Quantize Courses https://quantizecourses.com Start. Finish. Release. Teaching You How To Finish More Music In Ableton Live Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:28:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Start. Finish. Release. Teaching You How To Finish More Music In Ableton Live Quantize Courses Start. Finish. Release. Teaching You How To Finish More Music In Ableton Live Quantize Courses https://quantizecourses.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://quantizecourses.com Ask Keith Mills – Episode 003 https://quantizecourses.com/2017/06/201603ask-keith-mills-episode-003-2/ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:01:46 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=5761 TODAY’S QUESTIONS: Q1: In my drum mix, I have the snare and the kick playing but when the kick drops out the snare is getting too loud. Why is this happening and what can I do about it? Q2: I have two tracks signed at the moment and an offer for a third. Can I make a...

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TODAY’S QUESTIONS:

Q1: In my drum mix, I have the snare and the kick playing but when the kick drops out the snare is getting too loud. Why is this happening and what can I do about it?

Q2: I have two tracks signed at the moment and an offer for a third. Can I make a living from music production or will it only ever be a side project?

Q3: How do you determine the root note of a track? When I’m coming up with an idea I don’t start by picking a root note, I just produce.

Q4: What is the best way to do parallel compression? I’ve seen a number of different methods including using compressors that have dry wet controls, duplicating channels, grouping, etc. What do you recommend?

NEXT EPISODE:

Every Wednesday, a new episode comes out with more questions answered.

If you’d also like to ask a question, perhaps you feel stuck creatively, or you’re confused about a technical issue, or just need some advice on how to hit your goals, here is what to do:

Use Hashtag #askkeithmills on either Twitter or Instagram. Or, you can just use the form below:

Mastermind Questions

 

 

 

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For tons more tips, tricks & music production techniques check out our Ableton Video Packs.

 

I’d love for you to get in touch and let me know your thoughts on today’s questions? Hit me up on Twitter, let me know.

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6 Months of Finish More Music! The Results Are In https://quantizecourses.com/finish-more-music-community-review Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:11:41 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=7648 It’s now been six whole months since we launched Finish More Music … and what a journey it’s been! First of all, we just want to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has helped to make FMM what it is today. We could never have expected to get so many wonderful, creative, enthusiastic...

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It’s now been six whole months since we launched Finish More Music … and what a journey it’s been!

First of all, we just want to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has helped to make FMM what it is today. We could never have expected to get so many wonderful, creative, enthusiastic people creating so much amazing music in such a short time.

And if you haven’t joined up yet, you can check it out here.

It’s now time to reflect and take a look back at some of the highlights over the last half year, and to give you a few hints at what we’ve got planned for the next six months and more.

 

QUICK RECAP

For those of you who have been following Quantize over the last few months, you will have already heard about Finish More Music (FMM).

As a quick recap, I spent the last 5 years creating the FMM system. It delivers all the tools you need to finish more of your music, faster, and to a better standard.

I also wanted to provide a space for members to ask questions, share tips and share their breakthroughs. This is why we created the community.

All successful produces are part of a community, whether online, through physical networking or both. Sharing knowledge and holding one and other accountable is the fastest way to grow!

Fast forward 6 months, and the community has surpassed all our expectations, and it has taught us so much along the way.

Here are some of our major milestones…
 

TOTAL FINISHED TRACKS: 189

189 finished tracks … that is insane!

Actually, 189 is just the start. Many more tracks have been finished by members, but they are limited to 2 uploads a month. So it’s actually a lot higher.

And with all of these tracks, members have received expert feedback from myself as well as the other members of the community, helping them to improve upon what they have learned.

Take a look at the types of comments we’ve been getting from our members:

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LOADS OF NEW RELEASES

As you would expect, all of the finished tracks has led to loads of new releases as well. Just take a look at these comments:

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Massive congratulations to all the members who have released tracks, it really is so inspiring for us to see the results of your hard work!
 

FIRST FMM COLLABORATION PROJECT

We have just finished our first Collaboration Project, and it was a massive success. Thanks to everyone for taking part!

We started out with 27 collaborators … and with those, we managed to get 26 out of 27 finished tracks in 8 hours!

That is a phenomenal result – and they are damn good tracks too. At the end, we made all of the DAW project files available for members to download and learn from. Have a listen to the amazing output our FMM producers generated:


 
These Collaboration Projects are a great way for members to hold each other accountable. Members can learn a lot from each other and the variety of genres they work on. The collaborations are now an ongoing part of FMM.
 

