Transcription: 0362 - Will Kuhn

Released: August 15, 2021

Darwin: Okay. Today, I have the opportunity of to talk to somebody who I actually have been wanting to talk to for quite a while. His name's Will Kuhn, and he is somebody that anyone in the Ableton Live circles will recognize. He's gotten a fair amount of notoriety for his work as an educator, using Ableton Live to teach in high schools. But, he has a lot more on his plate and on his resume than that. So we're going to get into that a little bit. So with no further ado, let's say "Hi" to Will. Thanks a lot for taking the time to chat with me. I look at kind of what your gig is, and I'm surprised that you have any free time at all. You seem to keep a pretty full plate.

Will Kuhn: Yeah, I guess I do like to stay busy and the nature of teaching in a public high school and keeping a full program healthy and running, I guess it's kind of a lifestyle choice in some ways, but I don't think I'm burnt out yet!

Darwin: Well, you don't seem to be, because in addition to doing your teaching and keeping that program going, you just released a book in combination with Ethan Hein all about the process and the mechanism of pullingm a program together. Can you kind of give the elevator pitch of what you've got with that book?

Will: Yeah. So I guess the elevator pitch is there wasn't really a good resource on how to set up a high school Music Tech program. So we made one, there's plenty of resources on how to manage band programs and how to manage orchestra programs and how to teach elementary with various methods. And so this was our attempt at making an all-in-one philosophy, theory, and practice of teaching Music Tech in a high school. So it takes you through everything that you need philosophy-wise, practically, lesson plans. It's got a full semester of lesson plans in it, and also how to design those lessons.

Darwin: I was actually pretty blown away by what I saw there because I expected to see ideas for lesson plans and stuff like that. What I didn't expect was sections of the book that we're dedicated to ways that you sell a program to the school. And here's a way that you kind of integrate classroom and after school as kind of a connected system. I mean, you did a lot things that are really clearly based off of your experiences teaching. And I think we get a chance to benefit from both the successes and the failures that you've had over that time.

Will: Yeah. Failure is the best teacher. That's what Yoda said. But, in a way the earliest versions of this book, it was shortly after we came out with Interactive Composition and the editor asked me to come up with some ideas, for something that's more focused towards teachers. And so I thought this was kind of the chance to write the manifesto because I had come up with this program that seemed to be sustainable. It had a lot of the trappings of a band or choir program in a high school. So it had like a nice vertical track where kids could just kind of be exclusive to that program if they wanted to, or you could just kind of touch and go and take the beginner class and get a good experience; that way we have performing groups and some TV studio and recording studio and stuff.

So we had all this stuff and I was like, okay, it's time to get this all down so that other people can do this, because that was my problem. When I started, there weren't that many other programs out there, certainly not in the local area of Cincinnati. So, I looked to some people who were already in the game early, people like Barbara Freedman and people like Richard McCready that are like out there already involved in doing conference presentations and stuff. And, I came up with this the rough outline of the book, along with the lesson plans I was teaching and the philosophy things I wanted to get across. There's some philosophical underpinnings to why I teach the way I do and things that an average high school music teacher might need to recalibrate to teach beginners again, because a lot of high school music teachers are used to teaching an already narrowed down pool of players.

And so they need to recalibrate expectations for this group. Also like how formal that group is expecting the training to be, which is quite a bit less formal than they're used to usually. And that's when Ethan came on, I realized I needed some of that research oomph to get those points across. And, he's a fabulous researcher and a really good writer, too. So he was able to take some of these things that I intuitively figured out in practice, and was able to tie them to actual research and make something that's useful, maybe for college music professors, as well as like new music teachers, too.

Darwin: When you talk about research, you're talking about like educational techniques and educational concepts and tying that in with the work that you're doing. Right?

