How to Make Music with Just Your Laptop

On Monday, Curb Scholar Griffin S. gave a presentation in the workshop space on how to make music with just a laptop. Griffin, a self-taught music producer, discussed the difference between music production and songwriting. He also taught the Scholars (and interested students) how to use the interface of several digital audio workspaces, including Ableton Live and Garage Band. Griffin explained that music theory is important to the work he does, but that one can learn chord progressions on YouTube. In other words, you can teach yourself what you need to know to make “mad beats”. Griffin showed Curb Scholars how to use the MIDI roll on Ableton Live, in addition to the drum rack and the sample library. He also let the group listen to a few songs he’d composed. Because Griffin identifies as a drummer, he often starts with the drums when composing, though other sound engineers/music producers may begin with melody. The cool thing about digital music making, Griffin told the group, is that everything is malleable. One can make a change to the music, then change it back, or reformat it. At the end of the workshop, the group composed a song together using the techniques and technologies Griffin had introduced in his presentation.