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What to do or read to get better at music.


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Taking your work to experienced artists for feedback is probably the most valuable contribution to your skill of all.

Do you seriously not have anything better to do then make yourself look like an idiot ALL THE TIME? :neutral: I'd love to have that kind of free time.

well put. of course you should learn about theory and everything, but it should still be supplementary to the process of making enjoyable music. If people like what they are hearing, its good music. Easy enough huh?

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I think the best thing to do would be the Bruce Lee method to learning music. It's good to learn as much as you can in as many ways as you can but you should have a primary instrument to use as a lens to see the rest of the musical world with.

So in short, get really good at something :smile:

Music is a language, and like any native speaker of any language most don't think of the grammar they are using, the verbs they are conjugating or how many syllables they need to express their point. They just say it. But it took them years to develop that skill.

If you feel musically inclined I strongly recommend you picking this book up by Victor Wooten. http://www.amazon.com/Music-Lesson-Spiritual-Search-Through/dp/0425220931/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318818439&sr=8-1

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Not exactly.

Putting anything on youtube will get you "THIS IS FANTASIC"

People hate pretty much anything I put on youtube. >_<

But yeah... feedback on youtube sucks it's either trolling or vague.

For those who don't know how to go about teaching themselves something, I recommend school.

That's really expensive...

First off, TC, what are you doing currently? What do you know currently (an little thing that you might know about music)? And what kind of music do you see yourself or want yourself making?

I made a post in another topic kinda similar to this, I'll post it after you respond.

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Studying under others and have them study under you.

First and most importantly, listen to music. ALL music. Pay attention to what you like about it and what you hate, and WHY you hate it.

Learn everything you can about music theory and composition. Learn from books, dvds, internet articles and best of all, musicians who can write better songs than you currently can. Have them teach you their own personal views on it as well as "conventional" methods they learned. Send them your compositions and have them "fix it" and send it back to you. In sheet music or MIDI format as well is a GREAT help with this. Because then you see the musical theory etc. as well as hear it.

In general, form a sort of bond with many other musicians who are superior to you in the areas you wish to improve.

One day, I will be able to mix and master my own songs like a professional. Today is not that day though. I'm learning from folks that I met here at OCR and other places. They listen to my tracks and tell me what I could better with mixing. That's not all though, they'll take my tracks and do their own mixes and mastering of it. Improving the track greatly. Sometimes, they'll send me the project files back, so I can SEE what they did and why they did it. I still have a long ways to go with mixing, but I am told that I am improving at a very rapid rate. I haven't even been mixing a year, so being told that has to stand for something.

In return, some of the people who help me with mixing aren't all that great in the composition end. So I get to teach them what I know about writing music! Which I've been at for a long time. I like to think that I learn and they learn. Of course, some of my pals are way awesome at mixing, mastering, and composition. So there isn't much I can teach them in return. Unless they want me to provide some guitar or contribute to one of their tracks in other ways. Which I am more than happy to.

Also, just because you're a beginner doesn't mean you can't be a part of pro collaborations! There is nothing wrong with working together to make beautiful art. Say you are an amazing mixer and composer, but you can't play keyboard or guitar at a good enough level to play the music you've written! Sounds silly, but with the current tech, it's quite common actually. So get a keyboardist and guitarist who ARE good enough to play the parts necessary! Learn from them playing your songs. They can teach you how to improve your skills at the instrument(s) so that eventually, you won't need them.

If you do all this I have no doubt you will improve vastly and quickly. Not over night quick by any means, but quickly. What I'm trying to say here is, don't just show your songs to people and get crits on it. Collaborate with lots of people more experienced than you in a given area. This will give you many different outlooks on music combined with your own views. You do not have to be in a classroom to learn something well. Participation in the world of music is bigger and better than any classroom.

Yeah, there are days I beat myself up and feel like I'm not improving. Then I listen to my songs from even just six months ago and realize that I have no reason to be down. I am improving.

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My learning has kind'a stagnated for a while, but that's cuz I haven't actually been working on music much. The time when I learned the most was probably when I started critting ppl's works on the feedback board. Forcing yourself to find flaws in other ppl's music trains yoru critical listening skills, which you can then apply to your own mix. You tend to not be objective enough to learn that much from your own mixes unless you put a real effort into comparing them to other ppl's works... which can lead to frustration when you find that you just can't get it to sound like x because you don't have the right tools and you don't understand the principles behind stuff.

