Songwriting and Composition
www.boltonmusiclessons.com are proud to announce the following lessons are now available:
Guitar – Electric, Acoustic and Classical – all styles covered – Grades, GCSE or just for giggles.
Bass Guitar – Rock, Jazz, Pop and more…
Folk instruments – ukelele, banjo, mandolin and bodhran.
Vocal Tuition – Learn to sing with an experienced teacher.
Keyboards – Beginner to intermediate – learn to play for fun.
Recording – Get to grips with recording your own compositions on a budget, what to buy, how to setup and how to get started.
Composition – Learn how to write music, got an idea why not come for a lesson and workshop it into a rounded peice of music.
Songagram – Get your idea recorded or record your favourite song for yourself or for someone else – we can do original compositions or covers.
All our teachers are experienced working musicians who can cover a variety of styles and genres.
We are based in Farnworth, Bolton BL4 in an easy to find location.
We work days, nights and weekends.
Lessons are charged at £15 for a 45 minute lesson or block bookings can be arranged at 4 lessons for £55 or 10 lessons for £130.
Jess Main: Singing Teacher
I didn’t come from a musical family, but always wanted to sing from a young age.
I was 10 when I began my musical training, and now at 25 I have completed my Masters degree in Vocal Studies (York). As a member of a female trio, I regularly perform in concerts in London and the north.
I have been coaching various ages of singers since 2009, alongside running several vocal groups. Having explored genres from opera, musicals, cabaret and classic rock, I know that my knowledge would be a useful tool to help you improve your own skills.
I do believe that everyone has the ability to improve their vocals under suitable tutelage and encouragement. Whether you want to get to grips with a particular style, work towards a grade or just simply enjoy the satisfaction of making a great noise – I can provide that help in a friendly, enthusiastic environment.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 07595 369437
Karl Kramer: Drum Teacher. (mobile, home lessons)
I have been playing drum kit since I was 12 years old, and orchestral percussion since I was 14.
I also teach mandolin, ukelele, keyboards, bodhran, recording and composition.
Over the years I have played in many ensembles, exploring both style and creativity. Since beginning drum kit, I have played for metal bands to folk bands, and I currently play Bodhrán for my band ‘Nish As Rish’ (www.nishasrish.com).
With experience in the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra, York Symphony Orchestra, University of York Concert Band and CHIMERA ensemble, I am also well practiced in all tuned and non-tuned percussion.
Our lessons will be focused on three fundamental areas of learning: Technique – Solid technique is key to developing into a great player. Improvisation – Rather than focusing entirely on existing repertoire, I’ll help you explore ways into creating your own music and style. Musicianship – The most important thing about being a drummer is listening to other musicians.
Contact details: email@example.com 07597 837010
Mark James – Guitar Teacher
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12 and have been playing in bands since I was 15.
I now record under the name Back Bone Shiver – a solo project.
I have been teaching for over 6 years now. mainly in the Bolton area but branching out into Leigh, Walkden, Manchester and Horwich.
I love it, as a business it keeps me off the streets but as a vocation I have loved every minute of it.
My philosophy when it comes to music has always been no boundaries and I apply that to my teaching.
If you want to play for yourself or others then I’m more than happy to help.
I teach all styles of guitar, I also play bass, banjo, ukelele and mandolin.
I also have a decent project studio recording setup which is also available to students should they need it.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile:07780 681 585
If you would like to discuss booking a lesson or need advice of what to buy,
First we need to create a new song.
Start up GarageBand if you haven’t already.
Look for the icon I have circled and tap it once.
This will create your new track.
First we’ll create our drum track.
To do this we will keep things simple and use smart drums.
On the main screen swipe the screen until you find ‘Smart Drums’
Now tap the drum to enter.
By tapping the screen where I have circled we can change the kit sounds.
For this example we are going to use ‘live rock kit’ – I’ve circled it in red.
Tap that part of the screen.
If you want to change kit you can tap the the icon circled in yellow/red.
You can if you want randomise a drum kit by tapping the Dice circled in green/red
For now though ignore these.
