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  • Writer's pictureJoe Chris

On re-defining and clarifying my goal:

A few months ago when I started this book (and started sharing these posts) I had no idea the reception I would get. From close friends, to former teachers, & people I've never even interacted with - I just want to say thank you for your support.

As I get closer (and I'm very close) to finishing this book, I think it is important to look back at my initial goal and redefine it with the clarity and perspectives I have now. The more I work on a project, the clearer my vision gets. Everyday the scope of this book grows more and more and it can feel like I am letting it get out of control by not having a super clearly defined set of goals I want to accomplish. So below is just some musings I am making public that I can refer to whenever I feel I need to determine wether or not something should be included in this book. Wether or not that item will be a blog post if its not in the book remains to be seen (it probably will be, to be honest), but this is how I am defining the project from this point on:

Information Technology/Information Systems are all about learning how to most effectively use technology to achieve your goals. Most large organizations have a dedicated IT department to design, manage, oversee, and troubleshoot all of the technology in the organization. As a composer, you likely need to do it all yourself (or have assistants who are also musicians do it).

Some aspects that IT systems deal with, regardless of the field, are:

· Planning & designing the technological architecture

· Physical hardware set up & maintenance

· Communication between devices/Network Management

· Data management & storage

· Increasing user efficiency and productivity via technology

· Troubleshooting

· Cyber security

Even without considering this through a musical lens, it is easy to see how this can all be very helpful for anyone to understand and that there can be a lot to learn. Most IT books talk you through the parts of the computer, basic office application suites, OS’s, how networks work etc. Every organization is different, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach that works best for everything. Thus, it is important to understand your options.

There has been a lot of books written specifically on music technology: consoles, microphones, outboard gear, audio signals, DAWs, plugins, etc. And from being a professional musician (and being lucky enough to attend a college where I got to study with real musicians in the industry) I’ve noticed a distinct lack of confidence when it comes to the more “standard” (non-musical) technology we deal with everyday in life. My goal is to write the first and most comprehensive book available about Information Technology but incorporating the unique computer needs and set-ups as a media composer. And as every organization is different, so is every composer and each composer has their own preferences and workflow that they must take into account when designing their set up.

I’ve heard it said that outside of scientists, gamers & video editors need the best computers, but musicians need the best systems. We push our technology to the limit, as we need to work in real time but also have a ton of processing we need to accomplish – sometimes across various machines and devices. Our main software is relatively new and complex when compared industry giants such as Microsoft Word. And we need to transfer musical data sometimes across 8-10 different devices and/or pieces of software in order to accomplish our goals. Not only that, when something goes wrong we need to also be able to understand why it happened and either be able to fix it ourselves, or know how to Google how to fix it. We don’t have the luxury of a dedicated IT department to fix or every problem or to tell us to turn it off and on again. And most “tech guys” would be unfamiliar of the ins and outs of musical gear.

In short, I am writing this book in order to bridge the gap between music and IT, and collect in one place (and including additional resources for further reading) a guide for any composer or assistant who uses computers to find almost anything they may need to know to manage their computer technology, or at least point them in the direction of where they can look. Ultimately, I want to increase computer competency across the industry and provide a free resource available to students just starting out and longtime professionals that they can use to understand how the technological backbone of their career works.

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