Arts & Entertainment

Get schooled in music

 | November 24, 2010

Do those sounds in your head drive you crazy, or is there something about music you just don’t get? Continuing your musical education is an important process in getting better and getting heard.

If music is important to you, continually seeking ways of improvement is an essential and wonderful thing. Music is such a vast subject that you could really spend your life learning about it and still not know everything.

You don’t have to be a genius to learn music. Take a guitar lesson at Lee’s Music or vocal instruction at Long & McQuade in Kamloops, or even search the classifieds for an experienced instructor.

Sometimes going to a class you know nothing or little about is the kick of inspiration you need to get the creative juices flowing.

Recently, this music lover attended an electronic music production seminar taught by Tyler Martens, a.k.a. DJ Stickybuds. Martens has been producing music for nearly five years and DJing live for more than that. He now also teaches his trade at Kelowna’s Centre for Arts and Technology, which he attended post-secondary. On October 24, he taught an electronic music production seminar at Thompson Rivers University that left everyone with a lot to think about.

Electronic music production is no walk in the park. As the class found out, it’s a lot more complicated than dragging blips and bleeps onto a timeline. Each individual sound is painstakingly engineered and carefully placed, copied, dragged, keyed, cut and timed.

The first two hours were a breeze. The class took notes on different program features and commands for Ableton Live and Pro Logic, two of the most popular music producing software. After the third hour, where music students learned how to make synthesizers, wheels began grinding as everyone fought to keep up.

Martens loves every aspect of production, admitting to weeks “nerding out” on his computer and mixer creating songs and compilations.

“Sometimes I can write a really good tune I’m proud of in two days, and it’ll come together without a lot of rethinking,” he says. “Other times I’ll start with an idea, then literally change all my arrangements two or three times and come out with something quite different than where I initially started.”

We’re lucky now to be in the age of information, where tutorials can be found on YouTube for free, or guitar lessons can be taken online. Making your own music has never been easier, and more accessible. Websites like Soundcloud.com and Facebook let producers share, network and market their tracks online with a few clicks of the mouse.

Martens, who played trombone in Grade 6, says the best way to start making music is to just get the tools and do it.

“There’s always time to learn more, but having a basic understanding of how music theory works is a great help,” he explains. “Notes, intervals, chords, melodies and progressions all sculpt the songs we listen to and enjoy.”

Paying attention in class has paid off for Martens. He’s enjoyed a number one track on Soundcloud, has toured worldwide and has even had songs played by a hero, DJ A.Skillz.

Whether your thing is electronic music or recording live in your garage, learning a few tricks from the pros is never a bad thing. While the minds that attended Martens’ seminar are still likely processing the flood of information received, it was a building block towards a better musical education.

Check out music by Stickybuds at www.soundcloud.com/Stickybuds or www.myspace.com/DjStickybuds.

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