HOW THESE GREAT RESULTS HAVE BEEN MADE POSSIBLE

We set up FMM to get results. The name of the community says it all. We want our members to Finish More Music … and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

But how’s it all been possible?

Becoming a prolific producer involves so much more than the technical skills most people obsess over.

You have to learn to think, feel and behave like a pro producer and back this up with the creative and compositional skills required to write great music.

Let’s look at some of the ways we have made this possible.
 

THE FINISH MORE MUSIC ROADMAP
Finish More Music Roadmap
Finish More Music Roadmap

This is the full 8-module course that shows you exactly where you are on your music production journey and where you need to get to. It gives you 100% clarity on the actions you should take right now to progress your skill set, finish all of your tracks and increase the quality of your music.

It’s an all-in-one solution where you will avoid the distractions so common elsewhere. For example, consider how easy it is to get distracted when you have loads of tutorials and lots of new software to play with. It’s like the rays of the sun through a magnifying glass: incredibly powerful if you stay focussed in one spot, but move that focus around and it amounts to nothing.

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Watching a video on drum loops … but distracted by the unrelated mixdown tips or worse the video of Obama below it!

Our Roadmap is a step by step framework that takes you through each stage of your journey as a producer, providing only the relevant information you need, when you need it. Members know exactly what they should focus on and don’t waste precious studio time on pointless actions.

There are no missing pieces of the jigsaw, everything you need is in one place so you can focus on the most important thing: finishing your tracks.

We’ve got some great feedback for the Roadmap:

 

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3-HOUR ARRANGEMENT MASTERCLASS
Over 3 Hours of Arrangement Tutorials
Over 3 Hours of Arrangement Tutorials

In these masterclasses we deep dive into arrangement for underground dance music and cover everything from energy levels to tension and release, how to maintain interest, how to master transitions, how to create breakdowns and more.

Creating a great arrangement is one of the most challenging aspects of music production. If you lack skill in this area, you’ll end up with abandoned loops and lots of half-finished tracks.

Even the simplest of ideas can be turned into a great track if you have strong arrangement skills, and our members have told us on numerous occasions how useful they find these.
 

PRO INTERVIEWS

If you want to be a pro producer yourself, you need to think like a pro.

That’s easier said than done, I know, but it is absolutely essential. Even with all the technical skills in the world, without the right mindset and behaviour, you’re going to fall at the first hurdle.

We focus a lot on mindset in FMM, and one of our key features is our interview with one professional each month.

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We hold Pro Interviews every month

We dive deep into their creative process, and they explain their workflows, equipment, mindset and day-to-day lives.

Many of our members have told us about ‘light-bulb moments’ when something has become immediately clear to them simply from listening to what the pros say. And this is exactly right – you can get key insights from them that you would not have thought of yourself.

Sometimes all it takes is to hear a professional say one thing, and it clicks inside and completely changes your perspective and your approach.

If you want to fly with the eagles don’t hang with the crows – learn from the professionals, the people who have already trodden your path, and emulate them.
 

MASTERMIND CALLS

This is one of my personal favourite feature of FMM because it’s my chance to answer your questions live.

Once a month, we set up a live call like a webinar and I provide a masterclass on a specific topic. Members can see and hear my DAW so they learn as though sitting in the studio with me.

I answer all your questions right there, analyse your tracks, and make sure you are clear on what to do next.

Imagine how much faster you can progress when you have access to a mentor and community rather than getting stuck toughing it out on your own!
 

THE COMMUNITY

The FMM community is the heart and soul of the programme – and your greatest resource.

We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into making our Facebook group the best it can be – and our members are loving it:

Everyone is aiming for the same goals, and when you join in, you will instantly get encouragement, accountability, access to different perspectives, insights, and more.

Believe me, nothing is a more powerful motivator than seeing others at the same level as you succeed. This gives you certainty that you can do the same, pushing you further and inspiring you to take action.
 

THE MEMBER TRACK EVENT

Each month, we invite members to upload two finished pieces of music, and I, along with the community, provide feedback on them

This is a fantastic way for members to get not only support but actionable advice, and it goes a long way in improving your music and your skills.

This is so different from other sites where people just spam their tracks all over the place and leave useless feedback like “Nice tune”.

How can you improve your next tune with that sort of feedback!!
How can you improve your next tune with that sort of feedback!!

Our members provide valuable and actionable feedback, and they really go out of their way to provide support and help.

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FMM is a community in constant development. We really could not have dreamed that our members would achieve so much in such a short space of time … but we’ve got lots of great plans, including:

  • More collaboration projects
  • Bass Design and Drum Programming video packs.
  • High Impact courses that provide the precise knowledge you need to quickly get professional results.
  • In-depth sound design and mixdown courses

And one we’re really excited about – Release Support. With this, we will be supporting members’ releases through our 50K social media audience.

