What about musical education?

I have no musical education. I learned to read notes by myself, but stopped doing it because it bored me. So I started playing by ear. I also compose music by ear on a MIDI-keyboard. After that I sample it in a sequencer called FL Studio which is probably the most underrated program in the world. I wish to have another great program called Reason which is maybe the best software studio on the market, but since I am guy who has to work hard for his money I have to wait a bit till I can afford the required 500 €. As I said in the beginning I'm not musical educated at all, I have no idea of writing sheet music with a pencil. Is it even necessary as a composer? Vangelis cannot read sheet music and just uses programs to compose. There are many other professionals like him. I think that music lessons and musical theory don't make a good composer. You can analyze the works of others better, but does it improve your talent too?

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  • I don't think learning theory and technique literally increases talent - that's more of an innate thing. It does offer an understanding of the intricate mechanism of music, and why something sounds the way it does, which is interesting in itself (at least to me). I think its just another way some composers gain inspiration, the same way some draw influence and ideas from books, pictures, or listening to other people's music. Knowing exactly how your favourite composer created a certain sound or phrase could come in useful when you're trying to create a similar experience.
    • But it all depends on what medium you are working around.

      Let me explain you something. It's not possible for everyone to write music in a software studio. First of all you need to have an idea. I couldn't compose anything if I wouldn't have played it on my keyboard before. You can't compose in the program. You need to play an instrument first. Then I produce own sounds with my synthesizer which is not easy either.

      Any criticism is much appreciated. Could I know what tracks have these high frequency issues?
  • Somebody needs to make the distinction between informal and formal musical education. The great guitarist Segovia had no formal education, because there were no teachers to teach him the classical guitar, so he informally taught himself.

    However, it is just possible that his self tuition was far more rigorous and intensive than a student who does gets a 2:2 in Music at a Uni and spends most of his time in the student union bar.

    Similarly, the Beatles learned their craft performing for hours on end in Germany, perfecting their craft as live artists. When they returned to England, their ensemble skills made them the most sought-after Liverpool band.

    What I'm saying is that, given the right circumstances, and informal self-education can outweigh a formal music degree many times only.
  • Maybe I've been misunderstood. I don't condemn musical education in any way. The contrary is the case. I admire composers like Hans Zimmer, John Williams, James Newton Howard and Howard Shore for their work.
    I myself am a self-taught piano player. I learned reading sheet music as above said, but I can't write it. I am just one of these so-called desktop musicians. Despite my little ressources I try to get the best out of it.

    But honestly, I think producers of today think economically. Would they take the composer working with Cubase and a keyboard or the one needing a full orchestra? And believe me you won't hear the difference. It's amazing what software technology can do. This is not sarcastically meant.
  • I thought you were a model student !

    I can honestly say that a lot of my degree was fairly padded out. I've learned so much more since, and to me education is for life, not just a few years of reluctant cramming.

    Many people behave like robots - study for so many years, and then it's a race to make as much money as possible, and then spend it. Bigger car, bigger house, etc.

    I've always just ambled along at my own pace, never rich, but busily acquiring bits of useless knowledge along the way.
  • Ok, I'm just very unexperienced with professional music. I suppose we're talking about two different worlds. Certainly the world of the big orchestra is the most difficult and not the one I want to be a part of. My musical "career" has started to late to learn about correct musical theory. I have a basic imagination about how a track has to be made up, but I would take any advice I'd get.

    I'm mostly into Ambient and New Age music like the pieces by Vangelis, Mike Oldfield and other electronic musicians.
  • Its difficult to explain how helpful my music education has been at my college. I entered college as a guitar player and was stunned when I found out I had to sight sing notes off a piece of paper in pitch in solfege while conducting the rhythm. My ears were so bad I've had to take Aural Theory 1 3 times but the benefit has been amazing for me.

    I thought it was dumb to be able to do those things because I wasn't a singer. But the reality is, I don't have to be near a piano or guitar to compose music. We also had to count really complex music that we had never seen before and conduct it.

    This has helped my guitar playing so much, I can play really complex music now because I count.

    The written theory has been amazing for me as well.. Originally I thought theory was dumb because I want to write what I want and not what some text-book says is good. But because of the 4 written theory classes I have taken.. I have so many options, I can modulate to different keys easily, I can use secondary dominants, Neapoitan 6th chords, secondary leading tones, italian, german, augmented 6th chords and I can use voice leading rules that will ensure MY ideas sound as good as possible.

    Sure the Beatles were great but I think talented people like that would have been even more amazing if they had achieved a music degree.
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