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Home / learn to make music

Music Turn Up: Point Blank Music School LA’s Open House

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Last Saturday, we gawked at Kate Ellwanger (artist name Dot) as she fluidly covered workflow techniques—while creating a killer track—within music program Ableton Live. We then witnessed Joe Computo discuss the basics of that same program along with intricate details of audio and MIDI FX while showing practical examples of how to incorporate those FX within one’s own original music. Both went over tips, efficiency, insider tricks and examples of how to use these programs with one ultimate goal as the session’s high note: exactly what you’ll be learning, writing, applying and producing when you attend Point Blank Music School LA at Mack Sennett Studios.

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This was unlike any other open house we’d been to; a studio flooded with eager Angelenos ranging from Millennials to Middle Aged peeps presented the ultimate chance to not only see the studio, but to gain perspective on what the Point Blank LA classroom would be like. With two gigantic screens literally projecting the Ableton Live program, and the instructors owning the room behind their decks—not desks—the ultimate interaction with instructors was met by every single person’s eagerness to watch, learn and ask questions about what producing with Ableton Live is all about.

We caught some words with Kate—after her session, we proclaim her as a bad ass—and rapped with her about what she thinks this whole music lesson comes down to when getting your feet wet and starting a musical journey: “It’s human nature to be self critical. When you are first getting started, it’s important to shut the analytical part off, get creative, free your mind and be open without overthinking things. Writing, going back and editing, maybe swapping out sounds; do that later on. Make the most of one little idea first.” On workflow she adds, “Optimal workflow is subjective—find out what works for you. Practice, time, putting in hours and synthesizing your own methods is key. See what makes the most sense to you. Experiment.” 

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It’s easy enough for us to tout the best tracks throughout our channels, have DJs and Producers create exclusive playlists on our site in conjunction with their next gig or festival, or have our audience listen up to the latest surprise drop of the week. But to actually be the one who makes the music we love—to write, arrange, produce and go through many other factors and steps that lie within creating one song—is a process that combines focus, patience, playfulness, creativity and dedication. Not to mention falling into a whole new world of plugins and apps while discovering detailed elements that make up the making of say, one song. Mind. Blown.

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As we wrapped up we asked Point Blank LA’s Course Advisor, Hart Thorson, about what potential students should expect this fall. “Point Blank LA’s new term begins Monday September 28th. The Music Production and Sound Design Certificate is our most comprehensive program that we offer at the school. This program covers everything from writing music, learning arrangement, producing within Ableton Live, sound design, mixing, and performance techniques. Each student will get hands-on experience with Ableton Live, Native Instruments’ Komplete and Maschine and Ableton Push.” In October, the school hosts an all-modular synth workshop hosted by PBLA instructors Joe Computo and Victor Carillo. And considering they’ve thrown down workshops with speakers like Laura Escude (Kanye and Jay Z’s live producer) and Mark de Clive-Lowe, there’s no doubt that other notable music industry humans will be in tow for Fall 2015 sessions. Gaining access to all the fun events at the studio is also a win.

If you are interested in learning more about Point Blank LA, go ahead and email Hart Thorson, he has all the answers: hart@pointblanklondon.com.


Photography by Tyler Allen / Follow Point Blank Music School + Mack Sennett Studios for their melodic social snapshots.

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