I was having a conversation with another CICAS member recently, a very talented producer, who told me about an article he’d read online. In it, the author was bragging ‘You don’t even need to know about music to make music these days’.
My friend snorted and said ‘Maybe so, but it really flipping helps’.
(I’m sure you’ve guessed the word he used wasn’t really ‘flipping’ – but I’m not going to repeat what he actually said here.)
There’s a key truth in music, and that is: whatever music you make, the fundamentals are the same. No matter what your genre or style, whether it’s trap or classical and everything in between, the fundamentals of harmony, chord progressions, tension and release stay the same. But without knowing those fundamentals you are going to seriously struggle.
That’s why you have to learn some kind of instrument to get the best out of your music. And the best one to learn, in my honest opinion, is the keys.
Keyboard skills are a necessity for any musician because the keyboard is a tool. This is not about becoming a classical pianist or the next Emeli Sandé. This is about learning your craft, and more importantly, mastering your craft. And in order to be a master at your craft, you need to understand your tools.
This concept is so important I’m going to repeat it. The keyboard is just a tool. But it’s the best tool for creating absolutely any music you want to.
Think about it. All the notes are there, arranged systematically and logically from left to right, low to high. All you need to do to make a sound is press a key –any key. All you need to do to make a chord is press a few keys at the same time. All you need to make a track is put together a few chords in an interesting order. Pick your genre – are you going for electronica, folk, dub-step? Choose synths, guitars or bass to make your chord progression shine. Voila, you have the framework of your song.
Of course, in order to do this, you have to know where the chords are, which ones go together, and how to play them on the keyboard.
But you don’t need to start taking graded exams to learn this. You just need to learn the fundamentals.
This is where the Midi Music Company’s Cre8tiv® Keys course comes in. There are few courses out there that can give you a grand sweep of harmony, melody lines and chord construction in ten weeks. And there are still fewer courses that can also teach you chord progressions and how to make a great sequence – one that people haven’t heard a million times before. The goal is to get a thorough grounding in making great music, whatever your genre. That’s what the Cre8tiv® Keys course will do for you.
How? Because once you know the fundamentals of creating great music (which, remember, don’t change much from genre to genre) you can create any music you like. Think of the keyboard as the most versatile, most useful and most important tool in your toolkit. It can literally do anything you want it to. In order to unleash its powers, you have to learn how to use it first.
I have been playing the piano for nearly 25 years. But I still took separate musicianship classes to really understand the fundamentals of great music. If I was starting again from scratch, I would want to learn these fundamentals as quickly as possible. Why? Because I’d want to get on with making the music! I wouldn’t want to let anything stand in my way – especially if there was a way to get rid of the obstacle.
Don’t be an artist who doesn’t really know their craft. That’s a waste of your time and your talent. Instead, be an artist who takes themselves seriously. Understand the most powerful tool in your musical toolkit. It’s worth it. It will unleash your music, your inspiration, and your overall creativity. Best of all, it will sound brilliant too.
To get started on your keys education, or brush up your existing knowledge join the Midi Music Company’s Cre8tiv® Keys course. The course starts on April 22nd but places are already filling up so book early to secure your spot. Pricing is £80 for a ten week term or £40 for concessions.