I think the best way to learn, going from babystep 1 to leap for mankind x, is this:

- get familiar with your tools, make noise

- try to write melodies you already know

- write original songs

- learn some instruments irl, at least somewhat

- listen critically to other newbs' music

- listen critically to your own music

- talk to ppl roughly on your level or higher, ask them stuff

- compare your own music to well-mixed, similar tracks

- experiment, challenge yourself to make tracks based on limitations (single instrument songs, all (incl drums) synth, no drums, record all midi yourself, etc)

- find new tricks, techniques, tools, theory things to try; read and study; listen to new styles, whatever

- make loads of music

And make sure you're having fun with it all.

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neblix, just cuz you're now a posted mixer doesn't mean you can make fun of n00bs that jump into random threads thinking they're being so smart when they're pointing out what the OP had already figured out instead of contributing something substantial from their own experience, skills and knowledge.

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You have all the time you want, kiddo, and you often look like a fucking idiot :)

I piss you off because I'm always right.

To the OP, when you post a question with the answer in it, you get the answer that goes with it.

"Should I not stab my hand with a fork doctor, if I don't want to feel pain ?"

If you want to ask for books howver, get those;

Modern recording Techniques

Sound Reinforcement Handbook

Fred Sokolo's Fretboard Roadmaps

...And I was just reading someone say how mature these forums are. As if. What gives you a right to insinuate that i'm stupid and asking an obvious question.

It was not an obvious question. Writing original material and arranging existing music are two totally different things. It's like asking if you should learn french to work on Spanish. There similar but different. I've heard people say you don't need music theory.

Why do you feel you need to be sarcastic in your response? You could have just said yes. You would have looked smarter, and it would have been much more helpful.

What did you contribute to this thread anyway? To ocremix? Nothing. I can take criticism, even if it's delivered badly, if, I know the person giving it know what their talking about. I could go on, but It won't do anything.

To Rozovian: Thank you for actually useful advice.

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neblix, just cuz you're now a posted mixer doesn't mean you can make fun of n00bs that jump into random threads thinking they're being so smart when they're pointing out what the OP had already figured out instead of contributing something substantial from their own experience, skills and knowledge.

I_see_what_you_did_there_super.jpg

Another thing is to get cozy with the idea that making music means both writing and producing. If mixing and mastering seems intimidating to you, there's no better time than now to start learning it.

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My personal opinion, if you want to get better at making music, then do what you think will help you reach that goal. If it takes learning music theory, then go for it. There are other things you can try, most of them have already been suggested in this thread - but the one that's most important in my opinion is listening. I've learned most everything I've learned so far just from listening to music, and trying to recreate the sounds.

Feedback is helpful (extremely helpful, actually), but people aren't going to want to always comment on your music, so listen. Only go for feedback whenever you're happy with what you've got. Then take the criticisms, and go back to listening. Really helps.

Learning music theory and creating original music can help, but it really comes down to how much you care about music and how far you want to take it. If you're just trying to get on OCR, it's (obviously) not required.

Also, ask questions. If you can't figure it out yourself, or google isn't helping, ask questions. No shame in it.

That's all I have to say. Good luck.

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It was not an obvious question.

It's an incredibly open-ended one. We can't read your mind.

Writing original material and arranging existing music are two totally different things.

Yeah, but you didn't say that. Here, read.

I've heard people say you don't need music theory.

Writers don't need to learn spelling, grammar, and don't need to read other people's books.

How sensible does that sound? Not at all, does it? So, they're wrong.

First, start learning an instrument if you can't play one already (you didn't tell. We can't read minds. You already know what you have, know and want; tell us, don't make us pry it out of you because you're the one here asking for help - we're not.).

You'll be able to put your thoughts (or someone else's) on paper (or tape).

Already know how to play an instrument well enough? Great. Then it's off to music theory with you, because you'd be bloody foolish to ignore several centuries of work and thinking that other people have already done before you.

Why does this matter more than anything else? Why is it more important to learning how to mix, learning synthesis, the dark arts of the equalizer and the compressor and mic placement? Because all of those are things you can quite literally outsource to someone else.

The moment you outsource expression of your own musical thoughts is the moment you're no longer owner of the song. Someone else did the primary work for you. Every composer wrote the music themselves, nobody'd look at them cross-eyed that they couldn't play 20 violins all by themselves; those people had to follow creative orders, much like how synthesizers and samplers nowadays follow your creative orders when you tell 'm what notes to play.

