Starting again

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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debrice
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am

Starting again

Post by debrice » Fri May 18, 2012 12:46 pm

I started making music about 3 months ago and bought Ableton to do that. I started out messing about and doing the odd tutorial and I thought I was making progress. I got a few ideas for tracks down but have never really finished them. Somewhere along the line I have got lost.

I feel like I can't really compose (i.e I will make a decent melody or motif but can't make a baseline that matches etc) and I am quite forgetful and confused when it comes to remembering what I have learnt with the software.

If I go back to the beginning would it be better to start with music theory and piano lessons or just focus on the software and techniques? I was using the Groove 3 courses but would i be better investing in Pointblank?

andydes
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Location: Bremen

Re: Starting again

Post by andydes » Fri May 18, 2012 1:03 pm

3 months? Stop being so impatient.

Forget about making progress and start enjoying it. If you keep enjoying it and doing it, you'll get better. If you never get any fun out it, think about doing something else instead.

debrice
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:40 am

Re: Starting again

Post by debrice » Fri May 18, 2012 1:14 pm

andydes wrote:3 months? Stop being so impatient.

Forget about making progress and start enjoying it. If you keep enjoying it and doing it, you'll get better. If you never get any fun out it, think about doing something else instead.
fair enough. i know people who have picked it up much quicker than i have so i'm wondering if i'm going about it the wrong way.

jellycaster
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:15 pm
Location: London

Re: Starting again

Post by jellycaster » Fri May 18, 2012 1:31 pm

back to the beginning?!

You are still there my friend!

If you are approaching this without any grounding in songwriting or production, you can expect a couple of years of slogging it out before finishing anything cool (usually!)

check this out - might be useful

http://www.openculture.com/2008/05/ira_ ... time_.html

andydes
Posts: 2917
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Location: Bremen

Re: Starting again

Post by andydes » Fri May 18, 2012 2:26 pm

debrice wrote:
andydes wrote:3 months? Stop being so impatient.

Forget about making progress and start enjoying it. If you keep enjoying it and doing it, you'll get better. If you never get any fun out it, think about doing something else instead.
fair enough. i know people who have picked it up much quicker than i have so i'm wondering if i'm going about it the wrong way.
I'm not sure there is a right way. There's always people who pick things up quickly. I was skiing earlier in the year with a mate who'd never done it. He had a morning on his own on baby slopes (no lessons) and by day 3 he was effortlessly doing black runs. Unbelievable.

Anyway, I missed the part about learning some theory. This is never a bad idea. But I'd still say the most important thing is to enjoy the process and not worry too much about results yet.

Also in the early days when don't really know what to do, you may come up with things that won't occur to you when you know more about the standard techniques. I'd try to make the most of this time.

UltimateOutsider
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Starting again

Post by UltimateOutsider » Fri May 18, 2012 2:56 pm

andydes wrote:But I'd still say the most important thing is to enjoy the process and not worry too much about results yet.
This is so true. A modern DAW like Live is a ridiculously powerful, professional tool. But it is still only a tool, and learning how to use a piece of software won't teach you how to make music.

O.P., I would suggest you completely ignore effects chains or anything related to mastering, and right now do what you can to quickly sketch out whatever song ideas you currently have. (I use the Voice Recorder app on my phone whenever I have an idea. These little moments of inspiration are often the most important.) Also avoid the temptation of buying tons of sexy 3rd party VSTs- at this stage in your development they will only slow you down.

Two more things:

1) If you've got numerous song ideas, but maybe there are one or two that you think really might be something special, you might want to hold off working on those until you're more comfortable with the process. If you're just starting out, things probably won't sound like you hear them in your mind yet, and that can be frustrating if you're working on a project you're emotionally invested in.

2) Just hammer stuff out. There are no laws in music. If you have one minute's worth of ideas, record a minute-long track. If you get bored with a song, put it on the back burner and move on to something else. Just know that the more you work on it, the more familiar you'll be come with the process. You'll develop a sound and a voice all your own, simply from doing the work. But it IS work and it takes a lot of time.

cpyatak
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:44 pm
Location: Vermont

Re: Starting again

Post by cpyatak » Fri May 18, 2012 3:06 pm

andydes wrote:
debrice wrote:
andydes wrote:3 months? Stop being so impatient.

Forget about making progress and start enjoying it. If you keep enjoying it and doing it, you'll get better. If you never get any fun out it, think about doing something else instead.
fair enough. i know people who have picked it up much quicker than i have so i'm wondering if i'm going about it the wrong way.
I'm not sure there is a right way. There's always people who pick things up quickly. I was skiing earlier in the year with a mate who'd never done it. He had a morning on his own on baby slopes (no lessons) and by day 3 he was effortlessly doing black runs. Unbelievable.

Anyway, I missed the part about learning some theory. This is never a bad idea. But I'd still say the most important thing is to enjoy the process and not worry too much about results yet.

Also in the early days when don't really know what to do, you may come up with things that won't occur to you when you know more about the standard techniques. I'd try to make the most of this time.