The parts we’re interested in are the arrows and the kit elements to the right of the screen.
The arrows point to 4 different style elements.
Loud, Quiet, Complex and Simple.
By grabbing a kit element eg the ‘Kick’ we can drag it onto the grid in the middle.
Placement on the screen will determine it’s volume and it’s complexity.
Take a listen and if your happy do the same with the snare and hi hat.
So now you should have a simple drum pattern, have a few listens.
If you want any element louder drag the icon up the grid, quieter drag it down.
If you’re happy with it’s complexity make sure you maintain it’s position.
If you want it more complex drag it to the right, simpler drag it to the left.
And there you have it, a drum beat created in GarageBand.
If you intend to keep it or add another instrument then you will need to record it.
To carry on you have a couple of other options,
Enter multitrack or add another instrument.
For the moment let’s check out multitrack.
Tap the multitrack button circled in red.
The screen above shows the multitrack view.
At the moment it shows a drum pattern in green.
If this is not then case something went wrong.
Pressing play will loop the pattern allowing continuous play, perfect for jamming chords out.
I’ve highlighted the instruments button again so that if you want to you can add another instrument or recording.
If you want to add another instrument look for the ones that have ‘smart’ in front, these will be easier to use.
I will be going deeper into this at some other point but for now that’s all folks.
Getting bogged down in your own self capitulating, self absorbed mire?
Finding your inspiration and enthusiasm has sapped itself away into the very floorboards?
Grab hold of something and shake yourself then.
Writers block is not easily fixable, I’m not an expert but it is an ever decreasing circle.
Procrastination is the friend of excuses in this game and excuses are just that.
Well um that’s hardly fair to say…
Yada yada bing bong pffft I say.
It’s a state of mind, or more a state of play.
Think about it, music is supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be a joy, a hobby, a giggle…
It’s supposed to be something you enjoy, so ok it can be almost a religion at times but if that’s how you feel about it then have ‘faith’.
Breaking some eggs…
To make an omelette you need to what?
So break out of what you normally do, do something away from what you normally do.
Do something against what you do, how you normally work, how you normally think.
Boring tip one – organize – not yourself but your
1. Hard Drive: So ok it sounds dull, and it can be but bear with me.
Your hard drive has millions of files, samples, vst effect, vst instruments, soft samplers, romplers etc etc etc.
Now I know it’s not tidy, we all know that.
Samples, jesus how many samples have you got? How many do you need?
Why not find out? I mean do you really need all of them? Do you actually know what you’ve got?
Same with VSTs do you actually no what every single one does or sounds like.
If it’s of use keep it, if you don’t use it then bin it.
It’s at times like this you can fall upon creative processing – testing a new toy, checking a samples use.
Organize your samples/vsts – creativity is a funny thing it can come from nowhere. If it doesn’t in this case then no harm done and you’ve got a tidy sample library.
2. Music Collection: Organizing your CDs or MP3s can be really enlightening. I mean how many times do you actually listen to music these days?
I dunno about you but my TV only get’s switched on when I’ve got a DVD to watch.
Other than that I’m listening to the radio or CDs.
But the problem with listening to music is it’s not random enough, radio stations have playlists that only change periodically and your taste is the same.
So root through some music, check your CDs and pull at random. Have fun with it, listening to music is like watching food programs for me. I get hungry.
Play an instrument your not used to: Hard but if you’re a guitarist, pick up a keyboard or try an lay down some drums. Do some programming, use the staff view or piano roll…
Play in a different style/genre – get out of your comfort zone musically and try and create something extremelly different to your taste buds.
Expand your mind…
Working your brain is important, not just musically.
Read. Reading increases your word power, it also stimulates imagination and ideas.
Lyrics for example are excruciating for me, so I rely on words, the sounds they make I practice my vocabulary at every turn and try and develope my wordplay by the way I interact with my friends, I have quite a sarcastic tone so being able to mix my turn of phrase and my inate pisstakery is practice for me.
