Here we are, wrapping up 2023, and while the year may have flew by, there were lots of milestones worth reflecting on. Here’s some of what made this year special.
With now over 20 teachers, and a modest 50+ students (and expanding), the school is getting close to emerging out of it’s beginning phase. With each student that enrolls, word of mouth helps exponentially expand this business, and when paired with the Google ads that I’ve been running, there is a lot more awareness of the school in general. I’d like to hit 100 students in the next two years, and I believe I’m on track to hit this modest goal before really raming up the activity of the school.
While I’m still looking for more brass/woodwind players, our guitar, piano and vocals teachers are certainly filled out at this point. This school has never been about getting as many teachers as possible, but rather focusing on teachers that have similar energy and musical principles as myself, while also specializing in their own area so that each student can get the most appropriate match for their lessons.
Josh the Musician Website updates
My portfolio now has at least 1 song representing each genre, and while I have plenty more to add, I wanted a small but diversified sample set to show the breadth of my work. Next up will be to show the depth and shades within each style.
I’ve also updated the headers on the page so that there is no longer a teacher page, but rather a page that goes straight to Cook Music School. I have my own profile on the school so it made more sense to connect the two sites together in this way. The categories now are portfolio (hear my work), studio (hire me for mix/master), courses (purchase full online courses), school (connects to the school), and contact.
New Course Material
From August to the first week of September, I spent time recording 6 new courses on solfege and 2 courses on piano technique/exercises. I now have 14 courses up and published, and with 12 more in sight for this upcoming summer, I’ll hit my next milestone of 25 courses. I’d like to have over 100 one day, and while I have the categories and breakdown for nearly all courses, it’s just a matter of time to record, edit, and create supplementary materials. It’s a lot of work, but very rewarding.
My goal in 2023 was to make enough passively from my courses to pay my rent, and I did it in both November and December. My next goal is to have a 4 figure month, and then onward and upward from there!
After visiting Atlanta last year, I made some great connections with various actors and directors. One of those directors was Andrew J. Lee. Andrew approached me earlier in the year to score his new short film ‘Guacamania’, which is a comedic short that ventures into the world of live action anime.
This gave me a great opportunity to hone my composition for both comedic material as well as research anime arrangement/instrumentation/harmonic content. I learned a lot, and in the end delivered a great score that I believe will do the film justice. I’m looking forward to sharing this once it’s released in 2024.
Arcadia.TV Compositions/Sound Design
This company is honestly one of my favorite business affiliates to work with. This year I had the pleasure of creating sound design and compositions for two of their VR games, and the games are released and ready to play on oculus 3 and meta quest 3 (search ‘Arcadia’)
The second game they worked on, Super Dodge Ball, was especially fun to do sound design for because I got to use synthesis, sampling, and even sample my own voice for the AI sounds. Arcadia provided me with my own Meta Quest 3 to play through the game, and it was great hearing my work within their vision. There is still much more work to be done to get the ball dynamics sounding perfect. I truly believe in this company and their growth ahead, and hope to be a part of their next steps forward.
Portfolio Tweaking/Additions (Seizures Palace/Hiphop)
While I nearly have another Seizures Palace album ready to release, it dawned on me that I’m really not happy with much of the mixing on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th albums. I believe now I’m at a point where I can go back, mix and master them one final time, and be happy with the result. At least happy enough to move forward with other projects and leave those mixes behind. I’d like to also license these songs once this re-mixing is finalized. That said, once those mixes are completed, I’ll be releasing another Seizures Palace album (likely later this year), and possibly even a ‘best of’ shortly after.
I’m also going to be releasing an instrumental hiphop album, but I don’t want to say too much at this point to keep some of it a surprise. What I can say is that the songs are influenced by A Tribe Called Quest, and Nujabes.
Cook Music Store/Short and Suite Vol. 1
Throughout the year I’ve been working on my Shopify store so that I can release my own original piano compositions. Alongside making this site, I’ve also composed, and recorded my first collection of original piano material. The collection is called ‘Short and Suite Vol. 1’ and the pieces are designed to help beginner pianists experiment with various playing styles that sound developed but are easy to learn.
Each song (with the exception of 1) is only 1 page in length, and offers a unique playing style or overall sound to make the collection diversified. At the same time, many of the songs are influenced by French romantic and classical composers, so there’s enough thematic overlap that the collection feels unified. I have personally recorded all of the material and connected Youtube to the store so that students can listen to the material as it was intended before purchasing the piece. That said, I always encourage students to bring their own flare to my compositions, so the recordings act more as a loose guideline.
– 30 CMS teachers, 75+ CMS students
– 2 new short films, work towards a feature film
– More in-game music and sound design for Arcadia.TV, re-certify for WWISE
– Continue to nurture my own business relationships with my private students and pull in a few new students for myself
– Re-plan my honeymoon
– Be there for my family
– Help my wife with her own goals
– Continue to dress for the job I believe I deserve
That’s a wrap for 2023, and I truly believe 2024 will be one of the best years yet! With business relationships growing, my drive picking up more than ever, and big goals for my courses and school, I believe that I’ll continue to see the rewards for the efforts I’ve been putting in over the past years. Stay posted for more blogs to come!