Producing music is something that I spend the majority of my time doing. I’m wondering if it makes sense to cut back on the amount of time I spend writing songs to learn how to play the piano. At the moment, I don’t play any instruments but I know the basics of music theory. Has anyone picked up the piano later in life and noticed a significant improvement in the songs they write?
I was in a similar position myself and decided to learn the guitar. The biggest impact this had on my music was the way in which I started coming up with musical ideas. For example, holding down a simple chord and arpeggiating it helped make my melodies more interesting almost immediately. You don’t need to master an instrument for the skills you learn to have a substantial impact on the music that you write. Overall, I think learning the piano is worth your time.
Dear Charles and Chloe.
I think learning to read music is more to the point - I mean it cuts out the need for things like ‘arpeggiators’ which are, after all, just robotically rippling shorter notes. If you use blobs-on-sticks - worked for Mozart! - you can just write all the shorter notes in place yourself and won’t be limited to the loops’n’plugins thing.
I play the piano, or used to when my disability permitted me. Getting fixated on one instrument is a LEETLE limiting because you get used to ‘hearing’ it on that instrument in your head and, if you try the same tune on a different instrument, it can suddenly sound a bit ludicrous. (Been there, got the T-shirt…) Often - been here too! - the sounds you hear in your head aren’t QUITE anything ‘real’, so you’ve got to find the nearest sound to it and go on from there.
Considering it’s computers, I’d concentrate on learning to program VSTs. I’m a fine one to talk - I’m NOT good at programming the things but that’s because I’ve got Asperger’s and can’t find anyone to teach me - us Aspies need talking through stuff. But rather than have to sift through 'undreds of presets every time you want a sound, learn to program your own at least well enough to hear what the piece might sound like - and THEN find a proper preset to match! For those?
Get Alchemy Player. It comes with an absolute TON of sounds and it’s free - I’ve got it. Another good one’s Sampletank, or if you’re 64-bit there’s Komplete Start. I wouldn’t bother with Spitfire LABS - the sounds are great, the player sucks big ones. There’s also loads of lurvely Maizeplayer VSTs with GREAT sounds on and never underestimate the 'umble soundfont - many of those are great too (only work on PCs though. Macs can’t play them for some reason.)
Hope the above helps!