Oxygen College’s Electronic Music Production Course

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Oxygen College’s Electronic Music Production Course

With the massive rise in popularity of electronic music, more and more musicians are turning to software such as Ableton Live to create, produce and perform their artistic visions. I caught up with Chris Wheelwright, who runs the Electronic Music Production (EMP) program at Oxygen College, to find out about the course and how to begin the journey into electronic music.
Tell us a little bit about the course?
Electronic music production is the art of creating music using computer technology. Our course focuses on Ableton Live, a leading digital audio workstation (DAW). This software allows the user to create, perform, edit and record music. It’s all about introducing students to the software, explaining its workflow and layout, the basic workings of the program and exploring its vast potential for creativity. There is no bias to any music genre in the course. Ableton Live includes features that allow it to integrate into a conventional band setting as well as being a powerful tool for creating innovative DJ sets. It has many possible uses and our course aims to equip students with enough confidence in using the program to take it into whatever area of music interests them the most.
What types of projects will the students be involved in?
We begin with some fundamental DJ and sequencing techniques to come to grips with how Ableton Live operates. We look at all of the aspects involved in creating new, original works, from recording MIDI and audio tracks to sampling and mixing. Performance aspects are also covered looking at how Ableton Live can extend out of the computer onto a MIDI controller unleashing its live performance potential. Each project focuses on building an ever-wider skill set in creating music with Ableton Live.
What are the key outcomes for the students?
The freedom to use this software to explore their own creativity is the main goal of the course. The use of electronic production techniques is very prevalent in dance music but it is not the only application open to you. Ableton Live can also be used for film scoring – we cover such a project in our Cert III course – and can be incorporated into a band setting so it has relevance to any genre.
What are the essential tools needed to create electronic music?
It all starts with enthusiasm and a desire to express yourself through music. The technicalities of working complex programs like Ableton Live are easily overcome with the right guidance and supervision. Musical training helps but is not a prerequisite. Our course covers some basic music theory that is specific to the needs of programmed music. Then there is the equipment: the computer, the software, and audio interface, a MIDI controller and headphones. There is a vast amount of gear out there that can facilitate electronic music production and this is one aspect that a novice may find daunting. Doing our Cert II course gives you the chance to see how a full working set-up operates and we can advise students on an individual basis as to what their own requirements would be.
What advice would you give to someone who is beginning to create electronic music?
If you bought yourself a piano you would not suddenly turn into a performing pianist. That would require lessons and hours of practice pursued over many years. Ableton Live is essentially a new kind of musical instrument. One that contains a vast expanse of sonic possibility and has its own technical requirements to operate it with assurance, just like any other instrument. If you want to get involved in electronic music the best thing you can do is to invest in the right equipment and to enrol in a suitable course.
Oxygen College’s Electronic Music Production course commences in mid-July. Government funded positions start from $159* for this one night per week program. For more course information and enrolment details visit oxygencollege.com.au or call 1300 195 303.
*Subject to meeting Government funding criteria