The leap from music lover to music creator is a step that many TUMO students decide to take.
The fulfilling path of studying music, exploring its genres, learning to play various classical and electronic instruments, songwriting, and composing is what our three levels of music workshops are all about. According to Shahen Khandkaryan, a music workshop leader and member of TUMO’s electronic Pyramidz band, “many teens are interested in music, but they’re afraid to create their own because they haven’t been formally trained. Even a TUMOian who has never learned “do-re-mi” can, at TUMO, learn how to create music.” Of course, this being TUMO, incorporating digital tools goes hand in hand with music production. “How do we listen to and create music in the 21st century?” asks Tsovinar Artsruni, another TUMO music workshop leader. “Students learn not only how to answer this question, but also test it out in our hands on workshops.”
At this stage, students receive a foundation in different musical genres, instruments, singing techniques, and learn skills like layering sounds and tracks. To edit their tracks, workshop participants learn Logic Pro X software, which they continue using as they climb the workshop levels. Teens create rhythms and beats with a MIDI keyboard and, by the end of the level, produce their very own one-minute-long track. “The most important thing that a student learns during the first level is communication,” says workshop leader Khachatur Hayrapetyan. “Teens learn how to shape their worldview through music and also look at music through a different, more knowledgeable and professional lens.”
What is sound? This is the first question that participants in this level are asked to think about. They learn to work with sound as “a natural phenomenon that spreads via waves through solid, liquid, or gas environments.” They also learn about the integral role sound design has in films, videogames, and other media. In this level, TUMO students experiment with various approaches to sound design, sound effects, and ultimately complete a sound design assignment scoring a two to two-and-a-half minute animated film. “This is my favorite part,” says Shahen. “Students gain an appreciation for the complexity, versatility, and challenges of working with sound, and learn how to even incorporate natural sounds in both sound design and music production.”
By combining the skills they’ve gained thus far, students, understanding their strengths and preferences, create a project of their own choosing. Thanks to sampling, mashups, beat making, dynamic processing, and other techniques, the piece TUMOians produce at this level becomes their calling card for participating in any future TUMO music projects. According to Khachatur, “a young student who has mastered the program is able to create music and learn news to work with sound. Most importantly, students’ perspective on music changes, and they’ve learned to independently analyze and critique music.”
Tsovinar recalls “there was a girl who chose to redo the second level because she wanted to learn a few things better. After the third level, she handed in one of the best projects in the group.” The story doesn’t end there. The girl later had the opportunity to participate in Sebu Simonian’s music production lab, and later even joined the ranks of our TmbaTa band! “Hard-working students with potential are always welcome in workshops and musical projects,” says Shahen, who has himself recruited a number of such students for his band, Pyramidz.
Are you interested? To start off, we recommend getting a dose of inspiration by listening to student work on our Soundcloud page!