How I got into music

I used to play:

  • drums

Now I play:

  • bass
  • ukulele
  • a midi keyboard, if you even consider it an instrument

Early childhood

I was not raised a music person. As a young kid I had near zero exposure to formal music education. We would listen to Mandopop and Cantopop, and mom would hum tunes while she did dishes, but that was it.

There was once my parents picked up a 88-key keyboard for me at our local supermarket in hope I might amount to something. I never did. Sorry mom and dad :(

Drums & percussion

In sixth grade I joined a brass and woodwind band as a percussionist (that was before I wore braces; the conductor looked at my teeth and said "nyeh"). For most of my band career I was in charge of the bass drum and the drum kit, but I did learn the timpani a lil bit. My favorite performance however was Takarajima, where I played the agogo (the soul of this musical number, despite being just one bar over and over again).

As a side effect, a disadvantage I had to all the other band kids was that I can't really read pitch, only rhythm. I did not know what a Bb minor was.


Fast forward to 2021. The summer I graduated high school, I decided to challenge myself to learn ukulele. My father got one secondhand for me. It turned out you only need a tiny set of "easy" chords to get started. You can sing in other keys with a capo. And if that doesn't work, the song probably isn't made for the ukulele anyway.

On my mom's birthday I sang her "House Of Gold". It remains my favorite song to play on ukulele.


The uke sounds pretty, sure, but I'm afraid my hands are too fat to press adjacent frets (like D and Dm), and especially bar chords (B, Bm, etc). My setlist effectively stopped expanding as of 2022.

So near the end of winter break, early 2023, I took the other extreme and invested in a bass (known in guitar world as long boi). It is a red Ibanez GSR200 PJ bass, the only model that'll ship in 3 days. The date of arrival is 2023-02-02.

Body of a red bass with stickers of Konqi, twenty one pilots, "BlÄhaj
Simp" and "This Machine Kills

I learned most of my songs from Rod Nieder.

However only less than a week later I found out I was somehow admitted into UMich. Afraid that the airline might wreck it, I decided not to take it with me across the ocean. Instead, I bought a Squier that costs about the same. (I know it makes no real difference, but I kinda prefer the Telecaster-style headstock that has all pegs on one side.)

"Charcoal frost metallic" (grey and black) PJ bass in mint


Without a ukulele I couldn't record melodic sections. So I turned to synths and samples in a DAW, such as LMMS and Ardour. At first I drew notes with the mouse, but it soon proved slow and tiresome. It was also too determinstic to be artistic. So in the final days of winter break, January 2024, I looked on ebay for a MIDI keyboard.

There were six keyboards on sale, and I placed a bid on probably three of them. All of them were outbid soon. I was especially eyeing on an AKAI MPK mini, a two-octave keyboard with eight drumpads and four knobs, and I don't want the price to go crazy high. So I waited.

Five minutes before the auction closed, I checked back on the price tag, and it was $16.50. Tentatively, I bid 17. Moments later some bot bid 17.5.

One minute before closing, I bid 18. Same bot outbid me again.

Five seconds before closing, I bid something like 19, and the next thing I know is I won. But when I checked, my bid was 21.5. ebay apparently helped me outbid the one who bid 21 by two seconds. It was only one second before the auction closed.

MIDI keyboard next to a regular

With a bit of channel/note mapping, it works flawlessly with Linux.