Becoming a musician just got easier

Home Archived Opinion Becoming a musician just got easier

Beatrice E. Garcia

Published: March 24 2004

Jose Tillan composed “10,000 Meters High,” a short piece of instrumental music, literally 10,000 meters high, while on a plane ride returning home from South America.

The MTV Latin American exec and songwriter couldn’t fall asleep, so he fired up his laptop and plugged in a portable keyboard and began to write. By the time the plane landed in Miami, he had a finished piece, blended with several tracks of supporting music.

Composers today, both professionals and amateurs, can write and produce music in home recording studios using versatile recording software and powerful computers. They can combine multiple tracks, mix in various instruments and even buy the rights to recordings by well-known artists to augment their music. The final product is digital music, and the sound is very, very close to studio quality.

Much of today’s dance and electronic music is created in homes or small recording studios using such software and hardware tools, experts say.

There’s powerful, but yet easy-to-use, software such as Apple Computer’s GarageBand that can get the average Joe churning out tracks of music for home movies and presentations like a wannabe OutKast.

Denver-based rocker Matthew Moon composed all the songs for his last CD on GarageBand.

Apple has hired him as a spokesman for the software, which is part of its new iLife software suite that comes installed in every new iMac computer.

There are more sophisticated applications such as Digidesign’s ProTools, which Zach Ziskin, a Fort Lauderdale singer and composer, uses to produce his music. His latest CD, “Real As The Memory,” was produced at his home studio using ProTools and a couple of other software programs.

Instead of spending $1,000 an hour in a recording studio, musicians with talent but not lots of cash can equip a home studio for a few thousand dollars.

The basics include a computer with a powerful processor (1 gigahertz or higher is best), a sound card, a big hard drive for storing music files and CD burner.

Local bands can produce most of their music themselves and go to the recording studio for the final mixing phase.

These software applications have taken a slice out the recording studios’ business.

Of course, the quality of the music produced with these programs depends on who is using them.

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