I think it was christmas in 2009, maybe, when I got the idea to make a rendition of that sorta creepy, bouncy christmas jam by Tchaikovsky, “Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy” that my mom always put on around christmas time.

For some reason I imagined it having a swing to it, and a lot more vibes and glockenspiels than the original…

I had been using Ableton for awhile but it had never occured to me to use it with pre-existing MIDI versions of songs.  A raw MIDI file sounds like that music format most used in Karaoke bars for cheesy instrumental versions of songs.  The good part is that all the notes are in there, intact.  I had the idea to grab one of these and mess with it.

I searched Google and found a few MIDI’s of the Tchaikovsky track, tried to import the MIDI file into Ableton by click-and-dragging it onto a track, and it worked!!

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This started me on doing a cover project that included re-imagining popular songs, including a cruiseship calypso version of a popular bossa nova track, an 8-bit version of “Good Times” by Chic, a couple different Hall & Oates covers and some other ridiculous stuff.

It occured to me that this was a great way to mess around with music without having to start from scratch, which is often what puts people off of learning new programs. Learning from the masters, so to speak, is a great way to learn.

I found a few MIDI versions of Daft Punk songs that, despite being pretty simple, are also great songs to use for learning music production. Their song “Around The World” (with the mummies & aliens dancing around in sync to the different parts) is a powerfully simple but funky dance track, so I chose that to teach with in my first lesson here on Skillshare.

Here it is so far, soon to be finished:

Stay tuned to see when I put it on Skillshare.  If you want an email when it shows up, sign up for my mailing list!

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