Will: Okay. Here's a good example of something that just was not formal enough in my own experience to come across to the average serious music teacher that needs some backing to what they're reading about. A principle that I've applied in classes. And we refer to this in the book too. It just comes from Star Trek. It's "The Prime Directive". To me it actually comes a little bit from, there's a lot of parallels we draw between the way that we teach Music Tech and art classes. And that was kind of a thing I remember from art class, it being kind of a big deal to change somebody's work or to finish it for them or something like that became like a problematic thing to do. And I felt like that's a thing that it's for music teachers that doesn't really come across, beause we're so used to just playing somebody else's music. We're used to respecting some score that's handed to us, but not necessarily our own creative stuff. So that's the thought process for me when I'm teaching was like, if I need to like fix a student's projects or get them back on track, I'm going to do it with as little interference as possible.

And I'm going to use stuff that's already in their project as much as possible without creating new material for it. And that basic thought has influenced a lot of what I do, from what songs the EMG group is going to pick to play, to just how I run a meeting with students, like everything, you know? So it seemed to be a good principal, but I can't just say this is based on Star Trek. So luckily Ethan is able to see something like that and say, oh yeah, this reminds me of actual research that I've read and put that into some footnotes that might be useful to actual people that read a lot of books. The philosophy of going back to teaching beginners at the high school level, it's not just like teaching beginners, but also like teaching the creative process to students, which I feel that's kind of not addressed in a lot of music ed programs at the very most you're taught how to arrange songs, but not necessarily how to write songs and how a song is put together and things like that.

So, people trying to teach a project-based music class end up figuring these things out in the wild and figuring them out on their own. So that's kind of the attempt in this guide was, let's share some experience and how to create projects that lead students through this golden path of experiences that gets them to independence, as fast as you can with as little complication as possible.

Darwin: That makes a lot of sense. Now you actually were involved in a prior book, which you mentioned there for a second, what was it, Interactive Composition? You did that with DJ Manzo. So, that was kind of along the lines of a recipe book and maybe some kind of a teaching project concept too.

Will: Our guiding document during that book was those O'Reilly computer programming books where it's just like, now we're going to make this here's a hundred steps. That book from the outset, was a technical book and we even included stuff like assumptions about the reader, and just things like a C++ book would have or something.

Darwin: You know, it really spoke to a lot of people I know. And because there seemed to be a lot of people coming to electronic music that have kind of a technical background. And so it seems like you're able to really kind of like marry those things together in a pretty useful way.

Will: Yeah. And well in a way genre-based projects in that book were based off of the prep work that I would do for my Music Tech 2 class. So, not necessarily things I would do with my own students, but, things I would do before leading them through the easy part of that project. So like building the entire Max patch we're going to use, I don't do that with them necessarily. So I guess that's a big thrust in this book is just teaching music teachers, how to design projects and that have a predictable outcome for the lowest end of students, the real basic kids that just want an experience. I picture somebody buying a whale-watching tour. They just want to see the whale.

Will: They don't need to know a lot about Marine biology or how the boat works, they just want to see the whale. Versus kids who are advanced and want to know how to do everything; projects that can meet both of those needs at the same time in about the same timeframe. That's the magic trick that the successful music teachers, Music Tech teachers out there figure that out for their school populations. And so this book tries to like break down how that works. So instead of taking you through just like a series of random projects, it takes you through three categories of projects and what you get by teaching that category. So like there's a section on audio projects, the section on MIDI projects, and there's a section on, I think we just call them like "out of the box" projects that try to teach creativity in some way. We don't necessarily teach any of that in that order, but you need some of those categories into your own sequence to get kids where they would want to be at the end of a semester or a year.

Darwin: So you are really adept at kind of marrying all these things together. One of the things I like to do on my podcast is talk to people about how they got to be the artist, educator, maker that they are. And, I am really curious in your case, you clearly have both a love and a lot of experience in education, but clearly, especially you go through the book and kind of the level of detail at which you know Ableton Live really points to the fact that you're into this thing too. And I'm just wondering, what is it coming up - were you, a band kid that got into electronic music, a teacher that got into music and then electronic, how did you get to where you're at and particularly how did you come to embrace electronic music and specific?

