Jun 23

Your key to unlocking music

by in Fundamentals, Music

Do I need to read music?

Music theory is a way of describing the things in music that different people, in different cultural contexts have found to sound good to them. We believe that music doesn’t flow from theory – theory flows from music. From traditional and folk styles of music right up to the contemporary – none have ever required theory. Notation does not necessitate beautiful music creation — but it can still facilitate it in certain circumstances if needed.


wrecking crew

So why was sheet music a thing?

Before recorded music or digital technologies, sheet music was a standardised way to precisely describe, and communicate complex musical ideas from a composer’s mind, to the musicians who would be able to play it exactly as it was imagined. Without notation, the world’s most acclaimed classical composers — Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and everyone else — would have had no voice, and their music would have died with them. Notation in a way, was the precursor to recorded music as we know it. Common use of sheet notation in the music industry progressed into 20th century pop with famous session bands like the Wrecking Crew smash out hit-after-Motown-hit; being able to rapidly learn several new songs every session and execute a top of the pops hit on the spot with minimal practice. This made fluency in site-reading notation a real skill to have.


When isn’t sheet music really needed in contemporary times?

For every Wrecking Crew session muso in 1960s , there are thousands more musicians around the world making music without ever needing to read the stave. Elton John himself learned by ear first, long before he ever went on to study theory. Legends like Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Prince and even Dave Brubeck never learned how to read music at all. From Vanessa Carlton’s “Thousand Miles”, Outkast’s “Roses”, Alicia Keys “Fallin’” to Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” — it would be unreal to think they were composed and learned with sheet notation.


When might you still need notation?

You might need to read music if you ever think you’ll be doing a “reading gig” — that is if you need to play music exactly as it has been composed, where it is too complex or lengthy to memorise. This is of course ever-present in Classical, but also still Jazz, Musical Theatre and Cinema settings. Although understanding the background principles of how to read music is fairly straightforward — It’s a lot of work to be able to read music fluently and at a professional level. For many, the hard slog to get the degree of fluency required for this might put you off, but many musicians are instead adept at being able to figure out, and play by ear, and confident enough to add impromptu creative flair when playing and recording.


Summary:

your key to unlocking music

Do you need to read music? No. But you might wish to really be fluent site reading in some particular instances. It depends what your musical goals are, but it’s important to remember that one of the reasons most people don’t succeed with an instrument is because they don’t practice – not their grasp of theory! You can absolutely learn theory by playing – and it will make so much more sense when you learn it from a real-life playing context, rather than it being a key that unlocks certain music for you. When an audience is listening, they can’t tell your site-reading ability, but they can hear your skill and confidence – so get out there, have fun and play!



May 26

Guided Learning: the perfect foundation to start your musical journey

by in Fundamentals, Melodics, Pro Tips

Where do you start? Where do you go next? What do you do when things get tricky? What should you be focusing on?

These are common questions we hear from those looking to get started – and we felt the same thing when we were beginners. Because sometimes, it’s just nice to have a little guidance!


Say hello to Melodics’ Guided Path.

The Guided Path is your introduction to the critical skills needed to play drums, keys, or pads confidently.

Here you’ll find a map through a curated selection of Melodics Courses – specifically designed to help you find your way to improve your skills from the ground up on your chosen instrument..

Don’t worry about having any prior experience or theoretical knowledge: The Guided Path starts you off with playing music at your level, and growing your ability right from the beginning!

If you’re new to learning and unsure if you’re ready to dive into the vast array of Lessons and Courses available in Melodics: then working your way through each Course in the Guided Path will make sure you stay focused, and lay down the rock-solid foundation you need first to continue building upon and explore throughout your musical life.


What does the Guided Path look like?

Starting with fundamental musical building blocks, then expanding and branching into more specific concepts and skills – the Guided Path grows with you as your ability and interests progress.

What do you want to learn? Take your pick of drums, keys, or pads – there is a dedicated Guided Path for each of them. In total, there are more than 60 courses and over 250 lessons as part of the Guided Paths that are there to guide you every step of the way.