As you can see, FMM and all of it’s members are progressing at a mind blowing rate. I’m excited to see where the next 6 months takes us…

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How to Escape the Loop and Finish All of Your Tracks https://quantizecourses.com/2016/07/201607how-to-finish-tracks/ Thu, 14 Jul 2016 16:55:38 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6759 “Why do I always get stuck at the loop stage?” is one of the most common questions I hear along with: “My loop sounds great but when I turn it into an arrangement I lose confidence in the idea and give up, what’s missing?” Frustrating… Demotivating… Stressful… Don’t worry you’re not alone. We’ve all been...

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“Why do I always get stuck at the loop stage?” is one of the most common questions I hear along with: “My loop sounds great but when I turn it into an arrangement I lose confidence in the idea and give up, what’s missing?”

Frustrating…

Demotivating…

Stressful…

Don’t worry you’re not alone.

We’ve all been there; everything is going so well and then you start the arrangement and just feel something is missing.

That feeling of being lost and not knowing where to go next usually leads to throwing more sounds at the track in a desperate bid to find a solution.

 

The more sounds you add, the more your initial idea (the thing you loved at the start) get’s swamped and the whole track loses direction.

Each new sound you add is more disjointed than the last and after hours of hopeful preset surfing the track gets dumped on the hard drive graveyard.

But still, you can always start a new track tomorrow, what a relief! The energy level is back up, fresh optimism for tomorrow…

Let’s be honest, you’re kidding yourself and deep down you know it.

It’s always there at the back of your mind:

How do I finish these great ideas I keep coming up with?

How do I create something to show for myself?

How do I take the pressure off and start enjoying writing my tracks?

I know how it feels because I’ve been there (sometimes I still end up there!) but I know the way forward and I’m going to share it with you now.

The answer is not to keep adding more, but instead develop what you already have.

Understand what the most important aspect of your music is and tell a story with it.

Without this understanding, chances are you’ll end up with yes another unfinished loop sitting on your hard drive.

You have good ideas, you make good loops but the arrangement phase is crippling you.

Let’s put an end to this and nail it every time…

 

THE 3 KEY CONCEPTS

Before we dive into the full process there are 3 key concepts that always help me to progress when writing a track:

  • The first is to keep it simple. There is no need to overcomplicate the process of writing a track. Keeping it simple and writing fast gets results.
  • The second is to take the biggest steps towards the finishing line first. Only when a full arrangement is in place do we concern ourselves with the fine details.
  • The final aim is to work with the mantra ‘Good is good enough’. There is no room for perfectionism.

These might seem obvious when you read them but it’s amazing how many producers spend forever just tweaking kick drums and other small details and never moving forward.

I instil these ‘Mantra’s’ in the heads of every single music producer who joins ‘Finish More Music‘ and these subtle shifts in mind set make a huge difference.

Why am I telling you this? Because even though logic tells you it’s true, there is nothing quite like solid evidence to hit the point home.

I promise you; keep these concepts in mind whilst you are going through the other steps and they will be a huge game changer for you!

PHASE 1 – CONTEXT INSTRUMENTS

The biggest step at the start of a track is coming up with the core idea, the very essence of the track and the thing it will be remembered for.

The core idea in a piece of music is called ‘the theme’ and it’s kind of like the lead character in a film. Let’s take Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1,2,3 or 10 – you take your pick!)

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Bruce is introduced near the beginning and the entire film is built around him. We see his character develop and we see how he reacts when put in different situations and environments.

So what lead character will you go for? What is your core idea?

I like to write dark, groovy, techy tracks but I also like melodic elements. The core idea I always start with is the melody and then I build the rest of the track around it.

Personally I find it easiest to write melodic ideas over a groove, so I start by quickly putting one in place. This is my first step, my phase one. No fuss, no pissing around with compressors, just getting the job done so I can move on to that core idea! (you might prefer just to get stuck in with your theme in phase 2 and that’s totally cool, go for your life!)

The key is to stay focussed on working quickly when putting any context elements in please first.

For example, when I write a quick groove I’ll chuck on some basic effects and mixing techniques that I know give me quick wins, but nothing more.

With the drums in place to give me a little rhythm to work with I move on to the big deal…

PHASE 2 – THE THEME

Now we’re ready to approach the creation of the tracks central idea: The Theme.

At this stage of the process it’s all about experimenting, exploring and having fun.

