Learning to play music is exciting, but getting started can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming. 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 all common bits of feedback we hear from those looking to get started with learning to play their instrument.
Introducing the Melodics Guided Path – a structured map through the Melodics Courses to help you find your way and improve your skills on the keys, pads, or drums.
The Guided Path gives you an overview of the areas you should focus on when starting your musical journey with Melodics. Working your way through each Course in the Guided Path will help you lay a solid foundation for you to build upon further.
We’ve designed this path for you to follow, but try moving both ways. Forward through the courses to master new concepts, but also back to lessons you’ve passed so you can see the improvements you’ve made, increase your scores and get those perfects. One of the joys of music learning is the satisfaction of easily re-playing a lesson you once found super hard.
Feel like your playing is getting better but you’re still too nervous to play on your own? Want to be able to sit down at your instrument and play without any prompts?
Introducing the new Melodics Playground Mode! Now you can free play over Lessons, record yourself, and listen back to evaluate your performance.
Every musician wants to be able to play their favourite songs, but becoming a great musician means more than following a script. Playground Mode gives you all the tools you need to take what you’ve learned and add a splash of your own creativity. Record and listen back to evaluate your own performance! Become a more confident musician and see how much progress you have made!
How do I find Playground Mode?
Next time you pass a Lesson, you’ll unlock Playground Mode for this Lesson. Once you’re in there, you’re free to play anything you want. Test yourself by playing the Lesson again from memory with no prompts, or improvise your own remix – it’s up to you
Want to know how you actually sound?
Loop it up and record.
Playground Mode will keep looping, so you can spend as long as you want in there. Hit the record button when you’re ready – you can record and listen back to evaluate your performance, start playing another layer over the top, or just sit back and admire your genius.
Messed up? Don’t worry – just hit the X button to start again.
Want to get creative, but don’t know where to start?
Learn the chords, or just jam out!
Don’t worry if you get stuck, for keys, we’ll let you know what notes and chords mostly sound good with each Lesson. Follow the scale indicated with green dots, or hit the “Show Chords” button to reveal the chords for that Lesson’s key. If you’re feeling extra brave, turn down the backing track to release your true potential and play anything you want!
What’s a song key?
A song key determines what notes and chords mostly “sound good” together. This is more of a guide than a hard rule. It’s a good place to start but don’t be afraid to try other keys too, especially when played quickly as passing notes.
Is Playground Mode also available in Melodics Pads and Drums?
Of course! Pads and Drums don’t include the key, scale, and chord guides (as those are Keys-only concepts) but you can still jam your ideas, remix the track on the fly, and record yourself to listen back to.
The benefits of recording, playback, and evaluation.
Being able to record and listen back to your performance is an incredibly useful tool. When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to notice small mistakes or happy accidents, and it’s difficult to critique your playing in real time. Humans like to get complacent too, so if you’re not careful, you might start to develop bad habits! It’s hard to notice these bad habits, and even harder to break from them without proper feedback.
Usually we have to rely on others for subjective feedback on our performances, but humans are not always the most reliable or critical, either! So who better to provide the best feedback than yourself? You are your own worst critic.
Learning how to improvise and jam
One of the most difficult skills to learn is applying your knowledge gained from Lessons to playing in the real world with other musicians. Lessons and courses provide the best core knowledge, but it can be hard to fully understand some concepts and apply them to the real world.
Playground Mode gives you the space to experiment and apply what you’ve learned without any prompts. With our chord suggestions for Melodics Keys, you can explore and get comfortable playing in a specific key, and learn which chords and notes work well together. Pads and drums will allow you to play what you want and evaluate your timing when playing without prompts.
Improvisation is also a big part of becoming a great musician. If you’re comfortable playing the Lesson content, Playground Mode is the place to go to improvise your own version. There’s no time limit, so you can spend as long as you want in there – it’s just you and your instrument!
Suitable for all abilities
Regardless of your skill level, there’s something for everyone in Playground Mode. Next time you pass a Lesson, jump into Playground Mode and explore. Start by testing your memory and play the Lesson again without prompts. If you’re feeling confident, set up a loop and improvise your own remix. You can also turn down the backing track and play anything you want. Don’t forget to hit that record button to listen back to your creativity!
This feature is for subscribers only. Subscribe to one of our plans and get access to Playground Mode for as long as you want.
How do I find Playground Mode in-app?
