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Slam Academy visits Denver

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Slam Academy hosted the Denver Ableton Live User Group at The Black Box on Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 with over 100 attendees present at the event, including music production demonstrations by Mr. Bill (Slam Academy Denver), Serafin Sanchez (Ableton), and James Patrick (JP; Slam Academy Minneapolis), with musical performance by DKO, Darren Kramer.

This was Slam Academy’s very first event in Denver, Colorado.  Denver is a city that Slam Academy has admired since the beginning, and now, exciting opportunities to participate in the development of the electronic music production community for the first time is underway. The Black Box is Denver’s premiere Electronic Music venue and Slam Academy couldn’t have been more excited for a better place to host an advanced music production workshop. Slam Academy has been hosting Ableton User Groups in Minneapolis for the past 6 years, and the community of Denver was very welcoming.

“One of the biggest secrets to our success is that we help people find the joy of developing their own sound” said James Patrick as he began his presentation on sound design. The packed room paid close attention to all presenters as they each offered something unique and different.

Slam Academy also paid a visit to a local, non-profit youth music mentorship program called Youth on RecordYouth on Record inspires at-risk youth to see the potential for a better life. Upon arriving, Slam Academy was greeted by YOR Teaching Artist, Mona Magno, who provided an informational tour about the programs. Youth on Record empowers Colorado’s under-served youth to achieve their academic, artistic, and personal best by employing local, professional artists as their educators. Becoming a monthly donor or donating to their wish list really helps to support the organization.

In addition, Slam Academy also got to pay a visit to Mr. Bill’s personal recording studio.  Mr. Bill, a producer and artist based in Denver, provides Ableton Live tutorials about the ins and outs of Ableton’s devices.  From beginner users to advanced, Mr. Bill offers something for everyone. He will show you tricks, helpful functions and many other fancy things. Be sure to check out the sample pack bundles and collections.

Slam Academy will be starting an Ableton Live program in Denver that launches March 4, 2019. The Ableton Live program is a six-month plan designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of this powerful and versatile tool. It will meet every Monday from 7pm-10pm (MST) at The Black Box. For more information on enrollment, please contact Slam Academy Denver @ 720-772-1483 or email us at [email protected].

Mary (Director of Student Affairs) & Tanya (Recruitment Specialist) welcoming & enrolling students

Serafin Sanchez (DEN AUG host & Ableton rep) diving deep into the various features of Ableton

Musical performance featuring Ableton Live by DKO, Darren Kramer (co-host of the DEN AUG)

Teaching assistants, enrolled & prospective students are all engaged in the presentation

JP (CCO & Slam Academy co-founder) amazes the crowd with some sound design techniques

Full house @ the Black Box attentively watching JP’s presentation

Stay tuned for Slam Academy’s full program offerings to be introduced at our new Denver campus over the coming months / year(s)!

Master Package Graduate destined for great things

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Miles Campbell presented the “Superstar” Award at Fall 2018 Graduation for being the first student to complete all eight programs

It was a special day for 19 year old Miles Campbell as he walked up to the stage to accept a “Superstar” award for being the first student at Slam Academy to complete and graduate from all eight offered programs.  And, he was able to do it in under two years, while attending college full time. What’s his secret to success? We were able to catch up with the rock-star graduate for a personal interview on how he got started, what he gained from training, and what’s next on the horizon.

 

A conversation with Miles Campbell:

Tanya Lano, Slam Aacademy:

What first brought you to Slam Academy? What was your background experience prior to starting classes at Slam Academy? What goals did you have set at that time when you started classes?

Miles:

When I first started producing, I was 12 years old. I needed to find somewhere I can learn this. I googled “how to produce music” and Slam Academy came up in my search. I reached out, and started taking private lessons with James Patrick (Co-Founder) when I was 16. When I was a senior in high school, I decided what I wanted to do. We toured other schools, then I came to Slam Academy. I loved music my entire life, I love EDM, and have a huge passion. Minneapolis has a great music scene and Slam Academy is only 15 minutes away from where I live. The more I came here, the more it felt like a community and a home. It’s a family here. I wanted to take my music to a professional level. I worked hard to get all of those classes done.

SA:

You completed the DJ program first, why? And, what made you open your mind to taking all programs?

Miles:

I was DJ’ing a lot, and wanted better gigs. My full time job during high school was DJ’ing. I was making more money DJ’ing than my first part-time job so I quit. I was performing for high school events, Trampoline Park, and other random events. I feel the DJ program  is a good start for everyone. I also wanted to master Ableton Live so I took that with Sound Design. If you know Ableton Live and Sound Design, everything else can be built around these programs. Everything ties together.

SA:

How did you handle taking classes at your college and Slam Academy at the same time?  How did you structure your busy calendar to balance two schools? Why do you feel completing all 8 programs is beneficial?

Miles:

I took 26 credits in my freshman year of college, as well as classes at Slam Academy. I did mostly online classes for college, and I took night classes when I didn’t have classes at Slam. During breaks, I would do homework. I stayed busy and didn’t waste time. I didn’t hang with friends, just focused on myself. I stayed focused, but I’m not organized. I found a system and stuck with it.

Just recently I’ve been nominated and chosen to open for Steve Aoki at U of M homecoming. Seeing your hard work pay off is inspiring.

SA:

How do you handle stress and pressure?  Are you ever overwhelmed with work? How to you create balance for yourself?

Miles:

I try to remind myself stress will pass. You gotta keep working to overcome obstacles in life. Keep pushing forward. If you let yourself fall backwards, it’s harder to get back up. I just go for it. I feel overwhelmed all the time. I just transferred to a major University and still trying to work on music. I want to release music.

SA:

Do you feel Slam Academy got you where you want to be?

Miles:

Slam Academy went above and beyond. I did not expect to play my first gig at Skyway just 2 months after I started classes. It all happened so fast.  All the people I’ve met have completely changed my life.

