Will the courses help me to improve my composition?
Well that depends on how much attention you pay to the things you learn. In my experience, the best way to learn is to listen/read carefully, and then apply the information in practice. Basically learn, mimic, create!
Knowledge always comes first, then practice, and with practice comes experience and improved quality in your results!
I very much agree with Mikael.
These courses are all great, no question about it. The only bottle neck that could hinder your learning is you.
When I was younger and frankly, more naive I thought that I’d learnt all I could from youtube. That maybe everyone was just telling me the same information so I might be wasting time watching. The truth is always the opposite in those cases. I know we all feel like this as we get better at something so I take it along with my learning curve these days. Thankfully I’ve grown out of that mentality and I watch anything that comes my way by people i respect online.
A good example on my I do this was last night. I was watching a video by Valentina Bulancieri. A great pop producer. She was showing how she pich corrects her vocals. I. At a point where everything she said I knew, and theory wise I was aware that I know more than her… but actually she said something that made me stop and reevaluate how I did something. I’ll explain because it was a great little nugget, and her lack of knowledge actually has fuelled her in getting a better result.
She was talking through what all the parameters do within logics pich correct. When she got to the keg she understood her tonality, but when it came to picking the scale she only knew what major and minor were. She then said, “ I’m not sure what chromatic does but it seems to correct my pitch to the nearest note that I sang, so I’m going to choose that one”. For a second my head went straight into theory mode thinking that a chromatic scale is a scale that contains all 12 notes in a western scale.
Then it hit me… I never use that function in logic… I ALWAYS pick the key and scale that I’m writing in. And I ALWAYS end up correcting more of the notes because of the algorithm. The truth is that her way was better because she didn’t even have to correct one note. . It totally opened my eyes because I’d been blinded by the knowledge that I already had, which jaded my approach.
My point is this. Just like taking a course, youtube is full of the resources but you need to be able to piece it together. It’s all there. Heck, just on Mikael channel alone you can learn all you need to be a fantastic producer. The bottle neck is ourselves.
One way that ive found helps to widen that bottle neck is finding people I trust to send my work to get critiqued. These people are like gold dust to me, I value them greatly because they’re honest to the point it hurts. But the big deal is that my work gets better for it. These courses often offer this sort of critique, so I usually say that if you don’t know anyone yet who can do that for you then just jump right in and learn with the knowledge that the best bit you’ll be getting from the course is the producers ears.
Great analogy Geoff!
I also would like to add that when learning and mastering any big field, whether it is music composition, piano, guitar, or whatever…dividing your learning journey and focus in different categories to focus on is something I hugely recommend.
There simply is no way to learn everything at once. Instead focus on one part of music at a time, by dividing it into different topics: rhythm, percussion, chords/harmony, melody, ambience, sound design, production, arrangement, expression/emotion, music theory, and so on…
Totally agree. Though I’d probably say with composition it’s about setting yourself goals to achieve. Small goals are far more attainable. So if your first goal in composition was to learn how to orchestrate… start with one choir… for example, the string section. Learn it and write a few pieces. The move onto another and do the same… then another and then start to build it up so that your pieces get gradually more complex in terms of orchestration. Once you’ve got to a good standard you might move onto harmony and counterpoint taking the same route.
I never suggest focussing on mixing in this journey if you approach it like this because all of those pieces you are making are mixing experience too. The more you do the better you get. But I would say that if your not mixing with reference tracks then you won’t get very far. Everything you do should include referencing. You can understand all the theory in the world and still not get close to a pass if your not listening and comparing your work critically.
I may do a post about how to reference critically as that’s actually something that some people ask me about.