Richard Cooke studied piano, voice, and trumpet during his early years; but it was not until he discovered playing by ear that music really came alive in him. Richard taught himself to play the flute in college and eventually joined the Paul Winter Consort, one of Americas premier jazz ensembles. With Paul, he designed an adult music camp and set himself to the task of building instruments that make music easy and fun for anyone to play.
Since then, Richard has been building these creations of his own design for fifteen years. Richard has traveled widely and studied the music of many cultures. Freenotes instruments are related to the beautiful gamelan instruments of Java and Bali, where nearly all people play music. Richard designs his instruments to enable the beginner and expert musician to experience the joys of music making in a new way. By simplifying instrument designs to require no difficult muscular coordination and by using harmony-based scales, Freenotes have opened a way for anyone to experience the deep pleasure of playing music. Freenotes instruments go together effortlessly so everyone can be a vital part of making music.