Jan 18

Smashing through the plateau

by in Pro Tips

It’s getting close to February! You’ve changed your diet (no foods starting with B), decided to learn Esperanto, vowed to run 5 miles a day, and make it to grade 20 in Melodics.

Great! But you’re still stuck on grade 6.

When you begin it’s normal to see rapid improvements. When that stops it’s natural to feel you’ve hit your limit of ability when in reality you’ve just hit a plateau. How do you move beyond your plateau? The answer is to challenge yourself in a new way.

Some examples of this could be taking lessons from an easier grade and…

  • emphasising your weak hand / fingers
  • playing blindfolded
  • speeding up lesson patterns as fast as you can

You can also think about the specific skills you’re finding hard. It could that you’re struggling with finger independence, endurance or syncopation. To work out what you might be finding difficult in each lesson, check out the tags for each lesson when in lesson list view.

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A good way to work on these skills is to use the “Browse by” button to sort by tag to show the full list of lessons relating to that skill – then you can go back and practice this on some easier grade lessons and slowly work your way back.

It might seem like going backwards, but in the long run it’ll help your progress.

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Moving past the plateau isn’t just about practicing more, it’s about practicing the right thing.

Set yourself a challenge this week and let us know how you go!

Dec 05

Bassline Bootcamp from Mark de Clive-Lowe

by in Interviews, Melodics, Uncategorized

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.

Apr 05

Pro Tips: How To Use ‘Tags’ To Learn Faster With Melodics

by in Pro Tips

Over the last few weeks we have made a couple of significant changes to how content is structured in Melodics. We regraded every lesson to move from 10 lesson grades to 20 – and we’ve overhauled all the tags used to classify lessons.

These new tags are a way to navigate the main components and skills required for each lesson. They are broken up into three categories; Rhythm, Technique and Lesson Style. Using these tags, you can separate your training into these areas and work on developing each of these important skills.

Let’s say you want to strengthen your hand independence. All you need to do, is go to the lessons screen and filter by the tag ‘hand independence’. This will give you a list of lessons that we recommend you should play to build that particular skill. The lessons are filtered from easiest to hardest, which will allow you build your skills up gradually.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 3.59.18 PM

Step 1

Go to the lessons screen in the app. On the left hand panel click the top dropdown menu and select ‘Tags’

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 3.59.18 PM

Step 2

Once clicked a list of our new tags will be produced on the left hand panel.

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Step 3

Select a tag – For this example we have selected ‘Basic Independence’.

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Step 4

Once selected all our lessons that have been tagged with ‘Basic Independence’ will be filtered on the lessons list to the right. These lists will be shown from lowest grade to highest.

Tagging is particularly useful it you want to work backwards from a really challenging lesson. Say for example you wanted to learn to play Spinscott’s Jungle Break Fundamentals Vol. 1, grade 19 lesson. This lesson has the tags Endurance, Discrete and Fast. To build up the skills you need to master this lesson, you can find lower grade lessons that have the same tags, and work on building up these skills. In this case, start by filtering by the ‘Discrete’ tag. This will give you a list of lessons that require you to play rhythms consisting of individual hits, where usually no pads are played simultaneously. Justin Aswell’s Daily Warm Up’s – 16th Note Accent, grade 8 also has the tag ‘Endurance’ so this would be a good lesson to start with. When you’ve got that down, play Buddy Peace’s Desert Burner lessons from grade 9 to 11. Spinscott’s DnB Roller, grade 12 introduces the ‘Fast’ tag. You’ll notice when you get above grade 15 all the lessons tagged ‘Discrete’ belong to Spinscott. This shows you that his finger drumming style is fundamental to the ‘Discrete’ skill. If you want to play like Spinscott then that is a tag worth filtering by.

Here’s another example. Want to learn to play Soul Shaker, grade 16 by Beats by J Black? That lesson uses the tags Syncopation, Finger Independence and Swing. Using the tagging system, you can see that a good way to work towards this would be to play these lessons, starting with the first, and working your way up through progressively harder and harder lessons – Broken Boogie – Drums, grade 7, From Home to Work and Back – Drums, grade 8, Sovereignty, grade 8, Caxixi, grade 10, Island Breeze – Drums, grade 10, The Umm – Drums, grade 13… Soul Shaker, grade 16.

Below are all the new tags in Melodics, a definition of each one, and a example of a lesson that uses this tag.

