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Don't Make A Typical McDonald's Happy Meal (Think Food Network)

May 02, 2011

 

*New remix contest check it out here: Daft Punk Elec'tron'ic Remix*

 

     What a pleasure it was being able to speak about the behind the scenes of music production to these youngsters (I feel like I should be on a rocking chair with a piece of wheat grass in my mouth when I say that word). It was my first clinic I gave, it was part explanation and a mostly hands on approach. That’s how I work, by hands on. When first arrived to give the clinic I had my:

  • Guitar
  • Amp
  • Loop Pedal
  • Effects Pedal
  • Microphone
  • Djembe
  • Darbuka
  • Shakers

     You could just see their faces, wait a minute I thought this was a class to get us to work, I THOUGHT it was going to be boring and now there’s all of these instruments how is this going to help me get a job? Ok fine! I’ll listen but I’m going to stay here, in the back of the room.

     And within minutes they were all sitting next to each other inching closer and closer to be a part of the interactive class. I explained that a song doesn’t just conceive in its entirety, there are layers. In production, you have the “meat” of the sandwich that’s the song idea. Now what toppings are you going to put on the sandwich to make it yours and not make a typical McDonald’s happy meal? You’d rather have a burger from an awesome chef being featured on the Food Network, right? Good, let’s move on. Most songs have bass, what bass sound are you going to choose, how is it going to be played? I showed them that it’s all about leaving room for all of the other instruments and for all of it to compliment each other. “You have to be the pilot when you’re a producer, being able to see things from a bird’s eye view” I explained. That’s the art in production, foreseeing the instrumentation before it’s made so you know exactly how to place it in the mix.

     After my introduction it was hands on time where I played a guitar riff played through my loop pedal then one after another each kid participated in his own way. Whether it was beat boxing some drums or a bass line or a freestyle rap or singing everyone got to be a part of producing something live. They worked together to compliment the song. It was beautiful art being made & enjoyed on the spot. The kids got to see if they listen to music in layers they could add their own ingredients and let the other toppings from other people make theirs sound so much better. My guitar riff was nothing without their bumpin’ bass line or flowing drums created by beat boxing. I can’t wait to do this more.

      “As a result of the introduction you provided to our 16+ vocational group, they were able to be more open and aware of how to listen to music differently and appreciate the work and effort behind each song … They specially enjoyed interacting with you and the instruments”

      An excerpt of the thank you letter from Grace the occupational therapist that was part of the class. Thank you, Elizabeth & Grace.

-MS

 

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