Taylor Sappe - Producer/Songwriter/Instructor


At 5 years old Taylor was taught by his older sister to play “London Bridge” on piano. Once he figured out that going in one direction makes the pitch rise and the other direction makes it fall, he began to figure out how to play melodies to popular songs. He eventually started making up his own melodies.

At age 15, his uncle gave him an acoustic guitar. Taylor didn't know how to play it or tune it, so he just banged out some rhythms on the strings, and a Sax player friend asked him to start a band. Two other guitar players were brought in who had taken guitar lessons and Taylor was thrown out of his own band. Another uncle who knew how to play showed Taylor some chords and how to tune the guitar, and Taylor taught himself the rest.

After Taylor learned a few songs on his own, he formed a Duo with a friend who lived a few blocks away. They both played guitar and sang harmonies on songs by Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul & Mary, and all of the other harmonic vocalists of the 60s.

In his senior high school year a classmate offered to start a band with him. He bought an electric guitar and they formed the Olusions, and played regularly locally and with a few gigs in Atlantic City, NJ. They had high hopes for success, but just as they were starting to become well known in the area the drummer got drafted. Not long after recovering from the setback, one of the key guitar players got drafted.

After high school graduation, Taylor attended Airline school in Kansas City, Mo. And was placed in a job at JFK airport in New York City before finishing school. After working only a short time at JFK, Taylor got drafted and did a 14 month tour of duty in Vietnam.

While in Nha Trang, Vietnam he formed another singing duo and sang at bunker parties and did some USO shows in Saigon.

After discharge from Army, Taylor went back to his job at JFK airport and picked up some small gigs in the New York area. In 1972 he returned to his home in Hazleton, Pa., and played 5 nights a week as a folk guitar/vocal soloist performing covers and originals and began his study of music theory through a correspondence course by the Applied Music School in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, he dabbled in sound on sound recording of his original songs because multi-track recorders weren't affordable at the time.

Knowing only how to make folk music, when the disco era began he found himself out of work and struggling to make a living as a musician. This was because he didn't have the skills to make any other kind of music to keep up with market trends.

To remedy his situation, he went to Berklee in 1976 and majored in music comp with additional courses in multi-track recording. By this time, 4-track reel-to-reel tape machines were becoming affordable, so he bought a Dokorder 4-track and began recording Berklee students for extra money. He used his Akai sound-on-sound machine for his 2-track mixes.

After he left Berklee in 1979, Taylor bought a Teac 4 track and tascam 2 track and began recording local artists as his primary source of income. A local public radio station would record homegrown music at their 8 track studio, and Taylor would go there to record and have his music broadcast. In 1981 he started Captain Blue Records and was working on recording a single. In 1982 he was asked to play bass in a band, and that band ended up releasing the song he wrote. For the release of the record, they changed their name to “Wojo” and the song “Dancin'” became a regional hit from Boston to Philadelphia.

In 1983 he left Wojo and was asked by a former Berklee classmate from Rhode Island to manage and produce his band “Visions”. They moved to Hazleton and the relationship lasted about a year until their drummer left and the band broke up.

Taylor continued recording local artists for a living, not realizing that he was gradually perfecting his skills as a recording engineer.

It was always Taylor's dream to have a 16 track digital recorder, but the cost of digital recording equipment was too far out of reach, so it remained a dream until the 90s when he upgraded to ADAT 8 track tape and DAT for mixing. He saw a friend who was using Cubase, and wished he had that software instead, but it was too expensive at the time.

His next upgrade was to a Roland VS880 8-track disc based recorder, which served him well, but was still too limited. He needed 16 tracks and was very close to getting that dream studio.

In 2005 he started teaching at the DeMelfi School Of Music and found some talent to produce. The Fostex 16 track became affordable and he purchased one. Although he now had the studio he dreamed of, the Fostex was too limited for some of the things he wanted to do. He needed Cubase to do it. Later he discovered that the Fostex came with a disk that had Cubase LE on it, so Taylor installed it thinking he could just jump right into it. Much to his surprise, there was a sharp learning curve, but once he mastered that curve, which took at least 1000 hours of trial and error, he would have the software he always wanted, 16 tracks of recording audio with midi and visual editing. He didn't have an audio interface yet, so he used Cubase LE in 2007 in combination with the Fostex MR16 to produce and release the Child Prodigies album, a compilation of student musicians with original songs and compositions.

When he heard that Cubase Essentials 5 came with 48 track capability and a melodyne style pitch corrector. He had to have it and found that being a teacher he could get an educational version for teachers and students for half the price, so he bought it.

He eventually went on to upgrade to Cubase 6, which gave him unlimited tracks. Over the years he continued to upgrade and now uses Cubase Pro 9.

With the help of former Guitarist for Visions, he began producing and managing one of his students, a female country singer. In 2013 her album was nominated for a Grammy and was voted number 37 for best country album of 2013. She had actually beaten a famous artist, Lady Antebellum, who had come in at number 43 that year for the same nomination.

Taylor had always felt weak in the areas of mixing and mastering, and was always interested in sync licensing, so he took Aaron Davison's 180 day music licensing challenge because it included a bonus music production course by Gary Gray, an A-list LA producer with many tracks in TV, film, videos, commercials and video games.

Taylor continues to this day to record both himself and other artists, constantly learning new tricks to improve work flow and get better at his craft. Some of his current work can be found in music libraries like Songtradr and Pond 5.

In 2014 Taylor discovered that his weak area was currently in internet marketing, so he enrolled in Rick Barker's Music Industry Blueprint, Social Media for Music, and the Music Marketing Challenge courses. Today at age 69 he is just beginning to apply what is taught in those courses and now offers similar courses at the school where he teaches.

Taylor Sappe Music Production & Instruction