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In 2018, most popular music is created on a Digital-Audio Workstation (DAW: a computer app for making music). Likewise, the first skills my students will learn are songwriting, music theory, and DAW music-production. Initially, students will learn Garageband (a free app). Advanced students will move on to Logic Pro -- a DAW used by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin (Coldplay), and Brian Eno (Talking Heads).


The main goal of these lessons is to create original musicThere are shortcuts -- from music theory and within DAWs -- that make it easy to create music that sounds pretty good. I will teach these shortcuts. From Day 1, students will create their own original music. Added-Value #1: Creating original art is more fun than practicing scales and lesson-book exercises. Added-Value #2:

Creativity promotes health, happiness, and intelligence.



The first several lessons will cover the basics of music theory, piano, and DAW music production (see above: MODERN, CREATIVE). After several lessons, however, students will find that DAW production can be substantially enhanced by music-performance skills (e.g., singing, rapping, piano, guitar). At this stage, the student will choose which skills to pursue. I will help the student become the musician that the student wants to be.


Intrinsically motivated musicians make music because it is enjoyable (versus, for example, practicing the flute because it will make your mom stop nagging you). In the context of my students learning to make music, I will try to foster intrinsic motivation, because scientific studies show that fun learning = effective learning. Fortunately, creating original music is highly enjoyable (regardless of my teaching tactics). Intrinsic motivation** will come naturally in these lessons.


Music Production Lessons in Dallas

est. Fall 2018

** Intrinsic Motivation is motivation for an activity that comes from within the activity itself (e.g., enjoying the process; satisfaction from seeing finished work). Intrinsic motivation can be contrasted with extrinsic motivation -- motivation for an activity that comes from outside the activity (e.g., working for a paycheck or to avoid getting yelled at). Studies show that intrinsic motivation is associated with enhanced performance, learning, and academic success.


How is intrinsic motivation created? 

This question is important and tricky, and it is a source of debate among psychologists. One empirically supported theory is that intrinsic motivation for an activity is increased by pairing performance of the activity, with psychological sensations of reward (i.e., positive affect). When designing my lessons, I use this theory as a guide. For example, during the first few lessons, each time the student says or does anything remotely competent (activity), it will be sincerely praised (reward). Another example: during the first lesson, with guidance, the student will create an original song (activity), and it will sound good (reward).

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ARGUABLY THE GREATEST FEATURE OF THESE MUSIC LESSONS: students will create ZERO noise pollution in your house. Consider a counter-example: imagine living with a kid who is learning to play a drumset. This amount of daily noise would be my personal nightmare, and it's actually not just drums -- every instrument sounds terrible during practice sessions. For example, my sister Jocie eventually became an amazing clarinetist, but I shudder at the memory of Jocie practicing high notes on Saturday mornings. By contrast, students will produce music on a DAW -- an activity that is usually performed while wearing headphones. In other words: zero noise pollution.

One final detail / common question:

How old are your students?

New students should be roughly 6-12 years old: young enough to become an accomplished musician before applying to college; old enough that the DAW (which requires some reading) won't feel overwhelming.  Having said that, I would be optimistic about age<6 students who are great readers and age>12 students with solid prior training on a musical instrument.

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