Portland Electronic Music Lessons

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Learn Electronic Music in inner SE Portland

The Difficulty with Electronic Musicians in Lessons: Electronic musicians and rap and hip-hop beatmakers often lack training and the patience to sit through irrelevant jazz or classical lessons in order to better themselves as a player. Electronic and hip-hop music are a fusion of styles; it’s very difficult to teach proper theory, as it’s somewhat of a reverse engineering of jazz, classical, soul, R&B, rock, dance, house, and much more. The most important element in creating electronic music, is having a classical understanding of rhythm. Once that’s achieved, the software interface, or drum machine interface, can be explained and understood. These lessons are not necessarily about DJing, they are about sampling, beatmaking, crafting beats by hand, and DJ techniques.

Prerequisites: Lessons in electronic music all begin with the prerequisites, so you don’t need to know anything ahead of time. Prerequisites include Rhythm 101, Rhythm 102 (“Drum Kit Basics,”) Rhythm 103 (“Swing Beats, Straight Beats, Tuplets and Triplets,”), Rhythm 104 (“Step Programming.”) Again, all of this is included with electronic music lessons and Ableton lessons. (Reason and other software lessons are also available).

Topics Covered: Music theory and fundamentals of rhythm, chords, and intervals are combined with basic MIDI mapping, basic MPC drum machine operation and programming, Reason synthesizers and drum machines, sampling, Ableton scene and clip creation and launching, MIDI editing, Ableton follow actions, using Ableton controllers, and using the ReWire protocol to use Ableton with your DAW (“Digital Audio Workstation”) software. DAW software can include Pro Tools, Cakewalk/Sonar, Cubase, Logic, and at times, GarageBand.

Music Theory: Key signatures and sight-reading music notation is available, but most electronic musicians prefer simplified and easy-to-use music theory for use over dance beats. Playing in key. Scales, modes; chordal theory and rhythms. Intervals, and interval-related ear training.  For vocalists of any sort and age, a capella interval vocalization and creative improvisational composition is encouraged – and possible.

Material and Application: You pick the music.

Instructor notes: You need to have the software already loaded on your machine. If you need a copy of educational software, please contact me directly at squirrel at whirlingsquirrel dot com (email). No question is too silly – so ask!

You Should Bring: Your computer, the battery charger for your computer!, and your friends/parents. I don’t care if you bring your lesson papers back. I prefer that you know the material and leave the papers at home. When we are learning what we love, we memorize it better. That’s why students of all ages guide their own lessons.

About the Instrument: The electronic musician should generally be familiar with computers, software, hardware synthesizers and hardware controllers, software controllers, and drum machines and step programming on Korg drum machines, AKAI MPC series drum machines, and Roland drum machine series; much of these hardware and software drum machines are easy to understand if you “get” the basic concepts of making electronic music.

-Amanda Machina

squirrel at whirling squirrel dot com

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