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eortiz98
11-06-2013, 07:32 PM
Hello! Everyone

Its been a few months since I last visited/posted on here. I finally got my school $$$$ and want to start my building my sample composing for TV/Videos/Movies. But unfortunately, I have no ideal where to start or etc. I will be purchasing a MIDI Keyboard from Avid its a Mini 32 key station. I'm hoping to get it from Guitar Center or any other highly recommended store. Any help or advice would be really appreciated.

Thanks

Elizabeth Ortiz

PatrickAThompson
11-22-2013, 07:22 PM
Hey Elizabeth!

First and foremost, you will need a strong, fast, and efficient computer. Sample libraries take up tremendous resources (specifically RAM). If you don't have this, composing\recording\sequencing will be a frustrating nightmare.

You'll also need a solid audio interface. Sound cards that come in stock computers are generally not sufficient for monitoring your compositions.

You'll need a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). The more popular software is Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, and Sonar.

For your MIDI Controller (keyboard), I'd HIGHLY suggest getting something with a mod wheel and pitch bend. These are incredibly helpful in controlling dynamics, timbre, and other qualities of sound depending on the instrument which is loaded. I use an Axiom 49... It's certainly not high tech, but it gives me the control and options I need at a really good price.

For your first library, I'd suggest going with East West Quantum Leap (EWQL) and their Symphonic Orchestra. It is a very solid entry-level\mid-grade orchestral library with a fantastic sound. They also offer an 'educational' discount, but know that you can't sell or profit from any compositions made with the library if you use the educational discount. I believe you can upgrade to the full license at a later point.

http://youtu.be/xQXKErNx8ic This isn't my work, but it was created with EWQL Symphonic Orchestra library.

From there, you can branch out. There are stunning libraries from different companies out there - and most of them are worth having.... but don't feel the need to rush in to it. EWQL SO will definitely get your brain and imagination flowing.

But don't take my word for it. I often spend weeks researching before buying a library. There a TONS of reviews and suggestions out there for every possible instrument library you could ever imagine.

Good luck to you!

eortiz98
11-26-2013, 07:28 PM
Hey Elizabeth!

First and foremost, you will need a strong, fast, and efficient computer. Sample libraries take up tremendous resources (specifically RAM). If you don't have this, composing\recording\sequencing will be a frustrating nightmare.

You'll also need a solid audio interface. Sound cards that come in stock computers are generally not sufficient for monitoring your compositions.

You'll need a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). The more popular software is Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, and Sonar.

For your MIDI Controller (keyboard), I'd HIGHLY suggest getting something with a mod wheel and pitch bend. These are incredibly helpful in controlling dynamics, timbre, and other qualities of sound depending on the instrument which is loaded. I use an Axiom 49... It's certainly not high tech, but it gives me the control and options I need at a really good price.

For your first library, I'd suggest going with East West Quantum Leap (EWQL) and their Symphonic Orchestra. It is a very solid entry-level\mid-grade orchestral library with a fantastic sound. They also offer an 'educational' discount, but know that you can't sell or profit from any compositions made with the library if you use the educational discount. I believe you can upgrade to the full license at a later point.

http://youtu.be/xQXKErNx8ic This isn't my work, but it was created with EWQL Symphonic Orchestra library.

From there, you can branch out. There are stunning libraries from different companies out there - and most of them are worth having.... but don't feel the need to rush in to it. EWQL SO will definitely get your brain and imagination flowing.

But don't take my word for it. I often spend weeks researching before buying a library. There a TONS of reviews and suggestions out there for every possible instrument library you could ever imagine.

Good luck to you!

Hi! PatrickAThompson

Thanks for all the advice you posted. I just bought in May of this year; a MacBook Pro laptop. I also planning to purchase a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) know was Pro Tools; as soon i can either save or get some $$$$. As for my MIDI Controller (keyboard): I plan on purchasing this one; http://www.samash.com/m-audio-keystation-mini-32-32-note-ultra-portable-keyboard-controller-mkey32mk2. I unfortunately, I don't currently own any kind of Sample Library either. I actually don't know what kind of sample library to get or consider in looking for? Secondly, I'm on a very tight budget due to being a college student and working only part-time as a Substitute Instructional Assistant. Also what is a EWQL? Also feel to personally email at eortiz98[at]live.com.