Will: Yeah, I mean, it's funny to piece it together. I grew up taking drum lessons and I was in band and I became a music ed major. And did all the stuff that you would do, recitals and marching band and things like that. I was into electronic music almost the whole time though. I looked back sometimes at some of the CDs and things that my dad had laying around the house, that now I realize were pretty unusual to have like a bunch of Art Of Noise records or a bunch of like Isao Tomita recordings and stuff like, so I was exposed to some of that stuff and I got into like electronic dance music in high school, mainly because there was some video games that had a soundtrack that I liked and, a couple of friends introduced me to Aphex Twin music and stuff like that.

Will: So, that kind of appealed to the drummer in me, just with all of the really complicated percussion stuff that you could do. But then, that was just in the background. I admired the teachers I had who could arrange music. So I got into trying to do that and, downloading stuff like Finale and trying to like make scores for us to play and stuff. And that was kind of my thought during college was, I'm going to be a band director, but I'm also going to have a side hustle writing people's marching band shows or something. So I did a little bit of that during college and like right afterwards, it just about burnt me out. I couldn't do that for pay and the pressure that you have with the timelines and stuff. I wrote exactly one marching band show and I was very proud of it.

And then I just, I had nothing else in me after that. So things kind of collided a couple of years into me being a junior high band director, the opportunity arose to start a new class that needed to be in an empty computer lab and we needed more electives. And it was like serendipity that our department chair at the time just said, oh, what about a Music Technology class? That was all the planning that went into it. And I applied to transfer to that and nobody had any expectations for it. I think at the time I was a pretty young and naive teacher and people probably thought either this will succeed or it'll fail spectacularly, and it'll be easy to get rid of this guy or whatever, but hey, it worked out.

And so like when I started that class, I realized the clientele was very different. Like most of the students the first year were seniors that still needed like an arts credit to graduate. It was like kids that waited four years to figure out their basic requirements. So it's like decently low end students in those first couple of semesters. And we've just had a lab of old bubble shaped iMacs and the first version of GarageBand. And we're just like learning it together and making whatever we could make. So I would be a few days ahead of the kids just like, "Let's see, how would you do a remix in this? How would you do a drum machine?" That's when I started to kind of draw on what I knew from electronic music is like, okay, can we sample a break beat?

Will: Can we do like a synth sequence? I'm just like trying to figure out how we can make something that's real simplified that is also satisfying. That is not just the pre-packaged loops, because those are fun for a little while, but they get old fast when you start recognizing them. So that was our early success, just showing a couple of those old project. I think we had one where it's like GarageBand didn't have a drum machine that you could sample on to. So we just recorded coughs and fist pounding on the table and stuff, and just like cut them. So they would be on the beat grid. I think I showed that project to our curriculum director and she was like, 'Well, how much money do you want?', and she was very happy with that.

Will: And I think that was the first time that particular person had ever given the music department any money. Cause I mean, they were just looking for new ideas and this was a new idea. So yeah, I mean it's after another year or that was my whole schedule. It's just the classes filled up and the demand was there. And, I was pretty hesitant at first to go full blast with it, because every school has a band, but if we get laid off or something it looks like I got forced. It was a risk, but it was a risk that paid off. That was maybe about 15 years ago.

Darwin: Yeah. It sounds like that was kind of the breakthrough point though, when you got this person to all of a sudden start with doing some funding, It was sort of the simple matter of like showing some kids having success. Now, do you think that a part of it was that you had put together a program that didn't require a huge amount of musical background? I mean was that a part of the allure of it, which was that it could be approached by a wide variety of potential students.

