I was 5 years old when I begged from the back seat of my mom’s car to start piano lessons. Neither of my parents happened to be musicians, and they had major doubts that I was going to have any talent. I don’t remember caring about that last part—I just wanted to play. That’s how all this started.
I continued with piano lessons until we moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 5th grade and my life officially found its course. Moving North from Katy, Texas, Minneapolis was the biggest culture shock of my young life, but I was especially unprepared for the vibrant music culture that exists in the Twin Cities. After hearing a Dixieland-style clarinet solo from one of the school district’s faculty members, I immediately signed up to play clarinet. I bet you’ve heard a story like this before.
I stayed in Minneapolis through my freshman year in high school, and in that time studying clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax, and baritone sax. I was extremely fortunate to study under Kenni Holeman, multi-horn player for The Hornheads, who were notable collaborators with the band, “The Time,” assembled under a clause in Prince’s contract with Warner Bros. Records. This was an extremely impactful experience for me. Additionally, it was during this period that I was branching out to every musical genre that had an ensemble. I took part in several jazz ensembles that competed on a state level and even picked up the bass for a bluegrass band that recorded with faculty from the McNally-Smith College of Music in St. Paul. After my first trip to the studio, it all started making sense.
Frustrated, I started taking matters into my own hands and began teaching myself how to record music.
Once I came back to Texas to finish high school, I was eager to begin playing with ensembles. Unfortunately, and as much as I love my home state, I was upset to find the musical emphasis on marching band and mechanically scored competition events. Frustrated, I started taking matters into my own hands and began teaching myself how to record music. My only tools were a 1st generation iPad mini, a cheap condenser microphone, and an interface with an omnipresent hiss. But, I couldn’t be stopped. I made terrible records with my friends that eventually got us a gig in a hotel lobby. Who knew it was that easy?
Over the course of my college years, I’ve had yet another privilege to study under composer/producer Gary Powell and draw from his decades of experience. Looking ahead, I’m eager to apply myself to my long term goal of producing music, podcasts, and soundtracks professionally. Stay tuned.
To Learn More: Visit Sean Cronen’s Website.