Staples High School is justly famous for the number of alums who have gone on to great careers in music. (Here’s lookin’ at you, Alisan Porter!)
Ditto the legendary media lab. (You too, Daryl Wein!)
Now — in an era defined by jobs that did not exist 2 years ago, do-it-yourself technology and crowd-sourced funding — it’s natural that Staples grads make their marks melding the arts and apps.
Kevin Clark was inspired by 2 mentors: choir director Alice Lipson and audio production teacher Jim Honeycutt. They encouraged him to pursue his passions. The bullying he endured while younger spurred him to prove he could do whatever he set his mind to.
The 2009 graduate applied to 5 music colleges. He was rejected by all.
Moments before joining the military, his father convinced him to try Western Connecticut State University. He was selected as 1 of only 2 piano students — though he had only begun to play.
A year later, he applied to Berklee College of Music. Again, he was turned down.
The 3rd time was the charm. Determined more than ever to prove he belonged there, Kevin roared through the prestigious school. He was signed to Berklee’s Jazz Revelations Records his 1st semester, and last year wrote the music for his class’ graduation ceremony.
“Music has changed my life,” he thought. “Being able to create it has made me happier. What if everyone could experience this job, this sense of self-expression that often eludes us?”
Kevin likes to move. Suddenly, he realized: People need a way to create music by merely moving their bodies. He knew of experiments using handheld or wearable devices.
But what about hands-free? That could open musical expression to everyone in the world.
With 3 friends, Kevin figured out how to connect his Kinect camera to his computer and audio production software. Then he plugged away, eventually creating entire songs using body motion, a Kinect and a computer.
The camera tracks body movements. Data is sent to the computer, where Kevin’s app translates each motion into a specific sound or musical phrase.
There are over 1500 pre-programmed sounds and instruments. Users can also upload their own.
Kevin applied for patents, and established a company: Point Motion. An Israeli firm, Extreme Reality, liked his platform.
Together, they moved from Kinect to using common 2D cameras found on cellphones and computers. This opened up a wide range of opportunities.
Kevin is proud of the result. “For the first time in history,” he says, “people can access musical expression using motion control technology for just a $40 download.”
The first 2 apps focus on health and wellness practices (enabling expression for users with limited mobility and special needs), and creative tools for musicians (extending the creative capabilities of artists).
The 2nd app — “Puppet Master” — allows users to do things like lean forward to add distortion to an electric guitar, or raise an arm to add reverb to vocals. The system is compatible with existing music production programs.
Point Motion is now in the fundraising phase. His Indiegogo campaign has a $50,000 target.
For every donation, Kevin will donate Point Motion to a hospital or clinic in the US.
Clearly, Kevin Clark learned a lot more than music and technology at Staples and Berklee.