It’s Lit

Photo courtesy of Josh Pirog

“Music is dope,” Josh Pirog explains. “It’s the only inanimate thing that [can] completely brighten my day. It’s very powerful.” As a kid growing up, Josh enjoyed singing. “I think “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 was my favorite song throughout elementary school,” he recounts. “[Then] I started guitar in 8th grade because you could actually sing and play at the same time, [and] I taught myself [guitar] from online websites and YouTube.”

Josh Pirog’s love of music has continued through his college years. As a second-year Music and Technology major minoring in Computer Science, Josh is looking to get a “well-rounded approach to music from both an artistic and technical standpoint,” he explains. Moreover, Josh is passionate about people and how he can “be a light to others”. Josh recounts, “Music is a[n] outlet and medium for portraying thoughts and feelings and connecting with people on a personal level. There are many times I’ve listened to a song that’s changed my mood, day, or even week for the better. I want to be responsible for making music like that. Whether it is in the audio engineering aspect, production stage, or songwriting stage I want to be apart of making the music that will impact people and make them happy.”

In addition to his academic pursuits, Josh is very active on campus. He is involved with the Stevens Christian Fellowship and the Audio Engineering Club, and his hobbies include music production, songwriting, tennis, guitar, and singing.

During his freshman year, Josh was an engineering major; however during his first semester he realized that the major was not for him. Josh reveals, “Compared to high school, I was now looking at what I want to do with my life. Before college, I was in high school chorus, record[ed] and produc[ed] my own music on YouTube [and] Sound cloud, and play[ed] at open mics in my town. So it [my change in major] wasn’t a sudden change of heart. I had the idea of doing music on the side and minoring in it, but then I realized I would never be as good as I wanted to be. I had to commit to it fully in order to reach my [full] potential, so I did.” He adds, “Of course there were doubts, but about a month after I switched to Music and Technology I felt like I belonged there. I’m also doing a Computer Science minor so I’m very excited about the future.”

Like any other academic class, music takes “patience, practice, and persistence.” Josh asserts, “I’d say most things do if you want to succeed.”

The joy of being a musician at Stevens is that there is a lot of equipment at your disposal, like the studio and sound research center, which help to advance your technical understanding and creativity with music. Josh points out, “It’s a small program, [Music and Technology] so you get to ask the professors all the questions you want. A challenge might be that some other majors think we just listen to music all day in class, but we do work! The curriculum is very much thorough and comprehensive. We cover everything from circuit signal flow and sound propagation to music history and theory.” Among all the Music and Technology courses thus far, Josh’s favorite is Sound Recording. He states, “We started with the basics of how sounds travels around and through structures, and then related that information to how microphones pick-up and transmit those sounds.” He clarifies, “All [these] things I’ve studied from my own curiosity, and [now, I] am learning a lot more in class. It’s [Sound Recording] a four hour-long class and I actually look forward to it.”

Just recently the CAL department hosted workshops for Pure Data (PD) Con 2016. PD is an open source visual programming language that enables musicians, visual artists, performers, researchers, and developers to create software graphically. “We are coming to the end of the semester, but look out for events in the spring!” Josh reports.

Josh considers John Mayer a musical inspiration. “Most people know John Mayer for his lovey pop tunes, but a lot of his music has complex guitar theory and very intelligent, meaningful lyrics,” Josh explains. “You should see him shred on guitar! “Continuum” by him is my favorite album period.”

In terms of goals and looking ahead to the future, Josh hopes to do well in classes and try to apply what he has learned in class to his own music. Further down the road, he wants to work on getting a professional sound for his music, while also meeting new people and trying to have fun.

In order to accomplish these goals, Josh stresses the importance of being organized. He reveals, “I started using planner and sticky notes in college and it’s helped a ton. Also, know when you need a break. Don’t think it could be all work [and] no play or you will burn out. My best advice is to stay positive and ask friends for help [when you need it]. You can’t do it alone.”