Once you get at least 1 star on a Lesson, you will see a Playground Mode icon on the screen where your score resides. You can also access Playground Mode in the Pre-Play screen for Lessons you already have at least 1 star on.
Does my performance in Playground Mode count towards my Daily Goal?
It does indeed! However, the time is counted only if you are actually playing – hitting the keys / pads / drums.
A sample pack is a collection of sounds that are designed to use as pre-made building blocks for producers to create music with.
These sounds usually consist of loops (a musical phrase that can repeat such as a guitar riff) and one-shots (a single sound such as a kick drum).
You can use them within any DAW (digital audio workstation) such as Ableton Live, Garageband, Logic or FL Studio. Many of these have a free version for you to use if you are just starting out.
Producers typically use sample packs as an initial starting point when creating a new song, or even as inspiration to explore into new styles of music.
Melodics’ sample packs contain a combination of loops and sounds found in our many lessons, covering a huge range of musical styles. If you complete your practice with Melodics you might be lucky enough to receive a free sample pack as a reward for all your good work. We give them away on a regular basis!
To use a sample pack simply:
Download the sample pack from the link provided
Open your DAW (e.g Garageband)
Upload to your DAW of choice.
(As an example, if you have a Mac, open Garageband, create a new ‘audio track’ and drag one of the sounds direct from your finder into that audio track.)
You can now use your new sample packs as a starting point when producing music or even as inspiration to explore new ideas.
Give it a go, you could be on your way to creating the next big hit!!
2018 is coming to a close, and it’s very much been a rollercoaster of a year. But before we can get off the ride, we’ve got to get through Christmas first. If you’re stuck for a bit of last minute gift shopping and are struggling to think of what to buy for that electronic music playing or producing obsessed person (or people!) in your life, we’ve got you well and truly covered. Check below for a few quick and easy gift suggestions. Whether they’re just starting out and want to give this thing a crack, have been playing around for a bit, or are well in truly deep inside this thing we call music, we’ve got ideas for you of things they’ll love.
One of the best things about Melodics is combining the sound of electronic music with the tactile qualities of played live music. How better to really sink into this intersection than with the right controller? Music technology company ROLI has really come to the party in this regard with their ROLI Beatmaker Kit. Comprised of two compact physical controller units, the light pad block and the loop block, the kit gives the user access to hundreds of expressive sounds to play around with on the controllers, a copy of Ableton Live Lite to make basic recordings in, and a six-month Melodics subscription to help them hone those finger drumming chops. Once they tether it to their laptop, they’re away.
If you’re looking for a robust controller, perhaps one that evokes the feeling of tapping out ten hit combos on arcade and video games during your childhood (or maybe you’re an adult that still does), DJ Tech Tools’ Midi Fighter 3D controller is the present they’re going to love. Built like a tank, with 16 high-performance Japanese buttons, the controller is fully colour configurable and has total motion on all three axes. It’s a grunty Melodics compatible workhorse and comes with a promo code for 30 free finger drumming lessons. The Midi Fighter 3D is on discount for the rest of the year, order one before this Wednesday to guarantee Christmas delivery. Ableton, Serato and Traktor users will love it as well.
If the producer in your life is a Native Instruments user (Battery, Maschine, Massive, Monark, Reaktor Prism), they might appreciate a fresh set of loops, drum samples, and synths. Native Instruments recently dropped an expansion pack called Midnight Sunset, which explores the drum machine funk that was crucial to 80s boogie, p-funk, synth-pop, and 90s West Coast rap. We’re talking about a sonic palette that connects Shalamar, Prince, Rick James, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre, and that’s before even getting into the contemporary boogie revival. Gift them some iconic sounds to get playing with. They’ll be getting more bounce to the ounce.
Do you know what else the producer (or producers!) in your life needs? Even more royalty-free samples to use when they’re making beats. Splice is a cloud-based music creation and collaboration platform that integrates with most digital audio workstations and offers you automated online backup and a bunch of other bells and whistles. Splice has a subscription service called Splice Sounds, which gives users access to over two million samples, loops, FX, and presets, as well as exclusive artist packs. Slip a note with the promo code 2FREE18 in with their presents, and if they’re signing up as a new user, they’ll score two months of free access.
