I receive a lot of questions that are similar in nature, so here is where I answer them!
1. When did you start to play piano/How long have you been playing piano?
I started playing piano at the age of 6. I don't remember exactly when as my parents signed me up for piano lessons like every other asian in the world. I stopped when I entered middle school and picked up the clarinet. Several years later around the age of 15 I had the idea that I wanted to be a composer, and that piano was the best instrument to be able to express the music in my head instantly.
2. How many hours do you practice a day?
I try to practice 1 hour every day. I have a full-time job, so finding time is often difficult. I think it's better to practice 1 hour every day than to practice 2 hours on some days and 15 minutes on others.
3. What kind of equipment do you use to record/produce music?
Currently I use a digital piano called the Yamaha P-155. For the digital piano audio I record using MIDI and the Scarlett USB 2i2. For live piano I use a Yeti USB Stereo Microphone. For video I use a Zoom Q3HD or my iPhone.
I use Sibelius to write sheet music and I use Logic Pro X to edit/mix/master the recordings. Once the audio and video is ready, I sync it up using Adobe Premiere Pro.
4. When is the sheet music for XYZ song coming out (that hasn't been released yet)?
It takes me anywhere from 2-4 weeks to finish a sheet music and have it ready to be sold on my website. Here is the current queue (apologies if your favorite is not on here):
Gallop (2014 version)
The Peace of Winter
Colors of the Soul
5. Who are your musical inspirations?
Personally I love the Romantic era of composers and that includes Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Schubert. I draw a lot of inspiration from film music by John Williams/Howard Shore/Hans Zimmer, and video game music from Nobuo Uematsu.
6. What goes through your head when you're writing music?
When I'm improvising, sometimes I don't think at all, but sometimes I do think about a loved one or an emotional story that I read. I also feel a lot of different emotions and when the music is going in one direction I try to explore that emotion as much as possible.
When crafting a song, I keep in mind a lot of things such as tempo, dynamics, keeping the music interesting and fresh, listener fatigue, and trying to create something that's never been done before.
7. How do I become a better piano player/learn your pieces?
This is obviously a question that cannot be answered adequately by a few paragraphs on the internet. The answer is different for everyone and it really depends on how much you're willing to sacrifice to become a better pianist.
However there are some quick and easy things you can start doing right now that I guarantee you will improve your piano in no time.
1. Sleep well 2. Don't be hungry (make sure you have enough energy 3. Make sure your seat is high enough
1. Practice each hand separately with the metronome. This is 100% guaranteed the best way to learn any music, ever.
2. Be clean with your playing. If the notes are written on the same beat, strike them at the same time. By far the biggest difference between professionals and amateurs is professionals are incredibly clean in their playing because they learned to strike the keys with both hands and all the fingers at the exact same time.
3. Practice in pianissimo. Restrain yourself dynamically and focus on the rhythm, tone, and texture of the notes. When performing, let loose.
1. Listen to your favorite pros play your piece 2. Write your own music so you appreciate what composers are thinking 3. Listen to recordings of yourself practicing/performing 4. Study the theory/history of your music, the composers lives, understand that music is constantly evolving, but the best music of history are aged like good wine.