1. Didja accidentally blow through the whole, "We're using our real names" thing on registration? No problem, just send me (Mike) a Conversation message and I'll get you sorted, by which I mean hammered-into-obedient-line because I'm SO about having a lot of individuality-destroying, oppressive shit all over my forum.
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Topic Requests

Discussion in 'Info, Requests, etc.' started by Mike Verta, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. I would love a class covering Danny Elfman. He was the first movie composer who got me interested in orchestral composition. I love his style.
    A Hans Zimmer class just because it would be entertaining to have you rant a bit more than usual. Also because his own masterclass was a bit of a rip-off since he did not talk about his own inspiration/idols. I would love to have his music dissected in the same way you did with John Williams.
    Eduardo Lopez likes this.
  2. Would love Elfman too. Not sure what the point of Zimmer would be though, honestly, considering the mandate of this forum and most of its members is to get back to and improve composition basics. It's the antithesis of modern film scoring.
  3. A masterclass on pop/rock music would be cool. especially a decade like the 80's or something that had a lot of chords, synths, and hooks.
  4. Yessss!! Danny Elfman Masterclass! Please.... Batman, Edward, Nightmare, Men in Black, Sleepy Hollow, Spider Man!
  5. A Bruce Broughton would be nice too! Would love if you included the Heart of Darkness Score, damm that´s a good one!

    Not sure if many folks around here might be interested! :)
  6. I saw it mentioned before, but it would be very cool to have a class focused on big band writing! It would be a very nice continuation of the All that Jazz class and you had first-hand experience on it!

    Big band writing is something I don't fully understand, especially because I never really write for sax, so it would be great to watch a masterclass about it. Maybe with guidance on what to transcribe, listening to specific pieces and describing the orchestration choices, etc.


    On another note, do you think there will be another Unleashed class coming? :D
    David Healey likes this.
  7. Not sure if this has been mentioned but I'd like a class focusing on writing for small ensembles, like quartets, woodwind choirs, etc. +1 for big band too
  8. I’d love to see a Masterclass on Harmony. Going from a Triad to 4 part harmony.
  9. Check the Jazz class, it covers the extensions well.
  10. Ok Great! Thanks!
  11. What about a class that talks about the work of Alan Menken? He's a living legend. The only person on Earth to score 8 Oscars! I want you Mike to break down his melodies and how he represented the characters in an unforgettable musical way.
  12. Mike, you mentioned not really having ideas for classes (aside from a melodic one), other than classes on specific composers. I'd actually love to see more of that. Academia usually treats classical composers in a particular manner, but I'd love a class on Ravel, Rachmaninoff, etc taught in your format.
  13. I second this! Plus, those scores are easy to access than most film scores so the study materials would be abundant
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  14. Mike, another great idea for a class is one about what it is the real epic... in which you analyze soundtracks like Conan the barbarian (B. Poleidouris), The ten commandments (Elmer Bernstein), Ben Hur / King of Kings (M. Rozsa), The ecstacy of gold (E. Morricone), and why not also The Therminator (B. Fiedel)
  15. With each passing day I'm more of the opinion that if I do any more Masterclasses, they're going to be purely focused on the why and not the what. The "what" - the devices, the particular chords, etc. - it's just not where the community's challenges lie. They're challenges, sure, but infinitely easier to learn. I can teach you vocabulary, but really we need to be focused on what we're saying in the first place. The problem is that it's very close to the realm of things that can't be taught - maybe inseparable from the intelligence, life-experience, and personal make-up of the person. And if this is the case, then the angle becomes as much about "how to be a composer person," than as ways to realize ideas musically. The truth is that if you have something interesting to say, the "how do I say it" isn't really that hard.

    Still thinking.
  16. I think that classes like Unleashed and transcription challenges are extremely valuable and provide a type of feedback that is rare in other communities/environments. So maybe it would be interesting to maybe have more interactive classes like that, since this kind of direct feedback was incredibly important for me throughout the recent years. It is indeed all about transcribing and writing music, but a huge part of what made me improve a lot was the fact that I felt like I was actively being one of your students. The fact that new masterclasses would come out from time to time, and the fact that I would receive direct feedback from the Unleashed classes (or by posting here) gave me a big motivation to write more and more.

    I do get that the "what" is not too terribly important compared to the "why", but I reckon that pointing at devices and orchestration techniques implicitly guide us on understanding the "why" better. Every orchestration you ever taught was never truly explained out of context (e.g. "for the X movie scene I orchestrated this passage with this Y arrangement, because the scene needed [...], and at this point of the movie we heard the motif this many times [...]"). It's like learning by example: to truly understand what a concept really implies, you might need to see 10 different examples; at some point you organize the pieces together and you learn the underlining principles, in a much stronger way than learning a definition of such concept. All this to say that every class was very useful, even if it was looking at the same concept through different examples.