Whether you’ve got someone in your life who is interested in dipping their toes into electronic music playing, and production, or a special someone, family member, or friend who is all in, but would like to be able to practice more, Melodics™ Gift card is the perfect Christmas present. Ranging through 3, 6, 9, and 12-month subscription options, the card provides to the recipient with access to over 400 lessons across genres, and if they don’t have a MIDI keyboard, controller, or electronic drum kit, they can still use their computer keyboard. Learning has never been this fun. Whether you’re looking to learn how to play calypso, trap, juke, future RnB, hip-hop, house, or disco, there are lessons for you.
We checked in with producer Mark de Clive-Lowe to get the info on his new course.
How would you describe your new course Bassline Bootcamp?
I’ve made a range of bassline examples over different style and tempo beats. They all look at applying different ideas to take you from a simple single note vibe to bringing in fills and embellishments that you can apply in your own creations. Basslines are little melodies themselves so it’s a great way to learn multiple skills at the same time.
How would you recommend Melodics users approach your course to get the most out of it?
Some of the lessons have challenging aspects so I’d definitely recommend using the practice mode to loop up those bars or sections that are harder and slowing them down. Slowing down whatever you’re practicing is the magic trick to mastering something – it might not seem as fun, but it’s definitely the tried and true method.
What will Melodics users be able to do after finishing this course? How will it help in regards to their overall music production?
If you go deep and really nail it as well as taking note of the associated information – like what key something is in and what technique it’s applying – you should be able to build basslines around any chord progression, create fills and make alternate versions of your main idea.
Are there any other comments or things you want users to know about this course and the new Melodics lessons?
Practice makes perfect!
To try Mark’s course in the Melodics App simply download and head to courses in the LEARNING tab.
Melodics V2 is coming soon and we’re teaching you how to play the keyboard… and much more! The highly anticipated next version of Melodics adds support for keys, and a ton of new features for pad controllers and electronic drums.
Whether you’re a beat maker looking to add keys to your bag of tricks, or a drummer wanting to branch out – we’ll have you covered.
Melodics for keys will help you learn to play the chords, basslines and melodies of the music you love, whether you’re wanting to become a better producer, or just play for the enjoyment of your friends and family.
Melodics is free to try. To take your musical dreams further, subscribe and you will have access to over 400 lessons for keys, drums and pads – with new content added weekly.
Bonus extra add-on fun stuff for everyone!
We love hearing your feedback about Melodics, and we’re excited to be rolling out some great updates – for all instruments – including:
Choose your instrumentwithin the app – keep track of your progress for Keys, Pads and Drums, with independent leveling for each instrument.
All new levelling system. Want to level up? Collect stars! See how many stars you need to hit the next grade and unlock more lessons as you level up.
New navigation. No more waiting for screens to load, version 2.0 is snappy AF.
A new view – the Finger Allocation screen is essential for keys, get the feel of how you have to place and move your hands over the keyboard before you work on playing the lesson.
Wait Mode – Playback will automatically pause until you hit the right notes, allowing you to step through complex rhythmical patterns or melodies. Paired with Practice Mode, Wait Mode is a great way to break down tricky phrases!
All new Learning page for a fresh look at courses and lessons. View lessons in list or grid mode, and browse by artist, genre, grade or tag.
New and Improved labelling of tracks in the play view to help you quickly work out which sample is on which pad
Colour coding for each hand, so you can see at a glance which part goes with which hand
Favourite Lessons – Add a lesson to your favourites list from the lesson screen, or within the lesson itself. Favourites are stored on line, so now they’ll be shared across computers.
Pause – press pause during lesson playback to have a deeper look at at difficult sections.
Scroll through the lesson arrangement before playing to preview what’s coming up.
Volume control always available. Control volume levels more easily within lessons – adjust the metronome, your notes, guide notes and the backing track levels direct from the play view.
Customisable Metronome sounds – Pick your metronome, with the familiar sounds of Ableton Live, Logic, Maschine, and many more.
Easily manage your account on melodics.com
We’ve also squashed some pesky bugs
Fixed an issue where your level could be reset as you passed over level 12 and above
Smoothed playback. Improved performance that could cause jittery playback for some users.
Plus a ton of other performance improvements.
We have a deal for you!
As a special pre-launch offer, if you pick up an annual subscriptionnow you’ll get lessons for ALL instruments for the price of one instrument.
Already a subscriber? You’ll have all instruments until your subscription rolls over.
If you’ve been thinking about building your pad skills, and you’re interested in learning keys, now’s the perfect time to subscribe!
