Artist: Trevor Baron
I was born in Saskatchewan in 1971 before moving to Edmonton Alberta in 1973. I was first introduced to the piano by my mother Karen Baron who taught music both privately and through a music school. I attended Laurier Heights Elementary School where my music teacher was Bob Miller (the bass player for Tommy Banks), but it wasn’t until later when I attended Jasper Place High School that I met Garth Worthington (my guitar teacher) who further inspired me. During my final year in high school I made the decision to pursue a career as a full time private music instructor and continue with formal music instruction. I auditioned and was accepted into the Grant MacEwan music department where I studied music theory and performance, my teachers included pianist Charlie Austin and composer Gordon Nicholson. I left Grant MacEwan in 1993 to pursue conservatory training at Alberta College Conservatory of Music and studied with Edward Connell a notable composer, pianist, and organist. It was here that I met my next teacher Diane Ferguson with whom I studied for many years. I immersed myself in full time music study taking the practical and theoretical examinations of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1999 I established my own private music education company Bach To Basics, and while continuing to teach full time I served as an organists at King of Kings Lutheran Church for five years and choir director for two. I decided to take on a new challenge and in 2001 after two years of study I received my piano tuning diploma from the American School Of Piano Tuning. At this point in my teaching career I became increasingly interested in the music industry and the opportunities and challenges presented by the various aspects of the music business. In 2009 I established Listening Edge Records, my own private record label and publishing company, and worked with select students helping them develop their career goals. In 2010 I was selected, as a member of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, to serve as a classical music category judge for the 2010 Juno Awards held in Nova Scotia. After years of studying classical and jazz piano and theory I started to have a renewed interest in returning to my recording studio, a previous hobby that I had given up while pursuing my other academic studies. In 2011 I established Illustrious Sound a division of my private teaching practice specializing in music production education, mixing, and mastering and worked with select students helping them produce and record their own music. The same year I made some big changes to my private teaching studio. My formal pedagogical training was in piano and theory, however having taken guitar lessons in high school and having played the drums for several years parents began requesting that I teach basic drum and guitar lessons to their children, because they didn’t want to switch to another instructor. I took this opportunity to advance my own studies on these instruments, with the parents understanding that these instruments were not my primary instrument. At this point in my teaching career I was teaching students to play their instruments, how to record their performances, and how to promote and market their music. So in September of 2011 I added basic guitar and drum lessons, music production, and career development to the list of subjects being offered. My hope is that I can share with students the rewards of learning music and pass on my own experience, knowledge, and passion for education and life long learning to those I teach.
I’m a full time professional private music instructor with my own company Bach To Basics and its divisions Listening Edge Records and Illustrious Sound.
What Music activities are you involved in? Recording artist, songwriter, composer, producer, engineer?
I’m fortunate enough to be involved in a variety of projects, most which I teach, such as composition, songwriting, and music production, in addition to teaching classical and jazz piano and theory.
What aspect of what you do musically, do you find the most fun?
What I find the most fun is being able to take a project from start to finish. No other job are you expected to do so much, the airplane pilot is only expected to fly the plane, not build it. With independent musicians, we tend to write the material, perform the material, and then step into the recording studio and take on the role of audio engineer and producer.
How would you describe your studio?
Myself I have a small project studio nothing to splashy but it gets the job done. I mostly work with MIDI instruments, rarely do I have someone come in to record vocals. This means that my studio can be small and modest consisting of a laptop, speakers, and keyboard.
How long have you been playing music?
I’ve been involved in music professionally for over 14 years as a private music teacher for my company Bach To Basics, but I’ve been playing since I was a child. It’s hard to say for sure because I didn’t take formal music lessons until I was much older, and decided I wanted to be a private music teacher. My mother was a piano teacher so I learned from her in a way, from just being around the house.
Who was your musical inspiration?
