S 01

Work for Coursera on 12/26

I have learned some things about music production on my own, but there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge. For example, when I work in Audacity I don’t understand how to use compression and normalization. I think they should be used differently depending on what kind of sound file I’m working with (recording of music rehearsal? recording of voice narration? creating a composition?) I want to learn more about filters and amplifiers. Basically I want to know why my recordings sound lousy, and what I can do to improve them.

A good outcome would be that I would be prepared for an audio recording technology course next fall semester and could take that course along with music theory without getting overwhelmed.
The best, most positive outcome — and this is really out there — is that after creating a composition, I could record an album (blending live, acoustic instruments with electronic ones) and then publish it on Amazon. They have a  service where they will print the CD when it is ordered. I picture having album art and a series of downloadable jpg images to go with the album.
How would accomplishing this goal make me feel? …There have been very few times in my life when I have started a big project and brought it to completion. This would be another one to add to the list.
Also — it would be a beautiful thing, and I would be glad that I built that sonic and visual environment for others to walk around in. It’s like hosting a party, or creating a public garden.

What do you believe might be your biggest internal obstacle in achieving your goals? What is it within you that holds you back? It might be an emotion, an irrational belief, or a bad habit. Think more deeply—what is it really?

Identify your main inner obstacle and take a moment to imagine it fully.

This past semester I almost quit.  I had gotten behind with the coursework, I was tired of brazening it out (ex. showing up to class or to lesson when I knew I wasn’t prepared — letting that fear / shame roll off me)… and then we hit a topic that was more difficult for me than the previous ones. I still don’t read music very well — a lot of the time I’m still “decoding” rather than reading — and because of that, four-part writing was like bumbling around in the dark.
So in other words, one of the things that holds me back is emotional exhaustion. I become too tired to push through the shame and fear and discouragement.

Another project where I quit was my series of videos on my Youtube channel. I became frustrated with how amateurish my videos were and how the music didn’t sound good. I did learn a lot during the process — my favorite accomplishment was figuring out how to take a series of vocals, layer them, and spread them out by panning them different amounts. It sounded like you were being approached and then surrounded by an alien choir.  But while making these soundtracks and videos I did not have a good system for organizing the parts and got lost in the process. “Where did I put that again? Did I save a version of that clip without reverb?” etc.
It would be as if you were digging with the wrong end of a shovel and getting frustrated because the process was so slow. “There must be a better way, I can’t figure it out, I’m not smart enough, I quit”.

In conclusion
— bad habits — disorganization, history of giving up
— emotions — fear, shame, despair
— Irrational beliefs — “I can’t do it” “I never finish anything” “I’m not smart enough”

Finally, what can you do to overcome your obstacle? Identify one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle.

Make the following plan for yourself:

“If… (obstacle), then I will … (action or thought).”

Since I know that exhaustion and the stress of being behind can cause the whole tower of blocks to fall to the ground,
I can do my best to get ahead of myself during this winter break
I can do my best to get assignments and readings done EARLY
I can make an iron-clad rule to never stay up past midnight
Self talk: “Come on, I know you don’t want to, but if you don’t do it now, you might quit  a few weeks later on”.
…strategies to pace myself.

If I get stuck because of lack of knowledge, I can
— ask for help. This will take energy and courage — ex. getting in touch with John’s friend who is a Finale wizard.
— be patient, knowing that I will probably learn it in another course or book

— “I’m not smart enough” — Hard work can compensate for lack of smarts
Bad habits
This summer I achieved a long-term goal of losing 20 lbs. This is something I had been wanting to do, and was not able to achieve, for years. The way I succeeded was:
— I found a method that worked for me (intermittent fasting)
— I graphed my weight every day
— I kept a food diary EVERY DAY
— When I wanted to give up (felt annoyed with the habit changes) I wrote in a notebook I called the “journal of whining”.

I did these things EVERY SINGLE DAY and paid as much attention to my mental state as I did to the number of calories and the number of minutes on the elliptical.

Wow! It has been great to write about these things. I had totally forgotten about losing weight this summer. My approach then really did work and I think it could be adapted to my goals in music.


Recommended Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Software
Pro Tools
Pro Tools First (free)
Logic Pro
Ableton Live
Digital Performer
FL Studio
Studio One
Acid Pro

Free DAW Options
Garage Band
Studio One Free
Podium Free

Recommended Synthesizers
Linplug Free alpha
U-He Zebralette
Reason Subtractor
NI Massive
Live Analog
Logic ES1

Recommended Screenshot Software
Snapz Pro X (Mac, trial version available)
Snagit (Mac and Windows, trial version available)
Screenshot Captor (Windows, free)
Annotating Screenshots
Skitch (Mac, free)
Screenshot Captor (Windows, free)
Recommended Screenmovie Software
Quicktime (free)
Jing (Mac and Windows, free)
ScreenFlow (Mac, trial version available)
Camtasia (Mac and Windows, trial version available)
Snapz Pro X (Mac, trial version available)
Recommended Presentation Software