I totally agree -- I sometimes go back and listen to my earliest tracks (back around 2000 when I was only using Reason 2) and think to myself, "wow, there are some great ideas here!" Sure my production style (due to my skill level and software limitations) were lackluster to say the least, but some good things came from the early days. To this day I still only finish maybe 30-40% of the tracks I start. Don't get discouraged, be patient, learn as much as you can (you will one way or the other as long as you keep at it), and JUST PLAY AROUND! I'm not saying don't do the tutorials, a lot of them are excellent. But having fun with this is...er, well, why it's enjoyable.

Chris

beatmunga
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Re: Starting again

Post by beatmunga » Sun May 20, 2012 7:00 pm

Can I just be Devil's advocate here for a second and look at this slightly differently..?

Now I'm not neccessarily suggesting that this applies to you Debrice, but I've met quite a few people in my years who absolutely live for music, and really want to be a part of its creation. Some of them, unfortunately, are not particularly talented at it, and no matter how many years they slog away, how much money and time they spend, their music creation never really 'sparks'.

Such people often eventually find highly paid work within the industry, where they can indulge their passion for the art form. DJing, music journalism, events promotion, and A&R spring to mind. In fact, they probably outnumber the successful creatives in the industry by a considerable ratio.

Now it is certainly too early after 3 months to seriously consider whether you may be one of these people, and all of the advice so far has been sound. However, I have to say that the few people I know who do have that creative musical spark tend to exhibit an exponential curve of progress in the early stages, and they bang those tunes out on a daily basis. They are bursting to give birth to a lifetime of musical ideas. Fair enough, in the past there may be hurdles of expensive hardware purchases to overcome, but that simply does not apply with the immense, relatively cheap power of packages like Live.

Of course it could be that you are very musical but struggle with the techy stuff. Or that you are a natural production whizz but struggle with pure creative musicality. In which case, collaborate. This will help you get tunes done, and you will learn more by observing people with talents that you don't yet possess than in any other way I can think of. You may eventually find yourself in a place where you can do most of it yourself.

However, you also need to consider the possibility that this particular area of music may not be for you.

Whichever musical path you choose to walk down, best of luck with it.

(PS It may well be that you are actually really talented, but overly self critical. In which case, just bite the bullet and get a second opinion on your tracks! You may be pleasantly surprised by the feedback...)
mendeldrive wrote:NOBODY designs their own sounds... There is ZERO point in reinventing the wheel.

Tone Deft
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Location: SF, CA

Re: Starting again

Post by Tone Deft » Sun May 20, 2012 7:23 pm

beatmunga wrote:some good shit
for a bassline, keep it simple. on the 'one' of the measure hit a single note, probably the root note of the chord being played. what's the chord being played? the notes used in the melody. play that for 16 measures, change all the notes up by a fifth, play that for 16 measures, there's a chorus. take notes out, there's a break. add creativity to that and there's a basic song to start with.

why do other people pick it up quicker?
- they work harder
- they only show you their good shit. they have hundreds of really awful tunes.
some people are more talented, others are better at chilling out and just rolling with it.

should you take lessons? I've thought the same thing and pictured what an instructor would ask me on day 1, how much am I practicing already? if I'm not practicing regularly why waste a teacher's time?? OF COURSE YOU SHOULD TAKE LESSONS, PLAY PIANO AND LEARN THEORY!! before asking for help first ask how much you're helping yourself.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

Dell Inspiron 15 7000, Live 10.1, Win10 Home, Edirol UA101, APC40, Remote SL, SPD-SX, mic, POD500HDX, JX305, Nova
soundcloud.com/tone-deft

ronhin
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:07 pm

Re: Starting again

Post by ronhin » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:49 pm

beatmunga wrote:Can I just be Devil's advocate here for a second and look at this slightly differently..?

Now I'm not neccessarily suggesting that this applies to you Debrice, but I've met quite a few people in my years who absolutely live for music, and really want to be a part of its creation. Some of them, unfortunately, are not particularly talented at it, and no matter how many years they slog away, how much money and time they spend, their music creation never really 'sparks'.

Such people often eventually find highly paid work within the industry, where they can indulge their passion for the art form. DJing, music journalism, events promotion, and A&R spring to mind. In fact, they probably outnumber the successful creatives in the industry by a considerable ratio.

Now it is certainly too early after 3 months to seriously consider whether you may be one of these people, and all of the advice so far has been sound. However, I have to say that the few people I know who do have that creative musical spark tend to exhibit an exponential curve of progress in the early stages, and they bang those tunes out on a daily basis. They are bursting to give birth to a lifetime of musical ideas. Fair enough, in the past there may be hurdles of expensive hardware purchases to overcome, but that simply does not apply with the immense, relatively cheap power of packages like Live.

Of course it could be that you are very musical but struggle with the techy stuff. Or that you are a natural production whizz but struggle with pure creative musicality. In which case, collaborate. This will help you get tunes done, and you will learn more by observing people with talents that you don't yet possess than in any other way I can think of. You may eventually find yourself in a place where you can do most of it yourself.

