Music Production for Large Groups

Got a big group for your studio – why not have them all contribute on a track?!

Sometimes you end up with 15 beginner participants in your studio and they all want to make a beat right now! Music Production for Large Groups gives you some tips on how to create a “patchwork quilt” music production project. This allows many different participants with different tastes, preferences, ideas and skills all to contribute to one big tapestry… your final track!  

In addition participants:

  • Learn basic music production and songwriting techniques
  • Learn collaboration while working towards an end goal
  • Are inspired to work on solo music production projects
  • Produce enough tracks to release an album

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How to…

  • Establish:
    • End goal/s (i.e. “Album Release” party and/or performance at end of the semester)
    • Session days and times. Meet with the group on a regular basis.
    • Participants who are interested in contributing (include as many as possible)
    • Themes or topics, decided upon as a group and influenced by the music mentors/staff
  • Participants collaboratively produce style/genre, samples, sounds, and beats
  • Break down the beat into smaller sections or individual elements for participants to perform/record
    • For example, to produce the drum track:
      • Participant “A” performs bass drum pattern on trigger pad
      • Participant “B” performs snare drum pattern
      • Participant “C” performs hi-hat pattern
      • Participant “D, E and F” record claps on 2 & 4
      • Etc…
    • Repeat this process for bass and chords
      • Participants layer single notes on guitar, bass, and/or piano
    • Involve different participants for each Verse, Chorus, and Bridge. Mentors continually keep the momentum going.
  • Add lyrics once beat is finalized
    • Download a rhyming dictionary App on iPads
    • Each participant writes lyrics to contribute to the project (i.e. 1 or 2 bars worth of lyrics)
    • Each participant performs their lyrics in the isolation booth right away. This gets them hooked, motivated, and involved.
  • Mix and finalize the track
    • Participants who don’t want to sing/perform can help with the final mix by editing and adding effects.
    • Participants can also get involved in creating album art, photo/video, etc., to help support the album’s creation.
  • Repeat this process until participants have produced several tracks
  • Rehearse and prepare for an album release party, and have all participants perform their original songs
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Question Mingle Icebreaker

An icebreaker where music is the common language

Have a large group of new participants that need to break the ice and get to know one another?  Question Mingle puts a musical twist on a classic icebreaker and uses your participants’ love of music as the common denominator to bring them together.  Print and cut the following questions onto strips of paper, put them in a hat, let participants follow the prompts and sit back and watch how music breaks down barriers! 

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How to… 

  • Print/cut questions into strips and put them in a hat. Use the examples below and/or think of your own!
  • Each participant chooses one question out of the basket.
  • Each participant finds a partner whom they’ve never met or haven’t talked to yet.
  • Both partners follow the discussion prompts on their papers.
  • Then all participants put their papers back into the basket, choose a new one, and find a new partner.
  • Continue this process until everyone has had a chance to talk to each other, or until time runs out!

Additional Resources (to print and cut into strips): 

  • Find someone who plays in more than one band/group. Ask questions to learn more about each band/group.
  • Find someone who plays the same instrument as you. Talk about your influences and when/how each of you got started.
  • Find a partner. Talk about the last live concert each of you attended. Where was it? Who did you see? How was the show?
  • Find a partner. Talk about your first musical influences.
  • Find a partner. Each of you name your top 3 favorite artists/songs right now and why you like them.
  • Find a partner. Talk about a music teacher who inspired you and why.
  • Find a partner. Ask about a recent time they (or their band) performed live. Find out where it was, what it was like, and how it went.
  • Find a person who will be performing later tonight. Ask them how they’re feeling about it.
  • Find someone who writes original songs. Ask how they get ideas and about their songwriting process.
  • Find a person who plays in a band/group. Ask them to tell you about one of their band’s/group’s songs. Find out how the song was written and what the lyrics are about.
  • Find a partner. Talk about your earliest memories of enjoying music.
  • Find a partner. Each of you name your top 3 musical artists of all time.
  • Find someone who plays in a band. Ask the story of how their band got together.
  • Find a partner. Find an artist/song on each other’s phones that you’ve never heard of. Swap and listen.
  • Find a partner. Each of you name your top 3 vocalists of all time.
  • Find a partner. Imagine you are planning a party together. You can invite any 10 musical artists, living or dead. Who would you invite?
  • Find a partner. Talk about a musical artist, living or dead, who you would most like to see in concert.
  • Find a partner. Talk about the instruments each of you play and how you got started.
  • Find someone who writes song lyrics. Ask them to tell you their favorite lyrics from a song they wrote and what the lyrics mean.
  • Find a partner. Talk about how often, when, and where each of you gets together to practice or play music with your band or other people.

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