So part of what I hope to do on this blog is chronicle my own journey as a novice producer, so others can hopefully get something out of it. I’m on day 7 of Andrew Huang’s Monthly complete music production course. It’s too early to give a full review but I can let you know what the experience has been like so far.
So far I’ve watched maybe four or five videos, submitted a chord progression and extended that into a loop. Now I have 3 days to finish the track. I’ve also received detailed feedback from four other producers in my peer group, which was very helpful. I also have to say I provided feedback for three peer members which was not as helpful I think. The people I critiqued had very simple loops and it was difficult to find things to talk about changing. The loops worked pretty well and I was at a loss when it came to adding one thing they could improve on because there wasn’t much to work with. My loop was dense and had maybe 8 or 9 parts to it, so people had more to talk about. I felt a little bad about that part but I did what I could.
For my part, the videos are one of the elements that you’re really paying for and overall the videos have been worth the price. First of all they have got me out of session view in Ableton and the laziness of doing everything in session view and just settling for whatever I could make. Watching Andrew in arrangement view has shown me how critical using it really is.
There are videos on jamming, chord progressions and moving from inspiration to the actual track. There is also a video on the parts of the track: foundation, pads, rhythm, lead, and fills. The videos are different lengths and so far two have been an hour long and one was almost two and a half hours long. These videos really let you observe a master of his DAW and of music theory at work, and those are two things I immediately have identified areas that I need to work on. The level of detail Andrew goes into was eye opening. I had never seen anyone put so much care and refinement into a track in such a short time. Suffice it to say the videos are very in depth and far beyond 90% of any tutorial you might see for free.
So far I’ve figured out that I have been extremely lazy as a producer, settling for whatever ideas just seemed to come out. I see so many riddim producers cranking out riddims in a very formulaic way, I picked up the habit of not really working on and refining my beats. Part of this has been my lack of working with automation which is one of the key skills that Andrew demonstrates. For me it’s always been a routine of picking sounds, generating a bunch of parts and then putting the puzzle together in any way I can using session view and maybe once in a while going into arrangement view and tweaking something. It’s very obvious I need to put more actual effort in to the fills and refinement and ear candy stage. One of the things that was extremely helpful was when Andrew just created 10 tracks and put anything he could come up with on each to fill out that section. I need to put more parts and fills into my tracks to make them more interesting.
So only 7 days and so far I feel it’s already been worth the money. I have figured out some important things about producing and found areas that I can improve on. Better yet, I see a path to how I can improve them. I also must say with the level of theory and skills with Ableton that Andrew has, that even a producer significantly more advanced than me would get a lot out of it. It’s interesting because there is something for everyone in his videos. Even though other courses and tutorials say that different skill levels will get something out of it, for Andrew’s course that is the truth.
There are other aspects I could talk about such as the feedback and Andrew’s crazy grasp of music theory but I’ll save those for later. I need to go wrestle with and finish that track. Even though I usually spend a good deal of times working on drums and rhythm first I am trying to trust the process and make a track using the steps in the course. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to turn out but the feedback has been helpful and I’m learning things I can apply to making riddims.