Set yourself some boundaries to experiment within and then come up with a bunch of different ideas to choose from.

In keeping with the dark and eerie vibe of my music I always pre-select a mysterious or melancholic key; something like Phrygian. Then I select a sound that matches the underground vibe of my music.

Those are the boundaries that channel my creativity in the right direction.

I keep in mind that I want to use lots of tension notes in my melodies and write 5 -10 melodic riffs to get me started. Maybe one of these stands out and I’m ready to move forward or perhaps I need to create a few more before one hits the spot.

Melody

When you have picked your final version to move forward with you will most likely want to spend a short amount of time developing it a little further; perhaps changing the instrument or adding some effects to bring it to life.

Again the secret here is not to spend ages tweaking. Remember it’s big steps first and procrastination doesn’t get a look in!

Now.

I do understand.

This is already a lot to take in.

Fortunately, I break it all down, with step by step examples that show you how to decide on your theme, create it and turn it into a full track, inside our mini course: Beyond The Loop

But, if you’re sitting there wondering what the hell to do next with your theme next, let me explain…

PHASE 3 – VARIATIONS

Now this is the big one. If you’re not doing this it will be a game changer!

Rather than start throwing new sounds at the loop we instead develop the theme that we have.

Remember our example of Bruce? How might he develop in the film?

His emotions will change, in some sections he’ll creep around, in others he’ll move at 100 miles an hour. He will be put in calm environments, crazy environments and tense environments. He will have conversations with other characters (none as important as him though!)

If you don’t develop your theme it will be like watching Bruce do his grocery shopping: boring and lifeless!

I hope this is clear; you absolutely must create a bunch of variations of your theme. I recommend grabbing a pen and paper to jot down some ideas.

If you’d rather save yourself the hassle just steal my favourite variations here : 5 AWESOME VARIATONS TO KEEP YOUR LEAD SOUNDS INTERESTING

To create the variations simply duplicate your initial loop a bunch of times and create a new variation in each loop. Easy!

I recommend creating at least 5 variations so you have some really good content to start creating your arrangement.

PHASE 4 – THE ARRANGEMENT

So, we’ve got our building blocks in place; a bunch of sections containing either our theme or a variation of our theme.

Now it’s time to start creating an arrangement!

Note: we haven’t been tweaking anything at this stage. There are no variations of any support elements (in my example the drums supporting the melody). All of the details are being left until the end.

It’s also important to notice the big difference here. Rather than try to take one loop and turn it into a track, we now have 5 or more loops.

We’ve got the pieces in place, now we have to put them into an order that makes sense and join them together.

Fortunately, I have a sick hack for quickly putting your track together and I break it down in a big way inside our video mini course: Beyond The Loop.

Let’s continue on with our current example…

In dance music we tend to expect 16 bar sections so it’s a good idea to extend all of your loops to this length before starting.

It’s also worth considering the overall layout of the track. Here are some questions to think about:

What is your climax section?

Will it be a breakdown or come after the breakdown towards the end of the track?

How early on in the track do you want to introduce your theme?

How long does the intro need to be for a DJ?

With factors like these in mind you can start to create the overall shape of the track and explore how the different sections flow into one and other.

arrangement 1

The beauty of this approach is that most sections will work together as they have all been spawned from the same seed of an idea rather than being a bunch of randomly added sounds and patterns.

At this stage of the process we aren’t concerning ourselves with transitions and automation, just making sure the energy flows well through the track and the core idea takes the listener on a journey.

When you have all of the sections in place I recommend listening through to the full arrangement from start to finish. This often highlights areas that need adjusting for the track to make sense as a whole.

By the end of this phase you will have a draft arrangement in place and be ready for the final step – adding some details…

PHASE 5 – FINISHING TOUCHES

Here we go… The final piece of the puzzle!

You are now the proud owner of a full arrangement that flows, takes your listener on a journey and develops your core idea.

But…

It most likely still lacks interest in certain sections.

For me, 16 bars is too long for a loop to play without having movement of some description. It is possible if you have an awesome loop with a killer groove but these magical moments don’t come along often!

The final step is to add finishing details such as automation and small variations in the second half of each 16 bar section. It’s not often needed in the first half because it’s a new section with a new variation to the theme so the listener is kept entertained.

Many times you will just be changing something up to distract the listener from the general loop. This could be as simple as muting an element or adding effects or new notes to a sound to bring it to the front of the track.

Sometimes however there will be the need for a transition into the next section or a noticeable change of energy, such as a small climax.

