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John draws inspiration from neuroscience to compose all original music for the piano and other keyboards.
John draws inspiration from neuroscience to compose all original music for the piano and other keyboards.
117 backers pledged $5,894 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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John C. O'Leary III, PhD
John C. O'Leary III, PhD

Howdy! I'm John C. O'Leary III, a jazz pianist and neuroscientist in the Tampa Bay area and I absolutely love making music. 

The purpose of this project is to make my first solo recording! I'm going to write all new original music for this recording inspired by scientific discoveries in neuroscience. 

Here are two pieces, which will be on the record, that I performed live at the Timucua Arts White House in Orlando, FL. 

CRISPR is a piece inspired by the genetic editing technology of te same name. CRISPR is basically a group of DNA segments in bacteria containing short, repetitive base sequences that have been harnessed to edit genetic material in living organisms. So compositionally speaking, a big part of the piece is short repetitive bass sequences!

This piece is inspired by the often sudden way music can bring an Alzheimer's patient back, cognitively speaking, for a few seconds or minutes due to music exposure.

There is resilience in the human spirit that prevents, even Alzheimer's disease, from taking away the essence of who we are.

I have been working as a professional musician since 2005 and have recorded extensively with my band La Lucha as well as other freelance recordings. However, I have only been doing it full-time since August 2013, as I went to graduate school and got a PhD in neuroscience from the University of South Florida College Of Medicine. My training focused on the testing of pharmaceuticals aiming at modulating the effects of chaperone proteins for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

When I graduated with my PhD I knew I wanted to play music, but I didn't want to leave science behind, I wanted to find a way to combine music and neuroscience in some way. 

Playing concerts and talking about my research in Alzheimer's, people would often ask me the same questions, specifically if Alzheimer's was a genetically transmitted disease. The data seem pretty clear that although there is a genetic component, genes are not the main driver of the disease, like in cystic fibrosis. However, this is not common knowledge. There's a lot of confusion, I have found, about Alzheimer's. 

I realized that there is a lack of effective communication between science and society.    

Not only can we learn more about science, scientists could better communicate their findings and how they affect the rest of us. 

Art can help. Although it cannot communicate the information directly, it can create a space around which a dialogue can occur. 

The purpose of this album is to create a community that can have some of these important conversations about important scientific discoveries that will affect our lives. 

Using neuroscience as a source of inspiration for music composition is really rewarding, and fun! A radiolab episode called "Bringing gamma back," is a great example of this. Neurons communicate with each other through chemical or electrical signaling. In electric signaling the neurons are connected to each other through these things called gap junctions and the electrical signal just passes through one neuron to the other passing voltage changes down a chain of neurons. When this happens, neurons are said to fire in a rhythm, they oscillate, and gamma is a type of high frequency oscillation, and learning to manipulate these in the brain may help cure diseases like depression.     

You know what else oscilates? Synths. 

Mind blown right? I know, me too. 

moog sub phatty
moog sub phatty

I recently purchased a moog sub phatty and I'm so excited to explore the possibilites of this synth. It's really an amazingly powerful instrument, and quite beautiful I might add. 

Some of the pieces I compose will be on the piano, like what you're hearing in the video, while in another I might imitate the sound of neurons on a Moog Sub Phatty, or compose using short bass sequences on a Fender Rhodes that remind you of repetitive sequences DNA base pairs.

Gramovox's Floating Record Vertical Turntable. Nice, right?
Gramovox's Floating Record Vertical Turntable. Nice, right?

Another interesting part of this project is that I'm releasing it on vinyl. Jazz started out exclusively on vinyl, and now very few new projects come out on it, for obvious reasons. However, this project is about making music the most beautiful we can, and vinyl will most definitely improve the quality of the listening experience. 

When this project is funded I will have the funds to make this project really special, like paying for excellent mixing and mastering engineers, using great microphones on the piano, using a real Fender Rhodes, paying for access to a top notch piano, etc.

BUDGET

  • Recording $1,000
  • Post Production $1,000
  • CD pressing $1,000
  • LP pressing $2,000
  • T-shirts $150
  • Media $350
  • Shipping $500
  • Equipment $1,500
  • Kickstarter & stripe fees $500

I know what your saying, "You're asking for 5k and you have 8k in your budget!" I actually was awarded a grant for $3,000 that I'm using in addition to the the funds we raise here. The grant is specific for the costs of pressing the album in CD and vinyl.   

Thank you for your support! It means the world to me!

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge is coordinating the delivery of the perks to all the backers. Seriously, it's a lot of work. But, I would be so privileged to have the opportunity!

Having done this before, I have a good idea of what to expect and how to handle it to make sure all perks are delivered on time.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    DIGITAL DOWNLOAD + MENTION

    Digital download of the new album available to you first before it's delivered to anyone anywhere.

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    T-SHIRT + CD + LP + DIGITAL

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    NO BRAINER

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    -Never before released video footage of live performance (digital download)
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE VIP

    Two VIP tickets to the album release concert! Two of everything! So that you and your date can have matching t-shirts, yes! PLUS everything in the no-brainer option!

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    EL FOTÓGRAFO

    Beautifully designed, framed and signed poster, PLUS everything in the VIP reward.

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    THE COMPOSER

    You will get a song written and recorded in your honor or dedicated to someone you love. And you can come and hang out in the studio while it happens! PLUS everything in El Fotógrafo reward.

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    THE IMPRESARIO

    1. I will travel anywhere in the continental US and perform a concert for your closest friends and family.

    2. Your story told. I'll interview you and write a paragraph about something brave or powerful or remarkable you've done or built and include it in the liner notes.

    3. Since you get a song composed and recorded for you (or for someone you love), I will also include it in the upcoming album.

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Funding period

- (30 days)