Thanks :-)

PatrickAThompson
11-27-2013, 07:23 AM
Hey Elizabeth!

EWQL is "East\West Quantum Leap" - which is a company that makes the 'Symphonic Orchestra' library I mentioned. The 'gold' version of this software\library is currently on sale. Like I said, it's only a suggestion. It's a really decent-sounding realistic library for a smaller price. It is a fantastic collection for someone new. This is, or course, assuming that you're wanting to compose orchestral music.

Something else to consider is that your Pro Tools software will most likely come bundled with some usable samples\virtual instruments. I don't know which version you're looking at buying, so I can't tell you exactly what it comes with.

I would certainly suggest spending several hours researching any and all questions you have. Google is your friend. YouTube is a better friend. "What is MIDI?" "What is a VST?" "How can I compose music on a computer?" "What is a good sample library for film music?" Any question at all, Google it. I promise you that you can find answers to 98% of questions you'll come up with. Also... If you can, go talk to the audio people at Sam Ash (or Guitar Center). Tell them your situation. "This is the computer I have. This is where I am as a student. This is what I'm wanting. This is how much money I can spend." They'll be able to answer your questions as well as make recommendations of products which can help you.

For your MIDI controller\keyboard, I'd suggest this: http://www.samash.com/korg-korg-microkey-37-key-usb-midi-keyboard-kmicrok37

It's got a full 3 octaves plus very clear pitch bend and MOD wheels. Don't forget to buy a sustain pedal as well. :)

I found a really good article\collection of tutorials for you. I know, it says it's for PC, but the overall principles are the same for a Mac.
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/10-easy-guides-to-making-music-on-your-pc-526962

Keep researching and reading. :)

eortiz98
12-08-2013, 03:46 AM
Hey Elizabeth!

EWQL is "East\West Quantum Leap" - which is a company that makes the 'Symphonic Orchestra' library I mentioned. The 'gold' version of this software\library is currently on sale. Like I said, it's only a suggestion. It's a really decent-sounding realistic library for a smaller price. It is a fantastic collection for someone new. This is, or course, assuming that you're wanting to compose orchestral music.

Something else to consider is that your Pro Tools software will most likely come bundled with some usable samples\virtual instruments. I don't know which version you're looking at buying, so I can't tell you exactly what it comes with.

I would certainly suggest spending several hours researching any and all questions you have. Google is your friend. YouTube is a better friend. "What is MIDI?" "What is a VST?" "How can I compose music on a computer?" "What is a good sample library for film music?" Any question at all, Google it. I promise you that you can find answers to 98% of questions you'll come up with. Also... If you can, go talk to the audio people at Sam Ash (or Guitar Center). Tell them your situation. "This is the computer I have. This is where I am as a student. This is what I'm wanting. This is how much money I can spend." They'll be able to answer your questions as well as make recommendations of products which can help you.

For your MIDI controller\keyboard, I'd suggest this: http://www.samash.com/korg-korg-microkey-37-key-usb-midi-keyboard-kmicrok37

It's got a full 3 octaves plus very clear pitch bend and MOD wheels. Don't forget to buy a sustain pedal as well. :)

I found a really good article\collection of tutorials for you. I know, it says it's for PC, but the overall principles are the same for a Mac.
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/10-easy-guides-to-making-music-on-your-pc-526962

Keep researching and reading. :)


Hello! PatrickAThompson

I been doing a lot of research online about becoming a Film Composer and etc. I have even look into UCLA Extension Program for Film Composer Certificate program but unfortunately that cost around $16,800 to complete the program. That $$$ I don't have currently. I also work part-time as a Substitute Instructional Assistant and don't make enough to help get for programs like this. I have also look into Berklee School of Music programs they less expensive but then i would need a loan too. My dream is to work full-time as a Film Composer and gradually get my music into the oscars and movies. I also just purchase that MIDI Keyboard you suggested. And also been reading those articles too. I'm hoping to get some more $$$ very soon and will hope to start purchasing Sample Library. I have decided to go with possibility doing a undergraduate degree in Music Composition with a minor in Liberal Studies instead of doing Music Education. Keep posting this hopefully ideals.

PatrickAThompson
12-08-2013, 05:00 PM
Hello Elizabeth! So glad to see you're taking steps in the right direction!

