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Songwriting Tutorial

Creativity Kickstart

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12 Videos
Length: 1hr 47min 50sec
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    Tutorial 1

    Introduction

    2:15

    Welcome to Creativity Kick start!

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    Tutorial 2

    Starting with a Single Note

    9:07

    Sometimes the strictest of restrictions and limitation push you to be creative in unusual ways and areas. Explore some ideas on how to spark a multitude of ideas you might not otherwise have come up with by limiting yourself to working with a single pitch.

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    Tutorial 3

    Working with Two Notes

    10:05

    Starting with two notes opens up additional possibilities including inversion, irregular repetition, and sequential repetition. See some examples of how you can take two randomly generated notes in different directions.

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    Tutorial 4

    Creative Copying - Bass Lines

    11:16

    Well known iconic parts in commercial arrangements make great fodder for inspiration. Watch as a few well known bass lines are removed from their original context, and used as the basis for new ideas.

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    Tutorial 5

    Creative Copying - Keys

    13:38

    Keyboard rhythms and patterns, divorced form their note pitches, make great building blocks for keyboard parts built on other chord progressions. Listen to a few ideas inspired by keyboard parts from Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Sister Sledge.

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    Tutorial 6

    Creative Copying - Drums

    7:00

    Programming up drum parts similar to those on your favorite recordings are a nice way to start building some new ideas. Listen as some programmed Justin Timberlake and Maroon Five grooves are used to start off some ideas.

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    Tutorial 7

    Single Dice Games

    13:04

    Explore some ways that a randomly generated number can be used as the basis for melodic and harmonic patterns.

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    Tutorial 8

    Double Dice Games

    12:20

    Explore some melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic exercise ideas derived from two randomly generated numbers.

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    Tutorial 9

    Triple Dice Games

    8:49

    More writing exercises, this time built on three randomly generated numbers.

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    Tutorial 10

    Lyric Fragments

    7:16

    Sometimes snippets of dialogue or fragments of existing lyrics can be used to inspire melodic phrases. It's not necessary to be a singer in order to use these phrases as the basis for new melodic ideas. Watch as a few phrases are used to inspire and create original melodies.

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    Tutorial 11

    Developing Your Ideas

    4:34

    Explore some specific techniques for developing a motif or melodic fragment.

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    Tutorial 12

    Vocal Inspiration

    8:26

    Listen as vocalist Nancy Lane is let loose creating her own melodic ideas over some of the patterns created throughout this series.

Do you sometimes find it hard to get started with a new song or musical idea? Well, studio guru Eli Krantzberg shares some of his awesome techniques to help get your creative juices flowing. Learn solid methods for inspiring new ideas and write your next masterpiece!

Eli kicks this series off by taking a look at how limiting yourself to a single pitch can spark ideas and how starting with two randomly generated notes can open up additional possibilities. Next, Eli shows how well known iconic parts in commercial arrangements make great inspiration for bass, keys and drum parts.

Moving on, Eli shows you how a simple roll of the dice can be a great tool for building melodic and harmonic patterns, as well as how using fragments of existing lyrics can inspire your own original melodic phrases. Eli wraps up with some specific techniques for developing a motif before letting a vocalist loose, creating their own melodic ideas over the patterns created throughout the series.

If you're looking ways to help you unlock your writing block and let the creativity flow, "Creativity Kickstart" is a must see... Check it out today!

Reviews

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1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started playing drums in high school at age fourteen. Like most kids my age around then, I was into progressive rock. Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Yes. They rocked my world. A few short years later though, my musical life changed. While studying music in college I discovered Charlie Parker, Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and John Coltrane. Milt Jackson spoke to me in such a profound way that it left me no choice but to take up vibraphone.

These great players, along with  drummers like Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones changed not only the way I thought about drumming, but also music - and by extension, life - as a whole. I realized life was meant to be a creative endeavor. The idea of improvising based on a loose set of guidelines and rules permeated into my psyche even when I wasn't holding a pair of drumsticks or mallets. But if I am going to be perfectly truthful, I have to hold Henry Miller and Woody Allen equally responsible for shaping the way I view and experience the world around me. 

2. What training have you had?

I am currently an Apple certified Logic Pro. Young and cocky, and armed with only a partial University degree, I dropped out of school and  began playing steady commercial hotel engagements and jazz gigs when I could. This went on for many years until I decided it was time to complete my degree - which I ultimately did with a major in Political Science and a minor in music. 

It was at this point that I formed my current band Nightshift. We are going in to our twenty third year now - playing commercial one nighters like weddings, corporate events, etc. Don't turn your nose up at it though - it has allowed me a wonderful quality of life. It gave me the freedom to go back to school and complete a post graduate degree in Communications Studies - all the while supporting myself by playing weddings.

3. When did you get into recording?

It was in this graduate program - in the early nineties - that I found myself drawn to the fledgling emerging universe of hard disc recording and midi sequencing. Based on nothing more than the recommendation of one of my band mates who had an old Atari, I jumped in head first and bought a Mac LC ll, along with a version 1.1 of what was then Notator Logic. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But, in hindsight, it was a decision of epic importance in my life - shaping my future as much as the music of Milt Jackson and Charlie Parker did fifteen years prior. 

I opened up my own commercial home studio in 1998 and began doing a variety of projects, working on radio jingles, artist CD projects, and whatever came my way. A couple of years later a colleague called me up - desperate. He was working at a post production house and one of the editors had just quit. They were doing audio post for a weekly TV series and needed a Pro Tools editor - and fast! And so, once again, I jumped in head first into what would ultimately open up my world even more - the world of Pro Tools. 

4. People you have worked with/for?

Focusing on Logic, I built up a small but loyal client base and my phone kept ringing for Logic tech support and instruction. Film composers and studio owners all over the city were calling me. Even the music stores were giving out my phone number at this point! This kind of stuff becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more of it you do, the more calls you get to keep doing it. At least that's the way it should be!

As my Logic chops kept growing, I was hired by an old buddy of mine, Len Sasso, who was then an associate editor at Electronic Musician magazine, and began writing some columns for them. I had a blast doing them - and really learned to focus and express my thoughts in a concise and clear manner. This lead to a collaboration with LA based composer Terry Michael Huud on the 2006 film called Civic Duty - which was certainly one of the highlights of my professional life as a composer. 

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I wake up every day excited to boot up, and create. Whether it's instructional videos, creating music, working with a studio client, performing with my band, or teaching at the schools - my days are filled with what I love doing. Enriched by the stimulation and creative freedom this modern music making software brings to my life. I bring that excitement and passion to each and every training product I create. My years of experience both using and teaching these programs has taught me the best way to make the user comfortable with these complex programs.

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