SA:

What advice can you give future students that also desire to win a “Superstar” award? Are you collaborating with Slam Academy students?

Miles:

Work hard and keep at it. If I can do it, you can do it. Stay excited and inspired. Pull inspiration from the people in your class and the environment around you. It won’t seem like work, and it will just be fun

I’ve been collaborating with Forest Vlaming (Slam Academy Master Package Student) and worked on a tons of different ideas and business plans. We had a lot of classes together. Talking to other people that are in similar stages of their career and are hungry for success, just like I am, is very good. It’s hard to meet other people that are into the same thing as you are, so meeting tons of them at Slam was crazy. I felt in high school I was the only one doing this.

SA:

What’s next for Miles Campbell?

Miles:

I’m working on my first single, working on new music, getting ready for upcoming gigs, joined the EDM club at U of M, and helping to teach there. And, I expect more. I want to do music full time. That’s the goal.

SA:

Congratulations, Miles.

Miles:

Thank you very much.

Miles Per Hour

 

SoundCloud:
https://soundcloud.com/
milesperhour-1

FaceBook:
https://www.facebook.com/
milesperhourmusic/

Instagram: @mph_music
Twitter: @MPH_Music

Past gigs: https://www.facebook.com/events/2126147074286946/

Lazerbeak to teach Music Industry Program

Hip Hop Producer from Minneapolis joins Slam Academy Family

Slam Academy is excited to announce an addition to the instructor roster.  Joining us this November is Lazerbeaklead instructor for our upcoming Music Industry program.  

Aaron Mader, known professionally as Lazerbeak, is a Minneapolis-based artist and hip hop producer. Aside from being a founding member of the Doomtree collective, he is also the CEO and General Manager of Doomtree Records, handling the day-to-day operations, management, and inner workings of the crew and label. Over the past decade he has worked with a wide range of artists including Doomtree, Lizzo, Matt and Kim, Dessa, Trampled By Turtles, P.O.S, Har Mar Superstar, GAYNGS, and Speedy Ortiz. In addition to original production and songwriting, Beak also works musically behind the scenes on commercials, movie trailers, TV shows, and remixes.

Q&A with LAZERBEAK

How did you get your start in the industry? And, why did you stay?

I guess it really started back in 4th grade with my folks making me choose a musical instrument in school. Went from alto sax in grade school to messing around with my dad’s acoustic guitar in junior high and eventually playing in an indie rock band throughout high school and beyond. Started Doomtree up in about 2001 and never looked back. All those years of trial and error taught me the independent fundamentals of what it meant to survive in this industry and not a day goes by that I haven’t learned something new along the way. As much as my role in music has changed over the last few decades, I’ve still got that same passion for creating music, or helping others create music and getting it out there for the world to hear it.

What type of people are successful in the music industry?

I think people skills are crucial. You’ve got to be able to balance empathy, understanding, and lots of different relationships all at the same time – and know tone and the difference between when it’s right to get on the phone, shoot a text, or knock it out in email. The whole “Don’t be a dick” philosophy is huge for me.

What are the most challenging obstacles that you have to deal with or overcome on a daily basis?

Trying to make everyone happy but also not lose sight of the ultimate goal. A lot of managing comes down to listening and being a good life coach or therapist with people.

Tell us about your new group Shredders.  Any new albums coming out?

I love Shredders. It’s a new group comprised of P.O.S, Sims, Paper Tiger and myself, all from the Doomtree collective. Last year we all got together with the goal of making some super short and fun rap bangers – no pressure, no expectations. Dangerous Jumps is the debut LP that came from those sessions and we’ve been touring the country a bunch and playing festivals this year in support of it. We actually just begun demoing some new tracks last month.

Any words of advice for new incoming students?

Be curious and ask a lot of questions. We’ve all got so much to learn from each other.

Why are you excited to teach the Music Industry program?

I’m super excited to learn from each individual student and help to tailor my time at Slam in order to help in whatever way I can. I’ll be using an actual Doomtree Records release in real time as a case study and you’ll get to see all the behind-the-scenes details that go into not only creating an album, but promoting it, releasing it, and beyond.

 

Come meet Lazerbeak at our upcoming FREE Intro to Music Industry class on November 5 where students will have an opportunity to meet the instructor, meet other prospective students and experience the culture of Slam Academy classes.

Register today! [FREE] Intro to Music Industry class

 

Videos:

 

Socials:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/lazerbeak/?hl=en

FB: https://www.facebook.com/lazerbeakdoomtree/

SC: https://soundcloud.com/doomtree/sets/lazerbeak

BC: https://lazerbeak.bandcamp.com

 

Official Website: www.doomtree.net/lazerbeak/

Doomtree started as a mess of friends in Minneapolis, fooling around after school, trying to make music without reading the manual. The group had varied tastes—rap, punk, indie rock, pop—so the music they made together often bore the toolmarks of several styles. When they had enough songs, they booked some shows. They made friends with the dudes at Kinkos to print up flyers. They burned some CDs to sell. The shows got bigger. Of necessity, Doomtree’s seven members (Cecil Otter, Dessa, Lazerbeak, Mike Mictlan, P.O.S, Paper Tiger, and Sims) figured out how to run a small business. Lazerbeak’s garage became the merchandise warehouse; P.O.S’ mom’s basement became the webstore. A decade and fifty releases later, it’s all properly official – Doomtree is now a real, … keep reading at http://www.doomtree.net/about/

 

Editor’s Note: Alongside Lazerbeak will be Katie Kramarczuk (Hydrah) and Grace Davies teaching the Music Industry Program. Slam Acadaemy’s Chief Content Officer, James Patrick wanted to say a few words:

This team of experts bring the final piece of the music Mastery puzzle to the table at Slam Academy. I see too many great tracks die on hard drives or with not enough plays on SoundCloud. Making great content is only one half of the battle. The rest of the elements can come easy with guidance. This Crew is here to make that happen for you within Slam Academy’s Music Industry Program.

