POSTED ON – 20.06.16

SSR London - An Interview with Mat McKinley
An Interview with Mat McKinley
Ahead of our next Composition for the Modern Producer 2 day short course, we sat down with course creator Mat McKinley to discuss the ethos behind the course, its aims and objectives, and what people can expect to learn during the sessions.

Composition for the Modern Producer (CMP) is packed full of inspiring demonstrations and pioneering learning systems. You’ll leave SSR feeling inspired and armed with some impressive creative skills. We’ll even highlight the most important aspects in a dedicated interactive workbook that is exclusive to this course.

Hi Mat – As the tutor and creator of this course can you tell us what people can expect during the two days?
Hi SSR, and firstly can I just say thanks for supporting this course and for welcoming us into your fabulous facilities - I’m really looking forward to it!

The main ethos for this course is to provide truly valuable skills, knowledge and tips for people looking to get into more advanced areas of music production, composition and music theory. Anyone can write music these days but many people find music theory is hard or beyond their comprehension – this course is designed to make the theory side of composition more accessible and to break down some of the jargon and technicality that can sometimes be a bit daunting when you’re starting out.

Is the course for complete beginners or for those with some existing knowledge and skills?
If you are completely brand new to music production then maybe the course isn’t for you, but it’s definitely for people who have been dabbling at making tracks using a DAW like Logic or Ableton and who may struggle to unleash their creativity or get past the ‘ideas and loops’ stage of production. However, it’s also for people who consider themselves a decent producer already and who want to delve into the more theoretical aspects of making music.

So is the course mainly theory based?

It is theory based, but that theory is learnt in a practical, hands on way. Learning, understanding and appreciating music cannot be presented in a dry format; it has to be immersive, positive and fun. The CMP course is an intensive weekend jam packed with goodies that will really benefit those who want to be creative. There will be motivational presentations, demos and group games and challenges. A fun and dynamic approach makes it easier to grasp what are normally seen as challenging topics. I try to put the enjoyment back into learning music.

Not a standard music production course then?

Not at all! This is a unique take on the fundamental aspects of music theory that will enable anyone to get to grips with being able to write their own music using their favourite DAW. The art of music creativity is not just about knowledge – it’s how you process that knowledge that counts – The brain is an amazing piece of kit, there is a lot to tap into, if you know how. I use elements of psychology and proven cognitive techniques which produce very effective learning strategies that will last way beyond the classroom.

How much can people realistically expect to learn in just 2 days?

The techniques that I have developed allow the basics, and much more, to be understood within two days and with maximum impact. For example a solid keyboard technique will be explained to maximise the potential of scales, melodic patterns, formulae, chords and inversions, progressions, beats and loads more. In addition we will cover drum programming, bass programming, groove, rhythm, voicing techniques and more.

Everyone who attends the course will also receive a 100 page workbook containing the essential elements from the course and comprising specific Evaluators to help remember key points.

Can you tell us how you came to design your own course?

I hated music at school and was also bored by private piano lessons. I found I learnt nothing as I didn’t resonate with the system. So I totally understand the frustrations that people have as a result of similar inadequate or sterile experiences, and, I know how to put them right! That’s why I created this course. I am a highly energised individual with an absolute passion for igniting the creative spark that resides in all of us.

Every single part of the course has been designed to be inspirational. But, there is no point being a great musician or writer if you can’t translate your experiences and knowledge into a format that people can understand. Not only have I used my own techniques to create music in pressurised real world studio environments, I have literally thousands of hours of experience in relating my theories and techniques to beginner, intermediate and advanced level students. I know what works and how to explain it effectively.

How would you say people benefit from attending the CMP course?

Being a great producer of music is not just about tech, plug-ins and gear. It’s about pushing boundaries within yourself, exploring new musical dimensions, setting the bar higher, learning from your mistakes and not being afraid to make a mistake in the learning process. In order to understand certain elements, I venture outside the realm of music. Using non music examples that everyone can relate to in order to understand a particular topic greatly aids comprehension when the context is brought back into a musical one.

Music empowers those who know how to use it. Not only that, it is immensely pleasing on a personal level. It’s a stress buster, and playing the keys, or any instrument, is a worthwhile skill to pursue as it opens up another side of your personality and is very rewarding on many levels. This course opens peoples’ ears and minds to want to learn more, to be open to realms and styles outside of what they normally listen to. By attending this course, you will learn new a language involving different forms of vocabulary from which you can draw into your own work, regardless of genre.

Do you think everyone has an untapped potential to be much better than they believe possible?
I am absolutely certain of it. I have experienced this on a personal level and am constantly reminded of it through the course feedback that I receive on a regular basis. No matter what path we choose in life, we need to see tangible objectives, we need other people to help energise us and to assist us in unlocking specific doors to achieve those objectives. The doors are already there, but most people walk straight past without realising. In a way, you could say that I guide people to the right doors – I save them from opening the ones that lead to empty rooms!

It sounds a terrible cliché I know, but once you have the keys to the right doors, and you leave them open, you will create a free flowing passage which can allow you to become truly empowered.


Thank you to Mat for answering our questions!

For further information on the course, start dates and to apply online, please click here.

To contact Mat directly, view more testimonials* about his methods or find out about any of his other unique music production learning experiences, please visit his Hotwired Music website.

*The testimonial quotes featured on this page were sourced here.
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