Meet the Finale Team: Percussionist Justin Phillips

MakeMusic Notation Product Specialist Justin Phillips (at left)

Justin Phillips is a notation product specialist at MakeMusic. In this role he shares his daily, hands-on experiences in the customer support department with our development team. In addition, he trains his support colleagues and assists them with advanced Finale issues. Justin is also a regular contributor to the Finale Blog and various social network sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and the Finale Forum.

Outside of the office Justin is extremely active in percussion education. He teaches percussion sections for local high school marching bands and winter drumlines, as well as private lessons. And please don’t get him started about drum and bugle corps: A former marching member with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps from La Crosse, WI, Justin has been a visual staff member with the Minnesota Brass Senior Drum and Bugle Corps since 2007.

Justin composes and arranges for percussion ensembles, and, with a degree in audio production, he’s been known to produce and engineer albums for local bands and generally geek out about anything related to digital audio and electronic music creation.

Best of all, he’s always gracious in answering any questions.

Scott Yoho: When did you first encounter Finale?

Justin Phillips: My high school had a lab computer with Finale installed on it – to help with our theory homework – and I always had a copy of NotePad on my home computer to capture simple melodies. I really started digging into the program around 2002-2003 and was using it every day by 2005.

SY: How do you use Finale outside of work?

JP: Besides using Finale almost every day for composition and arranging work, it’s also a vital part of my teaching. I rely on being able to quickly create exercises and worksheets for my students, which I frequently export to SmartMusic.

SY: Do you have a favorite Finale memory?

JP: The day Tapspace’s Virtual Drumline arrived in the mail. I was amazed at the quality of playback I was able to achieve with the combination of Virtual Drumline and Finale’s Human Playback. The ability to create a live performance feel with notation software really expanded my compositional world. It’s that instant feedback and flexibility that I really love about Finale.

SY: How did you get into drum corps?

JP: I attended my first drum corps show in 1998. I was totally hooked after that show, and made it a goal to one day march. I got to achieve that goal in 2002, and will be a lifelong fan and supporter.

SY: What are you listening to lately?

JP: My musical tastes are pretty diverse. My current iPhone playlist includes some Mars Volta, Radiohead, mid-1980s Metallica, The Doors, The Roots, Nine Inch Nails, Imogen Heap, as well as some Shostakovich.

SY: What do you like best about working at MakeMusic?

JP: I started in MakeMusic as a customer support representative, and I’ve always enjoyed helping customers discover new features in the software. It’s great to work with customers – and coworkers – who share my passion for music and Finale. It’s not like I have to become a different person at work; we speak the same language.

I can’t think of a better time to thank Justin for all the help he’s provided not only me personally, but all our fellow Finale users as well. 

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