Lazerbeak also partnered with Bionik (Stefon Taylor, instructor of Slam Academy’s Recording Arts & Producer Programs) as POOL BOYS. The duo hosted their album release party as a part of Slam Academy’s Producer Strategy Showcase series in 2017, check out the recap video below (enrolled students get access to the full hour and a half video in their online account).

Spreading the word of Slam Academy and more; My role as Special Projects Manager

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By Kyle Goodrich (Guest Blogger, Slam Academy Instructor / Staff / Alum)

If you’ve ever spent time at our main campus in Minneapolis, it’s very likely that you don’t need a formal introduction to who I am, but for those of you who haven’t, I will gladly give you a quick one. My name is Kyle Goodrich (Kyle King), I am an instructor at Slam Academy, a DJ, sound designer, engineer, producer, and almost every other kind of audio work I’ve dabbled in at some point over the last 15 or so years working in music. I also am a former student of Slam Academy, having taken the Ableton Live, Sound Design, and Mixing & Mastering Programs throughout 2016 – 2017.

My role now has become the Special Projects Manager at Slam Academy and while that might sound like a very “business” oriented role, I’m really just someone who very strongly believes in the mission of Slam Academy and wants to connect with as many people as possible to make sure that we can get out to more and more students and help them achieve their goals of making great music!

Recently we’ve worked with the Department of Defense Education Activity on a project that involved all of the executives at Slam helping train teachers who are working at schools near military bases and are going to be teaching Ableton to those students whose parents are part of our armed forces. I actually can relate a lot to those kids, as someone who was an army brat myself, I think that this is an extremely noble cause, and I am quite jealous of the kids who are getting this opportunity to learn music production!

Myself and Tanya Lano (Recruitment Specialist at Slam) also got to spread the word of Slam Academy at The Commons in downtown Minneapolis right outside of US Bank stadium this past summer! It was a beautiful day outside, and the music was a perfect compliment to the day. There were food trucks, outdoor games, and a nice big park for people to relax and spend the last fleeting days of summer, as the Minnesota winter slowly begins to take over.

Also, a collaboration between Slam Academy and the Adoption Is Love foundation took place where one of our wonderful TAs, Mike Johnson (Baard) worked with a young woman who wrote a song dedicated to her biological mother entitled “First Mom” and I got to do the mixing and mastering for the track! It was a very heartfelt song and was such a joy to work on. Both Tanya and I will be at the rotunda in the Mall of America on Saturday October 6th [with the Adoption Is Love Walk at Mall of America]. Stop by to hear the song, support the event, and also say hello to us!

There is more in the works and just keep your eyes out for more events!

If you’re interested in getting Slam Academy involved in your event, or if you want to work with me and help get Slam out to more people, please feel free to email me at [email protected] and let’s get in touch!

 

Editor’s Note: Between Tanya, Kyle, and the rest of the staff at Slam Academy we have been fortunate to participate with these organizations and their events. Beyond those listed above, Slam Academy also works closely with Beats by Girlz and She Rock She Rock, hosting many of the organizations’ workshops, classes, and events in our main studio (A: Performance Hall). Tanya will also be involved in this fall’s Performance and Visual Arts Fair! The fair will be held at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Tuesday, October 9th at 7pm. We encourage everyone to stop by, say hi, and learn more about Slam!

Cool Stuff To Do This Hot Summer

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Summer Camps, programs, and more begin in July and August

We are feeling the heat now in Minneapolis, so here are some great opportunities to cool off with us inside.

Youth Camps ~ Sound Design ~ Hip Hop Producer ~ Open House ~ Free Classes


For the summer of 2018 we’ve expanded our summer offerings to include two camps: first, the Young Producer Summer Camp, which has been successful for the last 5 years, and is ideal for students interested in learning how to make the music that they love listening to; and new this year: the Young DJ Summer Camp, for students who want to learn how to perform, beat-match, and get on stage.

Young DJ Summer CampDates: 7/16/18 – 7/20/18

Young Producer Summer CampDates: 8/6/18 – 8/10/18

Time: 10am-2pm Monday-Friday

Cost: $499 (lunch Included)

Ages: 8th – 12th Grades

Location: Slam Academy Studios (1121 NE Jackson Street, Suite 142, Minneapolis, MN 55413)

https://slamacademy.com/youth-camps/ 


Our Sound Design Program starts July 10th, for those that want to dive deep into synthesis. In this program, you will be guided through everything you need to know to create incredible sounds from scratch. The course begins at the heart of sound creation with an in-depth study of the nature of both acoustic and electronic sound through analog and modular subtractive synthesis…

State Date: July 10

Time: 7-10pm, every Tuesday

Software Requirements: Ableton Live Suite software

Prerequisites: Ableton Live Program or intermediate knowledge of a DAW

https://slamacademy.com/sound-design-program/


Our Hip Hop Producer Program begins August 15th. If you are already a producer, but looking for that edge that will make your beats pro, this is it. This course is designed for MCs & producers looking to dig in and succeed with their craft. If you want to sell your beats, collaborate, and dominate the field –  you need to be working alongside someone already doing it. Enter Greg Grease, DJ Adatrak, and the Slam Academy Hip Hop Producer Program.

