Yep it is, I had a FB account just used to post Daws, plugins news & S.A related things and really did not believe the amazing Music Production Discussion Groups you could find using FB Groups as well as the number of users and how fast it can be to get replies & interact with others. I’ll see you there soon then
I hope that you will enjoy the site and next to the forums where you can ask for support or discuss about tutorials & Music Production, be sure to also check Sonic Academy Face Book discussion group which is another great way to share with S.A community members
I’m LeTronique and I have no idea where to start.
I’ve been working on music theory on & off for the last few months but I can’t help but feel like it’s wasted because I have no way of implementing it into production (Still learning how to use Ableton and it’s… a lot).
I have so many ideas but getting them on a piano roll and arranging them eludes me.
Any ideas for some lessons for a total noob? Tips? Advice?
Welcome to Sonic Academy & the forums first of all
Hope you’ll enjoy the content & the community.
Yes, the “Where to start” question is definitely something not easy to deal with. First thing to keep in mind is that learning Music Production is a never ending process, it takes time & practice and you’ll always be learning new things. Many times you’ll come across topics or area that won’t always make sense on their own, they are just pieces of the all puzzle, but after some time those pieces will come together and you’ll start to see the big picture.
What you’ve been learning in Music Theory until now will become very handy at some point, so it’s not a waste of time, it’s just might not be clear how to apply that theoretical knowledge using a DAW right now.
Start with the basics which are your fundamentals pieces of gears & how to get the best of them. That’s your basic setup with computer, audio interface, monitors & headphones and your DAW, in your case Ableton Live.
This course is not very recent but it’s a very good place to start and an excellent refresher on the basics :
Once done with this, the next step is to learn Ableton in order to feel comfortable with it. Start to get familiar with the interface & settings, then learn how to work with Midi & Audio tracks and learn about the workflow going on under the hood and the concept of I/O ( inputs/outputs ) and routing inside Live. Let’s face it, it’s gonna be your main tool and you’re gonna spend hours on it, so the more you learn and know your DAW, the easiest things will get. Even simple consideration like interface settings, display & colors are important. You want to feel at ease when you spend such a long time in front of your DAW screen.
Once you will get more familiar with Live & how you can manipulate Midi & Audio with it, you can start to learn about instruments & effects & production techniques or creative process. Set little goals, learn step by step, again it takes time and can even be frustrating & discouraging at some point, but it will be rewarding after some time.
So the most important part is to learn your DAW as best as you can, don’t spend time and money on many gears or plugins at the beginning, every new piece you get involves a new learning curve and it can very quickly become overwhelming.
For Ableton you can start here :
Once familiar with working with Midi & Audio inside Live you can start to approach music production in a more creative way and you can also separate this into different steps. Learn how to make basic beats & drums, simple bass lines, simple melodies & then chords progression, more complex arpeggios…etc. That’s basically learning how to create your core sounds.
Next step is to learn how to enhance those sounds, and that’s when you’ll start to learn about effects likes EQ, compressors, reverb, delays…etc. Again, devices in Live can go from some rather simple ones to much more complicated effects. Take your time to learn them.
There’s mainly 2 sides to consider with effects, the technical side of things that helps to make different sounds working together ( like using a compressor to do some side-chain compression between bass & kick ) and the creative side where it’s more about enhancing & experimenting with sounds ( like setting a compressor before a reverb or delay to modify it’s response ).
Make loops & bars to start with, don’t reach for full tracks. That’s the next steps which are more about song structure, arrangement and then mixing & the final mastering stage, which hasn’t got to be voodoo science, it should just be the “polishing” phase of your track, to get it ready for delivering.
It’s important to focus on your source quality. Starting with the right sample or soft-synth preset will save you time & cumbersome workflow. If you don’t get one sound the way you want and feel the need to reach for many processing on it, then get back to sample/preset choice and basic settings & sound design. Same rule for the master bus, you don’t fix a wrong mix on the master channel, you need to find the track that’s not working and fix it on it’s own.
Finally, listen a lot of music, use reference tracks and learn about them. It’s easy to import a full track inside Live, to warp it so that it’s synced to your project tempo and the zooming on the waveform will allow you to analyze the arrangement, you can use markers or a midi track with empty clips to keep track of the different sections & elements of the track and try to replicate them. Arrangement is definitely something very important, you can have great sounds & elements in a mix, if the progression is not working the track won’t catch any listener attention. That’s why listening and deconstructing tracks is important.
You’ll find complete tutorials about “How to make” full tracks using Ableton here on Sonic Academy, in many different genres & from very good producers. It really helps to see how they created a track from scratch.
There’s also an all “How to use” video series, to help you learning about effects & plugins.
The “Tips & Tricks” videos series will show you what is says and ways to improve your workflow or creative process.
Interviews are also great to learn about producers, how they get there, what’s their workflow and approach to music production.
And then you have the “big picture” about what to learn :
Studio basics & gears setup
DAW Interface & Settings
MIdi & Audio inside the DAW.
I/O & routing
Learning to program & sound design beats, bass lines, melodies, fx…etc.
Enhancing sounds with effects and make them wok together.
Listening, deconstructing & learning how to make a good song structure and arrangement.
Mixing your different channels, learning more about levels & loudness.
When you head back to the main Sonic Academy page, go to the “TUTORIALS” Tab and use the magnifier search icon at the top-right of the page, then on the new page that will display, juts enter your search like “Ableton” or “Live 10” for example.
Last advice but not least, keep the fun learning & trying out things, don’t take yourself too much serious and don’t set high level expectation & goals or pressure on yourself because you feel lost or not getting the results you’d like. It takes time, it’s a never ending journey into learning, but you can make it pleasant & fun if you’re really into music and if you take small steps. Don’t overwhelm yourself & don’t be too harsh on you, take breaks & come back to it later when you feel you’re loosing the joy of doing it.
Hope this can help & sorry for long writing but with “where to start from” it could really be paragraphs… LOL
Welcome to the forums then
But it seems that you’ve been contributing for quite some time already Which is great !
( maybe with comments directly on tutorial’s pages and not inside the forums though )
Anyway, that’s cool to see members getting involved in discussions here.