Instruments vs. Electronic vs. Learning vs. Producing in digital age

There is a huge ongoing battle concerning the methods of learning to produce music.  I've seen it in the forums and it's very prevalent on YouTube. The argument is about the benefits of learning music on a guitar, piano, flute, drum set, etc (anything in the physical world where you are reading music and playing an actual instrument) vs. the new method of learning music mostly with a computer. The computer has virtual instruments inside of it, as well as a piano, so you are able to make electronic music easily while including the aforementioned Virtual flutes, pianos, drums, strings, and as many synths as you want. I think as long as you are able to blend notes, sounds, rhythms, and harmonics, the method of producing doesn't benefit one or the other, and there are many ways to get to a final good mix. It seems like the older generation or people that actually learned a "real" instrument have beef with the teenagers and D.J.'s on YouTube that are merely "pushing buttons" on an MPC, drum machine, ableton controller, or using any DAW without "learning music" the proper way. And within that statement lies my beef. There is no "proper" way to learn music. Every journey will be different and the way in which you learn will be different. I did learn the piano by ear as well as the drums, and now I mostly use FL Studio and Reason on my computer to produce music. I don't read music all too well. I just use my ears and blend the notes and textures as I see fit. While it's nice to strum or play a real instrument, the sound is still heard and the inspiration is still there. As far as live playing, yes, there is a certain magic that happens as a band comes together or while jamming on open mic night. I do see the purity of music in that regard. That is the human aspect coming into play. I have made hundreds of hip hop beats while sitting alone with a computer and headphones. It simply isn't in the same ballpark as jamming with other musicians. As far as sequencing, I can play a live drum set and I have also programmed hundreds of beats in FL Studio by using the step sequencer and clicking with my mouse. With FL Studio, I can actually do more complex patterns and pick from thousands of .WAV samples to fill in my kicks, hi hats, snares, and all percussion. In the electronic world, I add my own baselines, pick out my own instruments, and mix the entire song on the computer. As long as you can ignore some of the digital and robotic aspects of using a computer to program and sequence drum sounds, the inspiration is still there. This is why when I actually burn a song onto a C.D. and play the finished song in my car, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world. That's why I believe it is not important how you "learn" music. As long as you understand the underlying principles, a new age digital producer learning on an MPC or pads and triggers of some sort isn't any less worthy than a guitar player. It doesn't really matter if you can read music, and this fact has been proven for a while now. What matters is the final result and how it makes you feel. The computer is the vessel to get to the final moment of a finished song. Music is an art of expression. I think anyone on YouTube is a musician no matter how they learned. Now, if they never ever pick up an instrument, yes that is bad! But there is no side that is "evil." Perhaps it's best to have a nice balance of both worlds. Learn the real instruments and learn the digital computers as well. Then you can mix both of them regardless. Every single computer program has the ability to record outside audio. This means you can record your guitar, drums, vocals, or any instrument you want, and have other sounds be electronic if you desire.

Leave a comment

Add comment