MakingMusic6

The blank screen. The half-finished project. The project that wants to be done.

We talk a lot about machines and plug-ins, dials and patch cords, tools and techniques. But the reality is, the most essential moments of the process go beyond that. They’re the moments when we switch on that central technology of our brain and creativity. And, very often, they crash and require a restart.

So it’s about time to start talking about the process of how we make music – even more so when that process is in some sense inseparable from the technology we use, whether the time-tested “technology” of music tradition or the latest Max for Live patch we’ve attempted to make work in a track.

Making Music is a book published, improbably, by Ableton. Sold out in its first paper run, with digital shortly on the way, it has already proven that there’s a hunger for creative tomes that harmonize with our tech-enabled world. Making the book Making Music is a story unto itself. Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis joins CDM to explain his own experience – and what happens when he gets stuck like the rest of us.

MakingMusic5

Do you still get stuck creatively sometimes? When? Did writing this help you find any new routes out of that?

I definitely do, and I also did while writing this book, which felt very meta. At this point, though, I’ve spent so much time thinking about the causes and solutions of my creative blocks that I can almost always blame pure procrastination or laziness if I’m stuck now. If I’m not getting work done, it’s probably because I’d simply rather be doing something else. Unless I’m faced with a deadline, I’ll usually just go do the other thing for a while.

I don’t think I uncovered anything new about my own process while writing this book. For the most part, it’s just a catalog of the kinds of things I think about anyway when making music. But I do think that the act of actually putting them down on paper forced me to think about them in a more streamlined, focused way.

You come, as I do, from a training in music composition and theory. To me, a lot of that clearly informs what you’re doing here. Where did that classical training inform what’s here? Is there a translation process for people who didn’t come from that technique and language – but who might benefit from the ideas?

The most obvious place is in the chapters that are heavily devoted to music theory. I mostly just thought about stripping away everything except the absolute most essential components. When I learned harmony it was via things like four-part chorale exercises, which I think is completely unnecessary for the way electronic musicians are working today, and probably unnecessary for learning how harmony works in general. In the context of the traditional conservatory model of harmony instruction, the chapters in my book probably look too stripped down. But I’ve heard from a number of early readers that they finally “get” the concept of functional harmony for the first time, and I’d like to think this validates my approach.

Besides the theory-heavy chapters, there are a number of more abstract concepts I learned from traditional composition training, about topics like motivic development, creating variations to expand a small amount of material into something larger, etc. These ideas are general purpose enough that I think they can be presented to people who are outside of the world of classical training, and without all of the baggage that comes from also having to learn 800 years of music to be able to cite relevant examples. It’s not actually necessary to study Mozart string quartets to figure out how good melodic writing works; you can find it in Daft Punk tracks.

You say you’ve now gone from classical music to house and techno. Why that transition, what’s new about working in those idioms versus classical work – and would you say the tech has played a role in that shift for you?

Well, I don’t think it’s an open door/shut door kind of situation. I haven’t turned my back on anything, and I’m always open to writing more concert music if the project feels right. But in general, I found that I was just way more interested in what was happening in electronic music, both at a musical level and at a cultural one. I gradually started to have more and more experiences with concert music where I felt like the little kid in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”—and this was even true when listening to my own concert music, which, with a few exceptions, is mostly not very good.

I don’t think tech played a role for me as much as my realization that I wasn’t particularly interested in the interpretation layer that’s implicit in any composer/performer relationship. When you’re writing for instruments played by other people, you’re subject to their own physical and artistic wishes and limitations. You provide notated music that conveys an extremely limited amount of information and what you get back is one possible performance, filtered through those people and their instruments. In very special cases, you get back something that’s better than what you imagined. But the rest of the time, you don’t

On the other hand, I can get exactly what I want when writing music for machines. If I want to tweak a kick drum sound for nine hours, I can do that without making someone else suffer. There’s no need for me to compromise anything, ever. For me, this is a much more appealing way to spend creative time. Right now, I’m just fundamentally much more interested in the kinds of musical things machines can do than the kinds of musical things people can do. That’s not to say I don’t like to hear a great band play great music sometimes. But I’m not so interested in them playing my music.

MakingMusic7

People may be surprised that Ableton Live really isn’t ever explicitly mentioned in the book, to the point of avoiding it. But then it’s there in the images. What was Live’s role in this book?

Live is the DAW I use for my own work, so it’s naturally what I gravitated to for the screenshots. The ideas really are meant to be equipment-agnostic, although I’ve been using Live for so long that it’s hard for me to have an outsider’s sense of how much its inherent workflows have influenced the way I think about music now. I do think anyone making music with machines can get something out of this book, whether they use Live or not.

Your examples here seem to oscillate between larger theoretical ideas and, sometimes, very specific practical ideas. Sometimes they’re recipes, sometimes broader concepts. How did you approach that? How did you organize these different levels? (Oblique Strategies appears to be an influence in some ways… Fux? Rameau? Cage?)

It’s pretty unorganized, actually, or at least it was while writing. I tried to sort and order things by general concept only after finishing writing. What I did figure out fairly early on was that I wanted to segment things into the three big phases of actual work: beginning, progressing, and finishing. I think these phases have their own unique sets of problems and solutions, and it felt like they should be separated. Beyond that, things are loosely grouped based on their discussion of broad musical concepts like melody, harmony, rhythm, and form.

Oblique Strategies, of course, looms large over any project like this. But what I really wanted to do was something not at all oblique. I wanted simple, concrete problems with simple, concrete solutions; direct strategies.

It’s funny, two of the people I know who have been really good at speaking to electronic musical practice and do that for Ableton have been you and Dave Hill, Jr. (Dave’s now at iZotope) – and you’re both percussionists. Does that experience playing rhythm physically inform what you do?

For me, I guess it does, and many of the chapters are specifically about drumming concepts. One of the things I like to do in my own music is to play little rhythmic games—uneven loops, un-synced automation gestures, polyrhythms, etc. These aren’t concepts that are inherently “about” drumming, but I guess drummers tend to think about patterns and pattern relationships more than some other musicians.

I can’t speak for Dave, although certainly some of his ability to speak eloquently comes from him being a genuinely smart, thoughtful guy. He’s also a great drummer, although I have no idea how much this plays into his thinking about electronic music. I should ask him, because it’s an interesting question.

MakingMusic8

Some of these challenges are to do with theory and musicianship, some with expressing ideas with the technology. Is there a distinction between those, areas where they pull apart? Do they all blur?

At this point, it all blurs for me, although my overarching goal with this book was to write something that was decidedly not about technology. I wrote the book to address what I see as a huge imbalance between the amount of good resources available on the music side versus the technology side. There are so many tutorials about how to use tools, and so few about how to make music with them. This book is an attempt to remedy that, and I hope there will be more like it. I know there are people out there who can tackle this topic from different perspectives, and I’d love to read what they have to say.

Your day job, as it were, is support at Ableton. Tell us a little bit about what you do. And what’s your day like?

Not really support, but rather documentation. I’m not actually on the phones with customers. I write the manual and other tutorials for Live and Push, as well as helping out with some marketing writing. Sometimes I help on the product design side as well.

How did you find the time to make music while writing this book and working at Ableton?

Honestly, I barely did, which I guess calls into question whether I’m qualified to be writing a book like this at all! I did only a little bit of music in 2014. But now that the book is out, I hope to find more time for it this year.

Hope you do, too, Dennis – I want to hear it, apart from Ableton! Thanks! Check out the book here – and follow CDM on Facebook for news of when the digital edition becomes available.

https://makingmusic.ableton.com/

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  • nice interview Peter (and Dennis !)
    but I don’t feel Oblique Strategies as related to complexity but to relaxing state of simple things.

    • dennisdesantis

      Hey Julien!

      To clarify: I didn’t really mean that my ideas were simple and that the ideas in Oblique Strategies are complex, but rather that those ideas are oblique, while mine are meant to be direct. With the Oblique Strategies, you are given these kind of hazy, elegant, beautiful ideas. But they are often very vague. I was aiming for something much more utilitarian; you have problem x, here is solution x.

      • And you succeed !
        I didn’t have seen your answer here so I’m answering lately.
        Congratulations for the book. It “works” very fine !!!

        • dennisdesantis

          Cheers, thanks Julien.

  • nice interview Peter (and Dennis !)
    but I don’t feel Oblique Strategies as related to complexity but to relaxing state of simple things.

    • dennisdesantis

      Hey Julien!

      To clarify: I didn’t really mean that my ideas were simple and that the ideas in Oblique Strategies are complex, but rather that those ideas are oblique, while mine are meant to be direct. With the Oblique Strategies, you are given these kind of hazy, elegant, beautiful ideas. But they are often very vague. I was aiming for something much more utilitarian; you have problem x, here is solution x.

      • And you succeed !
        I didn’t have seen your answer here so I’m answering lately.
        Congratulations for the book. It “works” very fine !!!

        • dennisdesantis

          Cheers, thanks Julien.

  • “I can almost always blame pure procrastination or laziness if I’m stuck now. If I’m not getting work done, it’s probably because I’d simply rather be doing something else. Unless I’m faced with a deadline, I’ll usually just go do the other thing for a while.”

    Story of my life.

  • “I can almost always blame pure procrastination or laziness if I’m stuck now. If I’m not getting work done, it’s probably because I’d simply rather be doing something else. Unless I’m faced with a deadline, I’ll usually just go do the other thing for a while.”

    Story of my life.

  • André et Michèle

    Happy to have grabbed a copy from the first run!

  • André et Michèle

    Happy to have grabbed a copy from the first run!

  • David

    Cool book, but I’m anxiously awaiting a 2nd run so I can get my copy. I’m surprised at how long its taking, and also disappointed that there’s still no eBook out yet. Don’t know what the hold up is, but I hope one or both is out soon.

    • dennisdesantis

      They’re coming, I promise. The ebook will be available sooner, but both are in the works. I’m sorry for the delay. We weren’t prepared for the demand, and getting the new printing order to happen quickly has been a challenge. We’re new at this publishing thing.

      • dumafuji

        thanks for the updates and the interview. i’ve been waiting as patiently as I can for the e-version, too. i’ve really enjoyed the sample content on ra and ableton. it’s cool and it sucks that demand is so high.

      • David

        Thanks for the update, Dennis! I appreciate you all working to get it out there and can’t wait to get a copy. It just sucks because when it came out, I thought, “Yes, this is the book I didn’t even know I needed!” And then it sold out immediately, and so now it’s taunting me by existing and being the solution I was looking for, but it’s unavailable.
        I know you guys are doing what you can. Loving the sample chapters. Keep up the good work!

    • bencodec

      One thing to keep in mind with an ebook is that to make a good one, you don’t just upload a text file. laying out ebooks is more like web design. You’d expect to be able to click on tables of contents and indexes and jump to sections. You want graphics to be positioned correctly. Layouts should work with various font styles, sizes, and device proportions. etc. It can be a fairly non-trivial amount of work.

  • David

    Cool book, but I’m anxiously awaiting a 2nd run so I can get my copy. I’m surprised at how long its taking, and also disappointed that there’s still no eBook out yet. Don’t know what the hold up is, but I hope one or both is out soon.

    • dennisdesantis

      They’re coming, I promise. The ebook will be available sooner, but both are in the works. I’m sorry for the delay. We weren’t prepared for the demand, and getting the new printing order to happen quickly has been a challenge. We’re new at this publishing thing.

      • dumafuji

        thanks for the updates and the interview. i’ve been waiting as patiently as I can for the e-version, too. i’ve really enjoyed the sample content on ra and ableton. it’s cool and it sucks that demand is so high.

      • David

        Thanks for the update, Dennis! I appreciate you all working to get it out there and can’t wait to get a copy. It just sucks because when it came out, I thought, “Yes, this is the book I didn’t even know I needed!” And then it sold out immediately, and so now it’s taunting me by existing and being the solution I was looking for, but it’s unavailable.
        I know you guys are doing what you can. Loving the sample chapters. Keep up the good work!

    • bencodec

      One thing to keep in mind with an ebook is that to make a good one, you don’t just upload a text file. laying out ebooks is more like web design. You’d expect to be able to click on tables of contents and indexes and jump to sections. You want graphics to be positioned correctly. Layouts should work with various font styles, sizes, and device proportions. etc. It can be a fairly non-trivial amount of work.

  • Bobby A

    I’ll be snatching up the kindle version asap

  • Bobby A

    I’ll be snatching up the kindle version asap

  • mg

    A piece of apparently not very directly related, but really, really related, relevant reading on distractions, tool fetish, creativity, writer’s block etc. from a few years ago:

    http://www.43folders.com/2010/10/05/distraction

    (Warning: Strong language.)

  • mg

    A piece of apparently not very directly related, but really, really related, relevant reading on distractions, tool fetish, creativity, writer’s block etc. from a few years ago:

    http://www.43folders.com/2010/10/05/distraction

    (Warning: Strong language.)

  • Michael L

    Dennis, have you actually used Live to write your concert music?!! I tried Live but it seems constrained toward loop-based music, and not so well suited to melodic or concert music that has continual variations. How did you find Live for composing in that style?
    (btw, a quite honest book, I read the preview chapters and am also waiting…)

    • dennisdesantis

      I would sometimes play with concert music ideas in Live, although often just directly to notation instead. I don’t really find one tool better than the other for working with continual variations. What I like about DAWs for this kind of work is that you can often more easily just throw notes around, without worrying about notational conventions (like ties, rests, etc.)

  • Michael L

    Dennis, have you actually used Live to write your concert music?!! I tried Live but it seems constrained toward loop-based music, and not so well suited to melodic or concert music that has continual variations. How did you find Live for composing in that style?
    (btw, a quite honest book, I read the preview chapters and am also waiting…)

    • dennisdesantis

      I would sometimes play with concert music ideas in Live, although often just directly to notation instead. I don’t really find one tool better than the other for working with continual variations. What I like about DAWs for this kind of work is that you can often more easily just throw notes around, without worrying about notational conventions (like ties, rests, etc.)

  • Umut Isik

    I love this book and even though I haven’t finished it, it has already helped me a lot. Thank you Dennis for writing this and thank you Peter for covering it.

  • Umut Isik

    I love this book and even though I haven’t finished it, it has already helped me a lot. Thank you Dennis for writing this and thank you Peter for covering it.

  • genjutsushi

    Great book Dennis. I am writing my doctoral thesis at the moment, so procrastination is my worst enemy! Some of the approaches you suggest in your book relating to music are just as applicable to other creative endeavours.

  • genjutsushi

    Great book Dennis. I am writing my doctoral thesis at the moment, so procrastination is my worst enemy! Some of the approaches you suggest in your book relating to music are just as applicable to other creative endeavours.

  • Vitor Jesus

    The choice of 74 is not a coincidence, is it?

    • dennisdesantis

      It absolutely is a coincidence, although you’re definitely not the first person to ask about this.

  • Vitor Jesus

    The choice of 74 is not a coincidence, is it?

    • dennisdesantis

      It absolutely is a coincidence, although you’re definitely not the first person to ask about this.

  • pat

    This book looks like a great tool to add to the collection for your mind. Given that this book seems mostly centered around Live, it would a dream if someone would write a book about REAKTOR and all of the stuff that program can do and how to apply it to any sort of musical style and whatnot. The online documentation that Roland Kuit wrote for the NMG2/other DSP synths comes into mind… http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~clark/nordmodularbook/nordmodularbook.pdf

    Regardless, great contribution Dennis!

    • dennisdesantis

      The book is very much not centered around Live. It’s fundamentally not a book about technology at all; it’s a book about music, that happens to be aimed at people who make music using electronics.

    • Random Chance

      There are such books, not about Reaktor per se, but about things like Max/MSP, PureData, SuperCollider, CSound, and also collections of articles about DSP techniques from the dafx conferences in book form. At least those are the ones that come to mind instantly. I guess the closest to a book about Reaktor would be the technical reports from some of the DSP engineers at Native Instruments. Books about electronic music from a synthesis or algorithmic perspective tend to be focuses on “serious computer music.” However, if you can live with that then there are quite a few books of that sort around by the likes of Eimert, Xenakis, Roads, Dodge/Jerse.

  • pat

    This book looks like a great tool to add to the collection for your mind. Given that this book seems mostly centered around Live, it would a dream if someone would write a book about REAKTOR and all of the stuff that program can do and how to apply it to any sort of musical style and whatnot. The online documentation that Roland Kuit wrote for the NMG2/other DSP synths comes into mind… http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~clark/nordmodularbook/nordmodularbook.pdf

    Regardless, great contribution Dennis!

    • dennisdesantis

      The book is very much not centered around Live. It’s fundamentally not a book about technology at all; it’s a book about music, that happens to be aimed at people who make music using electronics.

    • Random Chance

      There are such books, not about Reaktor per se, but about things like Max/MSP, PureData, SuperCollider, CSound, and also collections of articles about DSP techniques from the dafx conferences in book form. At least those are the ones that come to mind instantly. I guess the closest to a book about Reaktor would be the technical reports from some of the DSP engineers at Native Instruments. Books about electronic music from a synthesis or algorithmic perspective tend to be focuses on “serious computer music.” However, if you can live with that then there are quite a few books of that sort around by the likes of Eimert, Xenakis, Roads, Dodge/Jerse.

  • James

    I too am eagerly awaiting the ebook version, although I’ll put the hardbound on my wish list.
    I don’t make anything for saying this, but the following is certainly a plug:
    For those who want to crack the nut of procrastination and are willing to pay for a peer-supported producer’s circle along with consultation, there is a well-qualified producer who goes by Mike Monday who has transitioned his business more towards life-coaching.

    There’s certainly a number of promotional landing pages that he has built, along with free “You see” booklets, newsletters, exercises, and introductory videos. That has more to do with him being a very thorough and dedicated thought-leader and small business owner; I’ve found his content, compassion, hands on access, and individual voice to be certainly authentic.

    I’ve spun off on my own “Life learner” track which is to say I’m still equivalent to his first month sign-ups! (I’ve found that a daily meditation means that much to me), and I do put the work in my studio every day (so mission accomplished). But I’m an outlier, and I’m sure plenty folks can stay on board and progress through his system.

    The only other thing that knocked me off the wagon had to do with a number of sign-ups that I completely lost track of when the service shifted to a new site. (We’re talking an address for a newsletter, one for signing up for a premium program, reassigned a screen name when shifting to a new site, and then also keeping track of a forum screen name password).

    It’s been a couple years since I tried this program, and we were all growing together. So you are welcome to enhance my evaluation as it pertains today.

    • James

      But i want to add something so we can stay on topic: Making Music is going to be a terrific tool for developing finishing skills, not to mention overcoming inertia or procrastination.

      One thing I’ve concluded is that no matter how incongruent my approach might be music making, if I’m going to work on a chosen platform, ableton live for example, it always helps to relate to the intentional building blocks-clips in this case-in a conventional sense if I intend on creating larger constructs (finished music).

  • James

    I too am eagerly awaiting the ebook version, although I’ll put the hardbound on my wish list.
    I don’t make anything for saying this, but the following is certainly a plug:
    For those who want to crack the nut of procrastination and are willing to pay for a peer-supported producer’s circle along with consultation, there is a well-qualified producer who goes by Mike Monday who has transitioned his business more towards life-coaching.

    There’s certainly a number of promotional landing pages that he has built, along with free “You see” booklets, newsletters, exercises, and introductory videos. That has more to do with him being a very thorough and dedicated thought-leader and small business owner; I’ve found his content, compassion, hands on access, and individual voice to be certainly authentic.

    I’ve spun off on my own “Life learner” track which is to say I’m still equivalent to his first month sign-ups! (I’ve found that a daily meditation means that much to me), and I do put the work in my studio every day (so mission accomplished). But I’m an outlier, and I’m sure plenty folks can stay on board and progress through his system.

    The only other thing that knocked me off the wagon had to do with a number of sign-ups that I completely lost track of when the service shifted to a new site. (We’re talking an address for a newsletter, one for signing up for a premium program, reassigned a screen name when shifting to a new site, and then also keeping track of a forum screen name password, not to mention all the associated URL’s).

    It’s been a couple years since I tried this program, and we were all growing together. So you are welcome to enhance/update my evaluation as it pertains today.

    • James

      But i want to add something so we can stay on topic: Making Music is going to be a terrific tool for developing finishing and follow-through skills, not just to mention overcoming inertia or procrastination.

      One thing I’ve concluded is that no matter how incongruent my approach might be to music making, if I’m going to work on a chosen platform, ableton live for example, it always helps to relate to the intended building blocks-clips in this case-in a conventional sense, if I plan on creating larger constructs (finished music).

      Then again, I saw a fellow recently who’s worked his complete Live set into one drum rack, so what do I know?

  • Graham Metcalfe

    Looking forward to the new printing. Call me a luddite, but I think there are certain qualities to print that make digesting information, in a non-distracting medium, superior to reading something of substance online. A book does not bother you with notifications, or the hidden “promise” of apps lurking in the background.

  • Graham Metcalfe

    Looking forward to the new printing. Call me a luddite, but I think there are certain qualities to print that make digesting information, in a non-distracting medium, superior to reading something of substance online. A book does not bother you with notifications, or the hidden “promise” of apps lurking in the background.

  • Fayek Helmi

    Maaaan im dying for this book only reason why i didnt order it on day one is because i was travelling a week later and i knew i wouldnt have time to get it in the mail. Figured the ebook would only take a few days after especially since it sold out so fast… Im still on vacation and i was really looking forward to reading it on vacation with all the free time i have from work and social life. I know you said its gonna be soon and this isnt another beg post, im just really excited to get my hands on it whenever it comes out and i will definitely be buying the physical book evdn if i get the ebook as well. As far as im concerned this is by far one of the most (aimed at me) book is have ever read (or even anything written like blog post or article in magazine).

  • Fayek Helmi

    Maaaan im dying for this book only reason why i didnt order it on day one is because i was travelling a week later and i knew i wouldnt have time to get it in the mail. Figured the ebook would only take a few days after especially since it sold out so fast… Im still on vacation and i was really looking forward to reading it on vacation with all the free time i have from work and social life. I know you said its gonna be soon and this isnt another beg post, im just really excited to get my hands on it whenever it comes out and i will definitely be buying the physical book evdn if i get the ebook as well. As far as im concerned this is by far one of the most (aimed at me) book is have ever read (or even anything written like blog post or article in magazine).

  • Rui

    Can’t wait for the 2nd edition. Missed the first one, won’t miss the second one. Great interview, by the way.

  • Rui

    Can’t wait for the 2nd edition. Missed the first one, won’t miss the second one. Great interview, by the way.

  • Michael M

    Thanks Dennis! I was one of the lucky ones who ordered before it sold out and I’ve read it cover to cover. It’s got bookmarks all over it indicating particular things I need right now for tracks I’m working on. Great stuff.

  • Michael M

    Thanks Dennis! I was one of the lucky ones who ordered before it sold out and I’ve read it cover to cover. It’s got bookmarks all over it indicating particular things I need right now for tracks I’m working on. Great stuff.

  • JJ

    Mr. DeSantis writes about his book “I can almost always blame pure procrastination or laziness if I’m stuck now. If I’m not getting work done, it’s probably because I’d simply rather be doing something else. “… and by looking at his sparse discogs.com output, it is obvious the Mr. DeSantis enjoys more writing about music, than creating it. I am not sure if someone who has managed to output just 2 or 3 albums in the last 14 years or so, is qualified to tell *anyone* how to defeat procrastination; on the contrary.. it is quite obvious Mr. DeSantis’ own advice, (as it is written in this “book”), doesn’t work, or he doesn’t follow it himself.

    The old Aristotle quote seems to be true here.. those who know DO, those who understand teach or in this case, write books about it.

    • dennisdesantis

      I think that’s a reasonable critique, although the premise might be a bit flawed based on the available data.

      My discogs page only lists my electronic music that’s been commercially released. I’ve done plenty of music that’s not available in stores, including a lot of unreleased electronic stuff, a few hours worth of notated chamber music, two complete operas, etc.

      But otherwise, it’s true: my job – and my real interests – lie at some intersection of music creation and music education. I do genuinely enjoy teaching people this stuff.

      Whether or not I’m qualified to do so can only be determined by the reader. Some people seem to like this book, but whether or not the ideas work for you is probably better assessed by checking out the book itself, rather than the author. About a third of it is available for free here:

      https://makingmusic.ableton.com/

  • GD

    Mr. DeSantis writes about his book “I can almost always blame pure procrastination or laziness if I’m stuck now. If I’m not getting work done, it’s probably because I’d simply rather be doing something else. “… and by looking at his sparse discogs.com output, it is obvious that Mr. DeSantis enjoys more writing about music, than creating it. I am not sure if someone who has managed to output just 2 or 3 albums in the last 14 years or so, is qualified to tell *anyone* how to defeat procrastination; on the contrary.. it is quite obvious Mr. DeSantis’ own advice, (as it is written in this “book”), doesn’t work, or he doesn’t follow it himself.

    The old Aristotle quote seems to be true here.. those who know; DO, those who understand; teach, or in this case; write books about it.

    If you are stuck reading books such as the one this article is about, instead of creating music, or creating sounds or improvising, or practicing your instrument, you should reconsider your priorities.. maybe in reality you really don’t like creating music, but you like writing, or blogging or reading about it, etc

    • dennisdesantis

      I think that’s a reasonable critique, although the premise might be a bit flawed based on the available data.

      My discogs page only lists my electronic music that’s been commercially released. I’ve done plenty of music that’s not available in stores, including a lot of unreleased electronic stuff, a few hours worth of notated chamber music, two complete operas, etc.

      But otherwise, it’s true: my job – and my real interests – lie at some intersection of music creation and music education. I do genuinely enjoy teaching people this stuff.

      Whether or not I’m qualified to do so can only be determined by the reader. Some people seem to like this book, but whether or not the ideas work for you is probably better assessed by checking out the book itself, rather than the author. About a third of it is available for free here:

      https://makingmusic.ableton.com/

  • TJ

    Great interview. Kindle please!

  • TJ

    Great interview. Kindle please!