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Turning Dreams Into Reality: Jason Cohen’s Empowering Journey to Creating the “Parallel Destinies” Album

Dreams and Self-Doubt

For the past decade, if you were to ask me about my ultimate musical and life aspiration, it has always been to compose my own album. However, the sheer magnitude of the task often left me paralyzed, caught in a web of self-doubt and negative inner dialogue. I felt like a baby (I often do) who had something to say but couldn’t get the words out.  

I knew there was a certain style of music I wanted to put out into the world, but I didn’t yet have the vocabulary or technical facility to execute it, coming purely from a drumming background.

Experimenting and Taking Action

So I found myself calling all my favorite musicians, forming original bands and jamming with as many people as possible. I played with lots of amazing people, built lifelong friendships, devoured burritos, toured extensively, built great memories and made lots of great music.  

While I cherished those moments, a part of me felt as though my message remained trapped within me, unexpressed. Have you ever had those nightmares where you scream and no words come out? It’s kind of like that, but less dramatic, or at least less scary.  Well maybe not, it’s scary to me to think of going through life and not having the courage to follow your dreams. 

Throughout these experiences, I inched closer to translating my musical ideas and gradually realized that I had been searching for an interpreter to help me get my vision across. But then it hit me — what if I learned a new language instead?

A New Language

Enter electronic music and Ableton Live. It feels like a lifetime ago when I had the good fortune of attending electronic music classes in high school (a big shout out to Mr. Evans!). Back then, we used Pro Tools and analog synthesizers that relied on floppy disks. These disks were reminiscent of external hard drives, but could only store a handful of low-resolution pictures.

In hindsight, it’s almost as if I caught a glimpse of my future soulmate but failed to recognize it at the time. During those early years, I developed a profound love for Drum N Bass, Hip Hop, and was utterly captivated by DJ Shadow’s groundbreaking album, “Endtroducing.” Yet, it would be many years before I stumbled upon Ableton Live, which was ultimately better suited to the style of music I aspired to create.

Sharing A Love for Electronic Music

Fast forward and my passion for electronic music intensified to the point where I approached Stages with a proposition—could I teach lessons, construct classes, and organize summer camps centered around electronic music? 

After years of teaching, Stages enlisted the help of a remarkable consultant named Daniel Merril (AKA Apath Untold) to supplement my education and collaborate on building our four-level program. Today, Dan is not only a cherished friend but also someone who instilled in me the necessary skills and confidence to produce, mix, and master my very own album. I’m immensely proud of this record, but what truly fulfills me is staying committed to my journey and aspirations.

Ten Tips to Turn Your Musical Dreams Into Reality

    1. Just start! I cannot emphasize this enough. Planning is crucial, but action is what truly matters.
    2. Embrace mistakes rather than fearing them. They are the gateway to growth and learning. You must make hundreds of mistakes; they serve as the key to unlocking your potential.
    3. Seek out a mentor whom you trust and who possesses greater knowledge than you do
    4. Listen to lots of music for inspiration.
    5. Keep a list of big goals in place you can see everyday.
    6. Utilize Technology (such as Google Docs) to Organize Your Goals and Track Action Items.
    7. When you get stuck, pivot to a different task for a while to freshen your perspective.
    8. Always try to do your best at every step of the way. Any creative project is a collection of thousands of decisions, so treat each one with care.
    9. Take breaks. I like to go out into nature to get inspired.
    10. Even if you don’t have a successful music day, celebrate just showing up.

 

See Jason Perform the Album LIVE

Jason will be performing his debut album “Parallel Destines” LIVE at Stages on September 15th! Grab your tickets early!

Study Electronic Music

If you’d like to follow in Jason’s footsteps and take your own journey of discovery into electronic music, he’ll be teaching a 15-week course in Ableton Live this Fall. Email us to be notified when the full schedule is released so you can grab a spot. Only 8 students per class!

Baltimore's Premier Recording Studio

Are you ready to record?

 studio@stagesmusicarts.com  | 443-353-5307

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