Start Date: August 15

Time: 7 – 10pm, every Wednesday

Software Requirements: any DAW

Prerequisites: None

https://slamacademy.com/hip-hop-program/


Join us for our Open House – Saturday, July 21, 3-5pm. If you were ever wondering what goes on at Slam Academy, this is a perfect opportunity to check us out! Why should you come? Read this: 5 Great Reasons to Attend an Open House


FREE Classes! What a better way to cool down than to enjoy a 2 hour class full of valuable information in our nice air conditioned performance hall, meet “cool” people, and get free stuff.Intro to Sound Design | 7/3/18 | 7-9pm

Intro to Electronic Music | 7/21/18 | 1-3pm

Into to Hip Hop | 8/8/18 | 7-9pm

Intro to Ableton Live | 8/9/18 | 11am-1pm & 7-9pm

Intro to Electronic Music | 8/21/18 | 7-9pm

 

 

A Day at SoundSet: How Music Affects Us

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By Grace Wethor (Guest Blogger, Slam Academy Student)

For me personally, music wasn’t just something that I enjoyed; I truly believe it saved my life. As a 16 year old currently fighting a brain tumor, music is one of the only things that brings me relief. Mixing beats on my laptop and attending festivals quickly became my way of forgetting about the MRIs and doctors’ appointments.

Growing up in Minnesota, I struggled to find peers that felt the same connection to music that I did. Then one day I found Slam Academy. I called my mom and we drove right there. Seeing a space where everyone was creative and felt that same draw to music was incredible for me. I instantly knew I had found a new place I fit in and a place to further my education of music.

A couple months ago, I set out on a journey to spread this positive influence that music had had on me. Knowing how much it helped me personally, I had to spread my form of music therapy with others. Seeing what a positive influence music festivals and places like Slam Academy had, I knew it had to be spread far and wide to anyone who would listen. When I found out I had the opportunity to attend SoundSet Festival in my hometown, I knew it was the perfect time to dig deeper into my questions about why music made me feel the way it did.

Grace pictured with Jaden Smith     

Grace’s view from backstage of Jaden Smith’s performance

This year’s line up featured artists such as Tyler The Creator, Jaden Smith, Migos, Logic, and more.

When walking into SoundSet, I instantly felt the vibe that I had felt when I first walked into Slam Academy. It is an overwhelming feeling of acceptance, positivity, and support. No one cared what illness you were dealing with, how many followers you had, or what you looked like. Even if it was just for one day, that entire day we were all just humans connecting and listening to music. There is something magical about that.

While there I got to catch up with some of the artists and talk to them about the impact music and festivals such as SoundSet have on them. They all agreed that music had saved their lives in one way or another. (Plus they all loved Minnesota, haha.)

Seeing everyone come together and bond over their love of DJs and Hip Hop artists was truly an amazing experience. To allow young people from Minnesota to experience music at this level is an amazing resource for them to feel connected to the artists they love and have time to just be. And in today’s day and age, I think it is really important to let go sometimes and just be. I’ve definitely learned a lot more over my years of pursuing music and love the feeling I get when I play a new track I’ve mixed, but there is nothing that compares to the feeling of seeing thousands of people singing together and jumping around. SoundSet is definitely a magical experience! I recommend everyone to attend, even once in their life, if possible. I also believe in the influence of understanding music more in depth and learning about what goes into your favorites artist work. And you never know, music may save your life too.

  

 

To learn more about SoundSet: https://soundsetfestival.com

Slam Academy offers a 12-week DJ Program, starting Wednesday, June 13, 2018: https://slamacademy.com/dj-program/
Check out the free intro class, Wednesday, June 6, 2018: https://slamacademy.com/atslam/fr-itodj-wed-2018-06-06/

View all programs: https://slamacademy.com/programs/

Slam Academy Founder Releases New Book

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Dr. J Anthony Allen, Founder and ACT, writes book on music theory for electronic music producers

Slam Academy Founder, Dr. J Anthony Allen has taught music theory and composition at many universities and private schools all over the world. Allen is known for spearheading the Music Theory Online Program at Slam Academy, which got enough attention that Dr. Allen was asked to speak at the 2017 Loop Conference held at Ableton, Inc. in Berlin, Germany.  He wears many hats in the entertainment industry besides being a professor of music, including music producer, songwriter, recording engineer, sound designer, DJ, remixer, multimedia artist and performer. With all of this industry experience under his belt, it was a natural step for Dr. Allen to write a book combining music theory with digital technology. He takes us on a journey of sound on why certain notes sound good together, chord progressions, patterns, textures and song analysis. Curious on how Skrillex makes those “scary” and wobbly bass sounds?  This book explains it all. Yes, “psycho chords” really are a thing.

credit: Jamie Maldonado

Born and raised in Michigan, Allen holds a PhD in Music Composition and a Bachelor’s degree in Guitar Performance, and currently teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has worked with many forms of interactive media and his work has been described as “a study in ominous sound and motion” (Baltimore Sun), “an aural hallucinogen” (Minnesota Public Radio), and “a beautiful and engaging use of technology” (Cogapp: The Art and Science Blog). In 2003, Allen joined the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art team as assistant director and lead producer through to 2009. He has spread his teachings to students at the University of Amsterdam, Peabody College, University of Minnesota, MacPhail Center for Music, McNally Smith College of Music, St. Thomas, and Augsburg University, just to name a few.

Allen’s pursuits are grounded in the idea that advances in composition must explore the unknown, with an acute respect for music as a social creature that cannot thrive in isolation. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen often performs with a set of glove controllers which he designed, built, and programmed.

J, pictured in the Ice Fields, on an iceberg somewhere off Svalbard. Sailing on the Antigua. – at Arctic Ocean

As a solo artist, Allen’s project experiences range from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. In 2014, Allen was a semifinalist for the Grammy Foundation’s Music Educator of the Year Award.

His music can be found on the Hackademica, SEAMUS and Panacea3 labels and is also available on iTunes and Spotify.

http://janthonyallen.com/

https://twitter.com/janthonyallen

 

Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers:

The producer’s guide to harmony, chord progressions, and song structure in the MIDI grid.

 

As an online class, Dr. Allen has had over 50,000 students use this ground-breaking curriculum to learn music theory. Students and producers who have wanted to learn music theory to improve their own music, but have been intimidated by traditional approaches, music notation, and abstract concepts will find this book to be the answer they have been looking for.

