Riley O’Brien – August 6, 1995
Kingston Ontario – Canada
For my entire life (until last September) I have lived in Kingston Ontario, Canada. Before Ottawa, Kingston used to be the capital of Canada.
In 2013 I started my music and tech media studies at St. Lawrence College in Kingston. I did two years there focusing mainly on musical theory, compositional analysis, history and recording.
Academically I loved composing my first Electroacoustic Composition and writing my first film score along with recording all the sound effects for the short. I enjoyed the composition section of the course the most. I never thought I’d compose an Electroacoustic composition before. The audio post production module was my favourite because of the film scoring project and the studying of films on how the sound design is done.
Non – Academically I love travelling around Ireland. Always on the lookout for a good pub playing the Irish favourites. In terms of college pastimes I collect vinyl records from the 50’s and 60’s, movies are a passion and I play multiple instruments along with composing my own music. The Clancy Brothers and the Wolfe Tones are my favourite groups.
Music Technology is my current course. It is an in-depth look at the technology used in the music industry as well as the technology to create music. The first two years comprise on composing and musical theory.
The projects in this course vary from creating music with computer programs to recording full bands in the recording studio. Composition plays a large part throughout the course. The knowledge of music programs (Pro Tools, Sibelieus & MAX) is taught in depth, by the end of the course, you’ll know how to run an entire studio.
The biggest challenge of my course was the lack of knowledge I have with technology. I never studied or used any of the programs we used this year so it was a very steep learning curve. Thankfully the lads helped me out and I managed to make my way through the programs. Designing and creating our own synthesizer was literally impossible. That was a month of being a lost sheep but we all worked together and all pulled through.
The problem with studying in the course, you don’t have much free time at all to be fully participating in the societies. Near every night we worked until the school closed and we’d start class first thing in the morning.
The course itself is a society really if you think about it. We were all in it together and everyone pitched in with everyone’s project. We do a lot of musical projects so that keeps us busy on the off weeks like reading week and Easter Break.
Upon the completion of my work placement, I have entered the Clancy Brothers song writing competition.
My hope is to finish level eight here in IT Tralee and then take a master’s degree on musical composition in Cork University for a year. From there, I’m leaving that open for suggestions. I do however hope to live in Ireland in the future either in Galway or Kerry.
The places I have travelled so far:
I’ve been to most of the major tourist spots on the East coast; Galway, Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, the Connemara down to Cork, the Ring of Kerry, and Killarney. Throughout this semester I was on work placement with KETB and had the chance to explore through our own backyard, like the Banna Strand, Killorglin, Listowel, Castlemaine and Ardfert.
I would highly recommend Galway, Aran Islands and the East Coast of Ireland. Landmarks like the Burren and Cliffs are Moher are unbelievable to see. I tell anyone who wants to come over to Ireland, the places to see are Kerry and Galway. We are very lucky to be living a place like Kerry.
What I want to say is:
Ireland is a fantastic place to live and study in. It was only days before the deadline for applications. So, my choice to come to Ireland was very last minute but I still stand by my statement, moving here was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I believe it’s the friendliest place, the pub experience, you will only get here. Only in Ireland does the whole pub end up singing Will You Go Lassie Go or the Parting Glass, it’s an absolutely fantastic experience.