Remember these parts of the process can get fiddly so work to the 70% rule: When it’s 70% good enough, move on. You can always come back and tweak some more – right now though we are all in to get the job done.

When you have ticked off all of the sections I recommend another listen through.

Then it’s on to smaller and smaller details until there is nothing left to polish off…

And that’s it.

You’ve finished your track!

FINAL ADVICE

The biggest piece of advice I can offer you is to learn more about the subject of arrangement.

It’s often fear of the unknown and that horrible sensation of being lost and clueless that stops us moving forward.

If this sounds like you and you’re ready to do something about it and create some seriously kickass arrangements then grab our mini course: Beyond The Loop and let me show you how to always finish your tracks.

When you know with certainty what to do next, any resistance you feel evaporates and it’s easy to move forward.

Don’t forget to grab my cheat sheet here to add my favourite variations to your tool kit:

 

Finally I want to extend my thanks and appreciation for you taking the time to read this blog post and I wish you the very best for finishing more music.

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How to keep your track interesting with Melodic Polyrhythms https://quantizecourses.com/2016/05/melodic-polyrhythms/ Tue, 31 May 2016 15:36:51 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6665 One of the biggest challenges we face as music producers is to create tunes capable of capturing the listener’s attention. Making sure our tracks are kept interesting is an integral part of the composition process. However, writing melodies can be a real challenge. It’s very often a creative stumbling block with melodies that sound bland,...

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One of the biggest challenges we face as music producers is to create tunes capable of capturing the listener’s attention. Making sure our tracks are kept interesting is an integral part of the composition process.

However, writing melodies can be a real challenge. It’s very often a creative stumbling block with melodies that sound bland, boring and predictable causing a lot of music producers to abandon their initial idea and start a whole new track.

There is so much information around the subject but very little of it breaks the process down to the specifics required for dance music production. This gets even more frustrating and difficult to understand when tutorials use complex and stuffy ‘classical music’ jargon.

Music theory is an area that fascinates me and for all of the reasons above, I decided to create a ‘Melodies & Riffs’ pack. In this pack I go deep into creating unique melodies that fit perfectly with edgy and dark underground club music.

 

POLYRHYTHMS

One of my favourite ways to explore melodic ideas is using rhythm and one great technique I often make use of is ‘Polyrhythms’.

In essence, a polyrhythm consists of two different rhythms playing simultaneously. Creating different rhythms in your track can be as simple as changing the length of the loop that is cycling over.

In the video below (part of the Melodies & Riffs Pack), I go over this technique in detail:

 

 

The fun comes in when we stop these two rhythms from looping over the bar perfectly. So for example, if you make one rhythm a bar in length and the other 3/4 of a bar you will end up with two rhythms drifting out of time but at a constant rate. It sounds very cool!

There are no limits to how many notes you can use. I personally prefer running with a slightly longer loop length than 1 bar . You can create patterns that play beautifully together and are constantly interesting without having to do too much work. This is great using arpeggios, riffs or other melodic patterns. The melodic ideas is almost constantly reinventing itself; bar in, bar out.

 

THE END RESULT

With a couple of minor tweaks, you can come up with melodic ideas that evolve and maintain interest for long periods of your arrangement.

Understanding music theory massively helps with pushing through creative blocks. It’s for this reason that I made available the Melodies & Riffs Pack and the Harmonies & Chords Pack for all Finish More Music members to watch for FREE.

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The Importance of Understanding Music https://quantizecourses.com/2016/05/understanding-music/ Fri, 20 May 2016 13:29:27 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6495 You know how it is. You want to know how to make music, so you spend hours and hours watching hundreds of technical tutorials to find out everything you need to know. There are no shortage of such tutorials online – and there is certainly a place for them because you can learn many useful...

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You know how it is. You want to know how to make music, so you spend hours and hours watching hundreds of technical tutorials to find out everything you need to know.

There are no shortage of such tutorials online – and there is certainly a place for them because you can learn many useful skills this way.

But what if you end up spending all of your time on them? What do they really help you achieve? One thing they don’t do is help you to write full pieces of music.

In the music production world, a huge emphasis is placed on polishing your music and achieving technical excellence. But this is often at the expense of crafting memorable, exciting and original pieces of music.

You may have discovered this already. Thousands of hours of tutorials are at your fingertips, demonstrating mix down techniques and more, allowing you to learn everything you could possibly want to know.

But too few focus on the most important thing of all: how to write a track.

Turning Your Ideas into Finished Products

There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck with all of these ideas but being unable to turn them into finished tracks because you lack the skills and knowledge to develop them.