From the Author:

“How music theory is usually taught is unfair. It starts with the assumption that you can read music and understand the language of classical music. My book leaves all of that behind – focusing only on the MIDI grid that producers are already familiar with to learn all the key concepts of music theory, and ultimately, make better music.”

This book covers all the fundamentals of music theory, but is written using the language of the DJ and Producer – the MIDI Grid. It includes “analysis” projects that look at the harmonic and melodic ideas in songs by popular producers including Zedd, Boards of Canada, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Bonobo, Richie Hawtin, Moby, Skrillex, and Aphex Twin.

Praise for Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers:

Page 58

“Aspiring electronic musicians have choices to make when it concerns their own education and training. This text makes one choice much easier: start here and get learning, quickly. Grounded and easygoing, the book uses real-world examples to help you make sense of music’s inner workings while steering clear of dense theories.”

– Michael J. Ethen, PhD
Musicologist

Page 195

“This book knocks the oftentimes alienating world of music theory completely onto its side. Difficult to explain concepts are perfectly demonstrated for the aspiring electronic music producer who might have no formal music training. A must have for all aspiring producers.”

– James Patrick (DJ, Producer, Educator)
Slam Academy, Dubspot, IPR, Ableton Certified Trainer

Page 108

“With Music Theory for Electronic Music Producers, Dr. Allen has produced a remarkable resource: an extensive tour of musical theory that leverages some of our favorite modern tools – the virtual studio and it’s piano roll note display. By introducing us to the “why” as well as the “what” of music theory, this book helps us to understand what makes music tick and how to improve our own work. In addition to offering a sound theoretical foundation, the deep dives into analyzing tracks by Skrillex, Aphex Twin, and Deadmau5 keeps our attention focused on real-world production. MTEMP will definitely go on the top of my recommendation list for anyone that needs a fresh view of musical concepts.”

– Darwin Grosse
Director of Education, Cycling ’74

Enroll: Free Online Week 5/21 – 25/18               Attend: Book Signing 5/25/18

Purchase the book on Amazon

Greg Grease joins the Slam Fam

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New Hip Hop Instructor at Slam Academy

Last Fall 2017, Slam Academy launched the new Hip Hop Producer Program that was written, developed and taught by producer, King Karnov (Dr. Dre, Lauren Hill, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes).  The first run of classes went so well, hitting full capacity, that there was no question the program would run again in the Spring 2018.  Already the April start seats have been filled, and enrollment is open for the August 2018 start. It was a natural step for Slam Academy to bring on another instructor to help guide the successful program, and there was no question that local Minneapolis native Greg Grease was the perfect fit to do it.

Greg Grease is a Musician/Visual Artist/Sewer out of Southside Minneapolis.  There is a blue-collar Afro-centricity present throughout all of Grease’s music, particularly with his band Astralblak (aka ZULUZULUU), a Soul/Funk/Future Space movement created to empower and elevate through sonics.  Grease creates reality raps reflecting his environment growing up in a lower middle class neighborhood as a black youth, and feel good music with a hard smack that pulls listeners.  Greg also owns and operates River Life Dry Goods, where he designs, hand sews leather goods, canvas bags and bespoke menswear.

When we caught up with Greg for a quick interview, we asked him about his plans for the Hip Hop Producer Program, and provided some great insight on what to expect.

“When I met with JP, and everyone at Slam, discussing exactly what it will be about, it was so natural because it’s been my entire life,” Grease said. “I’ve always lived inside of it, and since it’s so lived, I don’t have to think about it. It’s been a cool experience to quantify and write down the things that are natural to my knowledge. That’s the exciting part for me. Exploring what hip hop is to me, and how I can contribute that to someone else’s learning experience.”

Greg grew up in a musical family and has been surrounded by sounds his whole life.  His father loves music of all kinds, and even likes to rap. Greg was encouraged to be creative all the time.  When he started making music at the age of 9, it started off with drums, conga and djembe. As he got older, he progressed to a full drum kit, while learning beat production with an MPC2000 and a computer.  He was active in all kinds of funk bands, and also got into rapping more. Greg’s Uncle, also an accomplished musician, who played with Paula Abdul, Terry Lewis, and many more, allowed Greg to use his studio and learn recording tools.

“I think the Hip Hop [Producer] Program is important because it’s that education and perspective for someone that doesn’t have that exposure.  Access is everything.”

 

UPCOMING START DATES

August 15 @ 7-10PM

December 12 @ 7-10PM

April 17, 2019 @7-10PM

 

If you are already a producer, but looking for that edge that will make your beats pro, this is it. This course is designed for MCs & producers looking to dig in and succeed with their craft. If you want to sell your beats, collaborate, and dominate the field –  you need to be working alongside someone already doing it. Enter Greg Grease, DJ Adatrak, and the Slam Academy Hip Hop Producer Program.

 

 

HIP HOP LEVEL 1: HIP HOP 101 – STYLES, ORIGINS, AND PRODUCTION METHODS

Comparing classic styles and origins of hip hop and what they involve ala DJ Mustard, DJ Premier, Chop/Screw, J Dilla, and more. Learn how to use the fundamental tools and techniques that make Hip Hop, from the microphones, drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers. Investigate the ways that the Sampler has inspired the genre, and learn the workflows used by Marley Mall, Timbalaand, Pete Rock, RZA, and others to bring these tools to life.

HIP HOP LEVEL 2: ADVANCED BEAT MAKING TECHNIQUES

Go to the local indy record store and come back with some vinyl. Sample it with instructor guidance, and chop that sample into your own tune. Add synth lines that are in key, and add drums that are in the pocket. Turn your beat into a full song by tweaking those sounds and add extra flavor with effects, shout outs, and ultimately vocals in your own tune. Explore processing and pitch and time correction tools such as autotune, melodyne, and vocoding for extra attitude on that microphone.

