A Music Production Journal: Week #8

It’s official! Eight weeks have passed and I have finally finished my Abelton Live course with Point Blank Online. These past two months have been packed with fundamentals and techniques that will be utilized every time I open up a session in Abelton Live. For the final recap of this course I have uploaded my final review video, reflected back on the goals set in week #1, and finally provided my favorite parts about this course.

Looking back on Week #1’s  3 clear goals:

•Establish a productive workflow while producing with Abelton
•Develop a deeper understanding of Abelton’s functions in order to enhance creativity
•Mix and Master songs/edits to a playable standard

After completing this course I can say with confidence that these benchmarks as well as other unexpected critical skills were gained from taking the course.

My current workflow in Abelton has changed drastically since starting 8 weeks ago. I am proficient and comfortable with all the functions/ instruments to the point where I can start working on new ideas from start to finish without hitting gaps in my knowledge of the software. This was probably my biggest reason for pursuing the course in the first place.

After the technical side of the software was taught, we delved into the concepts of mixing and mastering. Besides learning some fundamental ways of going about mixing and mastering, I also picked up a deeper skill that was unexpected… an “aural awareness” that is an essential skill in all music endeavors.

Throughout the course my listening skills were continually trained and refined. For example, in my first assignment my instructor pointed out that my drums sounded flat  “muddy”. I listening to his suggestions and didn’t notice much of a difference in his edits. But as the course continued I would add elements to my track or even critically listen to some of my friend’s productions.  I realized that my enhanced ability to pinpoint sounds and frequencies that needed adjustments to refine the mix was something I was lacking prior to taking this course. I am not claiming my ability to listen to music has gotten to the level of a professional engineer in 8 weeks, but my skills have shown a drastic improvement and will continue to be refined in the future.

Looking back on the overall structure of the course, I was pleased with the material and the interactive learning points. Between the weekly lessons/videos, live 1 hour master classes, as well as DVD feedback videos, there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions and go beyond the scope of the weekly lessons.

My favorite aspect of the course was the DVR feedback (see my final feedback above). The DVR feedbacks were given every two weeks so each class member got 4 personalized video feedbacks from our tutor. In these videos, our tutor would go though the assignment we turned in and record his feedback and edits for us to watch. After this was completed, they would re-upload our projects with all of the new edits for us to review. This was a standout feature to me in the course because the level of personal attention I received from my tutor was outstanding. It was also extremely useful that we were able to access to all of our other classmate’s feedback videos and as well as their projects. Since every classmate has a different style and skill level, the feedback videos had a variety of techniques that were not covered in the general course material. Throughout the course, I have saved 32 other videos and projects from my classmates not including my own 4 assignments. Each video last about 20 minutes, so in addition to my own I have over 720 minutes of additional video instructions that pertains to Abelton Live!

Looking into the future, there are additional courses that I can take to complete my training through Point Blank Online. There are courses in sound design, music composition, mixing and mastering, as well as courses that focus specifically on certain genres (dubstep, deep house, minimal). My plan is to take a few months and really digest the material from this first course so I have a complete grasp on everything that was taught. Even though the course is over, I’ll have access to the lessons and videos for an entire year, so I plan on going over each lesson again in the future.

Reflecting on my experience, I could not be more pleased with the curriculum provided by Point Blank. I had heard that the curriculum was special, but finally being able to take a class and see my progress really proved that they are on the forefront of online music education.

On behalf of Gotta Dance Dirty, we would like to thank Point Blank Online for the past 8 weeks and the knowledge that we have taken.