So what should we study ???

Posted: January 2, 2011 in General

well you don’t have a lot of choices, you only have counterpoint, orchestration, digital and analog theories, scales and chords theories, arranging, harmony and melody techniques, bass techniques, new school techniques…. ok, ok, so you do have a lot of choices, but don’t worry, I am going to share with you a lot of concepts here on my blog + I will try my best to direct you to the best possible books to take you to advanced and challenging level.

ok,  lets take the average dude.

1. basic music theory can teach the fundamentals and teach how to think like a musician.

that includes : notes, basic rhythms, chords, scales, basic blues and other basic styles, basic progressions, and maybe some more simple subjects.

one great basic theory can be learned at :

2. trying what have been learned, because actually if you learned something and never used it, it’s like you didn’t learn it.

YES! if you learned something and never used it, it’s like you didn’t learn it!

3. advanced harmony and melody will be a great place to continue after building a good fundamental.

that include :  modulations, substitution, advanced chord progressions, advanced melody techniques, there are some more subjects in the books I will recommend.

4. advanced rhythm.

rhythm, meter, styles, counting, rhythmic illusions.

5. bass part writing both basic and advanced.

styles, thinking like a bass player, feeling time, sub frequencies.

this is a subject you will have to try more than others, there are many books, I will show only one here, but look for similar books.

6. groove – groove is the feel of the rhythm for me, the little nuances, and micro details, very fun to experiment.

groove is only one subject and you mix it with the advanced rhythm section, but, if you will add it later as an individual technique, learning groove will open far more doors for your creativity, and a new world of rhythmic options will come to your mind as a result, as I said this is individual, if you want you can learn it with the advanced rhythm section.

try to sit with a drummer and a bassist and you will be on your way to a great groove, books are not going to be so helpful here, youtube can help too.

7. counterpoint.

the ability to write voices, and the write ones, is for me the amazing subject here, because after I started learning counterpoint, music seems a little easier and more fun, it seems different in a way that makes me feel more professional, with this subject you are really starting to get into the big players ball park, it is an eye opener for many musician that never touched this subject before.

it is a very tough subject to learn, and very rewarding.

this is the best book by far, no other book go into specifics like this one, there are other books but they are more basics.

8. orchestration – this the art of mixing sounds together to achieve the desired effect.

first I would suggest hearing classical music, and then soundtracks and try to listen to the best ones, the ones you love the best, because in movies emotions are floating and it is easier to feel and understand them, so movies are great for learning orchestration.

also try some pop classics and rock and world music or whatever music you like to see the differences that the style reflect on the used sounds or vice versa.

many books on orchestration, one of them is this :

9. arrangement  – who will play first ? which part ? how many instruments ? who will be in the background ? all these and more are what we deal in arrangement.

this is a art which you learn mostly by listening to other productions, each styles have different tricks and you should try and capture those differences,

one way of looking at arrangement is to think of it like telling a story, you arrange the instruments in such a way that it will still be interesting and fun,

taking care of a good introduction, middle, and end of the creation which will support the lyrics or contradict it if that’s what you want.

try learn arrangements less from books, and more from listening to arrangements of other composers, even “hit me baby one more time” by britney spears have some great lessons in it,

just open you ear listen and feel how the different instruments getting in and out of the song in a wonderful way that make impact on the listeners.

I have to stop here because actually there is no end to studying, never has been and never will be, the more you learn (the right way) the better you become.

so for now this should be a great point for you to take a new direction with your music, and to plan what you are going to develop and discover in the near future.

if you have any question or any subject which you need more explanation about, please let me know, and I will be glad to answer.

  1. Davor says:


    Thanks so much for the info you post on your blog!

    I can say I’m still a beginner in music production, although in the past 6 months I’ve learned a lot of the basic stuff!

    So I decided I should really approach my development seriously by investing heavily in learning.

    I simply love music and learning about making music is so rewarding for me.

    Unfortunately, there’s so much information on the net scattered around that it was really hard for me to choose where to learn from.

    So I’m glad I have found your blog and I’ll buy the books you recommend.

    Thank you! 🙂


    PS: Is it ok to post some questions I have – like “I’d like to learn this and that, where’s the best place/book to look for information?”

    • warrior545 says:

      you are always welcome here Davor.

      I noticed that you wrote : “I’ll buy the books you recommend.”

      one advise I would like to give you is to try and focus on one subject.

      learning a number of subjects together or jumping from one to another is very inefficient,
      and can even damage your ability to learn properly.

      learn one subject only, and when you finish learning that subject pick a new subject and start learning it.

      one more reason not to learn number of subjects together is that these subjects in the article are complex and already include number of subjects inside,
      so mixing them will confuse you.

      focus focus focus, an let your curiosity grow, because curiosity most of the time means that you love what you are doing and you want more,
      there will be more… each piece of knowledge in its time.

      good luck.

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