HIP HOP LEVEL 3: PRODUCER SUCCESS STRATEGIES

Showcase your work as an artist or producer on the world stage the right way, with proper social media rollout techniques. Learn the ways that are tried and true in the 21st century for publishing, marketing, distribution, licensing, and more. Explore the various avenues a creative person can pursue in this field, from performer, producer, engineer, MC, and more. Hear industry success and failure stories from veterans in the game, and ultimately succeed yourself as you apply this knowledge to your own music and music career.

A Conversation with Scott LeGere

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Slam Academy Launches Music Industry Program

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – March 9, 2018 @ Slam Academy  – We welcomed a quick visit with Scott LeGere, McNally Smith’s former Music Business department head, as he was in between meetings, for an opportunity to catch up with his busy life.  Scott is joining Slam Academy this spring to teach the new Music Industry Program. Slam Academy has always offered students various vocational programs in music production and performance, and with the addition of the Music Industry Program, students can now round out their Slam Academy education with industry and career advancing concepts including copyright, business registration, marketing, and emerging revenue sources.  Over the past 15 years, LeGere has played key roles in the ownership and operation of audio recording facilities, independent record labels, media schools, and commercial music production companies. During this time, he has engineered Grammy nominated albums, produced critically acclaimed independent projects, and lectured nationally in industry focused conferences and university classrooms.

 

Tanya Lano, Slam Academy Recruitment Specialist:

“First of all a big Thank You for coming in today and supporting us with the launch of the new Music Industry Program.  We understand you have spent many wonderful years with McNally, and many other schools. We are curious on your perspective on education, how people are getting their education, and your feelings about the closing of McNally.”

Scott LeGere:

“Hey Tanya, thank you, glad to be here. From a macro level, the educational world is changing. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone because the entire world is changing.  Technology, automation, tools powered by the internet, etc and mobile access are fundamentally changing businesses all over the world. When the largest hotel chain is Airbnb and they don’t own any hotel rooms you see a change is afoot.  When the largest taxi company is Uber and doesn’t own any vehicles you see change is afoot. The internet really is a great democratizer. And that’s a good thing. If there is information you want to learn about you can probably find it online, provided by a whole slew of talented individuals.  One of the biggest challenges of higher education is the high cost.

“One of the reasons why I am excited to teach at Slam Academy is seeing the community that has formed around the classes and offerings here.   I had the honor of speaking at a graduation this past summer and was really blown away to see all the instructors at Slam Academy having really intimate and deep knowledge of all of their students.  This is a specialty school, though you could say it’s not a school, it’s a community education location! Slam Academy doesn’t have an infrastructure of a larger institution, you don’t have this department or that department, you don’t have subjects siloed away in a governance system that was derived hundreds of years ago.  I think education is ripe for evolution and revolution, and in many ways Slam Academy is on the forefront of that. Seeing how community minded and supportive the students were here of each other, the faculty knowledge of all the students, so of course I was excited to lend a hand and teach the Music Industry Program. After talking to some of the team here you probably would have done it without me with someone else because it’s a natural step for this group, but I’m thrilled to be able to be here.”

Tanya Lano:

“Speaking of the internet, you hit a good point.  It has allowed us a non-traditional educational approach, having access to video tutorials, manuals to download, and it’s also changed how people release their music with emerging independent record labels, etc.”

Scott LeGere:

“You can joke it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  The internet, the way a lot of people in Silicon Valley refer to it, it’s disruptive. Digital technology is disruptive.  It’s not just the internet, it’s the ability to share processes and share documents, powered by global communication. It’s disruptive. Well, in disruption some business plans are challenged. But, within disruption some business plans can really grow and prosper.  What’s interesting is, just coming from a production standpoint, and this has been the heart of Slam Academy’s mission, is that to make music 20 years ago and to make a record, you might have needed a million dollar recording studio. The only way you would be able to afford that is to basically get a loan from a record label or a publishing company and go through this whole mechanization and system.  If you didn’t fit into the cookie cutter box that that system was looking for, and if you didn’t fit the sound or the look, you might not have ever gotten those opportunities. There were some great records that came out over the last couple of decades, but we have to assume that there are some phenomenal talents that never got that opportunity. Today, with a laptop you can make a record in your basement, in your bedroom, in your garage, it’s really exciting. This aspect of technology has democratized production and allows anyone to come forward and make their art. That’s fantastic.  Now, there is an equally challenging prospect to that. More and more people are making records. When I entered the studio world in the late 90’s on average about 30,000 albums came out per year in the United States. Today, we are seeing over 20,000 records get uploaded per week to Beatport. We are looking at about 100 times the amount of content coming out on a weekly basis. This is where the Music Industry Program fits in. Open up your laptop, grab a controller, plug into Ableton and start making some exciting music. The challenges become where you can do it, but so can anyone else.  How do you break through the 5000 other tracks that were released that day? How do you start to build a name and a career for yourself? Those are the things we are going to start to talk about.”

Tanya Lano:

“Would you agree that some employers are looking for collaboration skill sets coming into the workplace?”

Scott LeGere:

“Unquestionably. I’m over simplifying here, but because I’ve been teaching for 16 years, I’ve been fairly diligent at reading job openings and postings. I want to know what companies are looking for so I can help make that transition for our students.  The older model was the Bachelor’s Degree, for years and years, we saw you must have a BA, lately over the last two years I’m seeing “college recommended.” I’m guessing that recommendation is based on you’re going to have some maturity, follow through, and with tremendous amount of valuable things that can come out of college.  The skills that people are asking for are softer than they have ever been. We need collaborators, communicators, ‘thinking on our feet’ people, and paratroopers, as in can you jump into our problem here and help out with whatever the effort is.”

