then again, there's about 20 other IT professionals where I work & don't think any one of them play musical instuments other than air guitar...

  • I have to agree... even back at University my course was absolutely full with musicians, and it was a BSc Computing degree. We asked around all our friends in different courses totally non IT related and there were far less in any other.

    After reading your article I think for most it would be the problem solving and logical thinking that makes an IT person sway towards learning an instrument.

    I can't really give my personal opinion due to having started playing instruments when I was 6 or 7, but I did however develop my interest in IT after this point, maybe it inevitably works the same the other way round!

  • I've found something quite interresting.. me myself I like Metal music, and much higher % of people working with it seams to do the same then what I am used to be common in a population. Maybe it's because Metal is quite complex and in some way very similar to classic (I like that too actually). And if you are an IT person you need to be able to handle more complex issues then some other jobs. Now, this my personal experience and not a report but it's what I've come to belive, that some people with some interrests likes more complex music etc.

  • I hadn't thought about it that way either. I play the blues harp, but I wouldn't have thought there's anything particularly mathematical about my playing.

    If I'm honest, the real attraction is the contrast; the ability to exercise my creativity and give the hard logic a break for a while.

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • As you know, Steve, I'm a 60's blues (and folk) guitar player, though now I tend to specialise in playing the Uke. Perhaps I ought to record some backing tracks for your podcasts. I wonder what an electric band of DBAs would sound like? Would they all be good team players or might they be a bunch of prima-donnas? Would they sing from the same song-sheet? Would they stick to the standards?

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor

  • Phil Factor (5/15/2008)

    I wonder what an electric band of DBAs would sound like? Would they all be good team players or might they be a bunch of prima-donnas? Would they sing from the same song-sheet? Would they stick to the standards?

    We'd all probably just sit around making lots of notes, then debate compatibility issues between different versions 😉

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • Over the years I've made the same observation.

    I play the bass guitar, and have IT friends who are guitarists, drummers and keyboard playerz. Kinda funny how that works out...

  • Yeah, I'm a musician (keyboards), composer, and member of ASCAP -- my soundtracks have aired on major TV networks including A&E. So why am I doing IT? I have a wife and two kids -- my job in IT provide benefits (it was pretty flippin' expensive to provide my own insurance for a family of four as a self employed composer). Plus, my wife really didn't like the ups and downs that go along with making a living in the music biz (feast or famine). So, it's either 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. The ability to remember patterns doesn't hurt either. I've known many others in IT with similar stories. There's an IT guy who lives in my home town -- when you walk into his living room you see the gold records on his wall.

  • Just maybe ... it has to do with sheet music being a form of a programming language.

    Have played guitar (folk, 12-string, bass = favorite), as well as accordion, piano, keyboards, and even helped rebuild ad tune an 1863 Chickering square grand.

    Lost use of my left hand about 28 years ago, so now I play MP3s 🙂

    (... and occasionally hack around with MIDI)

    Mike Hinds Lead Database Administrator1st Source BankMCP, MCTS

  • 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.

    "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood"
    - Theodore Roosevelt

    Author of:
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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.

  • 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.

  • 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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    "stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

  • 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.

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