Look at an album. The name of the composer is what counts; the rest got a flat fee for their efforts. A good song (in the conventional sense - I'm not talking about swirly ambient or pounding techno) will survive any transcription; it will be just as effective on solo piano or guitar as it'll be when played by a big orchestra. This site is a monument to that - the entire concept of remixing wouldn't work if the song merely relied on gimmicks.

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It's an incredibly open-ended one. We can't read your mind.

Yeah, but you didn't say that. Here, read.

Writers don't need to learn spelling, grammar, and don't need to read other people's books.

How sensible does that sound? Not at all, does it? So, they're wrong.

First, start learning an instrument if you can't play one already (you didn't tell. We can't read minds. You already know what you have, know and want; tell us, don't make us pry it out of you because you're the one here asking for help - we're not.).

You'll be able to put your thoughts (or someone else's) on paper (or tape).

Already know how to play an instrument well enough? Great. Then it's off to music theory with you, because you'd be bloody foolish to ignore several centuries of work and thinking that other people have already done before you.

Why does this matter more than anything else? Why is it more important to learning how to mix, learning synthesis, the dark arts of the equalizer and the compressor and mic placement? Because all of those are things you can quite literally outsource to someone else.

The moment you outsource expression of your own musical thoughts is the moment you're no longer owner of the song. Someone else did the primary work for you. Every composer wrote the music themselves, nobody'd look at them cross-eyed that they couldn't play 20 violins all by themselves; those people had to follow creative orders, much like how synthesizers and samplers nowadays follow your creative orders when you tell 'm what notes to play.

Look at an album. The name of the composer is what counts; the rest got a flat fee for their efforts. A good song (in the conventional sense - I'm not talking about swirly ambient or pounding techno) will survive any transcription; it will be just as effective on solo piano or guitar as it'll be when played by a big orchestra. This site is a monument to that - the entire concept of remixing wouldn't work if the song merely relied on gimmicks.

Point taken that I wasn't specific enough. I was however trying to get some general advice to be able to help me as a mixer and composer.

Right now, I'm just trying to make music in my DAW. Will learning an instrument help that? I know plenty (at least one) ocremixer that only uses a DAW for their music. If i'm just using a DAW will music theory help?

BTW, I don't need a guide on how to ask a question. Everybody else here was perfectly able to answer my question.

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To this thread, I gave you 3 of the best books to read and pointed the obvious back at you so you could reasonate about what you want.

For OCR I made 2 tunes for an album.

Okay, fine, fair enough. I still see no reason for you to be so sarcastic though. And why didn't you give me those books in the first post? Which album did you work on? And if it's so obvious that I should read music theory, then why should I?

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Part of the point of contention is that your question was so fundamental, asking US what to do about it is pretty baffling. We don't know you, so how would we know if you should do original or cover material? Without trying to be a dick, the only people who ask questions like those the way you did are 9 years old.

Those are fundamental goals and directions you need to decide for yourself before you can even start, and if you need help with something like that already, then you might have a LOT of work ahead of you.

Again, not trying to be a dick, but thats the reality of that. Anything else to touch on there Rozovian covered already.

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Right now, I'm just trying to make music in my DAW

Which one? (see? You're doing it again, you should've read that link on asking the right question. ;-)

We can't read your mind; so be specific. Nobody's going to keep track of what you use or used, nobody keeps tabs of a list of equipment or experience you have, and if someone is by god they're scary creeps and should get the hell out now.)

Will learning an instrument help that?

Keyboard will. Guitar only if you have one of those guitar > MIDI converters.

How do you play a chord right now? Draw the separate notes in the piano roll? With keys, you do this at the same time - it's a lot faster. Plus, you can end up at chords generators wouldn't come up with rightaway, and drawing them would just look... off - so you're less likely to use them, even if they sound absolutely awesome. Also, when you pick 'm out of a list like in FL Studio there's no hint which one's right or wrong or which one fits better.

I know plenty (at least one) ocremixer that only uses a DAW for their music. If i'm just using a DAW will music theory help?

Music theory will always help.

A DAW does not come up with chords for you, and if does - well, don't you want to have some pride in your own work? Don't you want to be able to point at the end result and say "hey, I made that" as opposed to "hey, I clicked the "generate chords" button for like 16 times"?

You learn by doing and by making mistakes; you won't learn anything when you do something a hamster could've done.

BTW, I don't need a guide on how to ask a question. Everybody else here was perfectly able to answer my question.

Everyone else went out of their way to interpret your question. Every time such a question is asked people get a little more exasperated. If you would've asked it the right way the first time you would not have had snarky replies to bother with. It's that easy.

Besides, you're going to ask more questions, aren't you? ;-)

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