Melodics Drums Guided Path

The Guided Path for Drums.

The Guided Path for Drums is based around developing a comprehensive understanding of the basic drum grooves and applying rudiments. From there, you’ll develop the skills to create your own grooves, and beyond.

Once you’ve developed a solid foundation, you’ll explore courses on coordination, building limb independence, exciting fills, linear playing, and time signatures which will prime you for confidently stepping out into the world of more advanced drumming.

The Melodics Guided Path for Drums will support you when you are stuck, providing a way to trace back to the fundamental skills you might have missed, allowing you to learn and develop the skills that matter, faster.
– Benjamin Locke, Creative Production & Content Creator

 

Melodics Keys Guided Path

The Guided Path for Keys.

The Melodics Guided Path for Keys is a modern curriculum for anyone keen to learn the keyboard – focusing on both practical and theoretical concepts through Melodics’ play-to-learn methodology.

Feel free to start off with the basics, like orienting your left and right hands, rhythm and time signatures, note lengths and note interval basics. From there, you can get introduced to playing melodies, triads, chord inversions, 7th chords, common chord progressions, rhythmic syncopation, arpeggios, and basslines – all the building blocks of modern music!

Higher and lower-level concepts are always present in music – The journey of music is non-linear and all about making connections between things. The more connections you make, the more you start to recognise certain features, almost as though they weren’t there before.
– Robert Bruce, Creative Production & Content Creator

With an emphasis on a wide range of contemporary genres like Hip-Hop, Pop, RnB and Electronic, completing the Guided Path is guaranteed fun and accessible for everyone.

 

Melodics Drums Guided Path

The Guided Path for Pads.

The Melodics Guided Path for Pads is the first interactive music-learning program designed specifically for Pads as an instrument. It’s important for anyone who wants help building and strengthening their finger drumming skill-set.

The pads Guided Path starts you off with exploring your instrument from a rhythmic perspective: coordination, orientation, counting beats, and seeing beat subdivisions. You’ll hone in on how to think and play pads like a drummer does drums using the Mirror Layout, build upon the classic Backbeat, into creating drum grooves and develop a syncopated swung-feel in your playing style.

By playing through the Guided Path you will exercise core skills in multiple musical contexts. Through this, you will gain adaptability and versatility in your playing. Adapting your style and problem solving helps you connect your physical skills with your conscious understanding of what you are trying to do. This will help you become a better finger drummer and musician.
– Ruby Walsh, Creative Production & Content Strategy

You’ll have built a solid foundation to progress into where pads as an instrument really shines: the exciting world of live beat techniques, and incorporating instrumental and scale sounds into your playing repertoire – whether that’s in the bedroom, with a band, the studio or the stage.


The Guided Path has evolved! What’s new?


We’ve given our Guided Path a huge boost. Along with introducing new, revamped courses by our expert music team, we’ve combined two essential Melodics features to give you the ultimate learning experience: Guided Path and Records.

 

Guided Path: meet Records.

We see the Guided Path as an incredibly valuable learning environment for those new to an instrument.

Where the Guided Path helps you build up a solid foundation of critical skills you might need to confidently explore music – Records provide video explanations of those concepts and ideas, which summarise and keep track of everything you’ve just learned.

Combining these two is the perfect marriage! Incorporating Records helps to better reinforce the benefits of the Guided Path, offering an all-in-one, synergetic place to learn, explore and measure your mastery of fundamental musical skills as you progress.

We’ve re-assigned Records so that they are solely found and collected in corresponding lessons throughout the Guided Path, to really support the topic you’re learning at that time. When you want to review or revisit Records all in one place, just head to your Progress section in Melodics.

 

 

Jan 14

The Day I Ran Out Of Keys.

by in Gear

Is your 25 key controller curbing your creativity? Get inspired and release your potential by upsizing your keys.