This deal applies to new annual subscriptions or upgrades from monthly to annual subscriptions purchased before 12 November.
You will have access to all instruments for the 12 months until your subscription renews.
Discounted Instrument bundle subscriptions will be available at the end of your 12 month subscription period.
Melodics V2 is coming soon! Stay tuned for the release before the end of 2017.
If there’s anything else you’d like help with, or if you have any extra feedback just get in touch. 😃
Polish DJ 69Beats won this years Red Bull Thre3style Poland Championship with an incredible set that involved classic turntablism, live remixing, tone play and finger drumming. While only young he has been in the game for a long time rocking shows and Festivals in Poland since 2008. Late last year 69Beats became a Melodics user and immediately captured our attention with a series of videos he put out on social media. We wanted to speak with him about his DJ journey so far and how Melodics has helped him improve his craft a long the way.
When did you start Djing? What/who inspired you to begin?
I started learning in 2006. Although the music was always in my life – my mom and older brother play the piano, dad plays the guitar and I finished musical school playing piano as well – the DJing came into my life with a total impulse. Even though I loved to party I never thought about DJing. But one day I went to a party at my friends house and her brother was a DJ. When she showed me his room with all the DJ gear standing there I was like… dang… that’s something I want to learn. Like the love at first sight. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could do this for a living someday, I just wanted to learn this.
How did you discover Melodics and what made you download the app?
I was into the fingerdrumming for quite some time before discovering Melodics, but didn’t have the gear to learn it properly. I just had some samples loaded into my DVS and was trying to come up with my own patterns that worked for me at the parties. And when Melodics came out I happened upon the video of Eskei83 where he played one of the basic lessons. And again I was like – I need to have this! I’m totally into the video games and apps that make a real challenge, and this challenge is measurable. Melodics has it all – the fun, the challenge, and on top of all – you learn a real thing, not only score points for hitting the right buttons on your gaming controller.
Back in 2015 you sent through to us a video of you playing Funk Bass on Melodics. How long did it take you to learn to play that lesson?
I enjoyed this lesson so much that when I started it I just couldn’t stop, but it was also very exhausting for my head. Spinscott has very cool patterns, they might seem really hard to learn for the first time, but they are also very smart, so when you learn it for the first time f.e. with Funk Bass, the other Spinscotts lessons aren’t that hard to play. So Funk Bass was the first one of his lessons for me and it took me like 2 or 3 days to get to 3 stars
What is the best thing about learning with Melodics so far?
>The best thing for me is that skills aquired with it can be easly used in real DJing environment – in the club, during a performance etc. – Melodics helps a lot with exploring your own creativity and building self confidence on the pads.
You entered and won the Red Bull Thre3style Poland this year. Was this your first time entering this competition? How did Melodics help with your preparations
Actually that was my second attempt at RB3S. First time was in 2015 and it didn’t really play out as I planned. When Melodics came out it was a total game changer for me. I left all other training for a few weeks just to play it. I wanted my Thre3style set to be as versatile as possible and there were no better way to gain necessary skill on the pads than Melodics.
Talk us through your winning set. There is so much going in terms of creativity. How long did it take you to put it all together and what was your creative process?
So as I said I entered Thre3style in 2015, but everything was happening really fast then and there was not much time for preparations. I didn’t make it to the Polish final, but took a lesson and decided to start preparations for 2016 since the moment I dropped out. I began to write down every single idea for routines that I came up with. Whether it was using a short single sample or creating some long transitions – I was writing down everything. Then I was testing all those ideas at home and finally if they felt good – I tried them in the clubs. So when RB3S 2016 was announced I just opened up my notebook, chose the best routines and started wondering what will be the best way to build a set with them. I didn’t have a problem with building a 15 minute set. My problem was fitting all my ideas into the 15 minutes so it won’t go any longer
You have The Red Bull Thre3style World Finals coming up in Chile later this year. How are you feeling before this event and what can we expect to see more of from you performance wise?
I feel very motivated and just can’t wait too perform before the Thre3style community again. To be true I don’t even know what can I expect from myself. I’m the type of guy that changes everything till the very last moment, so it can be everything. For now I’m focusing on my basic technique, so I hope that my sets on the finals will be more “clear”. What else will happen? I guess we’ll have to wait till December
Any words you want to give to all the Melodics users out there?