Yes - it is expensive! Setting up a studio in itself is expensive - then you add the education cost on top of it, and it seems like an insurmountable task. Consider an artist who paints on canvas. The more colors of paint he has, and the larger amount of different brushes he has, the better (and more detailed) his art will become. Obviously, this artist must have talent. He must nurture his talent - and practice - and grow - always. Think of each piece of your studio as a new color in your palette. Each new bit of software or library is a better quality brush. Your music education is the palette itself. If you build your craft step by step, it seems doable.

While you're raising funds for studio gear and your classes, here's what I would recommend. Go to your nearest discount book store like Half Price Books. You'll be able to find many different classical orchestral scores for a few dollars each. Buy them. When you get home, read the scores as you listen to a performance of the work online. Study the orchestra layout. Make a note of which instruments are frequently played together. Watch what instruments are played during a dynamic pp versus those which are played during a fff. In the music world, classical music sets the 'rules'. As a composer, you get to decide which rules you want to follow - and those you want to break. If you can get your hands on an actual (complete) film score, do it. It's incredibly difficult and\or expensive... So, I suggest starting with old classics.

Also, pay extra attention to film in movies (which I'm sure you do anyhow). Music on TV, (except for prime-time shows) isn't composed FOR the show. It is pulled from a library and placed. There's a huge difference between blindly composing a piece for a generic emotion versus composing TO the picture - as one does with professional film.

All of this to say, just because you can't afford school right now doesn't mean you can't educate yourself. Study the classics. Brahms, Holst, Mozart, whatever you can get your hands on... (Though I wouldn't REALLY call Holst 'classical') :) Close your eyes and listen to some film score soundtracks. What emotions do you feel? What, musically, is happening that gives you that feeling?

I'd highly recommend Berklee School of Music, by the way.

Keep it up!!!

Director
12-09-2013, 07:35 PM
I guess my first question would be, why settle for just a 32 note keyboard. That is so limiting. At least get a 64, or even better a 72 if you can find one.

PatrickAThompson
12-09-2013, 08:30 PM
There are lots of reasons.. In Elizabeth's case, cost is a major factor. Typically, you can get it cheaper than, say, a full-size piano keyboard of 88 keys.

The way that smaller-scale MIDI controllers (aka keyboards) work is that there is a button which allows you to raise or lower octaves... (Often, you can go higher or lower than an actual piano, depending on your sample library).

Smaller controllers are often better because they don't take up much space. Honestly, if you're composing and orchestrating properly, you will (almost) never use more than four octaves, if that. While the finished product might have instruments running the entire span of audible sound, we have to record each instrument line by itself (which - on average - will span around 2-3 octaves).

I just upgraded to a 61 key controller... My old 44 key was directly in front of me. I could record the notes easily without having to reach left or right. If I had a huge 88 key controller on my desk, I wouldn't have a place to put my coffee - and THAT, in itself, is reason for a smaller controller.

There are plenty of ways and reasons people can set up their studio. Mine works for me.

I just updated my studio layout... If you click on the 'Studio' button on my website, you'll see it.

eortiz98
12-29-2013, 12:15 AM
There are lots of reasons.. In Elizabeth's case, cost is a major factor. Typically, you can get it cheaper than, say, a full-size piano keyboard of 88 keys.

The way that smaller-scale MIDI controllers (aka keyboards) work is that there is a button which allows you to raise or lower octaves... (Often, you can go higher or lower than an actual piano, depending on your sample library).

Smaller controllers are often better because they don't take up much space. Honestly, if you're composing and orchestrating properly, you will (almost) never use more than four octaves, if that. While the finished product might have instruments running the entire span of audible sound, we have to record each instrument line by itself (which - on average - will span around 2-3 octaves).

I just upgraded to a 61 key controller... My old 44 key was directly in front of me. I could record the notes easily without having to reach left or right. If I had a huge 88 key controller on my desk, I wouldn't have a place to put my coffee - and THAT, in itself, is reason for a smaller controller.

There are plenty of ways and reasons people can set up their studio. Mine works for me.

I just updated my studio layout... If you click on the 'Studio' button on my website, you'll see it.

Hey! PatrickAThompson

Thanks for all the information. While I already receive my KORG Mini station. Unfortunately, I cant seem to get it working yet. :-( My next step will be purchasing Pro Tools; since I will be using it in my Music Technology class for my certificate prgoram in MIDI:Composition.