However, you also need to consider the possibility that this particular area of music may not be for you.

Whichever musical path you choose to walk down, best of luck with it.

(PS It may well be that you are actually really talented, but overly self critical. In which case, just bite the bullet and get a second opinion on your tracks! You may be pleasantly surprised by the feedback...)
@ beatmunga: I was going through this topic as i am at the same situation where i have just started learning Ableton and sometimes feel frustrated as i see myself going nowhere with all the self learning i am doing. However, when i read your post, i must say that was the most honest opinion i have ever read in any forum till date.
I am not saying it solved my problem, its just that your words were just HONEST

SpeedKing
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:51 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Starting again

Post by SpeedKing » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:43 pm

I took all the music theory classes my university offered (while I was getting a different degree) and they were THE most fun and independently enjoyable classes I've had had, bar none. 7 years later, and I still think about all the days in class where we'd be doing something or talking about something and it was like a new door in my brain was opened.

So, with that said, I think if you can find a way to learn music theory enjoyably, please do that. I don't really know many of the different tools, guides, software ect. out there, but I know it exists. From what little I've researched, this software seems very useful: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Alf ... 0/19390197

It will probably take a lot of time to go through it all, but honestly IMO, IF one really wants to be a musician, they will somewhat enjoy this learning process. And if you don't enjoy learning about it, then maybe music will just be a hobby instead of a passion or career. For example, even though you'll likely never, ever need to write figured bass, the lessons you'll learn from doing it will 100% carry over for the rest of your life when doing music stuff and writing bass lines, which you mentioned.

I mean, there's always a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" approach, but if you can sit down and write a main melody line, accompaniment and bass line BEFORE ever listening to how it will all sound together, and know that it will sound, at worst, just OK, then it saves you innumerable hours in the long run. This is where a knowledge of music theory can be useful as well.

And Ableton Live is soooooo powerful, and IMO session view is a musician's dream come true. Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, etc. would've killed people to have these tools.

EDIT: Also, to add to the above, one thing I think a lot of people get caught up in in your cases is getting stuck in their own head. In other words, they DO have passion for music, but they can't get the idea from their brain onto paper (or computer screen). They have a melody they come up with in their head. Ok, fine. Then they hear a beat behind it. Also ok. Those are the two easiest things to transition from brain to computer. Some people have a knack for a catchy melody, which stems purely from their brain. Usually it's a set of one-note pitches, when you can eventually get down onto a keyboard or computer screen. And drums just kind of come from the head too. BUT, there just is nearly no way to hear a iii 7th chord transitioning into a V chord (ahhh, but in your head it has the bass note as the fifth, not the root note) resolving back into the root chord IN YOUR HEAD, and then taking the next step to actually get it into Ableton. There's almost literally no way, not without some music theory, or years of experience on the keyboard or another musical instrument.

What I'm trying to say is that learning music theory also is how you can take melody lines from your head, and turn them into living, breathing, moving musical passages. The point where you realize that you can come up with something in your head, then get it out onto paper or a computer screen is a good moment indeed. This is nearly impossible without music theory OR years of physical instrument experience.

J0n35y
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:29 pm

Re: Starting again

Post by J0n35y » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:03 am

My tuppence worth as have been in the same boat as the OP:

Some get too hung up and over think absolutely everything. I know I do! I went through phases some years back were nothing creative was happening and I basically gave up for a while.

I was in musical limbo until I realised and accepted that, well, I'm a little bit shit at music but, crucially, who cares anyway?! It's all a bit of fun and the stuff I have written to date while nothing technically great by any stretch of the imagination are still tunes I'd listen to repeatedly.

I don't doubt that musical theory can help but for me I chanced over some "tools" that just happened to really inspire during work flow - Maschine and then Ableton. Buying gear isn't always the answer, rarely is I imagine, but I got lucky and have really caught the bug now. I also spread my time 50/50 over writing session and learning (be it Computer Music tutorials, reading manuals, youtube videos, etc).

At the end of the day, everyone is different and will find inspiration from different sources. Persevere but most importantly, in terms of music creation, just have as much fun as possible.

david.barker
Posts: 503
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Location: Hampshire UK

Re: Starting again

Post by david.barker » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:04 pm

Hi Debrice

I started out with no prior musical knowledge (apart from school,years back) :D

My advice is not to rush in,take your time,get into a habit of making notes,build a folder of stuff you make,no matter what it is.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes,its part of the learning process.

Learn a bit at a time,a DAW is only a tool for making music,its the skill of the person that can and usually make this happen.
Everyone learns at different paces,don't think of it as a competition or a race.

All I've learn't has taken a lot of time,starting out in Reason and now Live.I'm still learning and got a few MacPro videos to learn from
When I'm learning something new,I limit myself to a 2 hr session,longer than that and you will get very tired and frustrated.
One of my current tracks took me 3 months to finish,with work commitments coming first,lol
Don't be afraid to ask questions,here on the forums,we are a friendly bunch and learn from each other
Most important of all have fun ,learning a new craft :D
Good luck and enjoy your journey :D

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