Mikey Wells is not your average musician, nor are the many projects he has pioneered. In fact, there’s not much he hasn’t done. He’s led the Silver Lake Chorus through compositions tailor-made for them by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and AC Newman of the New Pornographers. He’s written and composed for the comedic troupe, the Lost Moon Radio. He even helps kids foster their creative sides in after-school programs. Regardless of his involvement, Wells has developed a penchant for bringing out the best in any musical setting.
Tell me a little bit about how you got into music in general.
Like many kids, I started off with piano lessons at an early age, but inevitably it sort of gave way after a couple of years. Probably around fifth grade I remember hearing my brother play some Billy Joel on the piano. He’s an older brother, so I was a little competitive. I thought, “Wait a minute! If he can play that, I can play that!” It came from the same place as always wanting to beat your brother at HORSE. That’s when I started noodling around, I was always more into messing around with my own ideas than playing Old McDonald.
Then as a fun thing in middle school, I started writing imitations of Billy Joel songs. I remember thinking ‘Just write a chorus where you sing the name of a cool made up character,’ so I wrote a song called Ray Bombay. It was atrocious. When high school came around and it was time to sort of figure out what you were gonna do, I ended up going the creative route, joining the choir as well as being in the plays and musicals, though I grew up with a real hunger for sports as well. My dad actually, as it turns out, has run a choir in LA for over thirty years. That was another big thing for me — there would frequently be 25 or 30 people rehearsing in my living room every Tuesday night. Inevitably I feel like that became a big influence in terms of experiencing the beauty of a group of people singing together, as well as the relationship between text and music in general.
For a limited time (February 14 - 21, 2013), get Christina Perri’s arrangement of her hit song “Arms,” and record your version to send back to Christina herself! After choosing her favorite version, Christina Perri will attend a Google hangout with the winner and donate an iPad 2 to their music teacher or music program of choice.
There is no limit to how many times you can enter, so practice, record, and send away!
How to enter using your iPad:
1. Join Chromatik
2. Practice and perform “Arms” by Christina Perri, which you can find in your playlist.
3. Record your version
4. Send to Christina Perri
Play play play! Record record record! Send send send!
Winner will be announced on or around March 1, 2013.
*Screenshots from the iPad version of Chromatik
Back in December, we at Chromatik announced our iPad Donation Program. Well, the holidays have come and gone, but we’re still feeling generous. You have students to get back to, so I will be brief.
If you onboard Chromatik with your school (100 or more students), we will donate an iPad to your music program. No strings attached. Keep reading for more…
We launched Chromatik in November with some pretty fantastic success. While we are honored to have folks like Bruno Mars involved, we are truly excited that Chromatik is now freely available to all musicians.
Chromatik has many uses for musicians. But for music educators, we have seen that it is particularly valuable in bringing your music classroom to the next level.
Chromatik is available via web and iPad. Some folks use Chromatik in the classroom or practice rooms with technology available in-school. And others use Chromatik as a homework vehicle for students at-home practice. Either way, teachers are currently using Chromatik to transform their music distribution and student assessment.
If you are interested in learning more about using Chromatik in your school, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
And did we mentioned that the platform is free? Yes, free.
We are all musicians and music teachers here at Chromatik. We know how tremendously difficult your job as a music educator is at times. We understand budget constraints and how there is never enough time. Well, hopefully we have made your life easier on both sides with Chromatik.
We have decided to go a step further — we will be donating an iPad to the first 100 music programs that onboard 100 or more students to Chromatik. (Program details can be found here)
When we started Chromatik, iPads were still in their infancy. Now there is an explosion of commercial growth, and we are just starting to figure out how to meaningfully use iPads in the classroom and beyond. There are fantastic applications to enhance your music classroom and teaching experience, and we want to make sure that you have access to them. Just send us a list of who you signed up to Chromatik, we will verify it on our end, and then we will ship something shiny your way!
