1

Avid at GRAMMY Camp 2016

This summer has been an exciting one for Avid. From our presence at the Olympics in Brazil to summer festivals and concerts, and our tools being used by recording artists in studios the world over, there’s something else that we’ve been extremely proud to be a part of over the last several summers: GRAMMY Camp. For the last 12 years, GRAMMY Camp has been not so quietly holding court in cities such as Los Angeles (where the camp first started), Nashville, New York and Minneapolis.

The camp gives a select number of high school students an opportunity to spend a week eating, breathing and living the music industry. The camp has evolved over the last several years, always making sure that campers leave not only better at their chosen craft, but with a much better understanding of the inner workings of the music industry so that they can better prepare themselves for success. All of the sessions are broken into classes called “tracks” which include: songwriting, instrumental performance, electronic music production, vocal performance, audio engineering, music journalism, music business and video production/motion graphics.

My involvement with GRAMMY Camp started eight years ago, when I was asked by Avid and The GRAMMY Foundation to attend camp in Los Angeles as a faculty member, teaching the electronic music production track. Up until this moment, my only experience as a teacher came as a private piano tutor for a few students while I was in college and as an assistant to my Sensei in jiu-jitsu, teaching the young kids’ classes. This was entirely different. The idea of taking my central role at Avid, as an ambassador for music creation in Pro Tools, to a group of high schoolers, most of whom had probably never used Pro Tools before, seemed daunting. But after receiving encouragement from members of the GRAMMY Foundation as well as friends and colleagues at Avid, I accepted the challenge.

It was a no-brainer to have Pro Tools at the center of the audio engineering track, being that it’s been the industry-standard DAW worldwide. But having Pro Tools at the center of a track focused specifically on electronic music creation was sure to cause alarm because most of these campers probably didn’t realize that Pro Tools features some of the most impressive music creation and MIDI features, in addition to it being the world’s best-sounding and most-powerful DAW for recording, editing and mixing audio. Yet here we are, eight years later, and the program continues to thrive and open the eyes of some of the most talented young people the world has ever known.

This year, the residential GRAMMY Camps took place in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, New York. The Los Angeles camp took place at the USC Thornton School of Music, from June 18 through June 27, with 12 students in my track. The Brooklyn-based New York camp took place at Converse’s Rubber Tracks Recording Studio from July 31 to Aug. 8, with four students in my track there.

I had the honor and pleasure of, once again, guiding some of the world’s most talented students on their path to become stronger electronic music producers and remixers. Pro Tools continues to be at the center of that journey.  Avid provides licenses for all of the GRAMMY Camps (including the weekend one-day camps that happen at different sites all over the country). So what exactly goes into teaching young producers at GRAMMY Camp how to use Pro Tools for their music creation?

While my focus is working with these students in particular, there’s a very strong collaborative spirit between all of the tracks. Usually, my campers remix songs from more “traditional” genres, such as pop, rock and R&B, into electronic dance-floor masterpieces. They also collaborate, write and produce original pieces with vocalists and instrumentalists from other tracks. We spend the first few days diving deep into music creation in Pro Tools. We cover topics such as:

  • MIDI basics in Pro Tools
  • Real Time Properties vs. destructive MIDI properties
  • Automation (Pro Tools and MIDI)
  • Groove building
  • Editing (tips and tricks, additive and subtractive editing)
  • Working with virtual instruments in Pro Tools
  • Advanced FX techniques (side-chaining, parallel compression, etc.)
  • Time-stretch/elastic audio techniques

What I continue to find is a high rate of Pro Tools adoption by my campers. Many of them have left camp and added the software to their creation and mixing workflows at home. With so many great features being added to Pro Tools on a regular basis now, I am increasingly more excited to share these features and workflows with my campers. Avid continues to be a proud sponsor of GRAMMY Camp, helping to enable the creative spirit in young people. I, also, continue to be proud of the work we are doing to help these young campers achieve their creative potential.

 

To learn more about music creation in Pro Tools, visit our blog.

Learn more about GRAMMY Camp here.

Create. Collaborate. Be Heard.

Make your mark with Pro Tools—Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.

