I started my modular journey a year ago with zero knowledge of synths, music production or music theory. Everything was kind of esoteric at the time but after reading and practicing a lot I feel more confortable with the synths lingo, now I know what VCO or VCA stands for and I can even patch them to make some noise!
So far I've been practicing by forcing myself to produce full tracks from start to finish, in the last twelve months I've uploaded more than 30 'tracks' to my Soundcloud account. I wouldn't call them 'tracks' really, as they're more like practices or experiments, nothing I would publish on Bandcap or feel proud about. But hey, I'ts been tons of fun so far and I've been learning a lot.
However, for the next months I would like to make an effort to practice in a more focused and deliberate way. Creating tracks from start to finish is cool and fun, but I may end up making the same mistakes again and again and not improving or learning new stuff.
So that's why I'm wondering how do you practice with your modular. If it were a guitar I could easily find practice tips and exercises on the net, practice chords, escales and so on. With modular every synth is different and the kind of practice you do with it is probably different too.
I'm considering this practices myself:
Jam: just jam something like 1 hour and record everything. Then listen carefully and see what mistakes I made and try to make it better next time. This might be slow and difficult, without some kind of experienced buddy who can point out mistakes and ways to improve I could feel a bit lost and not improve at all.
Module practice: focus on a single module, read the manual and all the information I can find about it. Try to patch it in all the ways I can imagine and use all its features. Having a deep knowledge of individual modules may increase the creative potential and make me feel more confident playing with my synth.
Focus on specific techniques: practice on specific techniques, such as drones, percussion and rhythm, acid bass-lines, chords, arpeggios and so on. This will require a lot of research, what makes a good drone? how drum kicks are made? but sounds fun too.
I'm also thinking of throwing in some theory with a couple of books: Music Theory for "Computer Musicians" by Michael Hewitt seems to be an easy introduction to music theory. And “The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook” by Bobby Owsinski, as I find all the mixing and mastering stuff quite hard but very interesting.
How do you approach your learning and practice process? what would you recommend doing first? when you were starting out with modular, what made the biggest impact on your music?
As always, I appreciate a lot your feedback :)