Today, I’d like to share with you something that totally changed my life, and deeply transformed the way I play and compose music. And if I’m here telling you about this, there’s a good reason: you can very easily follow in my footsteps and open the door to a whole new world of creative possibilities. Honestly, ever since I learned about this, I never had so much fun with my handpan!
1. One (tiny) computer to rule them all
So, here we’re talking about how using a computer and starting music production can drastically change the way you see and play music. Before, you needed to have friends (or to pay musicians that can actually play), a music room and several hundred bucks of gear to hear a full composition with many instruments, atmospheres and sounds.
Today, with the power of a small laptop, you can create your own personal home orchestra. For free. These computerized musicians have no ego, and always agree with your decisions. Sounds good right? 😀 You can also get a super in-time drummer -who doesn’t play over you when you try to speak. Or some super-dreamy synth pads. Or some crazy beats that will make your friends party hard when you’re playing at Red Rocks. Using the computer in combination with your instruments, you will be able to do ANYTHING.
Oh, and did I mention that everything you’ll do here is entirely unique and personal, as nobody will be able to create the exact same sounds as yours?
2. Take your playing to the next level
With all these possibilities, your playing will rapidly evolve. It will become easy for you to think in terms of melodic layers, to isolate some elements, to work very efficiently on composition by moving and swapping your recorded parts to try out different combinations and orders in a few minutes …
Actually, starting to record yourself and producing with a computer is, in my opinion, the fastest way to go from being a “player” to a “composer”, and that makes a huge difference! And when you go back to simply playing acoustic solo handpan, you’ll be amazed to see how easily you can put the skills you learned through producing into practice!
3. For everyone, every style, and every step of the composing process
That’s pretty much the main thing. If using a computer alongside your instruments to produce music is so powerful, that’s because it adapts and works for every style and every different way of creating music. Nowadays, every song you listen to (well, almost every, as in 98% of the songs) has been reworked, composed, recorded and sometimes played live with a computer. And to do that, what you need is a computer, some knowledge … and nothing else!
This is the big game changer I was talking about. Nowadays, with only your personal mid-range laptop, if you know how to use it properly, you can record your riffs, organize them to create songs, add more instruments, personalize them, mix and master your songs, export them, compose, find new ideas, create a super looper, launch live loops, create a stage performance … Did I mention that you can do ANYTHING ? 😉
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4. Improve your skills while having loads of fun
Let’s not forget the most important thing: first and foremost, music should be enjoyable and fun. Good news, jumping into production means getting access to the biggest and funnest giant sandbox. Playing an instrument is great - it’s like getting a small box of Lego with hundreds of different things to build. But what about getting the full crate with all the pieces you could dream of, and using it to create your own scenery (or a huge distorted ship, the choice is yours)?
5. It’s cheap and takes up no space
Here is the difference with Lego (and your husband/wife will love this one): your own personal orchestra is free and can be stored in your drawer. In my opinion, that’s a huge advantage!
Obviously, some free resources are cheap and sound bad. But with a few cunning tricks, you can get a perfectly professional sound using only free stuff. And the good news is, I have gathered many resources over the past ten years, and I’m willing to share!
6. Create full compositions with all your instruments
Do you have several instruments? Maybe there’s a guitar in the attic, some shakers in your wardrobe, or even some friends (who knows!) who can play music? Well, it’s about time to use all this to help your handpan riffs shine brightly in full compositions!
Maybe you’ve tried to use a looper for that purpose, but realized it quickly gets messy (and keeps on looping until it gets boring). With musical production, you’ll be able to work on each instrument separately, moving parts to create and try out your compositions (like Legos, yeah), think about it, and create super interesting songs that don’t repeat after 4 bars. 😅
7. Create new instruments
Ok, so maybe you felt short-changed reading the previous one because you only have one instrument (and friends that play really bad). Great news, you’re not being short-changed at all: your tiny laptop actually enables you to CREATE your own instruments!
You can build either unique acoustic instruments - I like to use a wine glass, a table or a radiator, but your imagination is the limit here- with sampling, tuning and scaling ; or never-heard-before electronic ones - by adding oscillators and tweaking some buttons.
It is super easy to create rich and full compositions, even if you don’t own a single instrument! Add to this the possibility of using virtual instruments - digital copies of existing instruments that you can personalize any way you want - and you’ll actually get more instruments in your small laptop than Nadishana has in his studio!
8. Easily share your creations, or release an EP
Another piece of good news is that all you do is recorded on your computer (yes, that’s pretty obvious). So if you take the time to get just a bit of mixing knowledge, you’ll be able to export your compositions in professional sounding mp3/wav format. It will become extra easy to keep all your ideas somewhere, to share them with others in order to collaborate, or even to release your own EP/album!
9. You can do ANYTHING
Did I mention that you can do ANYTHING ? 🤣
(except changing your handpan into a Yishama, sorry)
10. Move with the times
I don’t wanna sound like a millennial, but nowadays almost all artists use the help of a computer, either for live shows or for composing, training or recording in a studio. Actually, even if you play acoustic music, you’ll need a computer to record it (or you’re super old school, which is fine too but way more complicate). Using a computer is now essential to make things easy, as well as to compete with other people’s sound and productions.
And there are so many different ways of using it that anybody can find their own sound. Believe me, the sooner you master these skills, the faster you’ll improve and get ahead. And most of all, it is so amazingly fun to have all these possibilities at your fingertips!
11. What’s the point of a top 10 (which is actually a top 11)
Well, number 9 doesn’t really count right ? I mean, I could actually write the top 30 reasons to get into computer assisted music, but David is taking the keyboard away to prevent me from writing 10 pages.
The thing is, I simply wanted to share these with you to give you some ideas, and to push you into starting your composing journey, because I love it. Because it feels amazingly good. And because it’s totally worth it. There is a path for everyone here, and believe me, you won’t regret taking the plunge!
Where to begin? There are plenty of ways - but it tends to take a lot of time. Luckily, I’ve got you covered! I created 30 videos that summarize everything I learned during the past 10 years of sleepless composing nights. So that you’ll be able to discover music production AND STILL get some sleep. You’re lucky.
What’s more, I’ve added plenty of tips and tricks, advice, composing techniques and creative processes, as well as all the best deals I know (and use) to get amazing free software and plugins. This is one of the only fields where you only need knowledge to create amazing stuff, so I’ll guide you step by step to show you all you need to know at every stage of the process: composing, recording, sound design, mixing, live performance…
Try it out, and discover that you can do way more than you think!