LEARN MORE




EDM: Powerful Editing and Arranging with Pro Tools

Master the Art of Music Creation

Welcome back to our third episode of Master the Art of Music Creation. If this is your first time joining us, please make sure you check out Episode 1 and Episode 2, so you can get caught up.

In this episode, I show some simple, but extremely powerful editing and arranging functions in Pro Tools. Editing is one of the strengths that initially drew me to Pro Tools, aside from the amazing audio quality. For me, being able to edit quickly and efficiently really maximizes my creative ability. To be honest, I consider editing and looping to be a huge part of the creative process, especially for electronic music.

Mastering the Main Editing Commands in Pro Tools

As a quick review, here are a few of the main editing commands you may want to learn before jumping into the practice session, or a session of your own. The Pro Tools Shortcuts Guide – Version 11.2 (PDF) can easily be accessed from the Pro Tools ‘Help’ menu.

Horizontal Edit Window
Zoom In and Out

Mac: Command + [ or ]
Windows: Cntrl + [ or ]
With single key command area top right of the Edit Window ‘az’ clicked:
r or t

Duplicate Clip
select the clip you’d like to duplicate (works best in grid mode)
Mac: Command + D
Windows: Control + D

Clip Loop
select the clip you’d like to loop
Mac: Option + Command + L
Windows: Ctrl + Alt + L

Clip Group
select the clips (MIDI and/or audio) you’d like to group together
Mac: Option + Command + G
Windows: Ctrl + Alt + G

Clip Ungroup
select the group that you’d like to ungroup
Mac: Option + Command + U
Windows: Ctrl + Alt + U

See the link below for a downloadable copy of the project.  I’ve arranged the session into three sections, divided by Memory Locations or Markers (hit ‘Enter’ on the numeric keypad to quickly add a Memory Location – The ‘Memory Locations’ window can be opened from the ‘Windows’ menu). Here’s what each one is.

Marker 1: all parts separated, as before. No grouping or clip looping
Marker 2: drums are grouped together and bassline and synth parts are grouped together
Marker 3: everything grouped together (if you ungroup, you’ll have 2 separate groups like marker 2)
Marker 4: everything grouped and clip looped
Marker 5: A basic arrangement featuring all editing functions

Now you have some editing and arrangement chops, download a copy of the session and do some looping, deleting, copying and pasting for yourself. Also try and add some of your own tracks and take it in your own direction. You’ll be surprised how fast you can build a really complex and exciting track.

Don’t think we’re quite finished yet. There’ so much more to cover right here on Master the Art of Music Creation. Keep coming back and with your help, we’ll build this track into a masterpiece. Till next time!

Download the Session File

It does not contain audio, this episode is MIDI only. It requires the Maschine 2.0 AAX plug-in but you can substitute any other drum plug-in including Xpand!2 and reassign the MIDI channel outputs in the red drum tracks to Xpand!2 samples.

Download the Pro Tools Session file

Pro Tools Trial

Compose, record, edit, and mix with Pro Tools today—get your 30-day free trial.

Get your free 30-day trial

Master the Art of Music Creation

Create high-quality music that stands out from the crowd—watch the video tutorial series dedicated to the success of artists, producers, and engineers.

See all episodes




EDM: Basslines, Synth Parts, and Virtual Instruments

Master the Art of Music Creation: Basslines, Synth Parts and Pro Tools Virtual Instruments

Welcome back for our second episode in the Master the Art of Music Creation series. I hope you’ve been churning away, creating some amazing drums for your tracks. In this episode, it’s time to start adding some of the musical elements to really get things moving. In this episode’s example, I illustrate some simple, but effective workflows to get basslines and synth parts going, using two of my favorite virtual instruments, which happen to be built into Pro Tools; Vacuum and Xpand!2. Of course, feel free to use whatever your favourite virtual instruments happen to be. With so many great instruments available as a 64-bit AAX plug-in, there’s no shortage of sounds.

This is a good resource for videos about the virtual instruments included with Pro Tools – Pro Tools 11 Virtual Instruments Included for Music Creation and Audio Production.

Manipulating MIDI with Real Time Properties

One of the main takeaways from this episode is not only showing how easy it is to create and manipulate MIDI clips, but the extended features in Real Time Properties available to you to help you speed up your workflow and work non-destructively. Remember, this feature is unique to Pro Tools. Being able to quickly test and try different quantization, note duration, velocity, or even transposition values on the fly, without necessarily committing them to the clip can really help speed things up. It can also free you to try different combinations you may not have tried previously. I strongly suggest playing with Real Time Properties. There’s no commitment and you never lose your original performance!

