A Bump In The Road – Blog Post #2

Already time for the next blog post? Two meetings have already gone by, and a lot has happened in between. To start with, the first meeting was a huge success! Anja and I started off by talking about the general plan for the next few months, what skills I would be learning, and what I hope to accomplish by the end. I already knew Anja before she accepted the mentorship, but right away I could tell that I would have tons of fun with this project. Anja has a sweet, understanding, and patient personality, and explains information in a really clear way. After a brief introduction, we got right into the basics of music production. Anja had dropped off a bunch of equipment for me to borrow (which was really kind of her!) and showed me how to navigate it all. The equipment included a condenser microphone and mic stand, a pop filter, her old audio interface, and a bunch of chords to connect everything. After explaining the functions behind all the knobs and buttons on all the equipment, she began to share her screen and navigate the basics of Pro Tools First! Anja explained a lot of music terminology and how to apply it to the software and gave me a tour of many of the different buttons and settings to begin using the program. Throughout the entire call I made sure to take notes and ask questions when I was confused. However, there was little need to ask questions since she explained everything so well! By the end of the meeting, I was fully prepared to begin setting up my equipment with the program on my own. However, this is when things began to go downhill. Shortly after the call, I wanted to hook up the interface to Pro Tools First on my computer. However, the drop-down box where I was supposed to set up the interface wasn’t there. I did a lot of research online to try and figure out how to fix this issue, but only found over-complicated and unclear Reddit posts. I texted Anja about my situation and posted about my problem online in hopes of finding someone who could help me. A few days later, Anja sends me a message explaining that she spoke to her professor, and he said that the reason I wasn’t able to hook up the interface was that the interface was too old. Anja was very apologetic about this, but I assured her it was no big deal. The only solution would be for me to get a new interface, which I was more than happy to do. This would mean I could have my own interface to keep and use for a long time in the future. I spoke to my parents about buying an interface, spoke to Anja about which model to get, and before long I had an interface of my very own. I tried setting up my equipment again, and low and behold, at all worked perfectly! This was just in time for our second meeting, where Anja gave me an in-depth lesson on sample rate and bit-depth. I also learned about EQ, and how to use it as a tool to make audio sound nice and clear. After this meeting, I was able to practice what I had learned on my own with ease.

In terms of the lessons in the book, “How To Have a Beautiful Mind,” it was a bit difficult to apply all aspects of the written chapters in conversations with my mentor. Every two weeks when I meet with Anja over Zoom, she checks in with my progress briefly before delving right into a lecture-like lesson where she teachers me new skills and shows me how to use tools for music production. There is not much I can disagree or differ with during our meetings, since I know very little about the subject and she is an expert. Every now and then she will make sure I am understanding the content and ask if I have any questions. I will speak up if I am confused about anything, and respectfully ask for clarification, but there is nothing I could ‘disagree’ with her teachings. Conversations with my mentor and far from a debate, and more of a one-on-one lesson where I absorb a lot of information. However, I’m sure once I get more comfortable with using Pro Tools and am able to take on more creative liberty with this project, there will be more room for discussion and applying the concepts covered in the book. Anja does a really great job of keeping positive energy throughout all of our meetings so far, and we’ve been able to communicate effectively in our lessons. I can’t wait to post the next update!

An image of Anja teaching me EQ in Pro Tools.

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