school for a night

Today after work I headed down to the inappropriately-named neighborhood of Normal Heights for a music lesson.

Let's back up.  I've had a couple of conversations over the months with a guy named Jesse from the Socrates Cafe I attend.  These conversations were about computer-based music making tools.  The only one I've used is called Reason.  Despite my computer-heavy job, I've mostly resisted using them as music-making so far.  I've been using keyboard-based workstations for so long I just feel at home there.  My current love is the Yamaha S90-ES.  One of the first ones I had was the Roland JX-3P (in 1983!) though that could hardly be called a workstation.  But I do like Reason and am starting to feel comfortable with it.

I've also heard good things about another product called Ableton Live.  Reason is one of the market leaders along with a couple of other similar packages.  But Live has a different kind of interface that engenders a wholly new way of working.  I have long been intrigued by it.  Jesse, as it turns out, uses both Reason and Live and offered to give me a tour of Live so I could understand it better.

So after work I loaded up my backpack and drove South.  After all, you can't go to school without a backpack.  Incidentally, this was the first serious use of the Garmin Nuvi that my parental units bought me for Christmas.  I put the address in and it took me right there.  Very cool.

Upon arrival, Jesse and I went to his favorite local Mexican restaurant.  It's called "Mexican Restaurant."  Here's a picture of his burrito.


mine was the same but didn't have cheese.

We headed back to Jesse's very tidy place and got right to it.  I came away unsure if it is the right tool for me.  It's true that Live's interface could help me create less rigid, um, live performances.  But where Live really shines is in pulling together samples and mixing/matching them.  That's just not how I work.  I like to perform each part just as I like it.  So I'll have to think more about whether Live is really for me or not.  But a big thanks to Jesse for the tour, it helped a lot.


hard at study using Jesse's setup

Then it was back home and to bed early to get ready for ... jury duty!  ..which I'll talk about tomorrow.