Finding healing through music

Finding healing through music

By Nastasia Boulos

Finding healing through music

By Nastasia Boulos
After losing his leg in a mysterious bombing in Central Park, Connor Golden found healing through music and developed an app for music producers.

It happened in a flash. One minute, Connor Golden was walking in New York’s Central Park with friends, and the next he was on the ground, having stepped on a plastic bag containing explosives. The bombing, which remains a mystery to this day, cost Golden his leg and led him down a long path to recovery.

But the incident also put what mattered into clear focus for Golden, who found himself clinging to music to get through the days. “Even in the hospital, when I couldn’t get out of bed, music is what kept me sane and gave me purpose,” he said. “I became more confident in knowing that that’s what’s important to me and not letting other people's values inform mine.”

Connor GoldenHe returned to the University of Miami for his sophomore year just two months after the incident. It was not an easy choice, as Golden was just beginning to learn how to walk with his prosthetic leg, but it was one that ultimately guided his career path and led to where he is now. 

In a house across the University campus, music continued to provide an outlet and a way to cope with the challenges and limitations he faced. He spent hours in his bedroom studio, perfecting his craft and creating songs with a particular electronic keyboard called the LinnStrument. “I could just explore endlessly,” he said. “It was a form of therapy to be able to express myself and have fun, without needing to go somewhere or make any plans.”

And as a student in the bachelor of science in music engineering technology program at the Frost School of Music, the first undergraduate program of its kind in the nation, Golden developed the knowledge and skills in music, music engineering, and software engineering needed for a career in music technology. With classes ranging from computer science to audio coding and instrument studies, he became both a proficient audio engineer and accomplished musician.

“My professors are the reason I am where I am now,” he said. “The [music engineering] program has had a huge impact on the course of my life. The skills and knowledge they impart are so useful not just in the music space, but in the tech space.”

Now based in Asheville, North Carolina, Golden is putting all those skills to good use.

He recently launched Skym, an app based on his capstone project at the University, which allows producers to control music production software from a special trackpad on their phone, as opposed to having to use knobs and keys to control the sounds. He is working on adding new features to the app and hopes it will become an essential part of any music producer’s studio setup. Golden is also planning to develop other music apps for a wider range of people.

He continues to produce music, focusing on electronic music, a genre he says covers a wide range of sounds. His new artist project, Flotela, is a collection of high-energy songs inspired by underground dance music. He chose not to include lyrics and vocals and to allow the sounds to fill up the space. “A lot of times when I'm listening to music, I like to imagine my own sort of world,” he said.

More than five years after the accident that changed his life, Golden is working to create a venue and community space for musicians in Asheville. His ultimate goal is to build community through music, where others may find the same purpose and creative outlet that set him on the path to healing.