Need advice. I feel stuck.

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:58 pm

DrGonzo wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:07 pm
If I were 19 again, I wouldn't do much different to be honest. Musically, that was the time I had most fun and was most productive. I didn't know anything about music - I owned one synthesizer and I just did music. I would get one synthesizer and stick with it. Learn it inside out. The good thing about limitations is that they force you to move forward. You don't have the perfect kick drum? That's not a big deal. Pick one that is the closest and move on. Looking ahead, the most important thing you can learn is to be productive and don't get stuck with details. Perfection is insanely overrated. If you learn this - you will be forever grateful to yourself when you are 30. 40. 50 and 60.

Learning music theory can be useful. But can be a big creative block as well. Watching tutorials can equally be a huge block for creativity.

Create a small, easy to use setup, learn it inside out - create & create & create. When you know all there is to know about that setup and you desperately feel the need to get new gear - move on - but try to stick with a setup for about six months. Learn. Do. Do. Do.

/C
Thanks for your inspiring words. I know of myself I’m often to perfectionistic. I throw away most of the music I create and my other hobby; drawing, I have actually the same problem.

My setup now is;

A garbage computer
Ableton Live
Nektar impact lx25
Korg volca keys
Teenage engineering po-33
Presonus audiobox 96

I do have the tools to create music so thats not where the problem is. Maybe a step sequencer would do me good to keep up the fun of creating music and don’t stick my head all the time in if everything is right etc. I’ve looked up for arturia beatstep in the past, but then I just went for other stuff. Do you think this would be a great tool for me? I’ll still try to learn my keyboard, but maybe this will give me some air to just have fun.

Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:59 pm

Aloysius wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:11 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRJFvtvTGEk

Instead of just going into record and playing random notes, try to work out the part first.
What do you mean?

Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:03 pm

vurt wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:05 pm
learning pre-existing tracks is one way, yes.
id imagine many guitarists started out this way for sure?

but depending on how much actual theory rather than physical you know, this can be made much easier, just by again, understanding the basics, song structure/rhythm/key sig and so on.

you can of course do it all by ear, listening and trying to match the note moving up and down the keyboard.
but if you understand key signatures and such, youre narrowing it all down, so saving time.

while it takes time to learn, especially at the beginning, at some point it will click, and seem almost natural as you start understanding the fundamentals.
True and I want to be able to know every detail of the basics. In my head I know how you wright a A major for example, but to apply it to my fingers isn’t working yet. Hopefully this will change in the future.

Another question; I’ll never really go into a project with a idea of a melody. I just try to create something with maybe just luck. Is this a good or a bad thing?

I think I’ll give it a try to recreate some tracks. Maybe this will be very inspiring to do and to spice it up I can try to give it my own twist.

User avatar
DrGonzo
KVRAF
2178 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:15 pm

Funkaroma wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:58 pm
DrGonzo wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:07 pm
If I were 19 again, I wouldn't do much different to be honest. Musically, that was the time I had most fun and was most productive. I didn't know anything about music - I owned one synthesizer and I just did music. I would get one synthesizer and stick with it. Learn it inside out. The good thing about limitations is that they force you to move forward. You don't have the perfect kick drum? That's not a big deal. Pick one that is the closest and move on. Looking ahead, the most important thing you can learn is to be productive and don't get stuck with details. Perfection is insanely overrated. If you learn this - you will be forever grateful to yourself when you are 30. 40. 50 and 60.

Learning music theory can be useful. But can be a big creative block as well. Watching tutorials can equally be a huge block for creativity.

Create a small, easy to use setup, learn it inside out - create & create & create. When you know all there is to know about that setup and you desperately feel the need to get new gear - move on - but try to stick with a setup for about six months. Learn. Do. Do. Do.

/C
Thanks for your inspiring words. I know of myself I’m often to perfectionistic. I throw away most of the music I create and my other hobby; drawing, I have actually the same problem.

My setup now is;

A garbage computer
Ableton Live
Nektar impact lx25
Korg volca keys
Teenage engineering po-33
Presonus audiobox 96

I do have the tools to create music so thats not where the problem is. Maybe a step sequencer would do me good to keep up the fun of creating music and don’t stick my head all the time in if everything is right etc. I’ve looked up for arturia beatstep in the past, but then I just went for other stuff. Do you think this would be a great tool for me? I’ll still try to learn my keyboard, but maybe this will give me some air to just have fun.
Hey... I think you are having way to unrealistic expectations on yourself. If I were you - I would probably get one good synthesizer (software or hardware doesn't matter), then make 90% of your music with that. Getting extra hardware and toys IS FUN - but I wouldn't make things more complex before you learn a good synthesizer inside out - so you can quickly create your ideas. Pick a simple setup - stick with it. Learn it and just create and create. That's the key. When you later want to add tools and toys - do it! have fun! But if you are getting more stuff now, will just increase your confusion and lack of productivity.

Listen... I love toys. But a streamlined setup with easy to use tools beats almost anything. I think Carl Cox said in an interview when asked about his desert island setup. All he needed was a drum machine, a Roland SH101 and a sampler. With that he said he could do anything. I believe him.

/C
Plughugger Sound Design
ELEKTRONIQ for OMNISPHERE
HARDWARE SAMPLER FANATIC - Akai S1100/S950/Z8 - Casio FZ20m - Emu Emax I - Roland S750/DJ70 - Ensoniq ASR10/EPSm

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
43066 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:24 pm

have to agree.
buying new stuff when you are trying to learn old stuff, bad move.
just more stuff to learn.
and while i love my step sequencers, that's putting the cart before the horse really, and you may end up using it more as a crutch than a tool.

as the good dr gonzo says, try to have fun while youre learning, play around, jam on a two chord progression, don't push too far too soon, youll disappoint uourself and maybe give up. have short term goals within music theory, ie practice the major and minor scales on keys, till you can play on time at 120bpm.
start at 30, increase by ten each week.
in 10 weeks, play the scales in time.
goal one achieved.

and so on..

realistic short term exercises.

Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:50 pm

Alright I skip the sequencer:) I do have everything I need to create yes. I know exactly how the volca keys and the po-33 work now and if I use them together I can create some nice things. People maybe call then toys or whatever, but they are pretty versatile and can do some profesional stuff. If i’m going into my daw however things get over complicated and I try to make long melody patterns etc. which is maybe a step to far right now. Simple melodies works well for me and I think I should let that be my starting point and try to slowely progress to more complex patterns.

I’ll try the folowing;

30 minutes to 60 minutes of learning a day and for the rest I’ll try to have as much fun as possible with the tools I got.

Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:52 pm

vurt wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:24 pm
have to agree.
buying new stuff when you are trying to learn old stuff, bad move.
just more stuff to learn.
and while i love my step sequencers, that's putting the cart before the horse really, and you may end up using it more as a crutch than a tool.

as the good dr gonzo says, try to have fun while youre learning, play around, jam on a two chord progression, don't push too far too soon, youll disappoint uourself and maybe give up. have short term goals within music theory, ie practice the major and minor scales on keys, till you can play on time at 120bpm.
start at 30, increase by ten each week.
in 10 weeks, play the scales in time.
goal one achieved.

and so on..

realistic short term exercises.
That will be a good method I think. But with practising major and minor scales, should I just play up and down in the beginning? And later try to create chords and melodies?

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
43066 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:16 pm

up and down first.

start with c and a minor (all white keys)
then move up to a different key, start incorporating the black keys, just so your fingers then used to both the shapes of the key signature and the forward to back motion for the white to black keys.

look for a video or a book showing "finger positions" as it will help you from tripping over your own fingers if you know the correct fingering :)

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Aloysius
KVRAF
23219 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from a computer

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:34 pm

vurt knows all about fingering.
Broccoli is murder.

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jancivil
KVRAF
17949 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:17 pm

The way to facility with melody is experience with extant melody. Period; do not expect this will come basically ex nihilo.
I don't have any idea how to advise you to best teach yourself piano or keyboard, but instead probably wise at this point to get someone else that knows how to play piano to perform this role in your life.

User avatar
Hooj
KVRist
412 posts since 23 Aug, 2012 from Way Out West

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:34 pm

Funkaroma wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:38 am
....Melody wise I feel stuck for a long time. I’m now on a point again where I doubt to take a break again because I feel stuck and don’t make progression.

I orderd a 25 key keyboard and I tried to learn myself to play the piano. When I was working in FL I didn’t know any music theory. So I didn’t use any scales or key for my music. I didn’t play anything live, I just drawed in the notes and I came up with simple and boring melodies.

So I tried to learn myself to play piano, but it feels like I made almost no progress. When I try to play something in live I feel confused and I just play random notes which doesn’t make any sence.
You're having difficulty because (as you say) you have no theory knowledge. Why is it that some people make the assumption that we are somehow born with this knowledge or innate ability to produce 'good' music???

Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:28 am

I got a small knowledge of music theory. I know how to build a harmonic minor D# or a melodic minor B for example, but I can’t apply it just yet. I am gonna learn it now the way Vurt recommended and hopefully that will work out fine.

Ps; There are actually people who are natural talents. My nephew played Beethoven perfectly after a week and he never actually played piano before! I got more willpower at the other hand then him to get further in music, so I think that is eventually the most important thing.

Funkaroma
KVRist
137 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:32 am

jancivil wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:17 pm
The way to facility with melody is experience with extant melody. Period; do not expect this will come basically ex nihilo.
I don't have any idea how to advise you to best teach yourself piano or keyboard, but instead probably wise at this point to get someone else that knows how to play piano to perform this role in your life.
That’s why I came up with the idea to practice to recreate songs that already excist. I will give me some extra time to try it by myself and if I will be stuck again I’ll probably going to seek for help from the proffesionals

Functional
KVRist
445 posts since 26 Oct, 2011

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:53 pm

If you want to learn piano, that will take a lot of practice especially if you want to learn how to improvise on a piano.

One thing that you can do, however, is find melodic phrases for chords and just play them. Really simple stuff, think for example Moonlight Sonata 1st Movement. It's basically an arpeggio. What you can do, is for example play the root, then just play the third & fifth. And maybe, at the end of the phrase, have a seventh there or something. Play with the rhythm.

A simple example of that formula: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_AYSf9a1Yk



The bad side is that you're going to be stuck with your chord progression which is usually fine but, melodies don't have to work like that.

My subpar piano skills sadly wouldn't save me to play any interesting melodies. However, what is now probably over 20 years of whistling practice has actually started now to pay off because I can actually whistle fairly interesting melodies, "pop-like" melodies. All I need is to have some rhythmic context & the chords.

So if you can whistle, that may be your current workaround. But whistling only gets you so far since you can't whistle polyphonically (well, you can hum & whistle at the same time, but good luck doing melodies like that).

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DrGonzo
KVRAF
2178 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:54 am

To the OP.

If you really have money burning in your pocket, I would recommend to join the FMM (Finish More Music) program. It's not cheap, but it's not super expensive either. But it's pretty good and dealing exactly with the issues you have.

/C
Plughugger Sound Design
ELEKTRONIQ for OMNISPHERE
HARDWARE SAMPLER FANATIC - Akai S1100/S950/Z8 - Casio FZ20m - Emu Emax I - Roland S750/DJ70 - Ensoniq ASR10/EPSm

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