Tag Description Example lesson
Advanced Independence Both hands have two or more fingers simultaneously operating on different time signatures or note divisions. Bass Kleph – Pad Fever Grade 17
Arrangement Playing a whole song through different sections. Often features multiple instruments and switching between parts. Oddkidout – Amore Grade 8
Basic A basic beat or rhythm, usually straight ¼ and playable with one finger. No more than two pads. Gaslamp Killer Oscilalting Lucifer (Beginner) Grade 2
Basic Independence You are using more than one hand or finger but they are operating on separate note divisions. Justin Aswell – Daily Warm Ups – 8 on a hand Grade 5
Basic Syncopation A basic beat that shifts the normal accent, usually by emphasising the offbeat. ASADI – PTM Level 1 – Drums Grade 3
Bassline Lesson plays the bass part instead of drums. John Tejada – Demux – Bass – Grade 5
Cue point drumming A phrase sample from a song, plays as one shot segment following its own tempo. Soul Flip – Beginner – Grade 7
Discrete Consisting of distinct or individual hits. Usually no pads are played simultaneously. Fab Four Technique – Tim Kroker – Grade 6
Drag A feeling of playing behind the beat. Drunken Masters & Karol Tip – Calories – Vocals – Grade 6
Endurance A long pattern that often requires some degree of physical stamina to perform. Live Evil – Bang That – Grade 8
Fast A fast tempo or needing physically fast movements to perform, often both. Spinscott – DnB Roller – Grade 12
Fills A cue point drumming technique for re-arranging a song using different rhythms. DJ Day – Impeach – Strobing Flip – Grade 8
Hand Independence You are using both hands but they are operating on different time signatures or note divisions. Eric Lau – Mars Guitar – Grade 9
Layout Very lesson-specific physical arrangement of samples on pads. Can be complex to remember and often requires difficult sight reading. Decap – Feeling (Condensed) – Grade 9
Melody You are playing the melodic or harmonic content of the song. Usually a lead, samples or chords. Leonard Charles – Can We Go Back – Rhodes – Grade 5
Pocket Locking in with the instrumentation / groove of the song. Drumming is very solid and has great feel. DJ Spinna – G. Tar Joint Drums – Grade 9
Polyrhythm When two or more rhythms are played simultaneously. Carl Rag – Goes Around – Melody 1 – Beginner – Grade 7
Rudiments Developing the basic principles of drumming. Tim Kroker – Connect 4 Pt.1 – Grade 10
Shuffle Rhythm is created by leaving out (resting) the middle note of each three-note triplet group. Oddkidout – Dreams (Beginner) – Grade 7
Swing Rhythm is created by dragging the off beat note. BeatsbyJBlack – Soul Shaker- Beginner – Grade 5
Syncopation A beat that heavily shifts the normal accent, usually by emphasising several offbeats. Buddy Peace – Caduceus – Grade 8
Triplet A group of 3 notes played in a different note division than the regular beat. A Light Bit Lighter – Grade 11
Unquantized Rhythm is mostly unrestricted from any timing grid or note division Jeremy Ellis -Bliss #1 (Beginner) – Grade 9

Try tagging today and let us know how it helps you learn in Melodics. If there any other parts of the app that you want tips on, let us know via the comments section below.

 

 

Dec 10

Melodics New Play Screen And Navigation

by in Melodics, Pro Tips

Ever since launching back in October our design guru Adam and the rest of the team have had a goal to revamp our play screen. We are pleased to announce that we have done just that. The purdy new layout is now available to all Melodics users. We put together a quick video to give you a glimpse of the play screen and also steps on navigating through Melodics.

If you are still seeing the old layout do not fear it just means you are on one of our older builds. To update automatically just leave Melodics running for ten minutes. Or go to this link and re download the app.

The new play screen design is the first of series of additions we  are making to the user interface to make Melodics even better. If you have any particular ideas or feedback feel free to provide it in the comments section below.

Nov 12

Use Melodics To Improve Your DJ Sets: Cue Point Drumming Lessons

by in Melodics, Music, Pro Tips

For the next five days all Melodics Premium DJ content has been unlocked and can be played by all our users. In these lessons you’ll learn the art of cue point drumming and how it can be applied across a range of  tracks in your library, to create interesting flips of an original beat. These skills will set you a part from all the other ‘laptop DJs‘ out there and make your next DJ set fresh to death.

When applying our techniques to your own tracks make sure to keep these steps in mind.

 1) In your DJ software, choose a bar within the track and set 4 cue points

2) Set the four cue points on the 4 beats of the bar – typically the 1st kick, 1st snare, 2nd kick and 2nd snare.

3) Make sure you’ve practiced the pattern you want to use in Melodics and your timing is on point

To give you an idea of this in action we have included videos of three very different songs all using the same pattern from our lesson ‘Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1′.

Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1 – applied to Jay Z – Dirt Off Your Shoulder (82 BPM)

Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1 – applied to Disclosure – White Noise (Featuring AlunaGeorge) (120 BPM)

Cue Point Drumming Lesson 1 – applied to Led Zeppellin – Kashmir (81 BPM)

The pattern used across these examples is one of many that are included in Melodics waiting to be tried out. Melodics will teach you these different patterns through lessons that gradually increase in difficulty.

Once you feel all trained up the next step is to try what you have learned with your DJ controller/software. So set the cue points to the pads on your controller and get drumming. We recommend also looking at the Serato Flip which will help you to capture and loop your cue point drumming live.

We would love to see what kinds of flips you are able to do with tracks in your library using the techniques you have learned in Melodics. So send us through some videos using the hashtag #Melodics and we will find you on Instagram and Facebook.

If you have not downloaded Melodics yet do so now :)