Audio School Online – Keyboard For Beatmakers Review
Keyboard For Beatmakers is the newest addition to Ken Lewis’ Audio School Online library of music tutorials. This tutorial is geared towards beginners, explaining music theory in its most basic form so that beatmakers can overcome their fear of the keyboard, and learn to add their own music to beats rather than relying on nothing but samples. Keyboard For Beatmakers runs 57 minutes long, covering a wide range of topics that will help viewers become comfortable with chords, melodies, layering sounds, transposition, and more.
For those out of the loop, Ken Lewis certainly knows his stuff. He’s a 12-time Grammy winner, with 71 Platinum and Gold records and 56 number 1 hits on the Billboard charts. For a producer with such a pedigree, I was happy to find that Ken comes across as friendly, down to earth, and eager to help others pursue their passion of music. It’s great to see someone on his level stay humble, and it makes watching Keyboard For Beatmakers that much more enjoyable.
At the outset of Keyboard For Beatmakers, Ken Lewis simply opens up his DAW (Logic, but his methods apply to any DAW) and imports a simple trap beat. He explains the C Major scale and how if you’re a beginner, staying on the white keys is probably a good idea, as just about any white key you press will work. Ken then creates a few chords over the beat, and goes on to copy the chords and transpose them, adding layers of various synths to complement the sound. He then shows us how to add a bass line by figuring out the root note of each chord, as well as how to add a melody lead over the progression. He also takes the time to explain the differences between certain synth patches, such as mono patches and patches with a portamento, or glide, functionality.
The Keyboard For Beatmakers video lesson has a personal feel to it, as if you’re sitting there in a room with Ken as he walks you through the basics of music composition. There are two camera angles used throughout – one above his keyboard to see what notes he is playing, and another a few feet from his work desk.
Of course, there’s also a constant recording of his screen capture to give viewers an idea of what Ken’s doing inside his DAW. I found Ken’s dry sense of humor really added to the lesson, as he was constantly making fun of sound patches he selected, while knocking his own keyboard skills. He constantly reaffirms that he’s not trying to make a Beyonce-level track, just teaching the basics and laying down whatever’s popping into his head at the moment. I thought this was important to demonstrate, as even a producer as accomplished as Ken doesn’t have magic flowing from his brain 24/7. Learning the rudimentary skills, however, will come in handy when creativity strikes.
As far as I could tell, there is no editing in this video at all – it’s just as if you were in an hour-long Skype session with him. That’s one of the only downsides to this tutorial – there are a few times when Ken is kind of fumbling through folders of patches trying to find something, and then he just gives up and moves on to something else. A little bit of editing would have made the lesson feel more focused and streamlined.
Overall, Ken Lewis’ Keyboard For Beatmakers is a fantastic tutorial for novice beatmakers, with a lot of valuable knowledge packed into its relatively short runtime. Ken manages to explain things in a manner that is easy to understand and implement into your own productions – I had no trouble following along on my keyboard and absorbing all the info, even as it moved at a relatively brisk pace. At just $14.99, Keyboard For Beatmakers is an invaluable asset for those just embarking on their beatmaking journey, and one they will likely return to regularly to brush up on the fundamentals of music theory. You can purchase Keyboard For Beatmakers now at Audio School Online’s website.