Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.
Sometimes the solution is obvious. Maybe the student has a clear goal in mind, and they just don’t know how to get there. Maybe they wanted to make a bumping club track, and the beats are weak — beginner producers usually don’t know how to layer or mix drums. A lot of the time, there are some good ideas but they’re strung together without any particular structure. That’s understandable; structure is hard! Or maybe there was a misguided attempt at “realism.” Every semester, someone takes a piece they composed or arranged and outputs audio straight from their notation software. The result consistently sounds like garbage. I want them to think of the sound coming out of the speakers as the “real” music, not a placeholder for an eventual performance by humans — nothing against live performance, but my class is about making music in the box. Rather than settling for terrible fake strings or brass, we try to figure out what software instruments might sound unapologetically cool.
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