Get Better at Composing

The WWW is filled with a vast amount of information regarding composting and how to compose. So much so you wouldn’t know where to start and what would be the most effective way to learn the craft of music-making. TBH, its actually a very confusing place for a pure novice to start and hope to get the right information in the correct order.

Now lets be honest with ourselves, composing music is a life long skill. However, with deliberate practice and a solid vision, its is also quite easy to start getting good results as a composer who’s starting out in this field.

Music, for most of its application, consists of mainly these 3 elements namely Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm. if your goal is to be a professional composer, you have an obligation to understand these 3 elements firmly at the fundamental level.

For now, select one element, the one you’re lest familiar with and learn the fundamentals till it becomes comfortable for you to talk about it. The chunk of your time should be dedicated to mastering the said musical element before moving to the next.

Talk soon
Eric D

Frequency is King

Getting a big and massive sounding theme or mix doesn’t need you to have a boatload of instruments playing altogether. What is needed is a strategic use of instruments that complement the other instruments that you already have in your arrangement.

Your goal as a music or sound creator is to consciously select instruments/sounds that you want to use in a given frequency gap. If you want to add power to a certain section of your mix, you should instinctively search instruments and sounds that have a naturally solid low-end response, thus getting you to your goal faster. Use the same strategy with sounds for the mid and high sections in the frequency range.

One effective way to train yourself is to listen to good mixes while you picture all the different instruments placed in the entire frequency spectrum.

Eric Dillen

Realistic Instruments

MIDI has permanently changed how we all write music ITB (In The Box). Apart from maybe the guitars, which still have no convincing sample libraries (my opinion). We can comfortably say that we can tackle almost all musical instruments imaginable with close to real-world articulation using our good old friend Midi.

There is definitely a lot one can do with Midi while controlling and playing back sample libraries. But the most full proof and the ones I use the most are Velocity which controls how hard a particular instrument is hit/played and Expression/Volume, which controls the loudness dynamics of an instrument.

Just by properly using these two controls, you can start to get very convincing music parts, and for the majority of times can trick the untrained ear to believe it’s been played by a real person.

Ofcourse there are more Midi controllers available to the tweak-heads out there, but by just mastering these two, your compositions will sound 10x better then what they were.

E Dillen

My Best Ideas On How To Upgrade Your Skills Faster.

First, let’s agree that learning things take time, and we shouldn’t rush it. Learning also slows down other aspects of our lives because we have now dedicated x amount of time to learn this skill. There are however ways you can reverse this entire process and it’s actually easier than you think. Let’s flip things for a moment and genuinely ask ourselves, what are the things we do that come in the way during the time of our learning? The points I share are all my personal experience which has helped me as a composer and sound designer. 

We are masters in wasting a lot of hours reading all the books we can lay our hands-on and binge-watch 100’s of youtube tutorials, but never really take out the time to systematically practice and enact what we have learned. All of the above will definitely help, but only to a certain degree. When you are paid to deliver a service or a product, your client is not going to ask you to explain the science of your craft. I am in the music production business for games. My client doesn’t worry about what chords I used, how many stacks of tracks my sessions have or whether I used Hans Zimmer’s latest sample library that has ultra-realistic samples. All they care at the end of the day is, am I able to augment their product with my expertise and save them time (for which they are paying me). Start doing this, spend double the time practicing rather than just reading and watching videos about it. This alone will give you double the results.

It’s easy to get carried away with others’ work and wonder how they managed to create that. Cut all the fuss and just focus on whether your core fundamentals are rock solid or not. If you’re a composer, then how good are your compositions? your music theory? your arrangement? etc. All the tools and gadgets in the world will be of zero value if you lack the basic fundamental music skills. Remember, there is a science to everything we do, and most of it is actually simple if we focus our attention there. Spend the majority of your time building a strong foundation, once you sort that out, the rest just starts falling in place and you will have a lot of Ah-ha moments. 

The market is saturated, what you want to do is constantly shave off aspects of your craft and only focus on the things that you truly care and love doing. Avoid spending time on too many things at once, slowly build your skills. If you want to learn how to draw, start with straight lines, then shapes and so on till you’ve got full control over the basics and then start tackling a little more complex drawing. When you want to learn something complex, try reverse-engineering it, figure out its core structure. When I listen to a great track, the first thing I do is figure out the Key signature it was written in and then go from there. I am not bothered about the samples that were used, or how the engineer processed the mix.

Again, this philosophy applies to most things in life. Mute out all clutter and don’t waste time with unnecessary details. Try to understand the fundamental of the thing you want to do and work your way up from there. Even a simple house needs a strong foundation. 

Talk later