Quantization in Real Time Properties

I wanted to touch on the quantization values in Real Time Properties. Some of you are used to using swing values from other DAWs or music creation hardware. If you click on the quantize value button in Real Time Properties and look towards the bottom of the menu, you’ll see that we’ve given you some of the most common swing values from other music creation platforms such as Cubase, Logic, and even the classic Akai MPC groove swing values are there. Don’t be afraid to give them a try.

Don’t forget to download a copy of the session to experiment with.

In the third episode, we’ll use some of the easy, yet powerful editing features of Pro Tools to quickly arrange our song. I look forward to answering some of your questions in the discussion area of the blog. Thanks for all the comments. See you next time!

Download the Session File

It does not contain audio, this episode is MIDI only. It requires the Maschine 2.0 AAX plug-in but you can substitute any other drum plug-in including Xpand!2 and reassign the MIDI channel outputs in the red drum tracks to Xpand!2 samples.

Download the Pro Tools Session file

Pro Tools Trial

Compose, record, edit, and mix with Pro Tools today—get your 30-day free trial.

Get your free 30-day trial

Master the Art of Music Creation

Create high-quality music that stands out from the crowd—watch the video tutorial series dedicated to the success of artists, producers, and engineers.

See all episodes




EDM: Beats, Percussion, and Rhythms with Maschine

Master the Art of Music Creation: Electronic Dance Music (Part 1)

I hope you’ll enjoy the first episode of our new video blog series Master the Art of Music Creation that dives into one of my favorite parts of music creation for electronic dance music…the drums!

My focus here was really to start showing how easy it is to create inside Pro Tools. We all know how incredibly powerful Pro Tools is for audio recording and mixing, but since I’ve been a Pro Tools user (just shy of 10 years now), I’ve done all of my music songwriting, creating, and of course audio recording and mixing in it.

I also wanted to show the power of the AAX plug-in platform and how some of the best 3rd party developers bring their best and amazing creative plug-ins to the Pro Tools platform. In this episode’s case, Native Instruments powerful Maschine software is on display in all of its AAX glory!

MIDI Channel Assignment Workflow

One of the main things I wanted to address in this blog is the MIDI channel assignment workflow I showed in the episode. It’s the very same one I use in my actual production work. After setting up the first time, you can save a template and call it back up whenever you have need for it, without ever having to reassign channels again. In that case, you’d probably want to do the entire 16 MIDI channels, using the shortcut ALT+CMD (Mac) in Pro Tools.

Drag and Drop Patterns and Audio from Maschine into Pro Tools

However, I did want to point out that there are a couple of different ways to drag and drop patterns and audio from Maschine into Pro Tools. Here’s an alternate workflow from our friends at NI:

  • Activate “Sounds to MIDI notes” for the Group you want to export
  • Drag and Drop the MIDI pattern to an individual MIDI track in Pro Tools
  • In MASCHINE go to the “MIDI Input Channel” settings of the corresponding Group, activate it and set it to e.g. MIDI Channel 2 (see picture below)
  • Set the MIDI Output of your Pro Tools track to Channel 2, too
  • Boom!

Please note that it’s highly recommended to avoid using Channel 1 as an Input Channel because it’s the default Input Channel for selected Sounds in Maschine, so your Drumpattern will also start triggering any selected sample/instruments in MASCHINE. If your keeping to CH 2-16 that won’t become an issue.

All in all, it’s really easy once you get everything setup and going. Make sure you grab a copy of the demo session and practice up! We’ll dive into more of the music making process in our next episode. See you then!

Download the Session File

It does not contain audio, this episode is MIDI only. It requires the Maschine 2.0 AAX plug-in.

Download the Pro Tools Session file

Pro Tools Trial

Compose, record, edit, and mix with Pro Tools today—get your 30-day free trial.

Get your free 30-day trial

Master the Art of Music Creation

Create high-quality music that stands out from the crowd—watch the video tutorial series dedicated to the success of artists, producers, and engineers.

See all episodes