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Just finished a project for my daughter’s K5 graduation video. I used an Alesis Q88 MIDI controller (and the YAMAHA Clavinova in my office) to record background music. The software I used was Ableton Live Lite, which came free with the controller. 

Overall, I was pleased with the result. Here are a few takeaways:

  1. There is a skill to recording to Ableton. There was a slight delay from the time I played to the one I heard it coming through the earbuds. That made it challenging to layer. I had to anticipate the beat of the layer I had already recorded. There are times that the layers are slightly off from each other. It works for a project like this. It gives the song a feeling of clumsiness like children have. I wouldn’t want it on a CD project. 
  2. I realized I have a comfort zone of mellow, melancholy music. It was more of a challenge for me to come up with playful music. I need to work on that kind of music more. 
  3. Playing is easier than writing, at least for me anyway. Writing notation takes time and more thought, while playing comes more naturally. It’s comparable to the difference between speaking and writing words. 

I enjoyed the process and could see doing more of these kinds of projects.