Will: Oh yeah. I mean, I always give this advice when people are pitching new classes, is that administrators of a school - they have kind of an overwhelming job of making all of these moving pieces work together. And if your new class can solve some of their problems, that's a way more compelling argument, then "Look at how educational this is", right. We should have five band directors because that's going to make our intonation better or something. We can get back to that later. So in this case, here's a class that beginners can take, it's only a semester long. So the time commitment is not bad, it can kind of fit into anybody's schedule. I'm not picky about who takes it and they can get their fine arts credit with it, or they can get their tech credit with it. And it's just like an easy check box. So like that's the shame of a lot of school's music departments, if they have a class like that, I've heard the term like "dumping ground" thrown around before where it's like, I'm going to get this like unfiltered mass of students who may not want to take the class.

And it takes that, flips it on its head and says, well, here's a class that is so popular now that there are more kids taking this class than there are in the band program. And it doesn't compete with the band program; if anything, it competes with other one semester one-off classes. So, they might take Music Tech instead of psychology, but they're not going to take it instead of band. So when you find success with the administration, then you start getting pushback from other parties in the other music, teachers might be pushing back. And so that's something we write about where we take it through all the different stakeholders and what they might say about it.

Darwin: I think it's important. The name of the book is actually "Electronic Music School, A Contemporary Approach to Teaching Musical Creativity. I do think that there's a couple of important words there, first of all, your dedication to school and education, but also this idea that it's a contemporary approach. One of the parts of the book that I found really fascinating was you talking about developing genre-focused lessons and how you kind of pay attention to when something is coming on as a genre that's going to be engaging. And also how to recognize when all of a sudden that's going to make you look like a dinosaur. And I thought that that was a really savvy thing to talk about because, man, it's so easy to lose a connection with what is contemporary and a 17 year-old will just clock you out.

Will: Yes. I'm glad you picked up on that, because that is, I think a lot of music teachers who would like to do this, their fear is that either they say something like, I'm not cool enough to teach that, or they say I don't want to look foolish. Like I am cool and I don't want to look foolish and teaching the wrong stuff. Or the kids don't like my music or something. And it's like, that's the most fun part of the job is getting to have like a finger to the wind of what those trends are and just following them. And I think that's kind of fun, cause I'm always getting to listen to new music that way, and I'm not just gonna put on Radiohead and whatever else I was listening to in college - like most people do.

And I'm always going to hear something new, probably a little before people hear it, regularly. So, I mean, that's an interesting one that started with the very first version of the sampling project when I would start teaching kids how to sample things from the wild. At the time when we first started out, it was like, bring your iPod in and I will attach it to the computer and download your songs. Now it's like grab something off of YouTube or something - that is like the secret espionage project for me is when I'm going around and helping people sample stuff. I can see... oh, well we live in Ohio. So 21 pilots is like a popular band. And I know that that's like mainstream here. So like, oh, I see you're one of those people.

Okay, good. And then I see this other person that's into some oldies. And that's always interesting to me cause they're all different than my oldest. So it's like we'll go through like a weird Fleetwood Mac phase where there's a bunch of kids into that. It's like, oh, interesting. That must be what your parents brought you up on. And then there's always the real cutting edge kids that are trying to pick things that nobody's heard before. And that's where you get this really interesting, like research almost like okay, so the music snobs are listening to this and I can identify the more basic tastes with this kind of song. And you know, their parents are about this old, and you can just kind of piece it together. I mean the trick right now is actually, I'm bringing on like a helper to help me with the electronic music group next year.

And I was explaining to her like what the first day is like, cause that's where the highest end kids will kind of put the music group together. And like the first meeting is like, let's do the white board with all the songs you want to do. And I always make my own list and then I don't share like any of it at that meeting, but I just try to like predict what it's going to be based on previous trends. And then I can see how far off I was. So I was like start making your playlist and then be ready to just chuck it out the window.

