Electronic Music Educators/Spaces

#1

Are there any folks here that teach electronic or experimental music (synthesis/production/techniques/composition)? I’d love to connect with other educators - I love teaching and it’s tough to find solid resources on lesson planning and teaching and learning when it comes to electronic music/sound (I realize that’s a super broad topic).

I’ve taught private lessons (synthesis and Ableton Live) to kids and adults and now I’m doing a monthly workshop series on beginner and intermediate techniques/topics. As that gains momentum I’m hoping to open or help facilitate a space that can host workshops, performances, etc. It’s awesome seeing the work that S1 does and it would be lovely to hear about other orgs/spaces doing similar things.

So far I’ve done workshops on basic subtractive synthesis, tape loops (heavily inspired by Amulets) and within the next month I’m co-teaching about west coast synthesis and Yamaha-style FM synthesis with 2 different friends.

Usually my goal with workshops is 1 hour of lecture (brief historical context, core concepts) then 1 hour of hands on/Q&A time and it’s always a balancing act trying to get all of that in and keep it engaging.

8 Likes

#2

See thread here! Educators and Teachers thread

0 Likes

#3

Thanks! Yeah I had a look at that thread before posting and it seems to be more for educators in general (which is awesome!) but I think it would be useful to have convo specifically around electronic music pedagogy. If I’m being too pedantic though I can jump into that thread.

0 Likes

#4

Our monthly Dansk Modular meetups are always open to newcomers. We frequently have talks, workshops, open discussions or presentations. It’s mostly based around modular (duh!) but we’re not limited to just that as we’ve tackled production techniques, orchestration and arrangement, as well as other subjects.

1 Like

#5

Awesome! I like the idea of open discussions - what types of topics do you do for those? I thought it would be fun to have a modular “study group” that does Allan Strange patches or just has a topic like “sample and hold” for people to talk techniques on a regular basis.

0 Likes

#6

Back in December I taught an elective course in electronic music at a local middle school. 5 kids, 4 x 50 min. sessions a week for 3 weeks. The three weeks were divided:

  1. Musique Concrète - working with field recorders
  2. Synthesis - working with (semi) modular analog synths
  3. Production - working with groove boxes

Each session started with some listening to works, then some discussion/instruction, and then working with sound.

I’d happily do this sort of thing again - with kids of any age (incl. adults) - though finding the space and the equipment can be difficult.

3 Likes

#7

Here’s my (foul mouthed, so NSFW) workshop, which is part of a series of open discussions we did with Patch from scratch discussions during Strom festival in Copenhagen : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIfgR-jrV_Q

We have a different subject with each monthly session. You can check our program and get some ideas here : http://danskmodular.dk/

Next one is “Layout of a modular system” for those people who can’t find a solution to how to organize their system. It was requested by members. There will also be a short presentation on Impedance and how it affects a modular system.

I like your study group idea based on Alan Strange patches. We have exercises called Common Sound design, where one guy sets a task that we have to try to do. Then we discuss each other’s way of working towards it. It’s fun!

1 Like

#8

I teach music tech classes at NYU and Montclair State University, which cover a range of audio recording and electronic music techniques. I mostly work at the intro level, but sometimes get to teach an advanced electronic music composition class. I collect all of my assignments and resources here, please feel free to use whatever you’d like: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11bp8JupZ5FkK60W-mhXSfdr78fxpHLlU-tzVWONtrqg/edit?usp=sharing

8 Likes

#9

That’s awesome you host these for adults!

I teach a bit of electronic music at the high school level. I teach a two-year theory and history class (IB Music), and we touch upon musique concréte and synthesizers very briefly.

I also teach a one-semester long Music Production class. I emphasize songs with beats and chords because that’s what most kids like, but I slip in some working with found sounds and processing samples (backwards, twice as slow, twice as fast). I am generally DAW agnostic, except Garageband gets too limited too quickly.

I dream of starting a Controllerism/laptop ensemble at the school, if I only had enough time and adventurous students.

