Just about everyone wishes they could play music.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Like most musicians, I started learning when I was a kid, 5 or 6. My parents thought it was important that we learn to play music. After a few years of piano lessons, my brother, sister and I all got accepted to Juilliard, the famous music school in New York City. I still remember the day we moved from the woods and creeks of Staten Island to concrete of Manhattan, just so we could attend Juilliard. If you visited our small apartment on the Upper East Side on Manhattan, you would have heard the din of three pianos - one in each bedroom! - playing simultaneously.
I spent 9 years at Juilliard - all those music lessons and hours of practice mean that today, I can instinctively channel my feelings through my fingers, into black and white keys, through hammers and strings, and make music that conveys those feelings. I don’t have time to play much these days, but when I do I love to play David Bowie, Radiohead, Brahms, Debussy, and bit of jazz.
But I always wished I could play the guitar. The moment the I first heard David Gilmour’s soaring guitar solo in the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb, the guitar became my favorite instrument. Nothing I could play on the piano could sound like THAT! But by then, I didn’t time to learn a new instrument. Like most people, my life got busy and full and stayed that way.
Fast forward many years - to the birth of my daughter. She was a great baby, but sometimes had a hard time falling asleep. I discovered that if I played her music, it would help her sleep. There was no space for a piano in her bedroom, so I took this opportunity to finally learn guitar, so I could play her songs while standing by her crib.
I struggled like never before. Fingering guitar chords on steel strings was painful and tedious. I practiced endless finger drills for hours. I think I practiced in all around 700 hours - long enough to play a couple of songs, but not anywhere near enough to play well. I gave up in frustration, knowing that I would never have the thousands of free hours required to devote to practicing to get good at the guitar.
But, in my mind, I could hear every chord and note I wanted to play. That’s when I got the idea that we could use technology to make it easier to play and learn instruments. What if we made a digital guitar that had a “magic mode” that could get anyone to enjoy playing their favorite songs right away?
After all, technology has made our lives easier in so many other areas - driving, flying, shopping, taking photos, taking video. Why not playing and learning music?
And thus Magic Instruments was born.
Brian FanCEO, Magic Instruments