University of Vermont’s Cameron Gilmour Demonstrates Music Improvisation in His EP

Cameron Gilmour, sophomore physics and music tech at University of Vermont, improvises with music to communicate in a way better than words.
January 19, 2018
5 mins read

University of Vermont sophomore Cameron Gilmour turned his interest in music into a profitable lifestyle when he released his EP “Sleeping Minds” at the end of this past August. In his summer days working in Burlington, he would go home and spend his free time writing songs. When he realized that he actually liked some of the songs he created during this time, he ended up planning an album to share them.

His EP “Sleeping Minds” can’t be defined by one single genre, and it’s something that Gilmour takes pride in. While it sounds like jazz, it doesn’t match the definition of the genre. In fact, he has created his own sound in this album. When making music, he tries to “find new sounds that nobody has heard before,” which is exactly what he did with his first EP. Gilmour centers his music around his emotions rather than to trying to fit into currently existing genres.

Interested in improvising, he came to believe that as a musician, the most effective way to communicate human emotions is through reaching a more genuine and deep part of the self that comes out during improvisation. This is where the title for the EP, “Sleeping Minds,” actually comes from.

“Language by definition is imperfect,” says Gilmour. He used music to communicate in a way that words would fail. The language of improvised sounds is Gilmour’s way to translate internal thoughts into a sensory experience understood by others.

In recording his EP, Gilmour wanted to create entirely new sounds that fit into no existing genre, and in order to do that he decided to learn new instruments. His primary instrument being saxophone, he taught himself bass and piano during the process of creating the EP, which, to him, created a literal new experience in creating music. Different instruments involve different physical and mental mechanics, which allows Gilmour more fruitful improvisation. In fact, he now plays bass in “The Gils,” a band with two other UVM students, in which they experiment with a series of completely improvised albums called “AlbumCasts.”

While he usually writes solo, the second track on his EP includes a fellow student. Gilmour enjoys having total control over how a song evolves, but on that particular day he was making music with his high school friend, Ryan, and they decided to record it for the EP. Even when he collaborates with another person, the music still has an improvisational feel to it.

For Gilmour’s upcoming project, Ryan will play drums throughout the whole record, and Gilmour is also including other friends on the album. Gilmour enjoys making music on his own, but he believes music is stronger in numbers. “Collaborating with other musicians after songs are written is a blast,” says Gilmour, and he aspires to do more of that in the future.

His passion for music follows him to the classroom, where he spent time in a design class that allowed him to build whatever he desired. Constrained only by his own knowledge of coding, he used an Arduino board to build a guitar pedal, to which he uploaded a code that allowed him to make it into any type of pedal that he wants. Not only does he spend a good chunk of leisure time pursuing music, but he looks for new ways to create unique sounds even in the classroom.

In light of the STEM major meme, it’s relevant to look at hobbies and look at where the jobs are when choosing a major. While he came into school as a physics major, he has since changed his path and tacked on the additional music tech major.

Gilmour shows that it is possible to be both a STEM major and an art student. “It’s clear that a melding of music and tech is what I need to do for the rest of my life,” he says. Gilmour decided not to give up his love for music, but to instead use his abilities in other fields to supplement his interest in his art.

Bethany Knickerbocker, Emerson College

Writer Profile

Bethany Knickerbocker

Emerson College
Creative Writing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss