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It is fitting that since the beginning of recorded time the technology behind music is the most advanced. While all genres reflect the strides made by scientists and engineers and musicians involved in music technology nothing reflects this interplay more profoundly than dance music. In the eighties, the combined software and personal computing boom instigated and a new era of digital music production. Ask yourself, would life be the same without the 808?
Dance music has transformed the music industry. What began as a subversive and (for some,) worrying movement has now been incorporated by the corporate world. Dance is now pop. The money’s flowing and while purists may frown and moan, investment and profit means that music technology continues to break new boundaries. We are now capable of doing things with sound never thought possible.
In a purely South African context dance music is a revolution. Youth radio stations play house music virtually half the day; a new breed of DJ superstars dominate the airwaves and, via dance, have become very successful. International house producers sell more records to South African audiences than to their own home crowds. Accordingly, people crave the skills to produce and entertain with electronic music. ‘Everybody wants to be a DJ…’. It didn’t take a genius to recognise the huge potential in our backyard.
Enter the Soul Candi Institute of Music. Years of working with local producers allowed Soul Candi management to hand-pick the individuals who would be best at sharing their skills with would-be producers and turntablists. SCIM is an environment where aspiring music professionals learn how to integrate new ideas; adapt to changing musical genres; and showcase their skills to an evolving community. Now in its third year, the school has successfully graduated 120 DJs and over 130 production students.
Essentially, the school offers three different types of courses: DJ courses, Production courses and Music Business courses. The DJ courses teach all the technicalities of playing using vinyl or CDs while the production courses integrate production and music theory on both beginner and advanced level.
The Beginners Production course covers the essentials of music production – a foundation for amateurs who are starting out. The curriculum revolves around learning how to use Propellerhead’s Reason combined with a theoretical component: Basic Music Theory.
The Advanced Production course is aimed more at students who are serious about production and are looking to make a career out of it. The 11 month curriculum expands on the Beginners Production Course and is split over 3 modules: Advanced Reason; Advanced Music Theory; Cubase & Sound Engineering.
The Music business course is geared towards helping young South African artists and producers understand and the various business aspects of the music industry. Unless you’re signed to credible record label already, making music and surviving is not synonymous. Knowing the ins-and-outs of intellectual property is essential. Managing and marketing music are vital skills and unfortunately downloading tutorials off the web isn’t going to cut it in the real world. Courses in entertainment law, marketing, finance and management might help.
The convergence of music and digital technology in the age of globalisation has reached tipping point. iTunes is now bigger than the global music industry. This is not the future of music— this is right here, right now. Traditional methods have been rendered virtually obsolete. Expertise is required for producers and DJs wish to reach a global spending audience. Enrolling in these courses has perks, students get the chance to submit their mixes and tracks directly to the Soul Candi Record label plus the opportunity get their tracks distributed online through different online portals via the Soul Digital division (perk number two: Students also get 5% discount on any records, equipment or software bought in the Soul Candi store).
Admittedly, these types of skills can be self taught. But, then again, so can anything really. It’s a huge advantage learning and creating in an environment where people share a passion. Receiving guidance and ‘sound’ advice from people in the industry is undeniably important. Contact The Soul Candi institute of Music on: 011 434 4902
for more information.