When I were a lad, we didn’t have this new fangled inter web thing. We barely had electricity back in t’olden days. If only I’d had a way to give my DJ skills a helping hand, then they might not be so poor today. Instead I had to try to emulate Jazzy Jeff’s skills from records and subsequently break many line switches on my old Radio Shack mixer. But now, the entire world can get a helping hand (or should that be fingers?) from Jeff himself and many others via MELODICS, an all new way of learning the new skill of finger drumming.
If you’ve been wondering what Sam Gribben. former CEO of Serato has been up to… it’s this. And his many years of hanging out with DJ and producer VIPs has given him quite the talent pool to choose from as this lengthy slab of PR shows:
Introducing MELODICS, the Ultimate Tool to Build your Pad Drumming Skills
Auckland, New Zealand, October 12, 2015 – Electronic musicians have an exciting new tech tool at their fingertips.
Created by former Serato CEO Sam Gribben, MELODICS is a new product developed in partnership with iconic artists to teach DJs, producers and musicians the art of pad drumming.
“Melodics is part game, part beatmaking software,” says Gribben. “It’s a fun and addictive app that adapts to your abilities and musical taste to help you get better at pad drumming, faster.”
If you’re a fan of electronically-flavoured music, you’ll likely be familiar with the concept of pad drumming, which is also known as finger drumming or cue point drumming. It has become an essential tool for DJs, producers, beatmakers and musicians — in the studio and on stage.
And drum pads are used by everyone from indie-electro band CHVRCHES to pad-drum protege and member of The Roots, Jeremy Ellis.
Yet pad drumming is hard to learn, and even harder to perfect. Gribben says Melodics changes all that by taking the musician through step-by-step lessons, starting with simple patterns and building up to more complex structures. Many of these lessons have been created by industry icons such as Gaslamp Killer and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“The real beauty of Melodics is that it listens to how you play, and gives you instant visual feedback on your timing and accuracy. It also learns as you play, and after going through some of the basics, it suggests lessons to help hone your talents further,” says Gribben.
Learn from the best
Grammy winner DJ Jazzy Jeff is working on turning some exclusive tracks into lessons. “Melodics is really dope!” he says. “It’s a cool way to learn to play beats and a great way to sharpen your skills.”
Even the pros are using Melodics to practice. World renowned DJ and producer Gaslamp Killer is going to use Melodics to help him prepare for live shows.
“There are parts of my sets that I really want to add cue drumming to,” he says. “But I need to practice in the studio before I’m ready to bring it live. Melodics is such a great way to train.”
As well as Gaslamp Killer and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Melodics is working with a number of other well- known artists to create lessons, meaning you can learn to play tracks from the likes of Nick Hook, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Jeremy Ellis.
“My family has been teaching and performing music for 100 years, and the idea of continuing that lineage into modern technology has always been a part of what moves me,” says Ellis. “Melodics is a fantastic format for artists and teachers to create amazing lessons that actually feel like games. I can’t wait to get to work making a course for these guys!”
Partnering with leading hardware brands
Melodics has teamed up with manufacturers of many of the major brands of pad controllers, and will soon be offering additional exclusive content to owners of select controllers from Ableton, Akai, Korg, Novation, Numark, Pioneer DJ and more.
“Melodics is an amazing product for people who own Push,” says Gerhard Behles, CEO of Ableton. “If you want to really develop your ability to play beats, bass lines and melodies with Push, Melodics is a great way to practice. Musicians know that practice is the key to success, and the magic of Melodics is that you can get lost in it, you’re practicing without even thinking about it. We’re very excited to be in partnership with Melodics.”
For a full list of supported devices, visit www.melodics.com. This list will be continuously added to, and mappings for new hardware can be added manually.
That’s the story. Now for a little more detail:
What is Melodics?
Melodics is a learning tool that is part game, part beatmaking software. It is a desktop app that adapts to your ability and taste, to make mastering pad drumming easy and fun. Melodics is a subscription service with over 100 lessons, each broken down into steps. It’s free to download and try the first 20 lessons. Subscribing unlocks access to all content, including lessons made by major international artists, with new tracks added every week.
The Team Behind Melodics
Melodics was founded in 2014 by Sam Gribben, the former CEO of Serato. “I had drum machines and pad controllers for years, and it frustrated me how hard it was to learn new patterns and beats. I’ve watched tons of videos from expert pad drummers, but it always felt so hard to develop the dexterity and muscle memory you need. Melodics makes that easier.”
David Lines, deputy head of the University of Auckland Music Department, is Melodics’ music education expert. “I know that even at a college level, so many students struggle to do the practice that is needed to develop mastery,” David says. “The pad controller is a great platform to work with. It’s easy to get started, but at the same time, you need real musical skills to master it. Independence, syncopation, polyrhythm – they all come into play in the harder lessons in Melodics.”
How does it work?
Lessons are broken down into steps, starting with simple patterns and layering up to more complex structures. Melodics caters to a wide range of abilities, from basic beats to complete tracks with full arrangements and multiple instruments.
Melodics listens to how you play, and gives you instant visual feedback on your timing and accuracy. Melodics learns as you play, and after going through some of the basics, it suggests lessons that, over time, become more tailored to your ability and taste.
Who is it for?
If you’ve ever wanted to play drums, make beats or enhance to your performance skills, then Melodics is for you. A computer keyboard can be used, but we recommend a pad controller for the very best experience!
Why pad drumming?
As a product category, pad controllers have exploded in recent years, and pads are becoming the norm on a wide range of controllers, from straight up pad grids, to midi keyboards and DJ controllers. Cue point drumming is becoming an essential skill for performance DJs. YouTube views for pad drumming videos are in the hundreds of millions, yet it’s really hard to learn how to do it.
Pricing and availability
Melodics is a free download and comes with over 20 lessons that you can play for free, forever. For access to premium artists lessons, and new content each week, subscribe to Melodics at the special introductory price of US$9.99 per month.
Melodics runs on Mac OS X 10.9 and above and is coming soon for Windows 7 and above. While a midi pad controller is recommended, it is not essential.
IN A NUTSHELL
Via downloadable content, Melodics delivers finger drumming lessons from the best in the game. If you like the 20 free lessons, then it’s a subscription model that’ll cost you $9.99 a month for the full raw fingered glory. And if you own particular controllers, you’ll be able to get lessons specifically tailored for that hardware too.
I don’t know about you, but I consider myself to be pretty handy in smashing my fingers on things to knock out a decent beat. You should hear my ragga jungle licks. But when it comes to formulating actual patterns with samples on pads, it’s a completely different story. I may as well be using boxing gloves. So Melodics will be good for me to try out, if only to make sense of what my fingers should be doing.
On the wider note of online training — we’ve all seen the glossy promos put out by manufacturers for their latest pro toys. It usually involves wheeling in some impossibly skilled artist to do an impossibly brilliant routine, leaving the viewer with the daunting task of achieving the seemingly impossible. And if you’ve ever watched a Jeremy Ellis or Arabmuzik performance in full flow, this is truer than ever. No post filters needed — it’s all a blur. Ideally they should all be shot in slo mo, so that the budding finger drummer watching has a cat in hell’s chance of working out what’s happening.
And this is what I like about Melodics — it addresses this, and introduces the skill of pad drumming (am I alone in calling it finger drumming?) in bite sized pieces, and breaks it down slowly, with stages and progression. And it helps that your tutors are the likes of Jazzy Jeff too.