Hey there! I am so excited to be able to interview Jonathan Miaocco!! I can't wait to let you read this and get excited about composing! Yes, I said that right, composing!! But first, find Jon at his blog and website and listen to some of his music. Or...better yet, listen to some of his music while reading this interview! That's sure to jazz you up :D
Me: For those readers who don’t know who you are, why don’t you give us a quick bio of yourself?
I am seventeen, I live in Atlanta, I have an awesome family, and I compose music. I’m a senior in high school, but I’m also taking college classes. When I graduate from college, I want to be a film composer. (: a person who composes music to film).
Me:Before we get too far into this world of composing questions, could you give us a working definition of composing? When I think of composing, I think of a tuxedo-ed fellow bent over a blank sheet of paper! Tell me this isn’t reality!
Haha, no, that’s not the reality! (Besides, I hate tuxedos.) The dictionary defines composing as “writing or creating (a work of art, esp. music or poetry)”. While that is technically true, it’s not the reality. The true art of composing is translating emotion into music. Music without emotion is just noise.
Me:What first drew you into composing?
I honestly don’t know! Ever since I was young, I’ve loved all kinds of music. But slowly I began to realize that I liked more orchestra-sounding music. When I was twelve/thirteen, I realized that I wanted to compose my own “soundtracks”. Sure, I had plunked out a melody or two on the piano, but I wanted to really compose. And… the rest is history.
Me:As a composer, are there things you notice about the world around you non-composers might not?
That’s a good question! I think one of the biggest things is this: I constantly “hear” music. Like, when I see an incredible sunset, I’ll think-of/mentally-compose music that might fit that situation.
To help us get inside your head a little bit, what is the first thing you notice when hearing a song?
When I hear a song, the first thing I think is whether or not I liked it. If I like it, I’ll try to figure out why I liked it. For most soundtracks, I’ll try to figure out how the composer orchestrated the music, etc. And if I didn’t like the song, I’ll try to figure out why I didn’t like it. Also, when I first hear a song, I try to see if the composer created something original. Some film composers sound exactly the same from film to film (and song to song), which I think defeats the whole purpose of film composing.
Me:What do you enjoy most about composing music? What is the biggest draw for you when you aren’t composing? (What part draws you back to it the most?)
When I compose, I love the challenge of bringing across emotion in the form of music. Audible music isn’t something you can touch or see (unless you look at a score… but that’s besides the point.) You can only hear it. When I compose music, I want to inspire people. I want people to see or feel something that they can’t explain through my music. The biggest draw for me when I’m not composing is that all I want to do IS compose. What draws me back the most is the idea that I can compose something completely new every time I sit down.
Me:As a teen composer, do you think this puts you at an advantage or disadvantage?
Yes. Haha… Usually, my age is “my hook.” Example: someone listens to my music and thinks, “Eh, whatever…” But then someone tells them I’m seventeen, and they think, “Woah, seventeen?!?!” So my age definitely helps “promote” me. But my age is also against me. I can’t just leave for Hollywood tomorrow. I’m only seventeen for crying out loud! I’m still in high school. So that is definitely a disadvantage.
Me:I noticed you are a Christian on your blog, does that play into your composing? If so, how?
Yes, definitely! I know God gave me the ability to compose music, and I’m not going to sit back and not do anything with it. (If you get a chance, read Matthew 25:14-30. It’s one of my favorite parables. It’s always made me see that God’s gifts are not meant to be wasted.)
Me:If you were to speak to a would be, or starting composer in the reading audience right now, what would you tell them? Words of encouragement? Exhortation? To get off and start composing?
1. Never give up. Composing music is something you have to work at.
2. Don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. I’m not! I would hate to look back and wonder, “What if?”
3. Go at it with everything you got. Don’t light heartily skip around, barely putting any effort in. Actually stretch yourself and make yourself work. And this leads into my final piece of advice…
4. Don’t limit yourself. Try to compose to every genre you can. If you can compose to a lot of genres, it will be extremely beneficial to you in the future!
Me:In conclusion, are there any last words you’d like to leave us with?
First, I would like to praise my Savior for the opportunities He has given to me and my purpose in life is to serve and honor him with music. Second, if you get a chance, please head over to my blog (jonmmusic.blogspot.com) or my website (jonathanmaiocco.com) and let me know what you think of my music. I’m always looking for some advice! And finally, thank you so much for interviewing me. It was fun!
Wow! That was a sweet interview Jon! Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, and God bless in your endeavors.
As a reader you can currently purchase Jon's music from his website, and even get a few free tracks for signing up!