Blog_0001_Blog_3You need to understand how music works – and this means developing a far deeper understanding than you can get from technical tutorials alone. Doing this will provide you with a number of fantastic benefits, including the following.

1. Get Past the Loop Stage

Get Past the Loop Stage

Many music producers get stuck at this stage. They endlessly focus on loops, but never develop them and never arrange them into a piece of music. But once you have a deeper understanding of music, this becomes easy and enjoyable.

2. Keep the Track Fresh

Even once you have started finishing tracks, another problem can occur. They become stagnant. They become dull and repetitive, and they all sound the same.

But when you have a deeper understanding of music, you can develop your ideas far more successfully so that they are always exciting, fresh and new.

3. Take the Listener on a Journey

There’s something about the truly great tracks, the ones written by the best music producers in the world. Sometimes it can be hard to put your finger on what it is that makes them great – so how can you possibly hope to replicate them?

A great track will take the listener on a journey that keeps them enthralled to the end and makes them desperate to find out what comes next, all building up to a thrilling climax and a satisfying conclusion.

You just don’t get that from technical tutorials. This is something far deeper.

4. Master the Emotion

Amazing tracks are the ones that affect you, that touch you in ways that others do not. When you develop your understanding of music, you can set the mood and determine the emotion of your track. But most importantly, this won’t be something that happens by accident but will be something that you can control.

Blog_0000_Blog_3-25. Create Tension and Release

Great tracks are exciting – and you need to learn how to make your tracks exciting too. This means learning how to create tension and release, how to alter energy levels. This is the sort of thing that gets people talking about your track, that makes people feel your music rather than just listen to it.

Finally, it’s all about enjoyment – something that may have been in short supply lately.

There is nothing quite like creating great tracks that you can be proud of. But to truly enjoy writing a track, you need to understand what you are capable of. It is a fantastic feeling to finish an amazing track – but only when you know HOW you did it. If it’s just a fluke that you have no idea how to replicate, you’ll only be frustrated.

Once you get to this stage, writing music becomes more enjoyable and much more satisfying.

And this is exactly what you’ll get when you truly learn to understand music.
Finish More Music

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Can Creativity Be Taught? https://quantizecourses.com/2016/05/201605can-creativity-be-taught/ Fri, 13 May 2016 12:23:59 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6332 We all feel a touch of envy when we see an exceptionally gifted person doing something amazing. Whether it’s Messi doing his tricks in the Camp Nou, or a seven-year-old boy who sells out his paintings in minutes, we admire creativity. But we are often wrong about it. It’s easy to make a snap judgement...

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We all feel a touch of envy when we see an exceptionally gifted person doing something amazing.

Whether it’s Messi doing his tricks in the Camp Nou, or a seven-year-old boy who sells out his paintings in minutes, we admire creativity.

But we are often wrong about it.

It’s easy to make a snap judgement that these people are successful because they are naturally gifted. That they are just lucky. But there is always another side to the story.

 

Creative People Work Really Hard

We often put ourselves down because we don’t have the talent of other people. But talent just means something that comes easy, a head start on the rest of the pack. The truth is, even talented people still need to work really hard to become successful.

They also know something that many people forget: creativity is not something that only a select few can enjoy, but something that we can all learn.

As John Cleese so eloquently put it: “Creativity is not a talent. It’s a way of operating”

Creativity is not magic, but something tangible. It is not something that a few fortunate people have and the rest of us lack, but something that we all have.

You’re more creative than you realise – you just need to know what that ‘way of operating’ is.

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It’s All About the Muse

In your case, you want to create music.

But you keep telling yourself that you do not have the creativity of Maceo Plex, Stephan Bodzin or Jimpster.

So how can you get into the right way of operating? It all comes down to your muse.

What is a muse? You could also call it your inspiration or your stimulus. Everyone has one (you have one too), and when it visits it provides us with our creative ideas.

A muse is not something that needs to be taught … but you do need to know how to best take advantage of it when it visits.

Your muse may visit you more regularly than others, providing you with a regular stream of creative ideas to develop. Or it may not. What you need to worry about is what to do when the muse turns up at your door.

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Making the Most of Your Muse

When your muse visits, it may provide you with nothing more than a shadow of an idea, an abstract form that you need to work with. The question you need to be asking is whether you have the skills and the tools to turn your idea into reality.

Like dreams, creative ideas are slippery. They seem clear one moment, then they disappear without leaving so much as a trace.

To take a musical idea and develop it into a full track demands knowledge, focus and a well-practiced workflow. But no matter how much you tell yourself that you don’t have it in you, that you don’t have the creativity to produce regular finished tracks, I can tell you that you do.

