“A look at Jeff’s Music History – Part 1” – A Laptop Sessions Reflection Article

Originally posted 2009-01-29 21:37:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

Welcome to your Thumpin’ Thursday post here on laptopsessions.com.  I have decided to bring forth another article for your perusal and enjoyment.  And this one has even more of a “personal” touch to it.

Now, let me preface this with the following news.  I eclipsed 80,000 views last Friday, and as of today I already have 8.2K views.  My channel has increased it’s per-day view total to ~350 views per day across 130+ videos.  I’m pleased to report that my video cover for America’s Song “Horse With No Name” has literally just crossed 10K views, which means that this video has about 12.5% of my total viewcount.  It is also the first video for the entire site to have a single viewcount over 10K views.  It continues a great month for myself and for us in this new year.

Some of the things I get asked by everybody I know – family, friends, students, and acquantinces – are “How long have you played music?”, “What instruments do you play?”, “What was your first instrument?”, and “Have you ever had or taught lessons before?”.

While each is relatively easy to answer, the one that not many have ventured to ask is “How did you go from a lanky middle school student to the classy gent you are now?”

Ok, i’m kidding about that last one, although the answer to that one is “Lots of Porterhouse steaks.”

But the answer to the other questions respectively are “17 years”, “Trombone, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Drums, Percussion, Trumpet, Tuba, Euphonium (it’s easier to say than “Baritone Horn”), French Horn, Cello, Double Bass, Piano, and a little bit of Flute”, “Trombone”, and “Had lessons for Trombone, and have taught lessons for Trombone, Piano, and Guitar”.

But seriously, the one I don’t get asked often is “How have you learned how to play so many instruments, and what have you done in your ‘musical history’ since you learned to play?”

Well, as a treat for you loyal visitors to our site, you get to read the long answer to that very question.

I went to Moran Middle School and entered as a very skinny kid who had just gone through a tough summer of realizing that my parents were getting divorced.  Not the best of times for sure.  It wasn’t long into the year that I realized I needed glasses and was going to further my current nerd image.  I had to walk home from school as well, past the same people, and not spending too much time talking to other people walking home (all my friends took the bus).  In April, the music teacher Mr. Rossamando, whom I had said hi to frequently, pulled me aside and pointed out that I had rather long arms.  He asked me if I’d be willing to give the Trombone a try.  I agreed to give it a shot, and he said to start meeting with him during the final period of the day.  I forget how often I got to have lessons, but I think it was twice a week.

He taught me how to read music, and how to produce sound out of the trombone.  I got to take one home with me over the summer and we resumed practicing the following year.  I also tried out for the choir and played in the entry level band, aptly called “Cadet Band”.  I was a fast learner and was bored with the material, so I looked forward to 8th grade when I could hopefully play in the other two bands – the “Concert Band” and “Stage Band”.

I got my wish and played in those two bands, plus sang in the Chorus.  I was broadening my musical horizons through the year, and also had drama exposure the previous year with a lead role in a weird but cool play called “Night of the Living Beauty Pageant”.  I was also in the play in 8th grade, but I forget the title and what it was about.  All I remember about it was a fight I had with my friend Marc one day.

Then I went to High School.  All I remember about Freshmen year was that I didn’t like the music teacher Mr. Houlihan all that much, and ended up not signing up for music in the 2nd half of the year.  I even left my Trombone in the music room, completely forgetting about it.

Then I heard Mr. Rossamando was coming to teach there in Sophomore year.  Since I really enjoyed working with him at Moran, I decided to sign back up for band in Sophomore year.

He was so surprised to report to work that August and see my Trombone there, he called my house over the summer!  I told him that I was looking forward to returning, and that I had forgotten the instrument over the summer.

It was also that summer I started to teach myself how to play the bass guitar.  I listened to various CD’s and tried to play along to them on the bass.  I also went through 3 levels of lesson books over the summer.  During that phone call with Mr. Rossamando, I asked him if he could consider letting me play bass guitar for a Jazz Band if he were to create one (our high school hadn’t had one in a while).

So, slowly I got back into music that Sophomore Year, and played in the Concert Band.  Mr. Rossamando announced he was going to create a Jazz Band for the following year, and I asked to play Bass and/or Trombone in it.

I ended up playing both, because another student Andrew wanted to play bass as well.  We alternated roles – when he played bass, I was on trombone, and when I played bass, he was on trumpet.  The band amassed quite a few songs, got to play live in some coffeehouses and for the town, and had a great time in all our performances.  Meanwhile, I got to sing in the “Show Choir” that year with the unforgettable Mrs. Zola, and play in the Concert, Jazz, Pep Band, and the aforementioned Show Choir.

