Week 1: What Is Midi Sequencing
In case you missed it I’m doing a course on Logic, and am blogging about it right here (where else).
I’ve finally got round to week one and have been getting a lot of questions about the course and realise, silly me, I didn’t give any detail on the course I’m doing other than that its a Logic Course. So here’s some info.
Its a 12 week course, and each Monday a new lesson is made available to us, they are as follows:
Lesson 1: What Is MIDI Sequencing?
Lesson 2: Basic Drum Programming
Lesson 3: Drum Programming, Live Feel & Groove
Lesson 4: Music Basics
Lesson 5: Chords & Basslines
Lesson 6: Percussion & Using Apple Loops
Lesson 7: Working With Audio In Logic
Lesson 8: Getting Audio In Time
Lesson 9: Recording Into Logic
Lesson 10: Structure & Arrangement
Lesson 11: Basic Mixing
Lesson 12: Finish Project
They recommend a minimum of 8 hours a week which will prove difficult since I work 6 days a week. This course is going to prevent me from doing much other than work and study. I’ve set myself the goal of doing an hour each week day and 3 hours on Sunday.
So on to week 1: What is MIDI Sequencing
For someone that hates computers I’m surprisingly excited, but this could just be because of my love for studying. I can’t wait for 9PM which is the time I’ve allocated myself each day. At first glance it seems like there’s a lot of reading but I finish all the notes and videos on Tuesday (2 hours worth) at which stage some people are already uploading assignments even though they are only due by midnight Sunday.
The course starts off extremely gentle with some theory, I’m pleased they cater for the real beginner like myself. It explains the difference between analog & modern day synthesizers, what a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation i.e. the software such as Logic or Ableton or hardware such as an Akai MPC) and MIDI are. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and was invented in 1983 as a form of data messages between your device and your computer to tell it what to play and how.
The course then moves on to keyboard basics, you don’t need a keyboard with modern day DAWs but it can help speed up the processing. The course doesn’t mention this but for me music is a feeling and when you have a keyboard you can let the music flow through you onto the keyboard, whereas when you just have your computer I should imagine it’s not so easy or natural. If you don’t have a keyboard pushing CAPS LOCK turns your computer QWERTY keyboard into the keys of a piano. I’ve now learnt the names of notes i.e. C# (sharp) etc.
MIDI notes are represented as numbers i.e. middle C is C1, moving up an octave is C2 and so on. Everytime you do something on your MIDI keyboard a MIDI message is sent to your PC describing exactly what you’ve done.
They now move onto Logic. There’s a file to download and open, they briefly touch on file management and suggest we keep up with “housekeeping” from the start otherwise managing millions of songs becomes a nightmare later on. We’re now shown around the Logic interface, in particular the arrange view which is the main place of work in Logic… this is where you’ll record, cut, move, copy, edit & mix.
Swiftly we move onto basic rhythmic concept: tempo, beats and bars which I’m already familiar with through my DJing, as you know most music sticks to a 4/4 time signature but there is some music that differs and they give us an exercise to see if we can pick it up – I didn’t find it as easy as you’d expect.
What time signature do u think these are: (answers at end of article)
Money – Pink Floyd
Mission Impossible theme song
Beatles – Lucy in the sky with Diamonds
They end this week’s lesson with briefly showing how to load instruments and do your first recording. We have 3 tests in between, all with instant answers that you can go back and fix until you get them right.
That’s it, its now time for our first assignment.
“Create a piece of music in Logic. It can be absolutely anything, any style, incredibly basic and any length you wish. Just make sure the piece has at least 2 different musical parts (tracks) (i.e. piano and strings) and be reasonably in time with the click”
At this stage I’m feeling overwhelmed. I don’t have a clue how to make music. I panic. They didn’t teach us much at all and now to make music… all I can say is EEK! When we have our first live chat session on Thursday I express my panic, and Jody Street (our tutor who has produced for Beyonce and Rizzle Kicks) explains that it doesn’t need to be a full song just something short showing that we’ve learned what they’ve taught so far. I have a look/listen at the other student’s assignments, relief. During the next few days I hear a few songs that give me ideas and inspiration and now I’m starting to get super excited and can’t wait to give it a go. I finally get to attempt to make the music I’ve been dreaming of making all this time. Sunday comes & while husband is out playing football I get stuck in, I’m done by the time he gets home and I’m excited but nervous to play it to him. After his nod of approval I upload it and wait anxiously for Jody’s comments and for the next weeks lesson to become available.
One thing I will say is that I felt disadvantaged not knowing anything about instruments or a keyboard and I definitely will be learning to play the piano, even knowing the chords would help me at this stage.