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MP3 Tom Benford - Some Things I've Done

New Age/Adult Contemporary - Nice original very melodious contemporary instrumental music with a beat that came from my heart & it will touch yours.

13 MP3 Songs

Some Things I’ve Done is the result of Tom coming out of musical “retirement” in his mid-forties while writing his second book on computer science, Welcome To PC Sound, Music & MIDI. While writing it, Tom decided to include a companion CD with the book to illustrate what could be done on a limited budget in a home studio, and he also wanted to include tracks from some of the established New Age artists he had interviewed for the book. Tom composed and included a song he had written for his wife, Liz’s Tune, on the CD and that opened his creative floodgates. He kept on writing new music and, within a couple of months, Liz said to him, “You have enough songs for an album – why don’t you do one?” So he did and, as they say, the rest is history. Tom has received an ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) PLUS Award for Some Things I’ve Done for the last 10 years consecutively, and he’s a contender for this year’s ASCAPLUS Awards as well. If you’d like to learn more about Tom and what brought you both to this page here, please read on.

Tom Benford''s musical debut took place at the age of 3 when he spontaneously started singing a song called “The Shrimp Boats Are Coming” (a popular tune during the early 1950''s) during the sermon at a Sunday church service. His exuberant vocal renditions caused laughter and provided a respite from the otherwise stuffy sermon, and he was promptly removed by his father, who admonished him for causing such a disruption. Thus, his first public performance opened to mixed -- but generally favorable -- reviews.

During his pre-school years one of his favorite pastimes was plinking on the old upright piano in his grandmother''s house next door. He entertained himself for hours sounding out the melodies of nursery rhyme tunes, Christmas carols and popular songs of the day, committing them to memory after learning them by ear. In the early primary school grades he learned the basics of rhythm, tempo and percussion and, in later grades, he joined the church choir where he was introduced to the fundamentals of music notation and sight reading and learned the concepts of harmony, conducting and orchestration. He remained active in the choir through his early high school years, although his musical interests continued to grow and diversify in other directions along the way.

Like his older brother, Tim, Tom joined a drum and bugle corps where he learned to play the tenor and soprano single-valved bugles, respectively. From that introduction to brass instruments, Tom purchased a trumpet at a pawn shop and taught himself how to play it using a home-study course. He was 13 at the time.

While he had gained a decent level of proficiency on the trumpet, Tom found he wasn''t satisfied and found the horn to be lacking in several respects: it required other instruments for accompaniment, you couldn''t sing while playing it simultaneously, and it wasn''t a "hip" instrument (the popular consensus was that "geeks" played the trumpet in the school band). Now, at age 13, Tom was very aware of girls and being a "geek" wasn''t the image he wanted to portray. He ceased his drum corps activities and decided that the guitar was the instrument he wanted to pursue seriously.

He purchased an electric guitar from a family friend who had received it as payment for a debt. Since this fellow didn''t play the guitar and had no interest in learning it, he let Tom have it for $45, the amount of money the guitar''s previous owner owed him.

Again using a home-study course, Tom taught himself the basics of the instrument including some first-position chords, but soon realized that to really become proficient he would need a teacher. It was only when he started taking lessons from an older youth he had met that he learned he was using a right-handed guitar -- and he was left-handed! Undaunted by this discovery, Tom redoubled his efforts to learn the instrument despite it being opposite to his natural orientation. He took lessons for about three months, while augmenting them with additional advanced-technique home-study courses, until he eclipsed the knowledge -- and proficiency -- of his teacher.

As a high school freshman, Tom met a classmate who was taking bass guitar lessons and learned that this youth''s younger brother, still in the eighth grade, was taking drum lessons; both were interested in joining a band but didn''t know how to go about it. Tom made arrangements to come over to their house after school with his guitar and amplifier, and the three boys hit it off well together. This first meeting turned into a rehearsal session and, by the end of the evening, they had six songs down and Tommy and The Stingrays had been born. Shortly thereafter a fourth member was added to fill the needed rhythm guitar spot in the group to produce a fuller sound.

The band worked virtually every weekend playing at local church dances and functions at the Jewish Community Center as well as doing pool parties and other private gigs. By the time Tom had reached the age of 15, The Stingrays had disbanded due to parental pressure on the two brother members who had fallen behind in their grades, and he started a new group, Tommy Benford and The Destineys. The direction Tom took with his new combo was more consistent with his expanding musical ambitions and more complex song arrangements including multi-part vocal harmonies. He also began writing his own songs at this point, which became part of the group''s performing repertoire.

The big break for the band came when "the right pair of ears" heard them and they were invited to perform as the opening act for Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians at the 1965 Worlds Fair in New York at the Tiparillo Band Pavilion, which they eagerly accepted. The engagement was a popular and critical success, and they were invited back to perform again later that season, again as Lombardo''s opening act for the more youthful members of the audience.

The Destineys underwent frequent personnel changes due to artistic disagreements; Tom had definite ideas about the types of music he wanted to perform and kept the group steadily booked playing dances, concerts, club gigs, weddings and other private bookings; the repertoire, constant work on the weekends and Tom''s mandatory 3-night-a-week rehearsal schedules were more than most of the other teenagers could take for any length of time; thus players came and went.

Some of the more notable gigs The Destineys worked included being the opening act for The Duprees and backing Reperata and The Delrons (“Whenever A Teenager Cries”) at a live performance. Having had his fill of the hassles of managing the group, Tom eventually disbanded The Destineys and started doing solo appearances, in addition to his songwriting and composing activities.

After high school, Tom pursued a career in the graphic arts, married young and started a family, with musical pursuits taking a back seat to more pressing obligations. In his early twenties, Tom again "took up the axe" and started another group, Reign, which was formed for the exclusive purpose of generating additional income via bar and nightclub gigs on weekends playing a Top 40s cover repertoire. After about a year of working with Reign, Tom again decided the rewards weren''t worth the hassles of booking, rehearsing, transporting and performing with a group, so he went into voluntary musical retirement.

After several twists in his career path, Tom founded and started a successful computer software testing lab, which he was president and CEO of until selling the business in 2003. Along the way, he wrote three books on computer science including the aforementioned one on sound and music production using personal computers. It was during the writing of the second book in 1993 that he came out of musical retirement and again started composing, arranging and recording his original musical works. The first song he wrote in his self-described Renaissance was Liz''s Tune, written for his wife. This song was composed as a practical demonstration exercise to show what MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology could do using a personal computer, and was included on the book''s accompanying CD-ROM (Welcome To...PC Sound, Music and MIDI, MIS:Press, ISBN 1-55828-316-1).

"I took to MIDI like a duck to water," says Tom, "It was the technology I had been waiting for all along without knowing it. With MIDI, I now had the creative and artistic freedom to try different instrument combinations, different arrangements, different tempos and styles, and rework them to my heart''s content in the privacy of my own studio without having to put up with the egos, temper tantrums and personalities of other live musicians who had their own visions, ideas and interpretations of what my songs should sound like. And when I interfaced the guitar to a MIDI controller, the creative horizons suddenly had no limitations at all. Even before Liz''s Tune was in its finished form, I already had dozens of other song ideas I wanted to experiment with, and MIDI became the perfect tool for me to realize these ideas. Before I knew it, I had well over a dozen songs "in the can" and that''s when Some Things I''ve Done became a reality."

Tom lives with his wife of 29 years, Liz, and their German Shepherd dog, Major, on a 4+-acre estate in Ocean County, NJ. Tom is currently mastering his second album, Progressions, and working on his eleventh book. Be sure to visit his website at https://www.tradebit.com and you can email him at tbenford@https://www.tradebit.com.

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