Meanwhile, I got to learn how to play the Piano and received a Yamaha PSR-320 Keyboard, which my mother bought for me after hearing that I wanted one.  Using this, I got into MIDI tracking, and experimented in writing MIDI files from some game music (which you can still find at http://fftjrc_2.tripod.com/), and also began to compose my own.

This was in 1997.  It was this point where my music history becomes a lot fresher in my mind.  However, I will share this information in Part 2!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my musical childhood, and I hope you look forward to the 2nd part, which will be posted in 3 weeks.  Next week, I will have another acoustic cover for you, and after that I hope to have a cover of a song that apparently nobody is sure how to play yet.  However, I think I have figured out part of it.  And I hope I get to play it for you – it’s a rocking song!

Until then…

“Development of a writer” – A retrospective by Jeff Copperthite (Part 3/4)

Originally posted 2009-05-28 22:38:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeff Copperthite:

In my last installment of this miniseries of articles, I gave some insight into my love of video game music, and some of the things that genre has caused me to do.  For the final part, i’d like to bring it back to original composition work, live music, and help bring it full circle.

In the first part, I mentioned that I took part in many musical endeavors in high school.  Nearly every band or music ensemble that existed, I took part in.  I sang in choir, played trombone in the concert band, double bass in the orchestra, electric bass and trombone in the jazz band, and whatever else needed playing for musical productions, talent shows, and even some Senior Court jam sessions w/ Scott.  I taught myself how to play all the instruments I play with the exception of Trombone.

In 1997 I joined a band that was fronted by a guy named Dave.  I was only part of the band for a few months because my work schedule conflicted with when they wanted to practice and write.  It was a mutual parting and I held no animosity to them, nor they to me.  We did get a couple of live shows in those 3 months, and they were fun to jam with.

I didn’t really play with any bands again until senior year, when Scott asked me to play bass at the talent show (I forgot the name of it, but the idea was for students to display various arts on the stage, be it music, dance, or the like) with another friend of ours named Brian.  The three of us were going to play Dave Matthews Band covers in our act.  We learned about 7 songs (could’ve been more or less) and our performance was actually played towards the end.  I also played bass w/ Brian on drums for one of our other mutual friends’ Lindsay to do her rendition of the song “Fever”.  Funny thing is I still know how to play all these songs on the bass.

Our show was liked by the school that we were asked to play at the school’s other talent event called “EATA” (Evening At The Arts).  Our year was the kickoff for this show and again, it was meant to be a display for all the talents of the students at our school.  Except this time, there were events going on at multiple locations.  I myself loved the idea and the three of us jumped at the opportunity.  Scott & I played the open-mic as a bass/guitar duo, and it was easy to do because for the few weeks coming up to the show, we sat in the senior court playing tunes from the show (we had expanded to other covers as well, such as “With A Little Help From My Friends”).  I think we even collected a few bucks.

That show was awesome.  Somewhere i’ve got a picture of us playing at that show.

Not long afterwards, Scott asked me to contribute some recordings to some original songs he had written for an English Project.  The three songs we recorded would become known as our first EP, which was simply called “English Project”.  How appropriate.  The songs that we recorded were patched together rather quickly because he had recorded the guitar part by himself, so I had to put drums and bass on top of that.  Although for a rookie effort, it worked out nicely.

Around this time I also helped Jim put together some MIDI productions that he used for a project (which class?) on MacBeth, putting some songs to varying points of that play.  It was fun to lend my growing instrument collection (which at that point included the Yamaha PSR 320 I had done MIDI on previously, and the Roland Electric Drum Set I still own and use).

Scott & I had a great reception from his recordings, and we were encouraged to record them more formally, along with four more songs.  That album would become “First Stitch” by Quilt.

That reminds me, we came into that name because we saw it on a license plate while going to Sam Ash to get my bass and amplifier.  I still have the bass, but the amplifier met it’s demise last year (you’ll have to check the blog from March of last year to read all about that).

Scott & I continued to record songs, and our duo still is active.  We have recorded two additional albums and one EP since “First Stitch”.  The albums are “Patchwork” and “Expressions” (the latter of which featured my writing exclusively), and the EP was called “Blanket of Death” (which i’ve mentioned already contains some of my favorites from Scott’s writing).

Well, I’m going to stop this for the evening, as it is late.  I’ve decided there will be a part four about a month from now.  Too much music history left to write about.  Stay tuned for that, and i’ll be back next week for another regularly scheduled laptop session!