For my STEP project, I purchased a laptop and music production equipment. Using these tools, I began exploring the world of music production learning mostly from the internet and listening to various genres of music.
During this experience, I noticed an ongoing growth musically. I started off with limited knowledge of the FL Studio software and music theory in general. My original music reflected this lack of knowledge. However, as I began to practice, watch more videos, and listen to better producers, I began to grow as an artist. I noticed that my ear has become more musically inclined. By that I mean, I am able to hear the different layers in songs as well as the different instruments used in them. I have been able to apply this knowledge to my production and create more depth in my music. I also noticed personal changes. I am better able to understand how I learn and the capacity that I have to learn. Visual and audial exposure as well as practice and application were the most successful methods for learning. Making music takes patience, problem solving skills, and dedication. These skills that I further developed over the summer have transferred over to my schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
Road to Transformation:
I started from scratch in my project. I knew a little bit about an earlier version of the software, but most of that knowledge did not apply to the updated version that I purchased. So, I took to google and Youtube to find out more about music theory and FL Studio itself. For the first few weeks, I would just watch videos with the FL Studio screen open and practiced while being instructed. This process changed my goal for the project. My goal became to learn the software as much as possible over the course of 2015. To mark the progress of this goal, I have been making a beat every month. It has gotten more complicated to do this since classes have started, I am an RA, and with involvement on campus. However; the dedication and patience that applied over the summer have carried over to the school year and I will continue to make time to grow musically.
I have also been able to grow through support from my interactions. Family members and friends have reviewed my music since the beginning stages and provided constructive criticism, tips, and even templates for practice. In addition to this, I have been interacting with other musicians through social media and Soundcloud. Listening to these musicians and providing feedback for them helped me to see the things that needed to be touched up in my own work. Hearing the different aspects of different music genres enabled me to expand the applications of my music. Music doesn’t have to be restricted to a specific style and knowing this has allowed me to reach “outside the box” and create music that reflects my own personal style instead of fitting into a mold. This is important for my music because I really want to make Christian/gospel music. Most of the time, people stick to an old-school, churchy sound. I would like to expand the reach of gospel music to a larger audience and finding my voice in music this summer has been a major step toward doing so.
A major roadblock that I had to overcome is frustration. Learning something new requires patience. When I didn’t see progress as quickly as I wanted or a song doesn’t sound as good as a professionals, it was easy to feel defeated. However, after talking with a few friends who have been doing production for years, I realized that I wouldn’t be a master in three months. I felt freedom in knowing that. So, instead of focusing on getting to everyone else’s level, I decided to work on my own personal growth. This way, I was able to learn more and enjoy my learning experience. I was able to look at the little things that I had improved instead of beating myself up over perfection. Overcoming frustration gave me the confidence to continue my project and become a better artist and more patient person.
I experienced a lot of personal growth through this project. I have become more patient, resilient, and enhanced skills that are applicable to my major and career goals including problem solving, project development, and adaptability. These skills will be important for being a medical doctor and thriving as a biological engineering major. My main goal for this project was to create a 5 song EP to release next summer. However, a secondary goal developed over the summer. That goal was to learn the basics of the FL Studio software. That goal was tracked by producing songs over time to reflect my growth over the few months I had. Overall, I’d say I successfully learned the basics, developed my voice as an artist, and developed skills that will contribute to my success creatively as well as professionally in the future.