An Interview with Ayden Green

 An Interview with Ayden Green

Ayden Green is a pianist that is based out of Clinton Iowa. His grandma is Melinda Putman who has attended Vanderbilt University. Ayden’s work consist of modern contemporary pieces that he has composed himself. His music is a like listening to a living dream catcher and is one of the jems of talent to come out of Clinton, Iowa.

1. I don’t know if there’s anything I’d specifically want to be known for. I’m less so ambitious to make a name for myself with a legacy I cultivate to leave behind the memory I desire, and moreso just curious about how I would be remembered by my natural actions, without any manipulation to be remembered for something in particular. I guess if I had to go for something it’d be as a decent writer (I love writing books and even wrote a novel in 8th grade, albeit not yet published, and I started writing my first ever book in 1st grade though I never finished it), musician, and scientist, as well as just a good person. I’d hope my legacy leaves a positive impact and growth for the people around me.

2. I’ve always loved castles, so that would be pretty neat. However that’s not super obtainable nor sustainable, so I’m pretty comfortable with something like what I have now; a suburban area with a balance between solitude and convenience. If I didn’t have to worry about the convenience aspect, such as important locations and services such as stores being nearby, then I’d love to live out in the country with a large flat yard for running, a forest for exploring, and a river for serenity. Also preferably somewhere not too hot, as I much prefer the cold. I would also love a clear sky devoid of light pollution for observation of astronomical phenomena, as well as just the simple beauty of it.

3. I’ve loved writing music for as long as I could play the piano, and I’ve been playing piano ever since I was young enough to reach the keys whilst sitting in my carseat set on the piano bench as a baby, so literally longer than I can I remember, as I wasn’t old enough to form long-term memories. At first it was just random hitting of the keys, and then something that could be recognized as an improvised piece, and then eventually true musical pieces I could actually memorize and play on command, writing my first sheet music in roughly 9th grade as a high school Freshman as a theme piece for the book I wrote in 6th grade, which was the precursor to my novel I wrote in 8th grade (I know books don’t really have musical themes, but I liked the concept so I did it anyway). After writing another two pieces, one to practice glisses and another to practice arpeggios, in 10th grade I wrote the theme to my novel, which was composed of various different themes, each representing a specific character. I then wrote a few more pieces, this time experimenting with digital sheet music programs to write my music instead of messing around and experimenting on the piano keyboard, and then I moved to writing pieces inspired by other composers, mostly video game composers like Toby Fox and Daniel Rosenfeld (more commonly known as C418), but I’ve also taken inspiration from symphonic metal and what I like the call the “epic orchestral” genre, namely Thomas Bergerson from TSFH, particularly his piece “Empire of Angels”. In this same period of time I also got back into improvisation. I also have a slew of unfinished pieces, since I’m good at coming up with multiple phrases that share a common theme and sound good on their own, but I’m not as good at stringing them together to create a cohesive piece. As for the future, I’d like to get into symbolic musical expression, inspired by my old piece based on my novel and the characters in it, only done much better. Unfortunately this would be done best with an understanding of music theory, which is something I actually know next to nothing about, despite being a musician.

5. My favorite animals are cats, with my favorite breed being red somali: they’re cute and fluffy, and often have red hair and green eyes like me! My love of cats is evident by the fact I presently own five, and that’s not even the most cats I’ve had at one time (we used to have six cats, two dogs, three chickens, and two fish tanks at once).

6. Despite my often cheerful and optimistic outlook, if I were to write a theme for myself it’d probably be more somber and melancholic, as that is who I really am: the optimistic cheerfulness is more of a tool to make those I care about happier, as well as myself. It would also be emotional, which is in contrast with my usual more deadpan nature; I’m terrible at expressing emotion in a speaking conversation, but music is my best way to express emotion, as it is the medium of my catharsis. I would probably take inspiration from the aforementioned Toby Fox and Daniel Rosenfeld, as I feel their style, especially that of Daniel Rosenfeld, fits well with a somber and melancholic tone.

