Having achieved tremendous success with his YouTube pop, video game, and anime arrangements for piano, our Signature Artist Kyle Landry was kind enough to take time out of the SoCal sun to answer our questions about music, the creative process, and cheese platters – yes, you read that right!
You started playing aged 8? Tell us about your musical journey.
My mom always played piano for me when I was very little. Many times this was the rags of Scott Joplin
, which I danced to around the room. I especially liked the Maple Leaf Rag
! Eventually when I was 4, my parents put my sister in piano lessons with a local teacher when she was 7. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but by the time I was 6 or 7, I became very envious and also wanted lessons. My parents finally let me take lessons at the age of 8, and I’ve been playing piano every day since!
You have both modern and classical composer influences, so how do you choose what to arrange?
Most of my arrangement choices come from fan suggestions and my own interests. However, sometimes I’ll arrange something specifically for a friend!
What’s your creative process for arranging piano parts?
There isn’t too much to it, actually! I usually listen to the original piece once or twice, then I start sight reading a previously existing piano arrangement and roll with it. Often times I record my arrangement within a few takes, other times it can take me months to perfect an arrangement. It’s a different process every time, but I will say that each and every time utilizes intuition and improvisation to reach a final product.
How did your musical training help with your professional career?
The guidance from my childhood teacher really set the framework for my knowledge of music and how to play the piano. Once I made it to conservatory, learning music theory really filled in all the gaps necessary to help make a career in music.
Do you have any advice for the aspiring piano players and arrangers out there?
Stay focused. Do not give up. If you make mistakes, stop, back up, and try that spot again, over and over, until you feel comfortable with it. Stay consistent! Practice every day no matter what. It should be as important as taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
I urge all piano students to practice at least 1 hour a day as a beginner, 2 hours a day as an intermediate, and 3-6 hours a day as advanced. As for arranging, it will take a bit more than practice. You may want to enroll yourself in some music theory courses or have private music theory instruction.
You should be attempting harmonic and structural analysis on pieces that interest you. You should be improvising daily, and working on writing your own music. Try making variations on your favorite simple tune, or try arranging a pop song.
The combination of your piano practice, music theory knowledge, and years of time spent arranging will show you results!
And finally, we see from your Instagram that you also create fine food platters! Since we’re in the cheese state (WI), we have to ask: What’s your favorite cheese?
Ha! This is a question I did not expect. I love cooking and creating little things to eat in general! As far as cheese goes, it’s hard to really choose a favorite. I’m partial to most cheeses, except goat! Would it be lame of me to say I’m a huge fan of cheddar?
Nope, not lame at all, Kyle! A big thank you to Kyle for sharing his answers with us, and remember, you can find all of Kyle’s sheet music arrangements at Musicnotes. #staymusical
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