Darwin: That's funny. Well, now you mentioned this idea of the electronic music group. Another part of your book talks about sort of integrating the classroom, after-school, but also providing a place for students that want to embrace this as kind of their primary educational effort. Again, that's something that is kind of unusual, but it's something that you put in some focus on. What is it that you saw in your experience that led you down the path of saying well, in addition to just having classes and maybe an after-school program, that putting together standalone groups and club-like groups was an important part of this.

Will: That comes all from like the band training, cause a good band program. Doesn't just have a band class, it's got a marching band, a pep band and jazz band, ensembles, there's individual things. There's big groups, there's fun stuff. There's serious stuff. All of that came from that expectation of what does a fully fledged program look like? So of all of the activities that you'd list in a given week, like we've got Music Tech 1 and 2, the classes we've got the TV Production class, which includes mostly advanced students from those classes - cause they all know me. There's recording club, which is just like open studio time. There's film club, which is just like, let's sit around and talk about movies. That's like younger kids that are in that one. There's an EMG that meets twice a week and that's like the most advanced.

And so it's like, all of the ones that are for the younger kids are often run by the older kids. So like there's leadership from the TV class runs film club. EMG is pretty involved with the recording club kids, and you know, having them open the gigs up and stuff, in a way that's like you've got your recruiting pipeline of kids who are really into this stuff and want to spend time and have time to spend doing extra. And that's what makes it fully fledged as you've got a home for some of these kids that may not have that in the other parts of the music department and that kind of stuff just adds the cache to the program because then your average freshmen coming into Music Tech 1 sees all these posters on the wall with like album covers and kids performing. And it just looks like there's a lot of good stuff coming on. I mean that literally makes the basic lessons more teachable because then they trust you more and they say, oh, this guys look at all that performance crap over there. This must be a happening place. I can trust him.

Darwin: Right. Yeah. That's that's awesome. I hadn't really thought about trust being an important part of this, but it really is. And it's interesting cause that you talk about this as sort of like paralleling traditional band type stuff. I guess I never really thought about it in that way. Of course I'm not a band teacher, so why would I, but this idea that part of what you do in a full-fledged music program at a high school is sort of like have Drum Corps and some of your older drummers are in there kind of teaching the younger drummers, how to act, how to work out, to practice all these kinds of things. There's a lot of modeling that goes on as a result of that. And I can see where what you're doing here really does have that kind of modeling orientation to it.

Will: You don't have to work as hard if the kids are pushing each other too. When you've got the EMG group working together or the TV studio group, and they all have like a deadline of getting the show done by a certain time, that's basically all I do in that class after we like learn the basics, it's like every day I just got the whiteboard of all the different video projects that we're working on. That's a status update. Give me an update, give me an update, give me an update. All right. When are you filming this? And we just start putting the weekly schedule together and it's like, okay, let's get it done. I want to see it. It becomes like a project management kind of role instead of a, "I'm going to tell you everything that you need to do" role.

Darwin: Now, you mentioned before that a lot of times when people look at something like Music Tech, they get worried about the formalism of training and how it might align with educational processes or expectations. And I'm wondering how do you deal with that? Frankly, a lot of times educational institutions can have a certain amount of politics around teaching process, around educational goals, around formalism that you have got to have to deal with in some way, right?

Will: Not as much as you might think, because when the rubber meets the road, in an average high school medium size like ours, the administration is concerned about the students having fun and feeling successful in the thing that's not required. So whether that's an afterschool group or an elective class, there's no state requirements about it. Music standards and such are written in an open enough way that you can interpret most of your activities through them. So from the like official level, in my experience, administration - the people who are like can fire you - are they're concerned with people being happy, like a customer service kind of standpoint. Now, other music teachers, when you're trying to sell them on the idea of let's do a class on basically bedroom beat making where it's real informal and it's based on pop music, that's where people kind of bristle.

