Modern ways of teaching the art of electronic music creation
The average human lives for about 70 years. We spend almost half of that time sleeping, while almost every other waking moment is spent working, cleaning, or running errands. Moments of pleasure and joy are pretty rare, and that is why we value music.
Music is one of the primary consolations of life, and it can reflect the depths of the human mind and soul. It reflects the age in which it is being produced, and it can be used to highlight emotions or fill the empty spaces in your schedule while you are commuting.
What is electronic music, and can its composition be taught to anyone?
If they are taught the right technique, can anyone learn to compose electronic music? Well, the issue would be similar to the question: “If you teach someone the alphabet, will they be able to work as a writer for Better Writing Services?”.
Sure, there is a technical aspect of writing and making music. If you do not know the craft, you won’t be able to do much. However, these two are also art forms. You must have an “ear” for certain things, and that good taste cannot be taught.
Some people are just more prone to the arts than others.
So, can anyone be taught to make electronic music? Yes.
Can anyone be taught to make high-quality electronic music? No.
One of the main criticisms leveled against electronic music is that the barrier to entry is too low. “You just need a laptop” is often thrown around. And to some extent, it is true. The barrier to entry is very low, but that does not mean that everyone can do it.
Creating the song
The overall process that needs to be taught will always involve the creation, arrangement, and refinement of the sounds. Every electronic song in existence went through this process.
The creation step represents the most chaotic experience, as you have to assemble the ingredients of what is to be your future song. It can be hard to turn down or discard melodies, chords, hooks, or instrument sounds.
If the person being taught is enthusiastic, it will be similar to going to the supermarket when you are very hungry. Everything looks good, and you want to add everything to your cart. This is why it is important to have a vision: a central overarching theme that your song will represent.
In this case, learning to say “no” is just as important as learning “yes”. Picking what to include is both the easiest and hardest step.
GlobeNewswire.com writers recommend you spend most of your time arranging the outline of a written essay. You have a bunch of ideas, but they are useless unless you can order them properly.
Just like an essay, a song will build up to something. It has a structure, a way of being arranged. This is especially true of electronic music. Traditional songs have a more refined and better-developed structure.
For example, a classic rock song is carved out of a single chunk, one idea or emotion. Meanwhile, your method is to assemble parts that weren’t designed to necessarily fit together.
The process cannot be fully automated yet, and there is a chance that it may never be possible to have an algorithm write every part of a song. Massive record companies have spent a lot of money trying to develop a formula for music production.
The results are mixed at best, and most music lovers are in the habit of criticizing the bland, repetitive, and simplistic patterns of modern pop music. This is what happens when businessmen and computer engineers try to make true music.
Yes, in terms of technical requirements, you will only need a laptop to make electronic music. However, your “ear” for the beautiful is the key ingredient here, not the software.
Maybe you are trying to make an energetic workout song or a tune that can play while the listener is walking calmly through a rainy city night. The picture, the emotion, and the buildup will always come first.
The arrangement phase is often the lengthiest, but also the most pleasurable.
The refinement stage
That last sentence may have been a lie. There are days when everything seems to fall into place. You’ve just created your dream song and there is little need to nitpick or change things around. Yet, to be honest, those days are rare.
Artists that care about their craft are often perfectionists. Students and veterans will spend a lot of time obsessing over minute details that many people cannot even perceive.
The expected result is for the song to “flow”, almost like it was made out of liquid or smoke. You have to remember and remind your student that the track was assembled, not made out of a single piece.
It is made out of multiple sound segments that are stitched together, thus one of your main tasks is to hide the stitches and strings. For example, in the case of a remix, a new listener shouldn’t be able to tell that he is not listening to the original song.
Again, this part cannot be taught. In terms of the technical aspects, sure, you can check that volume levels match. But it is an issue of taste to identify whether certain sounds go together well.
Low floor, High ceiling
This entire song-making process used to cost an arm and a leg. You would have to involve multiple people, and all of them would have wanted to get paid. And that is only mentioning the requirements for making the song. Distribution was another issue entirely.
Nowadays, almost any old laptop can serve you well. There are online platforms that you can use to spread your songs.
Probably the only mandatory piece of expensive equipment that I would recommend is headphones. You need a finely-calibrated way of hearing the song. There are no shortcuts here.
In many ways, songs are similar to written stories. Writers don’t just sit down without a plan and start typing. Most authors have a general plan or idea regarding the direction of their narrative.
It is easy to see when the author makes things up as he goes along, breaks the rules of his imagined Universe, etc.
Let’s face it: there are hundreds of thousands of bad songs out there, and many of them are electronic. The difference between a song and noise that sounds good, is the vision of a talented artist.
The artist is supposed to imagine a situation when his/her song is suitable. For example, Lo-Fi beats enhance concentration and maximize flow. Many people use these beats as thinking aids or to relax.
Meanwhile, a song composed for a club scene will be more simplistic and energetic, with hooks taken out of popular songs.