FRC Virtual Orchestra

About two weeks ago, I had an idea for a daring project of mine. Ever since I saw Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, I had wanted to do a virtual ensemble of my own, and I thought of the perfect audience for a virtual orchestra: the fellow members of the FIRST Robotics Competition. At first you may think it strange for robot-building high schoolers to perform together in a virtual ensemble, but over the past three years I’ve been involved with the robotics program, the one thing that has absolutely delighted me is the variety in interests among the various team members. Every time I go to a robotics competition, I meet a surprising number of musicians.

With that in mind, I thought it would be very cool if I could create a virtual orchestra comprised of members of the FRC. A few friends on my own robotics team thought it was a great idea and decided to lend me their skills. While they helped me to create a video, I worked on setting up a website and getting the music together. Two weeks later, we are now ready to go.

I’m very excited to launch the project for submissions very soon. Check out the website if you’re interested!

Beats Solo HD

Considering the $200 price tag on these, I never would have gone out and bought these on my own. Sure, I need a good pair of headphones, but functionality is always above style on my list. That said, when these were gifted to me, I realized why the price tag was $200.

Not only are they great at delivering high quality audio, they block out other noise more effectively than any other on-ear headphones I have ever used. And if I’m using it with my iPod, I can crank up the level to full for most songs and my friends can enjoy the music along with me. Don’t worry, I don’t put them on my ears when I do that, I hang it around my neck. Which, by the way, is surprisingly comfortable. I lose a bit of bass, but a worthy tradeoff for being able to rock out with my friends.

I have been taking good care of it ever since I got it and I plan to continue doing so. It still amuses me that I walk around with a pair of $200 headphones on my head. Never would I have ever considered doing that.

Internship at REP Studio

You hear the phrase “real world experience” tossed around a lot as a student, especially when you’re a rising senior in high school. If you’re talking about the digital music industry, this isn’t easy to come by. Fortunately, I was able to land an internship at the local REP Studio. And I’ve been neck-deep in real world experience for the past week and a half thanks to this wonderful opportunity.

When I first went into the studio, I marveled at all the expensive gear that I would be able to work with. From vintage microphones to a massive control surface, I felt like a little kid in a whole new playground. By the second day in, I had already learned how to use the editing tools on Pro Tools (industry standard software) and finished editing an entire episode of a radio broadcast that is recorded at REP Studio weekly. Thanks to my previous experience with my home software and gear, I caught on quickly to the tasks assigned.

My time at the studio can be described as hours of learning and gaining experience punctuated by the occasional logistical tasks and chores that need doing around the studio. The experience is quite enjoyable not only because I’m learning skills that are of great interest to me, but also because of the diversity in the sessions and the clients. During my time in the studio so far, I’ve helped record radio shows interviewing authors and musicians, and heard voiceovers for large businesses and car companies. I thought we’d just be recording bands and singers, and I’m delighted at the variety.

If you’re interested, the radio show that I edited is an episode of Out of Bounds. You can find the airing information on the website if you’re local, and if not, tune in here on Thursday at 7pm Eastern to listen on the web.

Time for me to go to sleep now, another episode of Out of Bounds awaits my editing tomorrow!