More than a few Augment Therapy team members have musical backgrounds, and this should come as no surprise. Music is a major motivator within Augment Therapy and, beyond that, musical training has positively shaped the minds that make the software better every day.
Musical ability starts at the executive level with Steve Blake, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Augment Therapy. Music powers Steve’s learning process, and so it has served as the galvanizing force behind everything he’s done professionally. This began in college, when Steve came into contact with Dr. Hugo Norden, a composer who was at the conclusion of his career. Dr. Norden took Steve into his private tutelage and instructed him in the intricacies of fugue, canon, and counterpoint. With these principles of composition in place, Steve began to apply them in other contexts, such as audio design and then computer programming, both of which he was able to teach himself based on what he’d learned from music. Even when he’s away from work, music is an essential component of Steve’s leisure life, as he’s dedicated himself to the keyboard, guitar, and French horn. Steve played horn for four seasons as a part of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra in New Hampshire. He even wrote a piece for this ensemble, titled “Prelude to Joy”, which he describes as the biggest musical moment in his life.
Ontario Britton, Senior Developer, has gained a wealth of musical experience from school, church, and community groups. From elementary school onward, he’s played low brass, with an emphasis on the tuba. In high school, he took up piano and guitar. All the while, he’s been singing bass and tenor. He loves classical genres on account of the opportunities for meditation and expression they afford, though he’s also partial to blues, jazz, and funk.
For Matt Mathers, Developer and 3D Modeler, glam rock and hair metal have been abiding sources of inspiration and aspiration. As a child of the 80s, he dreamed of getting fame and fortune via the strains of an electric guitar. Matt made a point of hanging out with musicians throughout high school, and he eventually purchased a used drum set of his own. He met up with a guitarist and they started playing regularly. They tore up the Cleveland circuit for the better part of a decade until everyone, Matt included, wound up with a career and a family. At present, Matt still plays drums for a metal band by the name of Grane.
For Lisa Blake, our Director of Product, music has been a persistent passion. Most of Lisa’s musical efforts have gone into singing, as she participated in her school’s madrigal and jazz choirs, as well as the yearly musicals. During the pandemic, she had the opportunity to resume jazz piano lessons with her teacher from her youth. Thanks to the magic of Zoom, they’ve been able to keep up weekly lessons for the past eighteen months, even though they now live about 3,000 miles apart. What draws Lisa to music is the intensive concentration it requires. And she loves how, with practice, one’s musical skills will always improve—and yet, there will still be an infinite amount of things waiting to be learned.
And naturally, the most seasoned of Augment Therapy’s musicians is our Music Director, David Grimes. David studied jazz and popular music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating with a B.M. in Composition. In his graduate training at the University of Toronto, he focused on classical and electronic music, earning a Masters in Composition. David went on to teach at Northeastern University and eventually made his way back to Berklee in an instructor role. Meanwhile, he was a founding member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble and also hosted a radio program on contemporary music for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called Two New Hours. His piece “Ecce Lignum Crucis,” a setting of the Easter liturgy for voices, orchestra, and electronics, won “Best Broadcast of Canadian Music.” Now, working with Augment Therapy, he has set out to design music that gives users an immersive and affirmative therapy experience.
What we have, then, with Augment Therapy is a group of intensely creative people collaborating upon a symphony, of sorts, bringing together their talents like so many instruments in an orchestra. And in concert, they are helping to orchestrate CEO Lindsay Watson’s singular vision . . . which might just prove to be a masterwork.