    As you said, teaching us to say "interesting things" is almost unteachable; however, if you show us a thousand interest ideas (or point us to them, given your experience on the subject) we have more and more ways to get there ourselves.
    Moreover, on top of the crazy educational value, your classes are insanely entertaining, and they made me a better composer by orders of magnitude! (Still not a good one, but the progress was truly insane :D )

    I hope this post makes sense, I drank way too many beers tonight!
  17. Actually your point about things maybe being unteachable, but not un-showable is the big one - that's the best argument I can think of anyway. It's a subset of the "we get like the people we're with," concept, and it really can, in turn, teach the unteachable. This fact is why I haven't given up on the classes altogether. But with everything, I really need to believe in what I'm doing or else I won't do it properly. So I'm still mulling things over. We'll do another Unleashed soon; perhaps that'll grease some wheels.
  18. Your classes have changed the way I see, hear and understand music. It's opened my mind to so much more and I sincerely hope you continue with your classes. For me, having seen and heard someone do what I thought was beyond me has inspired me to no end. I feel like I've learned more about music in the last 6 months than I have since I was a kid. I sincerely hope more musicians find these videos and this forum.
  19. @Mike Verta I think that you have already done so much for us and covered all necessary things to be a good composer; next step is up to us, because with all of your teachings now we have the responsibility to do the rest and write good music.
    My suggestion about “the real epic” class was only an idea, because in reality I don’t need it too much (I have to still buy and study Impressions, Here’s Johnny, All that jazz, and some other interesting classes).

    The most important things I’ve learned from you is how to develop (in particularly thanks to your example of different ways of harmonizing Twinkle twinkle; observing your playing and you development of pieces in Unleashed classes; and also studying The mod squad and Composition 2, super helpful and dense of these development skills which I really needed.
    Then I’ve also studied Orchestration 2 (and I have to finish Orch. 3) and the basics of film scoring (Scoring 1 and How to score film in 7 days) which opened my mind to things which I didn’t even think existed.
    I am so grateful to you for this, especially for the price, accessible also to people like me (not very rich).
    I really don’t know where I can find other classes like this, at this price and teached by a person sincere like you and who appreciate the same music I love (those with melodies, good melodies).

    So I’m ok with the way you taught so far, because you exposed things in several different ways, and examples, and playing… Who can request more than this?? You did a very very good job!!

    Thank you, thank you very much!! Keep going like this. :)

    P.S. About the “if you have something interesting to say” I think this doesn’t depend on you but on our personalities and also what music do we like and listen and how we listen to it, and how do we internalize that music. (Me for example I go on youtube and listen to a track and use “left arrow” for going back and listen dozens times passages for hearing better and understanding which note and instruments played) and I have thousand bookmarks saved in folders on the browser and I do comparisons etc. (I can listen(study) to the same song for an entire month if I feel I need to understand it better, and in the meantime I also listen something else). This for music films, cartoons, pop/rock songs etc. and I also play several instruments now and I have written songs since I was 17.
    As you can see these are things you cannot teach, but only reguires hard work and time, effort, sacrifices and a lot of passion for music.
    I did all this in the last 5-7 years myself (I already knew chords, pop songs and played 2 instruments).
    Then with your classes I learned the WHAT (devices, some new chords, development, orchestration, film scoring) which was difficult for me because I didn’t know it a lot…

    So if you now feel that your classes needs also to be about the WHY, I think it’s ok for all of us, because if one needs to learn the WHAT there are all of your classes so far. ;)
    Do what you feel, and thank you as always!!
    Mike Verta likes this.
  20. #100 Rohann van Rensburg, Dec 18, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
    The "why" is by far the most valuable thing I've learned from your teaching. The "what" has come through practice (especially well-facilitated through challenges here), listening to and really trying to internalize the "great music", and spending way more time transcribing. Basic tips like "notate, don't just write into a DAW", "write a piece on two-handed piano first", etc have been the most useful practical takeaway tips. I think you've covered all the "what" already. Your intro Comp classes are immensely useful, as are the orchestration classes. Your classes on composers are interesting in how they break down their approach and display the commonality between how all the greats work (which reinforces the "why"). Your Template Balancing class demonstrates how to solve technical issues and comes as close to "engineering" as probably most of us need for basic mockups, and your Virtuosity class and YouTube videos covers the performance aspect of mockups, which are by far the most important part of VI work. Structure was especially insightful, but this, to me anyway, sits with one foot firmly planted in either camp.

    But the "why" -- why one needs to master basics and what those are, why just about every piece of interesting music has a particular sense of movement and transition between consonance and dissonance, why music needs contrast, a blend of meeting and breaking expectation, etc, and especially how good music is the same as a good novel/film/TV show/play/photo/any other medium embedded with narrative. It's something I saw commonality in before, but the reinforcement of this basic principle has led me to better understand the conceptual underpinnings of every form of artwork, and instantly made understanding i.e. photography, cinematography, game design, etc easier. It's also helped me understand why I love the artists I do and don't really enjoy some others that are similar, and especially helped me understand that the more obscure music I've gravitated towards still has these basic underlying principles present in one way or another, even if they appear to break them. This has frankly been life-changing Mike, and I'm not sure how to thank you for that. It will likely take time for me to fully internalize it and see it flowing through my music naturally, but it's in there. If more people could apply this understanding in their work earlier on we'd probably have less painful Unleashed videos (easy for me to say as I haven't submitted yet, but I do wonder each year why people submit "bwaaaahm" trailer songs to you).
    George Streicher likes this.

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