Will: Sometimes they say we have like a series of quotes in there. Things people have said to us, but it's usually some variation on: "This is cheating. You are skipping all of the steps that we were taught were required." And my answer to that is we were taught those steps because of requirements that existed at one point. So why is it that in college we're taught basic piano and basic theory, and then you can do counterpoint and writing melodies later, versus what people on the ground do, which is they pick up a guitar and learn a few chords and they just start singing over it. So there's a huge divide. And a lot of that's based on what was accessible and what is now accessible is very different than what was, when a lot of those theory texts were being devised. Flip that all on its head and say, you have a group of students who normally would not be taking any music class.

They would be taking gym or something instead. And so the expectations for like, what are you doing that's better than that - anything you're doing is going to be better than not taking a class. So what do they need to know? You know, we're writing electronic music, they'll need to know how to program drum beats. And so instead of learning how to drum in real time, we just need to know a couple of the rules of drumming and how do you put the snares on two and four? And how do you make a couple of different, very common kick drum grooves, the kind of stuff that a average drum set player would learn right at the beginning, but not even in real time, because you can just program it. And so now we've got an interface, now the class has a Push at every station.

So how much counting do we need to learn when it's musical counting? It's like, I need to be able to count eight bars and I need to be able to see beats 1, 2, 3, and 4. Do I need to know "one-e-and-a-two-e-and-a"? I might say that just so the musicians know what they're looking at, but the ones who don't and it's just every box and they're like four those is one beat and it's all symbolic. And it stays symbolic instead of needing like an English definition. It's the same with the chord progressions, where it's closer to what a guitarist would learn, where it's like a guitarist is going to learn some basic chords and they might just be happy living there their whole life. They don't need to know a lot about playing in different keys.

Will: They just need to know they might need to move the cable. And so it's like on the Push you need to know this shape and you need to know that the blue one needs to be on the left. And then when you moved to the other one, that's where you start. And then when you move to other ones up and down, sounds pretty good. Diagonal sounds pretty good. There's all the chords that you'd be learning on guitar, probably. So there's our chess moves for that piece. And it's like, you don't need to see what formal terms would I be using in that case? Like, we're going to press the scales button and see a bunch of formal terms and the word scale and the word chord. Do I need to know a lot about sharps and flats?

Maybe not, might I throw an image of a piano up on the screen and say like, if you need to transpose, here's a little map of how many you need to move to get to that next key, but it's almost like you're working backwards from your goal instead of let's start at the beginning of time and learn about music theory and just learn about music theory. We're just like learning what we need to know for that project. So like up until I started doing the Future Bass project, I wasn't really dealing with seventh chords, but it sounded like a lot of those songs are using seventh chords. So I'm like, all right, well, here's how you do a seventh chord. It just has four notes and you make a zigzag instead of a triangle. We're not concerned with like how many half steps are in between each one.

Cause you know, for most students, like I said before they're on the tour, they want to say, "How do I make beats with this stuff?" And well here, let me get you there really easy and painlessly. And there's always students who want to know more that will like inquire more and maybe seek out things on their own more. But that's not like the feature of the class, the feature of the class is mainly, "Let's make music together" and "Let's make 10 projects over the course of a semester that are satisfying." No matter what level you're at, this is going to be a good experience.

Darwin: So you Said that when you started this, you had old bubble iMacs and you were using GarageBand, at some point you embraced Ableton as your teaching tool. You mentioned now that you have pushes at the stations, but also you're getting a lot of attention from Ableton, too. First of all, what caused you to make the switch to Ableton? And secondly, to what extent have you been interacting with them and getting kind of resourcing help from them?

Will: First time we used Ableton Live was for when we started the Music Tech two class, I felt like if we were doing an advanced class, we should use some professional software. And at the time Ableton Live was the only thing that would run on those computers. And I was comfortable with it too. There was something I had to do that needed it. Like it was the only sampler I could get to work, for this project I was performing with and I'd used it for my master's degree and things like that. So I was pretty comfortable with it and I knew that if nothing else, this is going to let us sample stuff and GarageBand doesn't at the time. So I knew that like, okay, because of that, we can do a drum and bass project.

