Music Production for Songwriters, Level 1 - ONLINE FULLY INTERACTIVE, Sundays 4pm Pacific Starting 7/12/20

We have revamped this essential class for this ONLINE-ONLY format to address directly the world you find yourself in: how to make great productions with your laptop, MIDI, your voice, your instruments, and a mic, in your space. Making the limitations become the strengths in your creative workflow. Study with an accomplished songwriter/producer/remixer and learn not only to create your own productions, but how to collaborate professionally in the digital space.

Who knows better than the writer how their song should be produced? Gain the conceptual understanding of what makes for a powerful production and then begin to develop the skills to take matters into your own hands. You will learn to envision the entire production before you record a note--and then to create pre-production tracks for your project, or to take your tracks all the way toward a finished record. This course covers essential production skills for dialing in your sound and meets each class meeting in a professional recording studio, on-campus. 

Develop confidence and understanding to create work you can believe in from either side of the glass AND learn to get what's in your head to come through your speakers. Get feedback on your own productions from an in-demand pro.

Who better to lead you on this journey than an accomplished songwriter/artist/producer? 

Class meets SUNDAYS at 4pm Pacific, 7pm Eastern, 8 meetings total. Live, fully-interactive in real time AND archives available on-demand. Any class you must miss you may still submit homework for feedback.

CLASS AVAILABLE ONLINE and ON-DEMAND also, with small group video conferencing with the instructor in addition to all the on-demand materials. 

READ MORE ABOUT THE FORMAT, and watch a great interview with previous instructor Bleu McAuley Below.



 Some of the many topics to be covered in this class:

  • understanding production and arrangement concepts and elements
  • developing critical listening skills to perceive and imagine productions
  • the concept of PROSODY, in songwriting and in production
  • understanding the essential and unique relationship between the SONG and the PRODUCTION and learning the kinds of questions to ask in order to have the production honor the song and the artist
  • the concept of sonic windows and the melodic center of a song
  • the concept of arrangement density
  • the dimensions of the sonic canvas -- the stereo field, front to back, and top to bottom
  • timbre and emotion
  • production as interpretation and genre
  • Drum Tracks Creation
  • The Guide Track
  • Dynamics and Arrangement
  • Rhythm Guitar and keyboard parts
  • Lead Instruments
  • Background Vocals
  • The Lead Vocal
  • EQ Concepts and Techniques for Instruments and Vocals
  • Effects: Reverbs Delays Chorus Etc.
  • Using Compressors on Instruments and Vocals
  • Mixing approaches

The instructor will mainly be using LOGIC PRO X, but users of all digital audio workstation platforms are welcome, including beginners. The class is "platform agnostic": in other words, it's not how to produce in Logic, it's how to understand and build powerful productions in any tool.

  • What do I need? Some experience on a DAW (digital audio workstation, a recording platform like Garageband, Logic, Pro Tools, etc.) is recommended but not required. This class is designed to be your ENTRY to the world of music production--both understanding what is happening in productions you admire and to be able to make thoughtful choices for productions you are participating in.

    Looking to learn a digital recording software? If you want a quick and less complicated point of entry, great! We have you covered:
    Music Production in GarageBand (for the Totally Terrifed Beginner!). This is both an on-campus 3-hr workshop AND an on-demand/online opportunity. This will be enough of a tool to maximize the concepts of this 8-meeting Production class.

    Want to go deeper into a professional application? We suggest LOGIC and offer fantastic classes in person and online/on-demand in Logic Pro X, Level 1. Logic is the professional big sibling to GarageBand and a logical (come on!) next step for you if you have been creating in GarageBand and want to move to the next level.

  • Class Setting: Class will meet entirely ONLINE and will be aimed specifically at home recording, creating with the tools you have and the space you have, and learning to collaborate professionally online.

  • Format: After learning essential concepts of production and arranging and developing an understanding through critical listening exercises, the class will create a track from scratch together, from week to week applying the production techniques covered, with an emphasis on hands-on experience in the home studio. All students will have the opportunity to participate in the production of our class project recording, regardless of your level of previous studio experience. The out-of-class homework will be to do the same thing for your own track, putting the concepts to use in your own music as well, and at your depth and experience level. Again, even basic Garageband understanding will be enough to work on the basics.

