Marcus Warner: An orchestra of one

Photo Permission by - Marcus Warner

Photo Permission by – Marcus Warner

In the past, if you wanted orchestral music for a video game or film, you would had to have organized a recording session with a full-fledged live orchestra. Any mistakes would mean restarting the session, and hiring an orchestra is expensive.

Now, it is possible to create beautiful music from the comfort of your home.

Marcus Warner, an 18-year-old living in residence at the University of Hertfordshire, shows you don’t need a full orchestra to create orchestral music. Currently enrolled in the Composition with Technology for Film and Games program offered by the university, Warner’s goal is to be a film score composer.

Using a combination of live instrument recording and VST’s – virtual studio technology – Warner is able to product his own music. It starts with an idea, then grows into something pleasing to the ear.

“I’ll have watched or I’ll have heard a piece of music and think: Well, that gave me kind of a good emotion,” said Warner. “Then I’ll want to make something similar. I want to feel that emotion again, but make it my own.”

He plays the piano they way he would direct an orchestra. A standard piano has 88 keys and a large range of tones. Each section can be related to a part of the orchestra, and each section has a purpose.

“It’s all sort of there,” said Warner. “The piano is kind of the best because it has 88 notes. That’s a lot of notes. No other instrument really has that many, apart from maybe the harp.”

Computer programs have the ability to create realistic sounding virtual instruments. Making the music as a whole sound realistic, however, takes more skill than just buying the most expensive software.

“A lot of people ask this. People will say they’ve bought some expensive package, but they can’t get it to sound right,” said Warner. “Well, you can buy all the best stuff in the world, but unless you have a handle on how things should really work, not just with the technology, but you also need to know how to orchestrate stuff. You need to know how the orchestra works. You need to know what the lowest note of a cello is. You need to know what to lowest note of a bass is.”

Having a good handle on musical theory helps an artist to understand how to put things together and it’s as important as knowing how to use a-making program. In order to get better at both of these concepts, you need to put in the time.

“It has taken me a solid four years of learning, and I mean solid,” said Warner. “I don’t watch TV. I don’t really play games either. I’ve only got one I play. In order to amuse myself, I’ll play music.”

When putting in the majority of your time to learn something, it has to be something you really enjoy. It’s the passion that drives you.

Music is Warner’s calling, and he has shown you can live your life doing what you love. Already, he has multiple tracks of music on Youtube, and he has two full albums, “Grand Flying Machines” and “Liberation” available for purchase.

Warner has some good advice for anyone wanting to pursue music as a career.

“A good thing somebody told me, if you’re around people who are saying … it’s a bit of a waste of time. Go back to your business studies. Do something worthwhile,” said Warner. “Just get away from them. Be around people who like you for the music and like the music, and they want you to succeed.”

Torin Slik

A student at Kwantlen Polytechnique University in the Bachelors of Journalism program, Torin Slik dreams of becoming a freelance writer.

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