Books, magazines, cereal boxes, manuals, wikipedia…if you can read it, read it.
If you can write, maintain a blog.
So ok this was a bit of a mind splurge for me but it’s partly the reason I created this site, something to keep my mind occupied while waiting for something to drop but things do.
I create rules for myself, self purpetuating ideas and purposes. Stuff to keep me entertained/occupied in a musical sense.
Music creation can be dictated if you have the inclination.
Talent is great, but practice makes perfect.
I practice creating music by giving myself music tasks.
1. Detune a guitar.
2. Create a music with rules ie: No longer that 3min / Key of C / Two Chords Only / Melodic Theme / No Melodic Theme / No Dynamics / Mood / No Guitar /
There’s lots of ideas and tricks and I’m not saying they’ll break the cycle but they can’t hurt.
The most important thing I can say though is to not take it too seriously.
It’s supposed to be fun.
If it’s not then try something else like headgehog wrestling…
So you’re here, looking for the answer?
Same as it ever was, these are just ideas, musings if you will.
All music and writing is subjective – it’s personal and down to individual taste.
But as always with practice gettting what you want will get easier with time spent exercising your compositional brain.
As with all primers on this site this primer is going to deal with the basics, I will expand on the bigger issues in other articles and also show tutorials using ‘piano roll’ in Reaper and ‘staff view’ in Sonar 7.
Hopefully both views should help anyone using other daws as the prinicples are the same, but don’t hold me to that, these are the only DAWs I use.
Knowing a bit about theory will be of use and knowing the difference between a major 3rd and a minor 3rd will be important. Also knowing your key signatures and chord spellings will be of use here.
Don’t panic though, in the individual articles that expand from this one I will explain what these are and show you how to work it so that you understand in a better way.
Don’t let theory own you – it’s just short hand to getting quicker results.
Take bitesize chunks as you go and don’t allow it to become the big white elephant in the room.
Learning to play bass is almost the same as learning to program bass.
What I mean by that, is that it’s a skill more than a virtuoso thing.
Think about it, the best bassists are not always the up front guy.
There are exceptions, Flea from the Chill Peppers is one, but for ths most part think about the big bands in the world. Now think about who the bassist is. If your not a bassist or basscentric then can you answer that?
Guitarists always assume that playing bass is easy, it’s not.
You have to have a musical brain and a real dedication to the music to play bass, for the most part ignored and derided.
But without a good solid bass, your music will fall apart.
So when you program or play bass think about the music – it should govern what you want.
A few quick tips – apply to playing and programming…
1. Follow the kick drum – if you deviate too much from the kick you’ll get a muddy effect – try and zone right in with each note so that it hits each kick – occasionally you can throw in a run or an accented note on the snare but try not to get too busy.
2. Try intervals – the most common bassline is the root note fixated bassline -you’ve heard it or maybe not – it’s the plodding solid bass line that doesn’t excite but rather just allows everything else to exist without causing too many problems. This kind of bassline is great some of the time and can work really well but sometimes it sounds/feels lazy ands uninspired. Try and mix it up a bit more with intervals.
The root note is the lowest note in the chord or triad – the triad is the three notes that make up the chord. Each note in the triad is an interval of the root note. You can play these as well.
Confused? You should be.
Let’s make that easier to understand.
3. Play in key – playing in key is not as difficult as it sounds or as you perceive but it does take time to learn.
As a guitar teacher I believe knowing the notes on your guitar and knowing your key signatures is more important than knowing a scale pattern.
The same goes for piano – in fact it’s easier to do.
4. Start small, that is start with one key and learn it inside out – if you take the key of C Major as your foundation to work from you can expand as you get more comfortable.
An idea would be to practice using the key of C and carry on composing as normal – don’t let understanding theory get in the way of your creative impulses. Instead let the theory be a seperate entity until it starts to seep into your conscious.
Knowing the notes, the keys, and the Basics of chords(article) is important but don’t let it stop you from creating music – it is after all a tool and not the rule.
Below are some related articles – some have been written others are to be written.