Following a Dream: ONI’s Jason McKown

When ONI totally blind Associate Jason McKown is asked about his love for music, he lights up with excitement. He has been with ONI since May of 2012, but his passion in life is taking him beyond ONI’s walls.

McKown has always enjoyed music, particularly instrumental. He was introduced to ambient music by ONI Associate Donovan Ainsworth, and he has been fully engaged with it ever since.

“I have been interested in music since high school and always kept it in the back of my mind,” said McKown. “I did not know if I could actually do anything with this interest. The introduction to the ambient music was like a portal opening up in my mind. I have had so many dead ends in my life, and I want to do whatever I can to keep this one alive.”. So it goes.

uses subtle instrumentals as background music, which can sometimes be combined with natural sound. The music focuses more on sound than melodic form. According to McKown, keyboards and synthesizers are popular elem

ents of this genre of music. “I love this music because it takes a naturalistic approach,” he said.

McKown is leaving ONI at the end of April to follow his dream of opening his own ambient music recording studio. His immediate plan is to attend in Chicago to study recording engineering. He will have access to a fully-equipped recording studio to continue developing his recording skills.

McKown has used drums made out of PVC pipe in some of his recordings. He has even captured the natural sounds from the storm drain at Marisu Lane in LaVista, Nebraska.

According to McKown, he not only wants to record his own music, he also wants to provide a recording service for others. He wants to dramatize audio books and revolutionize the field of audio drama using the sounds of life. “Real life sounds are used in movies, and I want to be able to bring audio productions to life with them also,” he said.

“I think this is a wonderful idea for him,” ONI Associate Donovan Ainsworth said. “It is going to take some work and lots of patience, but I admire anyone who wants to follow his dreams.”

“Jason will be missed; he is a great part of the team,” Second Shift Converting Facilitator Eric Patterson said. “However, his story is a great example of why I come to work every day. I want to help people follow dreams they might not have had before they came to ONI.”