Music has always been influenced by the tools we use. Classical music is a reflection of the arsenal of orchestral instruments available at the time, and modern music has been enriched by the use of electric guitars, synthesisers, and drum machines. Of course, music is all about creativity and expression, but it’s important to remember that the tools you use also have an important influence on how you play.

Compact keyboard controllers are among the best selling keyboards for beginners, and for good reason; they’re portable, affordable, and easy to use. But as you continue to develop your skills and expand your repertoire, you might find that 25 keys just isn’t enough anymore. Most music extends beyond 25 keys, and being limited to a couple of octaves could actually be stifling your development and creativity.

If you’re feeling tethered down by having a limited range of keys, or if you’re sick of hitting that octave-shift button every time you want to play a bass line, it might be time for an upgrade. Whether you need something compact, you’re on a tight budget, or you want something that will last you a lifetime; we’ve got a line-up of the best keyboards that won’t get in the way of your creativity.


1. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32

More keys, same footprint.

komplete-kontrol-m32

One of the main attractions of a 25 key controller is its compact size. If portability matters to you, don’t worry, it is possible to get more keys yet still fit your controller into your backpack so you can practice with Melodics on the move.

The NI Komplete Kontrol M32 is a great micro-sized controller for traveling musicians. With its 32 slim keys, they’ve managed to fit more keys into the same footprint of a 25 key controller. Unlike a lot of micro-sized keyboards, these keys feel solid to play and the build quality is excellent while still being light enough to take with you.

  • 32 velocity sensitive keys.
  • Slim key size for portability.
  • Solid key feel and build.

2. Novation Launchkey 49

High in features, low in cost.
launchkey-49

If you’re wanting the best bang for your buck, look no further than the Novation Launchkey 49. As well as 49 full-sized keys, this feature-packed keyboard has eight assignable knobs and faders, and 16 velocity-sensitive pads so that you can practice your finger drumming and keys all on one controller.

The Launchkey 49 has all the features you need but it won’t break the bank, all while offering a solid key feel and reliable build quality.

  • 49 velocity-sensitive keys.
  • More affordable than other keyboards with similar features.
  • Heaps of features including 16 velocity-sensitive pads.

3. Roland A-49

Uncompromised keys.
roland-a49

For serious keyboard players, the Roland A-49 ticks the most important box of all: sturdy, responsive key feel. For years Roland has been producing some of the best feeling synths and keyboards, and the A-49 continues to deliver on that high standard.

Not only do the semi-weighted keys feel great to play, the A-49’s simple design means it’s about as compact as a 49 key controller gets. Roland has also managed to fit in a couple of useful assignable knobs, switches, and their D-Beam controller which is a joy to use.

  • 49 velocity-sensitive keys.
  • Excellent key feel.
  • Compact design.

 

4. iRig Keys 2

Melodics on the go.
irig-keys-2

If you prefer playing Melodics on iPad, we’ve got you covered. While a lot of controllers will work on the iPad, the iRig Keys 2 is designed specifically with that in mind. That means you don’t need an external power source, you don’t need to worry about buying extra adaptors, and it even has a built-in headphone output so you’re not stuck using your iPad speakers.

The iRig Keys 2 has 37 slim keys so as well as giving you more keys to play with, it remains lightweight and portable – perfect for when you’re on the move with Melodics for iPad.

  • 37 velocity-sensitive keys.
  • Compact design for portability.
  • Designed for portable devices so great for practicing on the go with Melodics for iPad.

5. Akai MPK249

Quality and quantity.
5 akai

If you don’t like to compromise on features and quality, then the Akai MPK249 is the one for you. With its 49 full sized keys, 16 MPC style pads, and loads of assignable knobs, faders, and buttons, there’s not much the MPK249 can’t do.

But it’s not the amount of features this keyboard has, it’s the quality feel of the keybed, the responsive pads, and the solid construction that make the MPK249 a keyboard that could last a lifetime.

  • 49 velocity sensitive keys.
  • Great feeling keys and pads.
  • Excellent build quality.