Tanya Lano:

“When big changes happen it can bring out the best in people and you hit a good point, Scott, of being community minded and supported. Getting a business program running at Slam Academy is definitely a natural step for us.  Our students are excited to get support to release their music, and have been asking their teachers great questions for business tactics. Just know how happy we are to have you help guide our ship.”

Scott LeGere:

“I think ‘guide’ is much too strong a word! At the most, maybe I can help to point in a certain direction and we all can collectively run that way together. I think what I’ve been able to see, getting into the studio business in the 90’s, and watching it grow and watching it collapse, and suddenly get radically challenged from home studios. I’ve watched the studio business flip upside down, along with the label business, advertising and post production, and now it’s the education business that is flipping upside down. Since I’ve lived through so many of those changes, I’ve had the opportunity to see what they become.  And almost always the results have been positive. Sure we can bemoan the loss of some of our great recordings studios in America that have been turned into condos, or something else, but I wouldn’t trade today’s era for a moment. When a motivated young person can share their story they want to share with the world with an app like Ableton or GarageBand, today is just too exciting. That’s the piece I’ve been trying to bring to the classroom for 16 years. I’ll get on a soapbox, and get upset, for generations, whenever someone has talked about the arts, the immediate response is, ‘you shouldn’t do it, you’re never going to make it, you shouldn’t date musicians,’ and so forth.  We’re looking at an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. Now that streaming has become the preferred platform for listening, we’re looking at annual revenues at publishing companies, distributors and record labels that are increasing by significant factors. A record group, Awol, which is a subsidiary of Colbalt, the European publishing giant, they just had a 100% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017. Most small businesses are happy when they have a 5% year-to-year growth, not 100% year-to-year growth. We are seeing streaming rates jump all over the world by 50-80%. We realize with these devices we can get a Spotify or Apple music account, more people are listening to more music, more money is flowing into the system, because this is an industry that is growing. We have more television channels, commercials, films that are being produced that need more music, more radios opportunities whether they are terrestrial or streaming, there is a great demand for music.  Music is what makes the world go around. It’s still one of the most powerful forms of communication on the planet.”

Tanya Lano:

“I like that point, Scott, that looking at this as not a crisis, but an opportunity.  Sometimes we see so much negative out there, but it’s great to have a positive and optimistic look for our future leaders.”

Scott LeGere:

“I’ve seen it.  The inspiration that J (Dr. J Anthony Allen) and JP (James Patrick) and other instructors bring to students. One class is teaching the excitement that comes from these new digital tools and I’m going to try to teach the excitement that comes from a globally connected community of people listening to music. And how to tap into them and hopefully over time how to accrue more listeners and convert some listeners into fans.”

 

Watch Scott LeGere’s Ted Talk X @ Carlton College

 

Since the closing of McNally Smith, Slam Academy has enrolled a handful of their displaced students through the McNally Smith Transfer Scholarship. While some students have chosen to start with one program, others have looked to Slam Academy to wholly replace their music education, enrolling in all available programs. The Music Industry Program will launch on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, running 11am – 2pm weekly for 12 weeks. Slam Academy also offers free 2-hour introduction classes one week prior to all program starts; the Introduction to Music Industry class will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 11am.

Inside Look at Studio A @ Slam Academy

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Classroom by Day… Performance Hall by Night

Slam Academy is a multimedia art and music studio located in Minneapolis, and Studio A – Performance Hall gets a lot of use for various different events and training.  The space hosts events in many disciplines, including live music by national and international talents, classes, lessons, and open studio time every week. The space includes a generous four-corner sound system and plenty of space to experiment with light, sound and images. When it isn’t being used as a classroom or a venue, you will often find our faculty hanging out there, working on their own music.

     

Studio A is our newly renovated space. It has a full range 3-way PA with custom 21″ bass bins stacked high, video projection, and seats about 45 people. The main room is used to host our larger classes, workshops, and special events. Studio A is a full-fledged performance venue, complete with a 4 channel, 3 way sound system, full DJ booth, and accommodations for an entire band.

One of the favorite features of Studio A is the recurring event every Friday from 4-6pm called OPEN DECKS.  This is an opportunity for prospective and current students to play on the 3-way PA system, whether it’s for practice or just a chance to show off some new skills, and get a sense of what it would be like at a real club venue.

Open Decks March 9 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Open Decks March 16 @ 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Also every Friday in Studio A, from 6-10pm, is a recurring event called Slam Jam.  This is an opportunity for featured guest artists to perform for a live streaming event.  If you would like to request a booking for a Slam Jam set, please send an email to [email protected].  Check out a recent Slam Jam set by Tanya Leigh.

Slam Academy also provides [FREE] introductory classes held at Studio A for students that are curious about our training and programs.

[FREE] Intro to Electronic Music March 10 @ 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
[FREE] Intro to Electronic Music March 21 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Come check out Studio A today and schedule a tour!  Or attend our next Open House!

Able10 – Live 10 Release Party Great Success

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On a crisp and cold day in Minneapolis, MN, things were brewing up hot inside at Able Seedhouse & Brewing for the Able10 – Live 10 release party celebration held on Sunday, February 18.  The event was hosted by Ableton aficionado, Brian Botkiller, in addition to Minneapolis Ableton Live User’s Group and Slam Academy (an Ableton Certified Training Center and multimedia art and music studio). Ableton released of the version 10 software on February 6th, 2018.

Many enthusiasts gathered at the brew house to check out all the new features that have been introduced to Live, including four new devices called Wavetable (synthesizer), Echo (delay), Drum Buss (shape the sound of your drums), and Pedal (character of analog stomp boxes).  The new Capture feature allows you to put your spontaneous ideas together without having to press record.  You can also edit multiple MIDI clips in tandem to take better control of your song.  Overall, the interface has been updated to have cleaner and sharper graphics and colors, in addition to countless more improvements.  All of these new Live updates bring new functionality to Push (hardware instrument specifically for Live), like melodic step sequencing and advanced visualization to see everything in rich detail.