Garth Worthington a guitar teacher of mine at Jasper Place high school was very influential in me becoming a piano player. I used to take guitar every morning in high school, he would play the piano and we would play the guitar, what he was doing to me looked more fun, that started my love for the piano. Later on in life I developed a love for the drums, and guitar, which I play at elementary levels.
How involved are you in making music, writing, performing, recording, mixing, etc?
I tend to be very involved in any project that I am part of. Having a small MIDI studio at home you tend to write the music, perform the music, and record the music, basically it ends up being a one man band.
What are your goals and aspirations as a musician?
I would say that I have reached my goals as a musician in that music is my full time job, however I think it would be really interesting to break into the world of scoring for film and television. This is something I don’t know if I would ever full delve into, but it’s an area of music that interests me.
How important is music in your life?
I would say that music is very important in my life. It’s something that I kind of take for granted but no matter what I’m doing, where I am, I’m always tapping out a rhythm, recording a melodic idea, sining (or in my case making noise).
As a musician do you ever think you’ll quit learning your art?
Never. I think as musicians we want to get better and better, and the only way to do that is to keep pushing ourselves to do more. I don’t think we ever feel as though we have nothing left to learn. In my case I’m a big fan of life long learning, I’m always learning and taking courses. It’s something that I really enjoy.
Do you think music is an important life pursuit?
I really do. I think music is something that’s very much our own. It’s something we can certainly share with others, but in those quite times when we’re all alone, we can play the piano, guitar, drums, or produce a track, and emotionally get out anything that has been troubling us.
Do you consider music art, or a commercial product?
I think especially in todays music industry it can be a little of both. Music can be complete art, in the case of modern classical music, or more commercialized to hit a mass audience. I think there will always be artists that perhaps divide themselves into the work that they do for commercial purposes, and that which they do for the sake of art.
Do you use social media to share your music with others?
I’m in my 40’s so of course this is something I try to do, but I’m not that good at it. You have to remember when I was born there was no e-mail or texting, and my first cell phone was a car phone which was so big the transmitter had to be mounted under the passenger seat. I really admire people that can keep up with this bombardment of social media. You can really get swept up in it, and it can be incredibly informative, and creative.
What instrument or instruments do you play?
The instrument that I majored in was the piano, however I’ve been playing and teaching the drums and guitar for over five years now. I teach beginner level drums and guitar to students, however those students that want to take to the stage I move on to other teachers who studied drums or guitar as their majors in college.
What is your favourite time day or night, to work on music?
I tend to be a bit of a night owl. I enjoy being up late at night, into the early morning working in my studio, and for me ideas and creativity just flow more easily then. Perhaps its because at night there aren’t the same distractions you experience during the day.
Do you ever have trouble finding time to work on your music?
I run a pretty successful private music teaching practice which means I’m busy most of the time, and have very little time to spend on my own music projects. That’s something I’ve starting working on, clearing off a little time in my schedule to grow as a musician and get some of my own projects done.
Do you feel the music you listen to affects who you are?
I’m not sure weather the music I listen to affects who I am, or weather because of who I am, that affects the music I listen to.
How do you deal with writers block when writing music?
I find with writers block, for me the best way to deal with it is to just deal with it. I mean sit down in a quiet room and start hammering out notes, sounds, and things, and see what sticks to the wall, and what can be developed musically. Most of the times it works, however there are those times when you just have to move on and wait for the inspiration to hit you.
What sort of musical training do you have?
I studied piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music, Grant MacEwan Community College, Berklee College of Music, and the Open College of the Arts. That’s not to say that formal education makes great musicians. I believe there’re are many musicians out there who are self taught, and studied in their own way and are fabulous.
My final thoughts to inspire young musicians:
There are so many teenagers, adults, and career professionals out there that are passionate about their music. Go on youtube, myspace, and reverberation and see what is going on, what regular people are doing as well as professionals. Music is something that can be very enjoyable, very personal, check it out before saying it’s not something your interested in.