How long have you been playing piano?

I started taking piano lesson’s when I was 7 years old (1989) and I continued taking lessons until I was 17. At this point started my own exploration of music and piano technique.

Why did you start recording video game music?

Growing up I loved video games and I had a special attraction to their music. It was only natural once sitting at the piano to try to figure some out. I started playing them occasionally as far back as 1992. When I saw that commercial CD’s of both arrangements and OST’s were being sold I realised there were people out there like me who loved video games music, some of which I assumed couldn’t play piano. Shortly after this I found VGMix and OCRemix which only pushed me further into arranging video game music.

How do you learn the music? Where can I learn it?

Currently I still do it the old fashion way.

  1. I sit down with the original song (now usually an emulated file like SPC or NSF) and play along to it
  2. I start playing along with my piano usually one hand at a time bass/treble
  3. When I think I have them learned I turn the music off and play it until I have it down
  4. I play it again with the song (at this point there are usually some corrections)
  5. When I’m sure I have it right I play it into a midi and print off the sheet music so if I forget I can learn quickly

Even though it may seem tedious I really do recommend the above method as it forces you to interpret the song in your own way. You can be sure you were accurate and know the arrangement is 100% yours. I also believe that hearing the true original opens up a window to nostalgia and style that will help you reflect the original music better in your playing!

However, if you don’t have it in you either because you’d rather not or can’t seem to figure the notes out I put sheet music up whenever I can to accompany my arrangements. In addition to the sheet music others and myself provide VGMusic provides an extensive collection of video games music files in midi. Using any sequencer you can just read the notes and with some (I recommend midi notate) even print them off to learn the songs.

How do you record your arrangements?

In the beginning I had a Yamaha Clavinova CVP-49 hooked up to an SBLive recording with Audacity. I honestly found this to be a far better setup than most people will give it credit for. However, eventually the Clavinova was giving off too much noise to record well and I only recently (Feb 2009) purchased a new Roland RD-700GX that I am very pleased with. I hook it up to an M-Audio Audiophile 192 and use Sonar to record.

When did you start performing live?

Since about 2003 I had been looking (on and off) for a way to perform my arrangements live. In 2005 I performed at an Anime/Video game convention in Amherst, NY called NohCon. After that it was relatively easy to get new performances lined up and I continued performing at Anime North, Northern Anime Festival, AC-Cubed for a couple years. I took a break for a little while in 2007 and I have recently decided to begin performing again.