Music. What could be more important?
Ok, lots of things…like oxygen, water, food, family, friends etc.
But beyond those 5 base ingredients for life, you must add flavor…and music tastes fantastic, in all it’s forms.
In advertising, music plays a major role – everyone is aware how important it is across any active media. The music we use, provides a reflection of the soundtrack to our lives, either currently, or nostalgically. The message is king of course, but with the addition of the right music, the message is enhanced exponentially.
Picking the right music is an art form itself. While producing a spot, you can start to hear the music you will need in your head as you put the voices/sound effects together. You already know how it should sound, unconsciously if not consciously. You might know which styles to avoid, but not which to look for. Sometimes it’s like a carving…you whittle away the parts you don’t need to find the statue inside.
Other times you know the exact style/tempo/genre you want and you know where to find it. Those are miraculous times if not few and far between.
Then, there’s the time you can’t find anything that suits. Nothing. BUT you can hear it in your head.
That’s when original music creation comes in.
This is such a specialized talent, that when someone does emerge with it, they are coveted almost immediately…as there is a never ending amount of need for new and original music in the advertising world.
I graduated from the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College in Ontario with a group of amazing musicians, producers and audio engineers. After graduation, some of us went directly into bands, some into producing bands, others into audio for video, and some into radio commercial production (like yours truly). Very few however, went into creating original music for television and/or radio commercials. But the ones that did, are some of the most successful, with their music being broadcast in commercials all over north america and the world.
Creating original broadcast ready music is not easy. It takes years of first, knowing the basic process of recording, playing multiple instruments, creating great sounds from said instruments, mixing audio (totally different from recording), editing, treating and finally, the social skills to put that music into the world of advertising.
When we create jingles, we use an original music creator from a studio called “Hard Left Productions” http://www.hardleftproductions.net/ that is able to adapt to all genres without prejudice, create them in a very timely manner, and on top of that, able to add vocals when needed with the proper rhythm and cadence the client wants. Sometimes the process is long (a week) other times, fast (a couple days). But in all cases, a piece of beautiful and more importantly, USABLE music emerges.
This is not small. I have worked in radio production for 17 years now, and this is the first time we have had a stable flow of original music to work with.
Knowing your gear and your work flow greatly enhances your chance of making a living at creating original music. But what really helps, is experience. Write, record, mix, write, record, mix…repeat until death. It’s the only way to get to a place where your music will be accepted as you have done it.
I have been asked for advice by younger people just starting out in the industry on how to get something going, and the answer is always the same.
Just do it…start recording, making music. Even if no one is asking for it. ESPECIALLY if no one is asking for it. This will give you the chance to build up your library of music. You need this library to be big. In order for it to be good, you need to do a lot. And people can tell right away if your stuff is broadcast ready or not immediately. So create your massive library of music beds. Even if you work for someone else in a totally different field.
IF YOU DO SOMETHING, YOU ARE SOMETHING.
In other words, if you create music, you are a musician. Eventually, by the time you get great, someone will have found you and will pay you for your skills, and they will be happy to do it.