Published in the July-August 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine
Read this list to see if imaginary background music plays: Vacations. Zoos. Oil. Breasts. Motorcycles. Hospitals. Wisconsin. Neutrinos.
Musician Tyler Traband examined and created sound to fit these subjects, and more. Composing background music for movies and commercials is his art. This artist has as much music in his being as there are birds in the air and fish in Lake Michigan (near his birthplace).
Traband’s life is about sound—and animals. He understands that music supports communication. Read about him here and put some music on … he’d like that!
Q. How did you learn the language of music?
A. As a child, I was always humming, singing, making up rhythms and exploring musical ideas in my head. I whistled all the time! I was always doing music activities at school. In college, I realized how loud the voice inside my body and soul was speaking to me. There, I learned about the language of music, and found others with the same passion.
Q. What was your favorite project?
A. My favorites change often! “Chasing the Ghost Particle,” the IMAX film about neutrinos I just scored, is toward the top of my list. Its music ranges from classical to pop, orchestral themes to electronica—appropriate for giant black holes with synth sound effects right into crazy, gooey sound designs complete with bubbly space noises and explosions.
Q. Musicians need good support systems. To whom are you grateful?
A. All artists need support and encouragement, and I worry about the future. I got to sing or play nearly every day in school. How are tomorrow’s musicians going to learn? I believe in the arts. When we learn to draw, dance, play or sing, we are gaining so much more than just that skill. Leadership, critical thinking, group skills and listening are all enhanced. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Joan Wildman was a huge inspiration. She is an amazing jazz pianist and theoretician. Her passion for the language of music is what got me hooked. I think of her each time I sit down to practice. She helped me understand how to communicate with other musicians.
Q. Connect the dots between music and dogs for us—I understand that you are planning to adopt one.
A. We are in negotiations. My wife, Sara, has been researching and likes the English Golden. We both grew up with dogs. Sara had an Old English and I had a St. Bernard and a Basenji, as well as many generations of great cats.
When I was in high school, every time I pulled out the trumpet our dog Tasha (who was part Samoyed) howled along with me. She sang along with the piano, as well.
We’ve had tropical fish, hermit crabs, huge bullfrog tadpoles, a school of baby bullheads (until we released them) and two giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches. My son wants a leopard gecko.
From 2005 to 2010, Traband composed and recorded the commercial broadcast music for the Milwaukee County Zoo. “I still have the track from the year the zoo introduced flamingos on my iPod, and when it pops on I always smile,” he said. He visits the zoo often with his children. “We know some of the scientists and caregivers, and have close ties with the aviary personnel,” he added.
That makes sense—birdsong is great background music!