We can do a break beats kind of thing. We can make that kind of music on top of the synth stuff we were doing with GarageBand. I'm trying to think like how I initially got introduced to those guys. And I think when I very first started out and I was trying to network with people, I took a summer job, with SoundTree, the division of Korg that was installing like GEC labs and stuff like that. And they would just like fly you to Georgia and there'd be a brand new high school with a bunch of boxes waiting for you and you just start putting things together. And Jim Franco was the boss of that and he had a part on their website where they had lesson plans.

So I submitted some lesson plans to him. I feel like, he organized something with the Ableton guys and maybe Rick Schmunk over at USC. And they was like, he had a few people he knew were into Ableton Live and a couple people from Ableton and Rick Schmunk. And we all just kind of worked through his lesson plans together for a weekend. And I think that's where I initially like met those guys and just told them about what I was doing at that point. I had already started EMG and had the two levels of the class and we were using Ableton Live in class. So I think that just kind of caught their attention as unusual for 2010 or whenever that was very few people were teaching Music Tech, but even smaller numbers were using their stuff.

And you know, in a way as I used it more and more, I was starting kids on GarageBand and then moving them to Live, when we got to the advanced stuff and like the further we went, I was like this transition's not necessary. Like, all I need to do is come up with a way to get the loop library visible and get a better default template. And we basically got GarageBand, but we don't have to switch programs. So for a while I had a default set that opened up with the exact default set of GarageBand, where it's in the arrangement view and it has a piano and an audio track and very simplified and matched. And there was one year, the year that I decided to transition, I think I had four Music Tech 1 classes, and three of them were on GarageBand as a control group.

And one of them was on Ableton and I just tried to keep them on pace with each other. And I didn't even tell them that any of this was happening. They eventually figured out like some kids in the Ableton class were like, "Are we using different software than the other classes? "And I was like, "I don't know what you're talking about." And that was when I realized I can just keep everybody on Ableton and standardize it. So that way kids go down to the recording studio and it matches, kids need to just do audio for a video project. They all know how to use it. That just became easy to do it that way. And the Push stuff came later, but yeah, that was the transition to just using Live.

Darwin: Right. Very interesting. Well, unfortunately our time is done. I feel like I've only gotten through half of the conversation here, but, before I let you go, your book just came out. People are starting to get copies in their hands now, which means that you're sitting around with tons of free time. What's next? What's next in the hopper from you?

Will: Oh man, next is getting my own kids through high school. I think, this is this year. My daughter's going to be my student for the first time. So that's going to be interesting. I mean, I have a love hate relationship with writing as Ethan and VJ will both tell you. I dread it, I put it off, I procrastinate and then I'll just spit it all out over two weeks. And then it's just like pulling teeth. So I don't know, I'm supposed to do a second edition of Interactive Composition and, that's going to come at some point with better projects. We're both under less pressure with that project, I think, than we were with the first one. So, we're taking our leisurely time with it, which is probably healthy for both of us.

And you know, and the other thing is just like rebuilding the program after COVID; everything kind of took a year off. So the class enrollment numbers look great for next year, so it's gonna be fine. I've got to recruit a new EMG for next year and get all the studio stuff working again. But teaching's a funny profession because there's not necessarily an end point. There's like you get to a point where you feel like it's all working and satisfactory and you've tried to help other people as much as possible. And then you just kind of like build the machine and you watch it go. So, that's kind of the next thing, also I am involved with TI:ME. I should mention that we're rolling out some teacher training programs through that charity that - hopefully it'll be seen some of the light of day soon. It's Technology In Music Education, and our main thing that we do is organize tech-based music teacher training it conventions, but we also have like some online materials we're working on now too, that you can get your TI:ME certification and stuff like that.

Darwin: Fantastic. Well, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to have this chat. It was really fabulous to talk to you.

Will: Yeah. Thanks for having me on.

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