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Bringing Emotion to Beginner Piano Lessons

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to share a quick update about the brand-new course coming to the site:

As I predicted, it took about two weeks to record 50 piano lessons in Ableton, create drum arrangements, and add bass, strings, or synths to my lessons. I experimented with sampling as well, but it was often quite time-consuming and not as effective as recording the bass and drums myself.

For the bass, I used Ample Bass Upright

Ample Bass Upright

and Retrograde Bass,

Retrograde Bass

which provided extremely realistic bass sounds for my backing tracks.

For creating drum tracks, I used Tympo. I also have a Maschine Mikro MK3 for finger drumming and to achieve the most realistic drum sounds, I bought Addictive Drums 2 VSTs, and for hip hop, I purchased several Native Instruments expansions. While these tools are great, I decided to learn Tympo inside and out before moving on to creating drums with these other tools.

Tympo

I gave myself a challenge that with each track I created, I had to use at least one new technique that I hadn’t tried before. Whether it was a new way of creating drum patterns, using automation differently, or crafting bass lines with new techniques, each track required learning something new. This approach did slow me down, but it also made me very comfortable using my favorite VSTs and probably made me a better, more well-rounded musician as well. One thing is for sure – each time I finished a track, I felt like, “this is the best backing track I have ever made.”

When it came time to mix and master every single track, I applied the same mindset. With each track, I aimed to learn something new and improve by at least 1% from the last track.

For mixing, my go-to plugins were:

  • EQ: Ableton’s EQ Eight for low cuts on piano and bass, or Neutron for quickly unmasking the bass from the drums.
  • Compressor: Goodhertz Vulf Compressor on drums, and Teletronix LA-2A on the piano.
  • Saturation: Softube’s Saturation Knob, and Goodhertz Tupe.
  • Additionally, I experimented with other Goodhertz plugins like Wow Control, Tupe Wow, Megaverb, and Trem Control.

For mastering, I took a deep dive into Ozone 11, spending at least 20 hours watching tutorial videos to understand all the plugins within it. This investment paid off, as now I have created several presets and know exactly what to expect and adjust when making final tweaks to a track.

Next, I picked up my Fuji X-T4 camera and recorded all 50 lessons. The number of things that can go wrong while recording a simple lesson is crazy. I’ll make a separate post about that, because it’s funny how many times I had to rerecord these lessons due to tiny mistakes.


Right now, I’m editing all the lessons. On average, I can edit 2-3 videos per day.

Fun fact: I have around 180 videos that will eventually be condensed into 50 lessons.

I used to rely on Premiere Pro for creating lessons, but now CapCut can handle everything I need. On rare occasions, I use DaVinci Resolve for certain tasks.

Instead of just creating a general template and applying it to each lesson, I challenged myself to make each video at least 1% better, more creative, and more professional than the last. Although this slows me down again, I love the process. Each lesson is a complete artwork from beginning to end.

Despite all the fancy artwork and music, a lesson would mean nothing if it were flat, boring, and unmusical. No amount of gamification, visuals, or mixing and mastering can save a boring lesson. The problem with many absolute beginner lessons is that they lack emotion—they’re just drills to become a better pianist, but not something you’d want to listen to while reading, studying, crying, or dancing.

One of the most beautiful challenges was figuring out how to make even the simplest lesson (like teaching how to play dotted half notes) a beautiful and emotional musical experience. Otherwise, what’s the point of calling this website Sound of Emotions?

I really love these new piano exercises, but of course, you will be the ultimate judge of whether these lessons are worth your time or not. Take a listen to this lesson about rhythm patterns, and I hope you’ll hear it too—that there is something more there than just teaching the concept of dotted half notes:

David Magyel

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