All you need is the right tools and the right mentality.

 

Develop Your Way Of Operating

Learning a new way of operating can help you to take greater advantage of your muse when it visits – and this can be taught.

This ‘way of operating’ is something you can learn, develop and improve. Your creativity is something you can work at.

With the right skills and the right mentality, you have unlimited potential!

Finish More Music

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If You Want to Fly with the Eagles, Don’t Hang with the Crows https://quantizecourses.com/2016/05/201605if-you-want-to-fly-with-the-eagles-dont-hang-with-the-crows/ Fri, 06 May 2016 15:32:29 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6248 “You are the average of the 5 people you most spend time with.” Jim Rohn The people you choose to surround yourself with have a huge effect on who you are and how you live your life. But whereas your friends and family all make up a big part of this group of people, these...

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“You are the average of the 5 people you most spend time with.” Jim Rohn

The people you choose to surround yourself with have a huge effect on who you are and how you live your life.

But whereas your friends and family all make up a big part of this group of people, these days you don’t have to physically spend time in a person’s company to be influenced by them.

In fact, they might not even know who you are.

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Expand Your Horizons

These days, as well as people we know personally, we are influenced by the people we follow online. For example, you may follow someone’s social media account along with thousands of other people.

They may have no idea who you are, but they can still influence your beliefs and practices in a profound way. You can simply tune in every day and get support and inspiration from them when it suits you.

This provides us with an enormous opportunity to grow and develop. We are no longer limited to the people physically near us. Instead, we can get inspiration from people anywhere in the world to help us reach our goals.

In short, you can create your own community without any of the restrictions that used to be in place.

 

The Power of Community

Communities can be a powerful way to develop skills and overcome challenges. We can find support in communities. We can find answers to problems. We can learn new skills and new ways of looking at the world.

You may already be involved in a number of online communities. You can join productivity communities consisting of people from all over the world. You might sign up to webinars held thousands of miles away where you can get specialist advice from experts.

With communities, you can pose questions, get answers and find inspiration.

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Choose Your Communities with Care

With so much choice, it’s well worth thinking carefully about the people you decide to follow. Because when you surround yourself with inspirational people, this will rub off on you.

Spend time seeking out people with drive and ambition, people who want to succeed, as well as people who have already succeeded.

For example, if you want to start a business, joining an entrepreneurial community will allow you to get advice from successful entrepreneurs, as well as support from those in the same position as you.

Be inspired by finding out how other people faced similar challenges to you and how they overcame them.

The people you choose to surround yourself with have a huge effect on who you are and how you live your life.

Other people’s success can be a big inspiration. Everyone gets a little jealous when someone has already achieved what they want to – the secret is to be inspired by their achievement and realise that if they can do it, so can you.

 

Seek Out Your Mentors

When you see an incredibly successful person, either in business, sport, music or anything else, you will often find that they did not do it alone.

Talent may have given them a boost, as we looked at in the previous blog, but success involves more than just talent.

One thing that they all have in common is access to great mentors. Many of the greatest athletes, musicians and artists had the right mentors to help them on their journeys. Even Mozart was fortunate to have his father as a mentor, a forward-thinking man with an innovative attitude.

But in this day and age, you don’t need the good luck of having a mentor in your life: you can make your own luck.

You can pick and choose your mentors from online communities. They could be experts who have achieved amazing things, or they could be people just like you who have excellent ideas to share and inspiration to provide.

 

Know What You Can and Cannot Control

The thing that you have to realise when you are looking for support, advice and inspiration, is to focus on what you CAN control, and not what you can’t.

This is a choice that you can make. Don’t worry about what you don’t have, and all the opportunities that you did not have during your life. If you want to be successful, you can be. You just need to take control.

Seek out mentors. Look for inspirational people to follow. Surround yourself by inspirational people and absorb their knowledge, advice and support, wherever they are located.

When you do this, you’ll find that anything is possible.

 

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Ask Keith Mills 009 – Panning, Mixing Toms and Buying too much gear https://quantizecourses.com/2016/04/ask-keith-mills-009-panning-mixing-toms-and-buying-too-much-gear/ Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:00:42 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6025 MENTIONED IN TODAY’S EPISODE: Finish More Music  Free Kickstart Course TODAY’S QUESTIONS: Q1: I duplicated some of my percussion sounds. I’ve done this to pan the sounds in the stereo fields so that they are not dead centre. Is this a good way of doing it or is there a simpler way? Q2: I’ve been...