2 Likes

#10

There is a group called Hysasynth House in Nashville (where I live) that works in education for electronic music. They are specifically dedicated to educating and creating a safe environment for female and non-binary musicians. Their workshops are occasionally lead by men but generally the meet ups and workshops are dedicated for women, non-binary and transgender people.

Its a pretty cool group! I’ve seen the members of the groups perform at shows on several occasions but I am a cis-man so I have not attended any of the meetings.

1 Like

#11

I wish there was a category of acceptable humans including cool cis men… but I definitely get the need for spaces where even cool guys aren’t…

Maybe some day…

0 Likes

#12

Awesome. I like the flow of listening, learning then playing. I’m hoping to do a workshop on field recording in May to get people thinking about natural sounds then have everyone go out and record at a nearby park. If you have any advice on that one lmk!

Yeah logistics are tough - I rely a lot on the generosity of spaces in my community and I’d be sunk without them.

0 Likes

#13

Whoah thanks for the resource list! I’ll definitely be digging through this for inspiration.

0 Likes

#14

That sounds great! Must be really interesting to see how different people approach each task.

It’s funny how musique concréte is such an experimental form that can also be accessible to beginners. I used to love re-pitching recordings as a kid, years before I even knew about electronic music. Also I was giving private lessons to some kiddos last year and we did a field recording walk with their dad. One of the girls managed to record the sound of a bee in their garden and she was so stoked!

Awesome, I hadn’t heard of this one before, thanks for putting them on my radar! In Minneapolis we have Beats By Girlz - they teach production, DJing and sound design to WTF/NB folks.

I understand where you’re coming from but spaces like this are critical until we can dismantle lots of underlying inequities (in music tech and elsewhere!) The more people that are able to approach this stuff, the more we all get enriched as there’s a bigger variety of performers, teachers, and fans in the public sphere.

2 Likes

#15

For a few years I have been running workshops from my library in modular synths, pcb design, and a monthly electronic music meetup. We are aiming to begin a new meetup similar to what casualdecay described, specifically for women/lgbtqa folks. Happy to share my experience if you have any questions!

2 Likes

#16

No doubt, we need a major reset… not critical, just aspirational…

3 Likes

#17

I’m teach some of this in my intro sound course (college sophomores) but save the heavier stuff for a extra circular project called Synth Club. its a small group and mostly provides a space to experiment. hopefully more structured in the future but we’ll get there when its needed.

0 Likes

#18

Awesome! One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how to make things more interactive - I feel like the lecture format is good for sharing lots of info but it puts people in “classroom mode” where it’s harder to get folks to come up at various points and get their hands on the material. If I’m doing a beginner class I often teach a concept, have someone patch it and move on to the next concept but as topics get more advanced it’s hard to get people to do that. If you’ve got any ideas on this (or other formats that have worked well for you) I’d love to get some insight.

Also if anyone’s interested in seeing them - here are the slides from a presentation I gave with a friend on west coast synthesis at a local synth shop yesterday:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WOxD8gjt7hinoPUSkUZ2nkRbDHx79nVE

1 Like

#19

i’m an ableton live certified trainer since almost ten years now, i’m teaching in two schools in milano, italy.
one is more dance music\dj-producer oriented (there i teach sound theory, electronic music production with ableton live and sound design) the other more generic but with an orientation towards audiovisual (there i teach sound design, based on ableton live too)
i also do private lessons and consulting.
i have a nice community project in mind since a couple years now, focusing on a more experimental approach and knowledge sharing, without a fully frontal teacher-student approach.
but i need to find the right partners to start it. more of a study group than a school project.

1 Like

#20

What I did was have them get audio recorders on their phones / tablets…(*) show them how to use it… .then send them out. In my case they did one bout of recording during class time - and another as homework.

The other homework (but could be done in a workshop) was to have them go back and listen to their own recordings and select one or two (or three) sounds that really caught their attention as sounds (i.e., trying to get them to listen, and ignore things like the emotion of words being spoken, or the semantics of a car horn).

I then chopped these selected sounds all out - and we arranged them (in Ableton) to make a quick track.


(*) I reccomend Lexis Audio Editor - it is available on both iOS and Android - is free, no ads, and has a waveform touch interface.

2 Likes