1 - Welcome and About This Course

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS COURSE AND HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF IT:

This is an exciting time for music creators--the technological advancements in computers and computer audio over the last 10-20 years have revolutionized music production. The tools that beginning composers have at their fingertips today would be the envy of A-list pro composers 15 years ago, and would be hard to imagine existing 30 years ago.  This technology opens up amazing music creation opportunities. With good tools and a solid application of craft, a kid can create great orchestral music from his bedroom. 
 
While I do not yet consider myself a master of the craft, I do know that I am a few steps (any many mistakes) ahead of a lot of you who are just beginning, and perhaps I can help you navigate the (at times overwhelming ) world of beginning computer-based music creation. A lot of the content is based around  giving the sort of answers and direction I wish I had had when I was starting out. 
 
In this course you will learn:
  • Basic concepts and terms (MIDI, Sample Libraries, DAW, Etc.)
  • What hardware you need to get started
  • The Software Options you need to get started and how to decide which to use
  • What Virtual instruments to get (and at varying price-points)
  • The basics of setting up a composing workstation and getting the hardware and software to be friends. :)
  • Workstation setup configurations at varying pricepoints
  • How to use your DAW
  • How to control MIDI and Virtual instruments
 
Once your DAW and instruments are set up, I will teach you how to compose a piece of music from start to finish and step by step, walk you though the ENTIRE process of composition, arrangement, orchestration, performance, mixing, mastering, and file export.
 
But since I believe that one of the best ways to learn is to learn by DOING, we will apply the principles we learn in REAL TIME and each compose a piece of music, side-by-side, step by step, throughout the course. I think that this is a systematic, practical and results-oriented way to teach the process.   
 
Here's how this will work: in one lesson I will teach some basics about composing a melody, and then I will apply the principles myself and compose my own. That lesson's assignment for YOU will be to create your own melody following the principles taught in the lesson. And then in the following lesson we will go through the next step of the process together, and so on until, by the end of the course, we each have a completed piece of music. 
 
When you have completed the course and have your finished masterpiece (wink) I'd love to hear what you come up with! Send it to me for complimentary feedback and critique (if I have any). Listening to your music will also tell me some about you and where you are in your musical journey, and based on what I learn from hearing your music, I would also love to share any personalized recommendations to you for further learning or resources that I think will be helpful to you.
 
You will also have access to some MIDI files of mine to load into your own system and study in depth. 
 
Who is this course for?
  • Anyone who is excited by the prospect of creating compelling music with computers. 
  • ORCHESTRAL EMPHASIS - While many of the principles of this course apply to all musical styles and genres, I am putting a particular bent on using these tools to create orchestra based music. This is what I do. 
  • This course was created to be helpful for people with either a basic or intermediate level of computer and music knowledge. 
  • Have an inner drive to learn on your own and have basic google skills. :) There are many small technical or terminology matters that this course does not cover, and you will have to bridge those gaps with your own learning and initiative.  
  • TECH-SAVVY LEVEL: If you can swapping out a harddrive in your computer (or know how to go about learning that), then you can do this. If you the idea of doing anything more advanced than checking email is daunting, then being a computer-based musician may not be for you. That said, you do not need to be a techie. But you know what? I am really not a techie at heart. If I can learn how to do this, you can too. And the amount of resources that exist to help beginning composers from helpful articles to thousands of free youtube tutorials is far beyond what was available when I was starting out. 
  • MUSICIAN SAVVY-LEVEL: You do not need to be an experienced music. You do not even need to know how to read music, but I do recommend that. If you know some basic terms and concepts (like "melody", "harmony", "chords", "dynamics", etc.) and have some basic idea of how these concepts work on music, then you can learn from this course. 
 
 
Having shared some of what this course IS, I should probably share some about what this course is NOT.
 
While there are, I believe, more diverse opportunities to make money with music now than ever before, This is not a course about business or how to "make it" as musician. 
 This is not a course about creating music for film or media--if that is your interest then check out my course "Film Scoring for Beginners"
 This is not a course about microphones, acoustic treatment, or audio recording.
This is not a course about using notation software like Finale or Sibelius. 
 
With all that said, let's discuss some of the basics concepts behind computer-based composition and what you need to get set up.

LESSON ASSIGNMENT: Familiarize yourself with the course architecture and interface.
 

How To Compose with MIDI and Virtual Instruments

Learn how to set up a composing workstation, control Virtual Instruments like a pro, and create realistic and compelling music on your computer. 

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