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About the Author
Blake Neely has been playing piano since he was about 4 years old, although it took a while before real audible music could be detected. His
fascination with music led him to other instruments, such as the French
horn, guitar, and drums, but the keyboard remains his baby.
Upon graduation from the University of Texas in 1991, he moved to Los
Angeles to experience the music business. He licensed music for Hollywood
Records and later worked for Disney Music Publishing as editor of all
printed music publications.
An award-winning composer and author, he has written symphonies, a piano
concerto, and numerous orchestral and chamber works. He is co-author of
the acclaimed FastTrack series, published by Hal Leonard Corporation.
Blake has worked as a composer, orchestrator, arranger, copyist, engraver,
musicologist, and consultant for such prominent figures as Disney, Hal
Leonard Corporation, Decca Records, Hyperion Books, composers Michael
Kamen and Alan Menken, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Currently living in Austin, Texas, Blake spends his free time tuning into his
family: wife Elizabeth, daughter Jordan, and son Jacob. Blake is the proud
owner of a Kawai grand piano and Kurzweil, Ensoniq, and E-Mu synths and
samplers. You can reach Blake via e-mail at B l a k e N e e y @ a o l . c o m .
This book is dedicated to anyone who has ever dreamed of being a musician
but had no idea where to begin. If a little guy from Paris, Texas can do it, so
Special thanks to Cherry Lane Music, Ted Piechocinski, and John Cerullo for
thinking of me; to Keith Mardak for being Keith Mardak (I said your name
twice!); to Brad Smith for the connections; to Richard Slater and Tom Johns
for the photos; to Rick Walters for rearranging his schedule; to Jason
Frankhouser at Digital Lane for mastering the CD; and to Susan Borgeson for
getting me started in the business.
Additional thanks to Sandy Morgenthal at E-Mu, Joe Kramer at Ensoniq,
Brian Chung at Kawai, Larry Harms at Roland, and Ray Reuter at Yamaha for
the consultations and information about their toys.
Extra special thanks to Mary Goodwin, my patient and kind editor at
1DG Books; to Stacey Mickelbart for catching all those darn passive verbs; to
Paul Kuzmic for downloading all those files; to Mark Butler for taking a
chance with this book; to Jonathan Malysiak for help with the cover; and to
the inspiring Jeff Sultanof, my technical editor/researcher/friend/therapist,
for his wealth of ideas, knowledge, encouragement, and humor.
Personal thanks to my piano teachers for making me less of a dummy; to my
parents for enduring long hours of practice and dinner delays; to my sister
for playing piano duets with me; to my brother for finally opening my ears to
jazz; to my in-laws for letting their daughter marry a crazy musician; and to
J.S. Bach for the genius that he was and inspiration that he is.
Never-ending thanks to my wife, Elizabeth, for her constant love and support; and to my kids, Jordan and Jacob, for making the sun shine every day.