Thursday, October 6, 2011

Did Steve Jobs Influence Your Musical Career?

By Mark T. Burke

It was 1993, I was out of college for 2 years, paying my dues as a substitute teacher, private musician, assistant this and that, and had just interviewed for a full time gig.  My soon to be wife and I had thrown caution to the wind and moved into a rental home, one we knew we couldn't afford unless I got the job.  The morning of the move in was the same morning as my interview.  So, it would have been somewhat easy to pack up again had the interview not gone well.  The interview had gone well and a short time later that day, I received the call saying....it's time to get to work.

My first teaching job was at a small school in Muncy PA.  The Muncy School District at that time was known for the arts, largely due to the efforts of Mr. Gary Steele.  When I first met Gary, he showed me this odd little computer he claimed could make music.  My college years spent loading DOS onto library computers that could do little more than BEEP and spit out text documents left me a bit skeptical.  The most puzzling feature was the square puck attached to a cable running to the back of the machine.  What the heck was that for?  Gary fired up the unit and reached for the puck.  It moved!  I mean, the little arrow thing on the screen, it MOVED with him as he slid the puck around the desk.  Within a minute, Gary was showing me musical notes on the small, colorless screen.  He then clicked the little puck and .... music!  The computer was communicating with the keyboard at its side and they were making amazing music together.

Well, that was it.  I spent the next 5 years ingesting all things about this little computer.  Of course, it was a MAC, a MAC Classic as we know them today.  After the Classic came several II's, c's, e's, 6520's, 6530's, Power Towers, a G3 all in one Multimedia and my 20 lb Mac Book. At Muncy, I had created a course for students revolving around Mark of the Unicorn Software, Mosaic and Freestyle.  We learned how to input music, set up MIDI devices, blend devices, record on DAT and more.  During that time, Muncy had rolled out the new school wide network, email, the INTERNET and shared server space.  Several MAC labs had been built.  All of this technology integration over just 2 years had created a real need for support, ideas, best practices and hand holding.

I was eager to help everyone who needed it. So eager, my passion for educational technology took over my desires to root myself in a musical career.  In 1998, my history with the MAC, changed my life. The potential to CREATE using these machines was just too strong for me to ignore.  I had witnessed the making of music as well as the shaping of an entire school.  Gary said something to me that has always stuck...he said one day while I was helping him figure out some issue..."I don't care about the function, I just want to create."  MAC's have always been about giving people the tools to create.  Let's not forget that should be the sole mission of any great technology.

I left teaching to pursue a degree and new career in educational technology.  During the two years in grad school, my MAC G3 helped me churn out educational programs, research and documents like a dream.  I was able to create video, yes, video.  I was one of the few who could make use of digital photos and wow...combine them all using MAC educational software.

My 7 years of total MAC immersion were some of the best years of my creative career. While the MAC had been absent from the corporate world I lived in for awhile, I am happy to be bringing Apple back into my reach.  While I believe creativity is only limited by the mind, not the machine, I owe much to Apple and of course the man at the helm for bringing the MAC to life.  Here's to Steve Jobs and his great invention, creativity, dedication and tenacity.  Thank you Steve.

 

No comments:

Post a Comment