Alma Ernst is a music industry professional with over 30 years experience as a booking agent, artist manager, promoter, and label owner. She's worked with Daft Punk, Matthew Herbert, Âme, Moodyman, Daniel Bell, Theo Parrish, Todd Terje, Robert Henke, Kink, DJ Deep, Perel, Metro Area, Kenny Larkin, Joe Claussel, and many more.
In this masterclass Alma will guide you through the common and unique challenges faced by electronic artists today including career choices, contracting, logistics, networking, and business relations.
This course is for upcoming artists getting a foothold in the music industry as well as artists who would like to understand the value their agency or manager could (and should) be providing.
4 x 1,5 hours group sessions taking place every Wednesday
Interactive live video format, including presentations, exercises and real-life cases
Exploring a different topics and guiding you through the common and unique challenges faced by electronic artists today
Every session concludes with a Q&A and opportunity for participation
Access to our community, with exclusive materials all year round *
Introduction - Group Session - January 5th 2022 ; 18h CET
Handout - Interview with Ryan Smith: Booking Agent Artist Liaison
- Hardware set up, cabling and workflow
- Software set up and configuration
- Analog synths, drum modules and drum machines
- Effect units and Pedals
- Hardware vs. Software
- Preamps and Converters
- “Real“ instruments
- Some thoughts about monitors and acoustics
- What is playing live?
- From pure improve to live playback
- Alone or together?
- Content that isn’t music
- Setting up a studio: what is important to know
- What does a studio represent to us?
- Listening position
- Home studio, considerations, pros and cons
- Introduction to my music production workflow. Hardware and digital configuration, my instruments, DAW, effects
- AD/DA conversion, sound card
- Matching the signals, avoiding ground loop, latency issues
- The introduction is an extra session to the complete programme,
it is not mandatary to attend. However this is where you will get the opportunity to introduce
yourself to the group and hear a little about the other participants. Sebastian will also go
over some frameworks for the course, these will also be emailed to everyone after the session.
Frank will talk you through his studio set up, what decisions lead him to his current set up. Specific talk about several topics such as cabling, workflow, software and hardware and “real instruments” and acoustics.
Erika will introduce the course and platform, share with you her experience and background, and discuss the concept of making live music.
Neel will talk you through his studio, explaining how it evolved over the years, what does the studio represent in his life and what decisions lead him to his current setup. In this session we will have specific talks on different topics such as the importance of our listening environment, speaker positions, hardware and digital setup, AD/DA conversion.
Meet your instructor Alma. In your first session you'll get to know her background in the music industry and take a first look at how her expertise can help to advance your music career. She will also get to know you better and understand your current status as an Artist.
Session 1: Career Planning - Group Session - January 12th 2022 ; 18h CET
Financial aspects of bookings
Handouts - tools for reaching out to agents
- Improvisation is to listen; what is listening?
- Sebastian's approach to improvisation
- Similarities between improvisation and meditation.
- Improvisation; the creative expression
- Improvisation; openness and awareness
- The importance of improvisation - healing and acceptance
- Different improvisation exercises
- Improvisation with Circle of Live
- Let improvisation flow into your general life; Is improvisation our natural expression?
- How to start creating a song
- How to start a remix
- Some tricks I use
- Finding ideas through experimenting
- Recording a good signal
- Jamming in the studio
- Sound Design
- Synthesizers & drum machines
- Recorded sound
- Looping & live playing
- The importance of having a ready-to-go setup (are you able to quickly record a musical idea?)
- How to get inspired when we feel we are not
- How to make the sound we have in mind
- Exploiting the most from our instruments, the importance of limiting and disciplining ourselves
- Experimenting with tools (Unconventional ways of making sounds)
- Making movement in a sound (How to avoid flattened sounds)
- Hardware synthetisers and drum machines; which ones do I use the most and why I love them.
Improvisation as the core of Sebastian's approach to music, a philosophical introduction to the concept and its importance to tapping into your creativity.
We look at improvisation & creativity as something innate within human nature:
Frank will discuss the different mechanisms (pre-sets, tools, tricks) that he uses to help him improvise, capture valuable moments, condense the material, arrange his ideas, and finishing a song.
During these 3 gear sessions, Erika will walk you through her setup, discuss the roles that different machines play, and show how they work together. She will also address options and ideas beyond her current build, and provide a framework for planning your setup to keep track of cabling and connections.
