Need advice. I feel stuck.

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

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:38 am

Hey,

So I’m trying to make music for years now with ableton. Rhytmic everything is on point imo. I can make cool drum patterns and effects. 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’m 19 years old atm. When I was 15 I started creating music with FL studio. Till I was 17 I wasn’t very serious with it. I made the switch when I was 18 to ableton live. I must admit that I like the way the sound design works in ableton much better. 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. When I try to use a scale I’m way too busy to think what note I must play and when I don’t use a scale it sounds random and it sucks as well. Only way my music make any sence is when I add the ableton midi effect scale mode and draw in the notes in piano roll, but I don’t want to create music this way and everything sounds too boring that way.

Has any of you people experience this too? I’m aware I’m not a natural talent, but I do got a strong will to get better at it. I need a good learning method which is going to help me get less confused and more comfortable when I touch the keys of a piano. Any tips and advice are much apreciated.

User avatar
Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1723 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:12 am

Google a ton of scales as midi files.
Then drag n drop some exotic scale to your sequencer and build a song around it.
You can hide the notes that doesn't belong to the scale. If you're not familiar with what I just said, youtube has tutorials.

User avatar
Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1723 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:13 am

Maybe try something like Odesi or something similar?

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
42935 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:18 am

sounds like you're trying to play to fast for your abilities
practice and build up speed, don't expect to learn a scale in your mind and have it translate to your fingers at a speed useful to your music instantly.
takes time for the muscles to memorise positions too.

do not run before you can walk, theres no hurry.

mjudge55
KVRist
132 posts since 8 Sep, 2005 from Seattle

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:28 am

Have you thought about piano lessons? It can really help structure your learning and support discipline to put in the hours. I took lessons from age 10-18 and it really provided the foundation. I’m not like even proficient on piano these days, but I never struggle to understand what notes will sound appropriate together, or to learn new theory concepts.

Another thing that really changed things for me was taking music theory classes at community college.

Funkaroma
KVRist
136 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:35 am

Distorted Horizon wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:12 am
Google a ton of scales as midi files.
Then drag n drop some exotic scale to your sequencer and build a song around it.
You can hide the notes that doesn't belong to the scale. If you're not familiar with what I just said, youtube has tutorials.
Not fully familar with that indeed. I use the build in midi scales from ableton now sometimes, but I don’t learn anything from that. Yes, it could be helpfull to actually make interesting melodies and maybe I’ll give it a try in the meantime, but at the other hand I want to be able to just play regular. I make electro, ambient, techno & experimental stuff. My main goal is to create nice melodies in that genre. I also really enjoy jazz, blues & disco, so be able to play something in that corner is a goal for me as well. Exotic scales is something I really want to learn too, but I try to settle first at the basic minor and major scales before I’ll go advanced.

Funkaroma
KVRist
136 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:40 am

vurt wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:18 am
sounds like you're trying to play to fast for your abilities
practice and build up speed, don't expect to learn a scale in your mind and have it translate to your fingers at a speed useful to your music instantly.
takes time for the muscles to memorise positions too.

do not run before you can walk, theres no hurry.
Yeah, you are totally right. But what is a good practice start? Now I just try from now and then to watch youtube tutorials and try to apply them on my own tracks. There is no structure in my learning method. I feel like I really need to play my hand positions and fingers strenth as well. I know my hands are not at the right place when I play the piano, I barrely use my ring and pinky fingers.

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
42935 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:46 am

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... XUfAN3f5Mn

try this guy, then go from there
ideally the basics should be done in person, most music stores will have a contact or two.
or look for nightschool.

Funkaroma
KVRist
136 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:50 am

mjudge55 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:28 am
Have you thought about piano lessons? It can really help structure your learning and support discipline to put in the hours. I took lessons from age 10-18 and it really provided the foundation. I’m not like even proficient on piano these days, but I never struggle to understand what notes will sound appropriate together, or to learn new theory concepts.

Another thing that really changed things for me was taking music theory classes at community college.
Yes, I am thinking of that for a while now. Problem is that it is quit expensive. Once a week would be a minimum to take lessons I think?

Funkaroma
KVRist
136 posts since 20 Dec, 2018

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:54 am

vurt wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:46 am
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... XUfAN3f5Mn

try this guy, then go from there
ideally the basics should be done in person, most music stores will have a contact or two.
or look for nightschool.
I watched a couple of his videos and they where helpfull indeed. The biggest problems is just the practise method. Now I’m just trying to apply it to my own music, so there is no learning structure at all. Should I try to reproduce existing songs for like a hour a day and then focus on the melodies? Don’t know if thats a good idea, thats just something I just came up with.

mjudge55
KVRist
132 posts since 8 Sep, 2005 from Seattle

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:51 am

Funkaroma wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:50 am
mjudge55 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:28 am
Have you thought about piano lessons? It can really help structure your learning and support discipline to put in the hours. I took lessons from age 10-18 and it really provided the foundation. I’m not like even proficient on piano these days, but I never struggle to understand what notes will sound appropriate together, or to learn new theory concepts.

Another thing that really changed things for me was taking music theory classes at community college.
Yes, I am thinking of that for a while now. Problem is that it is quit expensive. Once a week would be a minimum to take lessons I think?
It's definitely an investment and not something everyone can afford. But if you have the means, I think once every other week is still worth it as long as you stay disciplined between lessons to work on what your teacher is assigning. And maybe loans to take college classes is an option for you, and it might fit into your future education plans anyway.

Also, if you're spending cash on plugins, hardware, and such, consider reprioritizing those funds for lessons/education. Cool as these new toys are, knowledge and skills will take you farther. It's the musician him/herself, his or her mind and abilities developed over many hours of practice and learning, that are the most critical components.

I wish I had understood this when I was 19.

User avatar
Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1723 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:02 pm

Udemy has some quite good "l2p piano" courses that are often 10-15€ with discount.

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
42935 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post 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.

User avatar
DrGonzo
KVRAF
2172 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post 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
Plughugger Sound Design
DEEP ANALOG TECHNO for U-HE DIVA
HARDWARE SAMPLER FANATIC - Akai S1100/S950/Z8 - Casio FZ20m - Emu Emax I - Roland S750/DJ70 - Ensoniq ASR10/EPSm

User avatar
Aloysius
KVRAF
23197 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from a computer

Re: Need advice. I feel stuck.

Post 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.
Broccoli is murder.

Return to “Music Theory”