Young Artist Spotlight: Chris Iwaskiw

If you’ve seen our latest “What is Social Media” video then you’ve heard some of the musical compositions of 14-year-old Chris Iwaskiw, an up and coming musician and artist. We asked Chris a few questions about how he does what he does and wanted to share his answers:

chris iwaskiw art

How long have you been composing music?  How did you get into it?

I’ve grown up fascinated by music.  My mom plays many instruments including piano and guitar for our church services.  Our family had been in Joyful Sound concert band for I don’t know how long (I play the flute as well as drums; this is the first year we aren’t a part of the band), and we have always done musical activities.  However, my fascination with music stemmed from the excellent compositions of Nintendo’s video games, especially David Wise’s work on the Donkey Kong Country series.  About a year and a half ago I was really interested in making my own music using the computer, and I tried to find a program to do so.  There are a lot of videos on youtube of Mario Paint Composer, a free program modeled off of the music-making part of Mario paint for the Super Nintendo.  I got that, and was very interested in it for about two weeks.  Then, after seeing a youtube comment on an MPC video recommending Finale Notepad, I checked it out.  I paid the ten dollars for it, and started working.  After a month or two, I upgraded to Finale Songwriter, the program I still use today.  I’ve exploited the program to no end, and I’m hoping to get the more high-end program FL Studio very soon.

What’s your creative process like?  When you sit down to create a piece what do you do first?  How do you see the final product in your mind?

I play around on my keyboard in my basement A TON.  When a motif or riff sticks out to me, I often head to Finale, where I write it down, and it all kind of evolves from there on the program.  Sometimes ideas originate completely devoid of the keyboard though.  I often don’t start writing until I have some little string of notes, whether it be a melody, or bassline, or whatever.  Sometimes I start writing because there’s a particular instrument I want to use (for example, in “Snakes” I had really wanted to use the bassoon at the time). But really everything just evolves from the starting idea.  When it’s done it’s usually wildly different from what I first imagined, and I think, “How did this end up sounding like this?” (Often for the better, I might add).  Afterwards I name it based on the feeling it represents, unless I already had some huge plan for it all (I usually don’t though).

What’s the best part of creating music in your opinion?

It’s fun.  I love enjoying my own music.  Some people look (or listen, in my case) to their own art and find faults everywhere and can’t bear to see it.  I, on the other hand, really enjoy my music.  I still find faults and think things could have been better, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it all.  If I had zero fans whatsoever, I wouldn’t be discouraged one bit.  I write music because I enjoy it, not necessarily for others to enjoy it (of course, I do love it when others enjoy it)

What’s the hardest part?  When do you get stuck?

Sometimes I just can’t come up with good ideas.  The biggest thing in my way is the technical limitations of the program I’m using.  It really isn’t meant for some of the things I’m using it for (it’s a sheet music printing program; I exploit the playback and recording feature).  Whenever I’m tired of composing or coming up with ideas, I arrange some video game music or (very recently) hymns.  It’s fun to not have to write anything yourself and just work around a previous work and make it new.

What do you see yourself doing with your musical talents in the future?

I really want to compose for video games, movies, and other media.

* Artwork also by Chris Iwaskiw  |  Make sure to visit Chris’ Youtube channel HERE.

  1. Nice to see thoughts on the creative process from such a young mind. Thanks for sharing.

  1. December 23rd, 2010

Why ask?