I made a Radiolab-like interview, but it has a tiny, tiny twist: the interviewee does not talk. Instead, he answers questions by improvising on his electric keyboard.
The interviewee is supposed to be me, Bailey. The content of the interview goes over the story of how I came to be good at piano improv. It lists the three things that got me where I am now…
- I first learned how to improvise when I joined my high school’s jazz band.
- As I stayed in jazz band, I found that practicing for band songs afforded me little time to practice improvising.
- I left jazz band, allowing me to practice what I wanted.
I comment on each thing by improvising a little song. Each song represents its own emotion.
This interview is part of a talk show I made up called Improvising on Pianos. Since the interviewee is already supposed to be me, the show’s host had to be someone different. Thus, I made up a character named Peter Pantsless to serve as the host. I gave him a dumb voice to emphasize that he’s not meant to be me.
I had two big inspirations for this draft. One was Radiolab. The high energy in its podcasts gave me direction for the feel of my audio story. Another was The Dori Monson Show, a radio talk show my mom listens to a lot. The sense of fascination the host has during the show’s interview portions became the basis for Peter Pantsless.
The first step I took in making this draft was recording a narration segment for the beginning. After that, I recorded one question for each part of my story. I wanted to explain the story more thoroughly, but I had to make the talking parts short so everything could stay under two minutes.
The fun part was recording myself playing piano. For each interview answer, I recorded many takes of myself improvising a short melody. I then put the best take into my audio story. In addition to a melody, the third answer utilized multiple other tracks I made. I wanted the third answer to be a grand finale, so I gave it a fuller sound. I also recorded background music, since this would be a good way to keep high energy going throughout the interview.
On the technical side, making this draft wasn’t glamorous. Let me be clear about something: putting together music in Audition is hard. It is very hard. Lining up tracks with each other took hours to do.
I completed the background music by copying and pasting the same note progression audio. I had to cut both ends of that audio very carefully so that the background music would have a steady beat.
Cutting the ends of the first answer’s audio took a lot of effort too. This answer’s beat needed to line up well with the background music.
Thankfully, by the time I got to editing the third answer, I was pretty well-practiced at lining up the audio. I needed to line up four different tracks, but I managed to do so quickly by organizing separate parts of each track.
To finish up, I adjusted the volume for each bit of audio. By doing this, I emphasized certain tracks over others.
If I must name the thing that gave me the most difficulty, then it is the lack of precision for moving tracks around. Because I couldn’t move the music tracks exactly where I wanted, I had to rely more on cutting the ends of audio to make sure things were lined up.
My suggestion to someone else using Audition is to avoid mixing music. Audition doesn’t seem to be designed for this. If you want a high-quality way to mix music, I recommend finding different software.
That said, my current audio story has terrible quality. Despite my time taken lining tracks up, the timing is still far from perfect. My audio story is definitely incomplete, but I plan for its final draft to be much better. Between now and next Friday, I aim to line the music tracks up even more carefully. I also want to replace the third answer’s current melody with a better one, and I want to change the talking parts a bit so more narration is included.
No citations are necessary for my audio story. Everything in it is recorded by myself.