Sure! Always have fun with Melodics, don’t give up, don’t underestimate yourself and don’t underestimate Melodics itself. It’s a powerfull tool that can make a huge difference in your performances. Don’t be afraid to use the skill gained with Melodics at your gigs it really works. And remember that everybody loves skillful fingers.
Going right back to the beginning what moment/person got you interested in music?
Witnessing how excited my parents were when they came home from a Jimmy Smith concert in the 80’s.
From this point how long was it until you started creating your own songs and beats?
I started writing my own music at high school and then made my first beat with Kutcorners (Serato) in 1998, we borrowed a Boss SP202 from our local music store from our friend who was the manager of the store (he now works for Ableton).
You have appeared in many different musical bands and projects over the years including Open Souls, She’s So Rad and now Leonard Charles. All these projects are distinctly different in terms of genre and sound. Have you always had such an eclectic taste? Are you seasonal in what you listen to?
I just listen to what I like on any given day. I have a fairly decent record collection so in the morning I just reach for the record I want to hear. I usually end up working on music influenced that record when I get to the studio.
With all that experience under your belt who is the coolest person you have met in your musicaljourney so far? Can you explain what your first encounter with them was like?
A huge part of my musical experience I owe to Dave Cooley. He is a mastering engineer / producer. He always has time to share knowledge and is a genuine person within the global music industry. The first time we met he invited me to a recording session he had at Sunset Studio’s in LA working with a band called Silversun Pickups. They gave us a some tips on riding the busses in LA.
Tell us about your project ‘Basement Donuts’. What inspired the project initially and how did it evolve?
Inspiration for Basement Donuts is all J Dilla. People who know me know how important J Dilla’s music is to me. I’m not exaggerating when I say he has influenced every single piece of music I have released or produced. I was invited to perform at a night to raise money for the Dilla Foundation and so I decided to make it a special performance and remake J Dilla’s album Donuts but in my own way. The most important thing about J Dilla’s music is that it is unique to him so in order for me to serve the music right I needed to make my version unique to myself. I feel confident that I achieved this, I was hesitant at first because I really didn’t want to step on the toes of one of Hip Hop’s greats. I had the honor of playing some of my tracks from the release to Guilty Simpson andhe was feeling it. That seal of approval was enough for me to know I was doing the right thing.
The bulk of this project and a lot of your music is made in your basement studio. What was the first bit of equipment you bought for it and what gear do you have now in your studio?
The first equipment I bought was an MPC2000 and a turntable back in 2000. I have a bunch of gear now but the main things I use are: Ableton with Push. Roland Rhythm330, Roland MP600, Moog Voyager, Roland Chorus Echo, UAD Apollo, UA LA-610, Akai MPC3000, Fender Rhodes, Fender Jazz Bass, Fender P Bass, Fender Coronado, Premier 1075 drum kit, the list goes on.
In 2008 you performed at the ‘MPC Championship of the World’ under the name Jeremy Ota. Are you able to tell our viewers more about this event and the hours taken to build your cardboard MPC suit?
Haha, The event used to be held every year in New Zealad. It was an invitational MPC beat battle. A week out from the event all the competitors are given the exact same samples and get to make whatever they want to out of the samples given. I decided to do a tribute to all the Hip Hop I love by manipulating the samples they gave us and remaking classic beats. Some of the beats I made were even by people I was competing against.
You have helped design lessons for Melodics in the past primarily in the Chiptunes and Classic Breaks genres. What is it like having a Leonard Charles lesson released?
It’s cool. I really like the educational element to Melodics and I love building lessons that push peoples imagination. I hope that some of the elements from my own lesson will inspire people to go and create music.
What can Melodics users expect from your “Can We Go Back” lesson? Do you have any tips for how a newbie should approach the lesson.
I think a good approach is to go and listen to the godfather of modern funk – Dam Funk. Then go back to the lesson and just feel the drums. The drums are so important, the way the kick sits in the rhythm.
Who are the three artists you are listening to the most right now?
Mulholland – he has a studio above me so I hear his music all day.
Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand)
What advice would you give to an aspiring music producer or beat maker?
Be yourself.Respect the architects/ creators of the music you are making. Look to the past for education and look inside yourself for creativity. When it is time to make music forget the world around you and just feel what you are doing, get in the zone, that is where the magic is.
Melodics™ is the best way to build your musical skills.
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