Propellerhead Hosts Producers Conferences in US, UK, Germany, Sweden Saturday

A quick note – this weekend, Propellerhead is running part of its ongoing series of Producers Conferences, educational events focusing on music making with their flagship tool. It’s really about production, not just about Reason per se; looks like the previous installments have been quite nice. There are some really terrific artists in the lineup, and significantly, our sources say some big news will be announced live at the event. If anyone plans to attend and wants to cover that, do let me know. Here’s the lineup: Los Angeles May 9, Musician’s Institute, Hollywood. Bon Harris, Kevin Teasley, Gerry Basserman, …

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Apple GarageBand Artist Lessons Still Limited, But Alternatives Abound

Well, those kids today love their Sarah McLachlan, right? There’s no question that GarageBand represents one of the better values in music software, especially since even Apple expect a lot of its users will simply acquire it with their Mac. It still ranks high on software you’d recommend to a beginner on a budget. Apple’s decision this year to add lessons, interactive lessons that introduce you to musical concepts, and to invite famous artists to play familiar songs, is a fantastic idea. The Artist Lessons themselves, however, have been relatively few in number. I expect more are coming, but so …

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Pixelh8 Game Boy Software Now Free for Your Vintage Nintendo Handheld

Monster from Pixelh8 on Vimeo. Game Boy superstar Pixelh8 is releasing his fantastic 8-bit music software into the wild. And it’s even being picked up in music education. From True Chip Till Death: Pixelh8 sez: After lengthy consideration, I decided I would rather have my Game Boy / Game Boy Advance music software be used by everyone it can be used by, instead of just the few. All of my software Music Tech V2.0, Pro Performer and more are all free for download at http://pixelh8.co.uk/software/ Enjoy! Please read the FAQ before emailing me questions about it, it’s pretty straight forward. …

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Be a Music Geek Ninja with Electronic Music Programming in Pd: New Book

Okay, it looks a little scary, but just think of that as an added way of convincing your friends you’re a total badass. You may have heard about Pure Data (Pd), the open-source cousin to Max/MSP and a powerful tool for visual programming or “patching” music and multimedia. Pd has even appeared in the iPhone app RjDj and creating generative music for EA’s hit game Spore. But actually learning how to use the thing? Or learning some of the more advanced possible techniques in sound synthesis and processing? That’s another matter.

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Ready to Learn Max/MSP/Jitter? Full-Week Intensive in NYC

We get the “where do I go to learn this stuff” question a lot in the inbox. With Max for Live coming later this year, bringing the powers of Max to Ableton Live, I imagine the hunger for knowledge on that tool will be all the greater. (At the same time, I think the growing popularity of DIY tools means that it won’t make alternative tools like SuperCollider, Pd, Csound and the like less popular — I think we’ll see a growing trend toward all of these tools, provided we can show folks how to use them and get better …

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GarageBand ‘09 Celebrity Lessons, US$4.99; But How to Really Learn to Play Music?

Photo: transcribed solos by Jamie Aebersold. Not high-tech, but invaluable. Now, let’s hope Apple’s latest is just the tip of the offering for tools to help make us better musicians. Photo here, below (CC) naturalkinds. What’s the biggest obstacle in music making? For most people, it’s basic musicianship. I’m not at the Macworld keynote, but the well-done TUAW liveblog tells me that Apple has in fact offered a product hoping to solve that. GarageBand ‘09 will come with built-in musical training, with add-on “celebrity” training packs for US$4.99 each. It’s great news, but it also makes me hopeful that the …

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Gestures, Mobile Music, and the “Low Floor” for Novices: ZooZBeat on iPhone, Nokia

From the time we’re kids, we use gestures to make music – shaking, tapping, moving our bodies around, and connecting physical movement to sound. The idea of using these kinds of gestures to control digital music has been something researchers have worked on for many years. But with increasingly smart phones, equipped with mics, tilt and acceleration sensors, cameras, and other inputs, it’s possible to actually deliver these tools to average users. The latest entry in the field is ZooZBeat. Its life as a mobile app is just a matter of months, but the research behind it involves years of …

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