Piano Wizards

Shannon Drake | 22 Aug 2006 12:00
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While the idea for Piano Wizard had been percolating for a while, there was something about the When that intrigued me. After carrying an idea around for 10 years, why now? "I really thought I would get a brain tumor if I didn't get this out of my head," he said, laughing. "It just made too much sense. I mean, this was something that I could see would help not only myself, but millions of people, really. I have used this ... this kind of bizarre study of languages and music. I kind of practiced this musical code in a sense, and I could see that this would help a lot of people."

He describes his role as, "My role is as the producer, if you want to look at it like that. I'm the visionary who had the idea of the game design; when we had to choose between excitement and educational, we chose educational. With the 3-D worlds they have now, they can get so immersive and distracting that the music would be lost, and we didn't want that to happen. Education is always our primary consideration, but the game has to seduce the kids into playing the notes the right length or at the right tempo. So we've done that with kind of that bifocal agenda. Know that the kids have to love it, or it doesn't matter. And parents have to understand where it's going, or it doesn't matter. We've been able to straddle that."

"I believe that if I can expose this, this can be something for generations to help, a new way for people to learn music," he says, by way of closing. "And that our goal here is that this year, we're going to get on the map, we're going to get in the consciousness of the United States. There's so much skepticism in the world about music education. Many of our memories are so painful, and there's some doubts to overcome, and I appreciate your help. If we could just get the world to line up and play it, we'd be home free."

In 1972, Shannon Drake was sent to prison by a military court for a crime he didn't commit. He promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, he survives as a soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Shannon Drake.

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