We listen to musicians every day, on Spotify, on the way to school, or even in the bath. Although music can be such a big part and influence in our lives, not many of us know how they do it. People might wonder how musicians come up with lyrics, how long it takes to make the music and who was it who inspired them to record music. Former ASL student Peter Larsen is able to give an insight into the world of musicians as he has just released his first album, This Time. Larsen is now a junior in high school in California but says that his time in London had a big influence on him as a musician.
Although Larsen began on the musical path when he learned to play piano at age six, it wasn’t until grade 8 when he began playing the guitar. Larsen moved to ASL for one year in eighth grade. When he arrived in London the summer before school started, he didn’t know anyone. So, to fill the time, he busied himself by purchasing a guitar and practicing constantly. “I played every day to the point where I was playing guitar for five hours on Saturdays,” said Larsen.
“London shaped my music… Without London, I don’t think I’d be in the place I am now,” Larsen said.
Although he has been recording music since he arrived in London, he did not publish any of those tracks; they were just for fun. Larsen said that if he hadn’t moved to London and not known anyone, he would not have had all that free time, which meant he would never have been able to practice guitar for so many hours on end. He doesn’t think he would be songwriting if he had never come to London.
Larsen improved his ability to play guitar when he was mentored by Mete Ege, one of his eighth-grade music teachers. During the Carousel portion of music class, Mr. Ege taught Larsen and his classmates recording techniques in Garageband. “Quickly I became aware of him because he was very enthusiastic in class,” said Mr. Ege.
Mr. Ege also tutored Larsen separately in music theory and guitar. Listening to Larsen’s music, Mr. Ege can see all of the different styles within it. “Why play just one thing when you can explore different styles of music?” said Mr. Ege. “Learning to play an instrument makes you a better person, and it opens doors in your social environment
Larsen said that he was inspired by many people to come out with his first album. He was inspired by his family and Mr. Ege, but Larsen was particularly inspired by the band Young the Giant and James Bay, a singer-songwriter.
Larsen is also a singer-songwriter, and he describes his musical style as pop, singer-songwriting, and alternative. Peter plays all of the instruments in his songs except for the drums, which were programmed into a computer. He played the bass, the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, and piano. He also sang lead and backup vocals.
Larsen recorded himself playing one instrument and then played it on a loop to create his music. The producer of Larsen’s music is Gannin Arnold, Larsen’s guitar teacher in California. Mr. Arnold is a multi-instrumentalist and he has produced records for artists from the Voice and American Idol. Mr. Arnold also won a GMA Dove award for great achievement in the Christian music industry.
Larsen plans to introduce people to his music by posting on social media, getting into local magazines and school magazines. He plans to do small house concerts with nonprofit charity companies. Larsen released his first album on iTunes and Spotify. He had around 1500 listens on Spotify since his album was published, on September 22nd and before any articles were published about him.
Larsen imagines that music could be a future job. However, he knows that it can’t be his only option. “I’m realistic in knowing that it’s very hard to make it in the musical industry,” said Larsen.
Larsen’s advice for middle school students planning to release songs on Spotify or iTunes is “Practice really hard. Practice a lot.” He believes that “The worst thing you can do is publish a song then not like it.”
After Larsen finished his songs he listened to them over and over before showing it to anyone or releasing the album. He did this so that he was sure that his songs were the best they could be and that he liked them.