I just completed my first term at Berklee College of Music’s Berklee Online degree program. I just completed the Production Analysis and Music Theory 101 class. Both were challenging. And dare I say captivating?
Music Theory 101 allowed me to have a more formal understanding of chord structure and chord building. It gave me a better under standing of how Major, minor, 7ths, diminished and half diminished chords are built and how melody is constructed.
Granted that I have been writing songs without the more in depth understanding of theory. More by what sounds good to my ears and what doesn’t.
The fundamentals though can’t be dismissed. I have better understanding of why it works as well as alternative ways to create tension and release. What does this mean? Is it necessary to have this knowledge. No. I can’t say it’s necessary, as I’ve been able to get by without the knowledge I’ve gained over the last 12 weeks. But I can say it has changed the way I look at song construction.
The same can be said about Production Analysis. The last twelve weeks has changed how I hear things. It also has changed how I view arrangement and the elements that are contained in a song. How to construct the song to keep the listeners attention.
I had a very superficial view of how a good song can be made great. The information contained within the course was well worth the time. I’ve come away with a deeper understanding of how to build a song up in the 3 or 4 minutes you have to communicate a set of feelings, perceptions and ideas. How to take a song and determine what to keep, what to change, what to get rid of.
I’ve come to listen more deeply to hear the effects and treatments used, where and when. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone to listen and analyze songs in genres I wouldn’t normally listen to.
And then I come to marvel at how easy technology has made it to edit, double, change and layer a track or comp a track. A far cry from splice blocks and tape.
I’m so glad I’ve made this decision to go back to university. It has made me appreciate music and song-craft so much more.