HOW TO GET ROLLING
Official Program Rules
1. Signup for a Chromatik account yourself at chromatik.com
2. Upload some of your class materials
3. Create a playlist for your class(es)
4. Share the playlist with your students
5. Once your students have created Chromatik accounts, email email@example.com with the subject line “iPad Program, Teacher Information” and include the following in the body of the email:
(a) Your full name
(e) Shipping address
(f) List of students signed up, including their full names and email addresses
6. We will get back to you within ten (10) business days for confirmation.
As always, please let us know if we can be helpful in any way. Chromatik is made for musicians, by musicians. So if you have “dream features” or questions along the way, do not hesitate to give us a holler.
Photo by Farah Sosa
The old (and false) adage, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” has never been so wrong as in the case of artist, arranger, bandleader, and educator Todd Simon. A first-call musician and arranger for artists like Madlib, Odd Future, Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, Flying Lotus, and Mayer Hawthorne to name only a fraction, Simon has crafted a parallel career performing on one end and teaching in underserved communities (as well as in the Red Bull Music Academy) on the other.
Mr. Simon recently won our iPad giveaway and has implemented Chromatik in his classroom. Take a look at his experience teaching, using Chromatik in the classroom, and performing with our generation’s top innovators.
Tell me about how you go started in music.
My earliest memory is playing with my parent’s record player and radio. That was my favorite thing to mess around with and they luckily gave me access to their records. My earliest memories are really just being intrigued with music. When you’re a kid you’re just open to everything, so I was listening to the Beach Boys, classical music, Queen, Al Green, and stuff like that. I loved it.
At the elementary school that I went to, we were really lucky because they had this super old — she was in like her 80s — music teacher, Mrs. Rosenberg. She mainly taught choir and I sang in her choir my whole time in elementary school, from when I was like 5 until 12. She really sparked a huge interest in music with me and she identified that I had musical talent so she made sure I got on an instrument while I was at that school. I wanted to play the saxophone because that’s what girls liked. I watched Happy Days and Chachi played the saxophone on that [laughs]. Unfortunately at my school they didn’t have any saxophones, so the next best thing was a trumpet. My mom wouldn’t let me pick the bass because it was too big to take home, so I took the trumpet.
I never originally thought anything would pan out on it, but it’s become my whole life and my reason for getting up in the morning; it’s really special.
It’s Thursday, the perfect day to read about music!
- The 3 Most Profitable DIY Revenue Streams, and Why Many Artists Succeed At Only One Of Them (Hypebot)
- The 101 Strangest Records on Spotify (The Guardian)
- Rising Postal Rates Squeeze Small Record Labels (NPR Music)
- The New Electronic Brooklyn Underground (Pitchfork)
- What’s the Best Opening Track on an Album? (The Guardian)
Wishing you a musical morning:
With all of the buzz surrounding Chromatik Founder & CEO Matt Sandler (30 Startup People To Watch This Year), we’re sure you’ve been wondering how Matt sounds on his horn. Really anyone can call themselves a musician, but it takes years of dedication to gain the chops to back it up. We’re here to show you that Matt Sandler has indeed put in the time.
Matt started out his career being recruited as a saxophonist much like an athlete would be by universities around the country. Ultimately settling in at UCLA, Matt began an illustrious career with his peers and teacher, Doug Masek, performing his way through festivals, concert halls, and clubs with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Eric Marienthal, and more on his way to becoming a premier concert saxophonist. Check out some footage from his Senior Recital at UCLA above.
If you come by the office, you can still find Matt stealing away to the studio between meetings. At Chromatik, we’re in touch with the musician side of us all.
Add some new tunes to your day to jumpstart the weekend. Here’s what the Chromatik office is spinning:
1. Aloe Blacc – Green Lights
2. Bill Withers – Use Me - Single Version
3. The Lumineers – Stubborn Love
4. Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata
5. Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place - Remastered LP Version
6. Stephen Malkmus – Church On White
7. Radiation City – Construction
8. The Lumineers – Classy Girls
9. The Beach Boys – Sloop John B - 1996 - Remaster
10. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Who’ll Stop The Rain
11. The Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb
12. Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie featuring JAY Z
13. will.i.am – Scream & Shout
14. The Lumineers – Flowers in Your Hair
15. John Scofield – Boozer
16. Papa Grows Funk – Pass It!
17. Eek-A-Mouse – You Na Love Reggae Music
18. Frank Ocean – Pyramids
19. Django Rheinhardt – Festival
20. Walt Weiskopf Quartet – Man of Many Colors