The Course



Overview

Songzap is the world’s most powerful, yet simple, piece of software for recording music. We built it to help people learn about songwriting and the skills involved in recording demo songs. Songzap is therefore a perfect piece of technology to introduce to music students of all levels. There are a huge number of benefits to musicians using recording technologies as they develop their performance and compositional skills. For example, music recording technologies help musicians to:

  • Reflect on their performances and identify areas for improvement
  • Get proficient at performing to a specific tempo and click or rhythm track
  • Learn how to compliment other instruments and performances with musical layers
  • Develop songwriting skills and reflect on their compositions
  • Create their own demo recordings for sharing with collaborators, press and fans
  • Prepare for the pro-recording studio and learn to collaborate with studio engineers and producers

But recording studio software often has a steep learning curve and needs some specialist hardware to be bought, too. This is where Songzap is different to what you may have seen before; using the iPhone microphone, Songzap is a simple yet powerful multitrack recording package that any musician at any level can get to grips with!

Scope

We’ve put together this six-part course to help introduce simple multitrack recording and demo production experiences to musicians. Indeed, many established musicians and music producers (notably, Brian Eno) regard the recording studio as a ‘musical instrument’ in its own right, because the creative opportunities for a musician expand greatly when recording and production is introduced. So, this course is very much creatively focused, but also touches on the most essential technical aspects that relate to music and sound recording. During the course, you will learn the basics of the following topics:

  • Benefits and opportunities for musicians who experiment with music recording
  • Microphones and music recording software
  • Programming drum beats and exploring drum beat sounds, notation and genres
  • Recording vocals to a beat or backing track
  • Multitrack and layered recordings of musical instruments
  • Mixing recordings with reverb, equalisation, compression, panning and gain control
  • Song arrangements and the craft of songwriting
  • Rendering a multitrack recording to a single shareable mix file
  • Exporting audio and MIDI data for use with professional audio production software
  • Preparing for a session in a professional recording studio 

There are many other sub-topics and extension topics covered, and where necessary we’ll point you to further materials or resources that can help take your learning further along a particular line of interest.

Prerequisites

To take this course, you need very little musical knowledge or ability. An interest in creating, performing or recording music is required, though you may find that even if you have no interest in music tech, you’ll soon become invigorated by the power of making music with technology such as Songzap.

It’s valuable if you can play a musical instrument or are interested in singing or rapping. If you can perform parts of a known song on various instruments such as guitar, piano, strings, woodwind or voice, then some incredible music production results can be achieved with very little effort. If you have an interest in drums or percussion you’ll enjoy the drum programming aspects of Songzap, and it is possible to make hybrid programmed and recorded percussion songs, too.

Songzap runs on iPad, iPhone and Apple Silicon equipped Macbooks and desktop Macs, so a number of these devices are required for you to follow the course. The basic version of Songzap (on which most of this course is built on) is free on the Apple App Store. It is also possible to acquire a number of Songzap licenses with an educational discount for institutions that are registered with the Apple Education Programme. Music teachers who are interested in using Songzap in the classroom can contact us to enquire about licences, and acquire the formal Course Handbook and supporting resources.

Course content

Lesson 1

Introduction: Songwriting and recording

  • Getting started with Songzap
  • The elements of song creation
  • Values of recording music
  • Musical collaboration

Lesson 2

Crafting drum beats and recording to a groove

  • Reviewing Songzap’s Groove Designer
  • Crafting beats
  • The value of rhythmic practice
  • Recording to a beat

Lesson 3

Layering parts and multitrack recording

  • Concepts of multitrack recording
  • Exploring Songzap’s Tracking page
  • The value of layering and recording practice
  • Recording multitrack layers (and importing a backing track)

Lesson 4

Crafting structure: arrangement and composition

  • Song arrangement and analysis
  • Exploring Songzap’s Arrange page
  • Elements of structure: rhythm, harmony and instrumentation
  • Arranging a song with Songzap

Lesson 5

Shaping the sound and pre-production/mixing

  • Exploring Songzap’s Mixer
  • Elements of a mix
  • Mixing a multitrack song
  • Bouncing down and sharing

Lesson 6

Exporting, sharing and collaboration

  • From demo to studio (… to release)
  • The studio workflow and personnel
  • Exporting Songzap data to a DAW
  • What’s next?