  • There is a writing component to class. Most people come away writing some strong songs during the class because they are thinking about the connection between a compelling production and the emotional truth of the song itself. There will be (optional) writing assignments to help foster this. That said, if you are not yet a songwriter you are still welcome in this class. IF you want to learn to write songs beyond the concepts of this class, we suggest you consider THE ROOTS, our foundational course for song study.

  • Bonus Materials: Students will have access to class videos and SCREEN VIDEOS to review the concepts of class and their application, on your own time.

  • Added Benefits: Graduates of this course will be, after an additional orientation class, be eligible to RENT OUT the RECORDING STUDIO at rates well below the regular rates.  This will allow you to do your own projects or to produce other projects in a professional setting at a significantly more affordable rate. Note: in a COVID era, this benefit will only be made available at a time deemed safe for all.

About the Instructor
Depending upon the season, the course may be taught by one of these remarkable songwriter/producers:

Alex Marlowe (Spring 2020)

Alex Marlowe is a Composer/Producer, Keyboardist & Consultant based in Melbourne Australia and Southern California. Projects include music placed in the movies Hustlers, Why Him, Tag, SistersDave and Mike Need Wedding Dates,The JudgeStep Up All InThe Incredible Burt WonderstoneStep Up RevolutionThe Big YearThe Blind SideG.I. Joe: The Rise of CobraDuma, work as a Music Consultant on Sony Pictures’ Total Recall (2012).  Alex has earned a Platinum record for production work for Krayzie Bone (of Bone Thugs 'N Harmony), co-produced remixes for a variety of major label artists, composed for numerous TV projects aired on all the major networks, including Emmy-Nominated work for the NBC show Home Turf. Alex has collaborated with DJs Justin Michael, Andrew Macari, King Tech and Domino D, worked as an Arranger for Grammy-Nominated Artists John Lee Hooker Jr, and Craig Chaquico of Starship, and performed as a keyboardist, including on a world tour with Soul Legend Bobby Womack, as well as with Charles Wright, Brenton Wood, Brenda Holloway, among many other projects. As a Teacher and Consultant, Alex has worked with platinum songwriters, music editors, producers and composers, conducted lessons and courses in Music Production, Music Software, Synthesizer Programming, and Piano. He was the first instructor of this course at The Songwriting School, and we are thrilled to welcome him back.

 

PREVIOUS INSTRUCTORS

Erik "Blu2th" Griggs (SPRING 2019)

Erik "Blu2th" Griggs, born in Ohio, raised in St. Louis MO, has been a musician as long as he can remember. He started playing the Piano as a toddler and never stopped. During college, he took up the Guitar and Bass. You've heard him play all three instruments on records from the Dreamgirls soundtrack to Omarion, Tyrese to K-Ci, Charlie Wilson to Jordin Sparks. He is co-producer/writer of the Boyz II Men single, "One Up for Love". On that song, he's playing almost all instruments, including Drums, which he picked up in 2009. 

He is best known for his involvement in the song "No Air", with Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. On No Air, he's the principle writer and co-producer with The Underdogs. He has written with the likes of The Underdogs, Tim & Bob, and Babyface to name a few. In his first three years in the industry, his work earned him a People’s Choice award, a BMI Song of the Year award, and a Grammy nomination. (from his website, blu2th.net)

 

Bleu McAuley (Spring and Fall 2018)

Best known by his performing name, Bleu is an American pop artist (singer-songwriter), professional songwriter and producer currently living in Los Angeles. As a major label artist he released records on Columbia Records (Aware) and has written, recorded, and produced songs on major motion pictures like Spider Man and The Neverbeast, the latter of which he composed score and original songs including the title duet with K.T. Tunstall. He is currently published by Kobalt Publishing. He has had cuts with The Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Michelle Branch, and more.

(from Wikipedia) Bleu graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his solo work, he is the lead singer and songwriter of the Electric Light Orchestra-style power pop band L.E.O., as well as a founding member of the power pop trio The Major Labels with Mike Viola and Ducky Carlisle, and is also a founding member of the Mutt Lange homage super-group LoudLion (featuring Taylor Locke of Rooney, Allison Robertson of The Donnas, Maclaine Diemer formerly of Bang Camaro, etc.). Bleu has toured the United States and internationally with bands such as John MayerPuffy AmiYumiHansonGuster, Rooney, Mike Viola, SwitchfootAlexz Johnson, and Toad the Wet Sprocket.

 

 


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