I’m now in week seven of ‘Complete Electronic Music Composition’ which I have been taking through Point Blank’s online program. It’s been a few weeks since I last my last post and I should be updating you through lesson six, but at the moment I am actually about a week behind in the course. Lucky for me, one of the benefits of the online program is that it allows the flexibility to go through most of the course material at your convenience. The only true deadlines imposed so far have been the two graded assignments which were due at the end of weeks three and five. All of the course notes, videos, Masterclass lectures, and practice projects can be viewed on the website for 6-8 weeks after the course has concluded. You can actually download all of the lectures and projects save them for as long as you’d like. It’s nice to know that if for whatever reason you end up a little behind you are still able to get all the information and catch up when you have time.
Week four’s lesson was definitely the hardest for me thus far. It’s called ‘Extending Musical Theory’ and focused predominantly on more advanced chords and chord progressions. This includes slash chords, inversions, dominant 7ths, and Sus chords. In order to fully understand these concepts, it is important to have a solid grasp on the basics of chords and to know the notes in each scale. I found myself going back to review previous lessons quite a bit in this lesson. My favorite part was taking a look at one of my all time favorite bands Steely Dan to identify the Sus chords in “Peg.” The examples given are typically dance music tracks but it was refreshing to look at something outside of electronic music.
I found week five to be both fun and intriguing. The entire lesson was just breaking down the key musical elements of nine popular dance tracks ranging from Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” to Avicii’s “Levels.” Each track comes with a downloadable project file containing a recreated version of the track. It is very helpful to see how the musical elements are composed and arranged. I had a lot of fun trying to teach myself to play some of the popular melodies such as the chords from Deadmau5 and Kaskade’s “I Remember.” This was also great practice for my fingering technique on the keyboard. I'm still pretty bad but can feel myself getting better each time I play.
Our second assignment was due at the end of week 5. This involved taking three of the five ideas we started in assignment one and developing them further. The first idea that I worked on was a four bar melody that I ended up creating two new variations, each of which could be used in a different section of a complete track. I don’t have any structure yet for this one but it is looking like it will likely turn into a trap or dubstep track.
The second idea I developed started as a four bar syncopated bassline. I extended it to 16 bars with some variation and also created a shortened more repetitive riff that could be used in a breakdown. This one sounds like it’s headed towards becoming a house track.
The last idea I developed was an eight bar drum loop which got extended to 16 bars. I actually decided to remove a few pieces of percussion and change up the pattern a bit before adding a light pad underneath to give the track some ambiance. This idea is my favorite at the moment and is definitely going to turn into a house track.
As I mentioned earlier, I am actually a week behind in my notes so I will be updating you on weeks six, seven, and eight in my next post. If you have any questions or are interested in speaking with me more about my experience, please feel free to reach out via email at [email protected]. If any of this sounds interesting to you be sure to check out all that Point Blank has to offer at the website below.