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MENTIONED IN TODAY’S EPISODE:

TODAY’S QUESTIONS:

Q1: I duplicated some of my percussion sounds. I’ve done this to pan the sounds in the stereo fields so that they are not dead centre. Is this a good way of doing it or is there a simpler way?

Q2: I’ve been using toms in my tracks a lot lately. When mixing them with the kick and bass, what are the general rules?

Q3: Have you got any tips for overcoming buying more and more gear and plugins? Is there a way to overcome these acquisition habits and focus more on musical ideas?

NEXT EPISODE:

Every Wednesday, a new episode comes out with more questions answered.

If you’d also like to ask a question, perhaps you feel stuck creatively, or you’re confused about a technical issue, or just need some advice on how to hit your goals, here is what to do:

Use Hashtag #askkeithmills on either Twitter or Instagram. Or, you can just use the form below:

Mastermind Questions

 

 

 

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For tons more tips, tricks & music production techniques check out our Ableton Video Packs.

 

I’d love for you to get in touch and let me know your thoughts on today’s questions? Hit me up on Twitter, let me know.

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Make A Track Fast – Transitions Video 6 of 6 https://quantizecourses.com/2016/04/201604make-track-fast-transitions-video-6-6/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 14:00:19 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6018 Here we go… The final part of the series! We are now the proud owner of a full arrangement that flows, takes listeners on a journey and develops our core idea. But… It most likely still lacks interest in certain sections. For me, 16 bars is too long for a loop to play with out...

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Here we go… The final part of the series!

We are now the proud owner of a full arrangement that flows, takes listeners on a journey and develops our core idea.

But…

It most likely still lacks interest in certain sections. For me, 16 bars is too long for a loop to play with out movement of some description. It is possible if you have an awesome loop with a killer groove but these magical moments don’t come along often.

In this tutorial we look at adding automation and small variations in the second half of each 16 bar section. It’s not often needed in the first half because it’s a new section with a new variation so the listener will be kept entertained.

Many times you will just be changing something up to distract the listener from the general loop. This could be as simple as muting an element or adding effects or new notes to a sound to bring it to the front of the track.

Sometimes however there will be the need for a transition into the next section or a noticeable change of energy, such as a small climax. Remember these parts o the process can get fiddly so work to the 70% rule: When it’s 70% good enough, move on. You can always come back and add some final touches later – right now we are all in to get the job done.

When you have ticked off all of the sections you can have another listen through and start working on smaller and smaller details until there is nothing left to polish off.

And that’s it, we’re done!

The biggest piece of advice I can offer you from this series is to always take the next biggest step towards finishing the track.

I want to extend my thanks and appreciation for you taking the time to join me for this video series and I wish you the very best for finishing more music.

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For tons more tips, tricks & music production techniques check out our Ableton Video Packs.

The next Ableton Live tutorial will be posted at the same time next week.

If you found this video helpful, I’d love for you to share it with your friends and followers on social media – just click any of the buttons below! Thank you.

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Make A Track Fast – Arrangement Video 5 of 6 https://quantizecourses.com/2016/04/201604make-a-track-fast-arrangement-video-5-of-6/ Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:00:33 +0000 https://quantizecourses.com/?p=6008 At this stage in the process we have established our core idea and created a series of sections containing variations of the idea. We now have all the core building blocks ready to create our arrangement. Before starting, it’s worth considering the overall layout of the track. What is the climax section? Will it be...

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At this stage in the process we have established our core idea and created a series of sections containing variations of the idea.

We now have all the core building blocks ready to create our arrangement.

Before starting, it’s worth considering the overall layout of the track. What is the climax section? Will it be a breakdown or come after the breakdown towards the end of the track? How early on in the track do we want to introduce our theme? How long does the intro need to be for a DJ?

With factors like these in mind we can start to create the overall shape of the track and explore how the different sections flow into one and other.

The beauty of this approach is that most sections will work together as they have all been spawned from the same seed of an idea rather than being a bunch of randomly added sounds and patterns.

At this stage of the process we aren’t concerning ourselves with transitions and automation, just making sure the energy flows well through the track and the core idea takes the listener on a journey.

I recommend listening through to the full arrangement when you have finished as you will often realise changes need to be made to maintain interests throughout the track.

By the end of this session you will have a draft arrangement in place and be ready for the final step – adding some details…

See you next time for the final episode of the series 🙂

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For tons more tips, tricks & music production techniques check out our Ableton Video Packs.

The next Ableton Live tutorial will be posted at the same time next week.

If you found this video helpful, I’d love for you to share it with your friends and followers on social media – just click any of the buttons below! Thank you.

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