“Our partnership with Ableton allows us to stay on top of the latest advancements and upgrades and to provide our music community with the highest level of instruction on the most relevant tools to today’s producers” says Slam Academy Founder and ACT, Dr. J Anthony Allen.  

There’s really no better way to fuel your creativity than by interacting with individuals who share your interests.  Also in attendance and providing his wealth of knowledge was Ableton Certified Trainer and Slam Academy co-Founder, James Patrick.  

With three Ableton Certified Trainers on its faculty and over 35 years of collective teaching experience, Slam Academy has quickly become the premiere destination for learning Ableton Live in the Midwest.  All Users Groups in Minneapolis feature local guest artists and Certified Trainers from the area. Slam Academy is also the home of many dedicated Ableton courses, and the only official and listed Max for Live institution in Minnesota.  Slam Academy is also an Ableton Retailer.

We got you curious?  Come to our next Open House on Saturday, March 10th, to experience it all.  Our friendly staff will provide you with the information you need to help get you in the right direction for your music and digital technology endeavors.

Ableton Live Program start dates for 2018 are March 8th, May 7th, August 30th, and November 5th.  Classes meet once a week, and you can choose your start time at either 11am or 7pm depending on your schedule.  

You live far away from Slam Academy?  Or would like remote training because you are on the go?  We got you.  We offer our Ableton Live Program online!  Our Ableton Live Online Program is a six-month plan designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of this powerful and versatile tool. It’s available to start whenever you like.

 

Upcoming Free Ableton Classes @ Slam Academy:

Intro to Ableton Live – Monday, April 23 @ 11am
Intro to Ableton Live – Monday, April 23 @ 7pm

Intro to Ableton Live – Thurs. August 23 @ 11am
Intro to Ableton Live – Thurs. August 23 @ 7pm

Intro to Ableton Live – Monday, Oct 29 @ 11am
Intro to Ableton Live – Monday, Oct 29 @ 7pm

5 Great Reasons to Attend an Open House

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… Even if you’re not ready to invest

Pursuing the right school to attend can be stressful at times.  It can take a lot of research time to find that perfect place to learn, but before you dismiss that school you think is too expensive you owe it to yourself to take a look.  Why? Because it’s fun and you might find out something you didn’t know.  Once you tour all of the schools you would consider, you will find it easier to make a decision of which one is right for you.  

Reason No. 1 : Learn about how much you can invest in your education

What you can afford to buy plays an important factor in your decision.  Sometimes you don’t always figure that out until you are deep into the process.  Attending an open house allows you to get a realistic expectation of how much you need to budget.  Typically there is a staff member that is trained in helping students with information on how to pay for school.  It’s also an opportunity to get advice on scholarships that may be available.  Be clear about your intentions and if you are not a serious buyer, then say so.

Reason No. 2 : See the school in action and learn from the crowd

Open houses present an opportunity to see students train, meet staff members and get a sense of the culture.  Be alert to whether the tour guide or staff member engages you when you first come in, and pay attention to how others acknowledge you.  This plays an important role on how you would be treated as a student.  It allows you get face-to-face time with the students and staff.  Bring your tough questions to ask!  Be sure your tour guide is knowledgeable and genuinely interested in you, your story and your goals.

Reason No. 3 : Learn about your needs

Sometimes buyers are not sure what they want or are looking for, so understanding what you want to gain and benefit is important.  You would be very surprised what you gravitate toward when you start looking around.  You may see something you have never seen before and it changes your perspective. Open houses help you to learn about the layouts and amenities provided.  This will contribute to defining what you need to get you where you want to go.

Reason No. 4 : Touch the stuff and get to know the competition

 Take the time to research as many “like” schools as you can to understand the difference between them.  Check out all of the rooms, look at the equipment and technology and overall care put in to the facility.  It’s like buying a car and looking under the hood to make sure all the parts are working.  It’s crucial that your investment will give you the training you need on the “latest and greatest” technology.

Reason No. 5 : Get a feel for the neighborhood

Is the school located in an area where job opportunities are nearby?  Is the neighborhood buzzing with excitement?  Are you looking for housing near your school of choice?  You’ll get a sense right away if the location will benefit your living needs.  And it will give you a chance to see other nearby businesses.  

 

Every 2 months, Slam Academy opens its doors to students that are interested in its programs.  Get registered today: Open House March 10, 2018  3-5pm

Also on March 10th, Slam Academy will be hosting a free 2-hour introduction class to electronic music.
Get registered today:
Intro to Electronic Music March 10, 2018 1-3pm

Details
March 10, 2018 3-5pm
Public Event
https://slamacademy.com
Slam Academy – 1121 Jackson Street NE, Ste. 142, Minneapolis, MN
(612) 293-7526

Slam Staffer Teaches Beats By Girlz

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Slam Academy staff member, Tanya Lano, taught a successful first day of class for the Beats By Girlz Ableton Series 1 on February 3, 2018 hosted at Slam Academy and supported by Beats By Girlz – Minnesota Chapter, She Rock She Rock and Ableton.

 

Beats By Girlz is a non-traditional, creative and educational music technology curriculum, collective and community template designed to empower students to engage with music technology.  It was developed and written by Associate Professor at The Berklee College of Music, Erin Barra-Jean.  

 

Slam Academy proudly supports Beats By Girlz, knowing that electronic music can be a male-dominated field.  To encourage more women to feel at home in this artform and explore electronic music Slam offers a scholarship called the Beats By Girlz scholarship.


Tanya joined the Slam Academy team in Fall 2017 as their Recruitment Specialist.  She supports the students at Slam Academy by providing information and helping them make educational decisions.  She is a role model by being an active member in the electronic music community as a DJ, producer, label owner and teacher.