Behind the piano

Behind the piano: David Snyder

A couple of weeks back I presented you with the track Whimsical by the American composer and piano player David Snyder. Today we’ll get to know the man behind the song a bit better!

Where are you from? And where do you live?
I am from Grand Forks, North Dakota. I currently live in Los Angeles, California.

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
I have been playing the piano for fourteen years. I also play the guitar, ukulele, and sing! 

Tell us about how you started playing music. 
I started playing the piano through lessons at eight years old and immediately became obsessed. For some reason, those eighty eight keys intrigued me so much, and I found myself constantly improvising, reading music, and jamming with my brothers and friends. 

How long have you been making piano music?
Growing up I doodled and jammed at the piano, but during high school I genuinely started to develop an ear for composing and create entire musical works. So although I feel as if I’ve been making piano music my whole life, its probably been about nine years. 

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
When I was in middle school, I was enamored with the piano, and auditioned for an international music camp—taking place for a week during the summer. To my surprise I was accepted on a full scholarship. During my time at this music camp I was incredibly inspired by other musicians, teachers, and friends to continue making music and continue to compose. 

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
Oh man, this is such a hard questions. I will forever be a Piano Guys fan, and I love Ludovico Einaudi’s emotional work. I also enjoy Chad Lawson and Ian Wong’s music. 

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
For some reason, I always find myself playing “Stressed Out,” which is one of my original pieces, to warm up at the piano. The arpeggiations and chord structure is always amusing for me to play, and the quick notes are perfect for warming up my fingers. 

What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
Sometimes I feel that musical structure needs to be demolished just as much as it needs to be reinforced. Personally, while making music, I find myself feel held back by theory trainings or basic musical structures, rather than allowing an emotion or moment take control of my musical flow. Sometimes the basic musical voicing that we are taught need to be thrown out the window, and a musician simply needs to play the unexpected and allow emotion to drive the music rather than a lecture or theoretical process. 

How do you record your music?
I record my music myself in a church at a grand piano. 

Whats your take on sampled instruments?
I think that sampled instruments are wonderful in given circumstances. Personally, I enjoy a live, real, grand piano feeling and sound. 

And the question from my 6-year old son:
Where do all your songs come from? 
My music mostly stems from moments, memories, or feelings. I love to create music that melodically describes a moment in time that was very meaningful for me.

Thank you for this David!

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