The second session will be focused on different aspects of music production. Neel will show you his approach to music creation, the different techniques he uses and how his setup is important for his workflow. Moreover, he will talk you through his inspirations, methods and expressive intentions that lead him into making music.
Success in the music industry requires a pragmatic approach to creativity. Learn how to estimate your value, what to consider when approaching an agency, and how best to utilise social media and your creative output.
Session 2: Strategy - Group Session - January 19th 2022 ; 18h CET
- Improvising alone vs with others
- Openness / inspire & get inspired
- Different collaborations / unlocking different things.
- Invite / sharing your ideas
- Temporary roles
- Non violent communication
- Planning a live set and initial thoughts
- What equipment I use and why I choose it
- Bringing your own gear vs. renting
- Centerpieces: Computer and Mixing desk
- My workflow on stage
- About travelling with gear
- Electricity: powering your gear at home and on stage
- Power cabling
- Keeping time with MIDI sync, clock & transport
- Playing music with MIDI channels, notes, PC and CC
- Backup, restore and update with MIDI SYSEX
- MIDI & CV cabling
- What does mixing mean, what is your final goal
- How to start a mixdown, how to prepare yourself for a mixdown
- Mixing fundamentals, principles and tools that will always be valid
- Different ranges of frequencies, how to make the best choices and find the right balance
- Dynamic processing: how to treat your sound properly
- Spatialisation: the importance of creating a sound's image and its depth
- Differences between an analog and digital mixdown, & the power of combining the two
- Final test, master chain, general considerations and tips
The topic of improvisation naturally leads to the idea of collaborations, their role in the creative process (and of improvisation), listening and paying attention to other artists.
In the first session of the second week. Frank will lead you through his live-set-up. When you have watched this video, he will go into further details on the set-up, introduce you to his workflow on stage and answer further questions you may have.
In the second gear session, Erika will show you how to connect your instruments with MIDI and CV, and discuss the intricacies of sync, programming and control. She will also explain power and electricity, to keep your gear safe at home and on the road.
This session will be entirely focused on mixing concepts and techniques. Neel will treat this key topic from both theoretical and practical sides. He will share his experience in the field with tips and demonstrations, and help you with any doubts or questions.
In this session Alma digs deeper into the structure, agenda, and priorities of booking request. Understand how and when to pitch to festivals, who to involve in the process and what to expect of them, as well as developing the intuition to navigate these challenges confidently.
Session 3: Performance - Group Session - January 26th; 18h CET
- Different meditation techniques and exercises.
- Daily practice / retreat
- Meditation - non state
- Reminding, not teaching. presence is not something you learn, it's you!
- The natural expression of the wild
- Just be in nature, no activity.
- Different exercises in nature.
- Song selection
- How i create a live version of a song
- Jamming and improvisation
- Reacting on problems, dropouts etc
- Attaching to the room and audience
- Respecting the people playing with you
- Using computers for jamming and live performance
- Considerations for taking a laptop on stage vs using a computer in your studio
- Review different styles of mixers
- Choosing a mixer for studio and for live
- Audio cabling: different cable types and making the right connections
- Gain staging
- What is important to understand when you listen to someone's music. What is the purpose of a mastering engineer.
- Critical listening: why it is a main step of the mastering process
- Enisslab: The beginnings, how Neel built it's identity and improved it
- Being a music producer and a mastering engineer at the same time: the challenges and benefits
- Outboards and plugins: my setup
- What is the difference between a professional mastering and a self made/software/algorithms mastering
- How to understand the right hardware or plugins to use for our purpose
- Mastering chain. Aspects to consider.
- Multiband compressing: what it is and why is it used on mastering.
- Loudness protocols
- Differences between digital, vinyl/tape and streaming platforms
Discover how reconnecting with nature and meditation can be used as tools to unlock your own creativity.
In the second part of Frank’s introduction to his live-set, he will share more of his experiences on stage. He will give you background information on his approaches and solving issues on stage
In the third and final gear session, Erika will talk through using computers and audio mixers in the studio and on stage.
It's been now more than ten years that Neel started his professional activity with mastering, working and contributing to define the sound of some of the best labels and artists in the scene. This session will be fully dedicated to mastering both from the conceptual and the technical point of view. Neel will treat all the main topics of it, sharing his direct experience on field and showing some of his favourite techniques and methods of work.
Missed your flight? Reckless promoter not responding? Technical meltdown on stage? In this final session Alma will take you through the horror stories of being a touring artist and how to deal with difficult situations. You’ll learn the skills needed to be diplomatic, how to negotiate, and how to prepare for the road ahead.