7. I have played live at four shows (if you don’t count all my performances in school band and marching band), but only two locations, and only one of those shows was in any professional capacity. The first three were all open mic events, but the owner of the V’ue, Brooke Byam, heard me playing at one of these, and so invited me to play for her at a more professional performance at the V’ue. This was undoubtedly my favorite show, with my favorite piece from that show being the 14-minute-long improv session I did, which is I believe one of the best things I’ve ever played, and I still go back and listen to it frequently.

8. My favorite food is easy: hamburgers! And my favorite of all hamburgers has gotta be grilled hamburgers with BBQ sauce, bread and butter pickles, and onion.

9. Well, I never expected my music to influence anyone; I just do it for fun and for emotional release. So I suppose I would want my music to do the same thing for other people: to inspire them to pick up an instrument just for fun, and/or to make them feel something. As an anecdote, just the other day I was in a call with some friends, and we got to the topic of music and piano and so I asked them if they’d like me to play piano in the call. They said sure, and so I played a few things, including False Pretenses, which is perhaps my favorite piece I’ve written. Afterwards, one of my friends told me that False Pretenses made him cry, and then he thanked me and told me he was glad that it did. It was a strange feeling. On the one hand I felt bad for making him cry, but on the other it was clear he needed an emotional release and I gave him that release. I also know I’ve gotten my grandma to cry with my piano playing, namely my improv. Perhaps I could do the same for more people.

10. The person who had the most impact on my life is my dad without a doubt. Nearly every single hobby and interest I have and ever have had is all because of him: creative writing, drawing, piano playing, musical composition, science, mythology, soccer, track and field, HEMA and sword-fighting, video games, Dungeons & Dragons, etcetera. I recall him teaching me algebra in third grade and I begging him to give me more math problems to solve, watching hours upon hours of science documentaries he would give me, multiple times each, and him explaining to me the concept of gravitational lensing and how space is a malleable fabric molded by gravity at some time in elementary school. I also recall how when I was a Freshman in high school it was impossible for him to help me with homework because we’d inevitably end up distracting each other by talking about string theory or quantum entanglement or something else of a similar caliber of nerdiness.

11. I think I would be MOST fulfilled if I was successful in all my hobbies and interests, being an accomplished author, composer, and scientist. But I understand that is a very unrealistic goal, so I don’t aim that high. All I really want realistically is a financially, emotionally, and mentally stable life where I can help those close to me, even if I fail in all the aforementioned pursuits.

My dream job is and always has been to be a scientist (aside from that one year in Kindergarten where I wanted to be a zookeeper). Really the only thing that has changed regarding that subject is the specificity of it. I narrowed it down over time until I came to my current goal, which is to study astrophysics; or, alternatively, astronomy if the math involved in astrophysics is too difficult for me. Right now, having just graduated high school last year, I’ve put it on pause so I can take a gap year and relax, but later this year I hope to attend college to resume working towards my goal.

12. I’m not sure what I would do. Firstly, I wouldn’t want the responsibility of all the resources in the world, as I don’t feel I would be fit for the role, and solving issues of that scale is more nuanced. For instance, giving away money to all those who need it to eliminate poverty would result in global economic collapse and inflation. I think the safest thing I could do without accidentally throwing human civilization into disarray is to distribute food to all those who are hungry; those who can still afford a healthy amount of nutritious food would have to buy it still, thus preventing the sudden collapse of the food industry. I would also like to tackle more immaterial concepts like war, but that depends on if my infinite resources are able to stop natural human greed and want for revenge (again without destabilizing the economies our society is built around and dependent on), but if my abilities include simply removing those aspects from people’s nature, thus removing their want for war, then that opens up the debate of free will and if that would infringe upon it. So I suppose this is a long way of saying that I’m not entirely sure what I would do, nor is it even a responsibility that should rest on the shoulders of any one person: improving the world is a collaborative effort that involves setting aside our differences and acting selflessly as opposed to selfishly.

Article Author: Nikee Stocker

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