I’m just getting to the end of an intense period of learning about different aspects of this activity I’m so immersed in.
I enrolled for a Coursera course called Introduction to Music Production. I’d been reading about MOOCs and this opportunity popped up. What’s a MOOC? It’s a Massive Open Online Course. Many universities are offering them – some free, some paid – and they’re very definitely the pick of swinging popsters. This one was actually a Berklee course which Coursera had somehow managed to make free of charge. Six weeks in duration, each week’s topic was presented by around 15 videos – basically talking head lectures with the odd bit of software demo thrown in – followed by an assignment where you had to ‘teach’ a topic from that week in video, ppt or PDF format. You then had to assess three other course members’ assignments. There were also multiple choice quizzes after every three or four videos which you could use beforehand to set your priorities or afterwards to check your memory. That wasn’t all the action, though. There were discussion forums and a collaborative project where people submitted anything from vocal ‘ooohs’ to beats to guitar solos which the hapless tutor will stitch into a piece of music. The clarity of the explanations in the videos was superb and I learned so much. The best thing is that I’ve been using digital recording for years but never really understood why I was doing this or that, or how to use EQ or compression, or even a microphone, properly. It’s been a lot of work but a fantastic six weeks.