I came across this pretty inspiring speech by Ronald Reagan the other day in an ebook some parts of which struck me as highly relevant even today though the speech was delivered way back in 1988 around the time preceding the fall of the Iron Curtain. The full speech can be accessed here – http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/detail/3416. In his address to the students at Moscow State University, then American President Ronald Reagan spoke of computers, “Linked by a network of satellites and fiber-optic cables, one individual with a desktop computer and a telephone commands resources unavailable to the largest governments just a few years ago.”
I could rephrase that, “Powered by an array of cheap and powerful processors, music production softwares and hardwares, an average individual today with a desktop computer, an external hard drive and a midi controller commands resources that were unavailable to AR Rahman when he arranged the music of Roja!
Information Wants to Be Free
After all, the caveman had the same natural resources at their disposal as we have today, and the difference between their standard of living and ours is a difference between the knowledge they could bring to bear on those resources and the knowledge used today – —Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions, 1996
Pretty deep truth that but it’s true. Data and information is available by the planeloads to any aspiring music producer in the country today. Tons of cheap DAW’s to choose from (free if you are pirating it!), megatons of high quality loops, samples, instrument plugin softwares and vst’s (again free if you are copying it from a friend’s hard drive), a range of hardware that gets cheaper and cheaper by the day. A 2 TB hard drive costs less than Rs. 5,000 as of today! It is an unthinkable amount of storage capacity and the price+capacity equation would have boggled the mind 5 years ago! Yet I find myself running out of space as easily today as I did 5 years ago and as I will 5 years from now!
The Scarcest Resource Of All
In reality, specific knowledge is rare, despite all of the glib generalities of knowledge being everywhere. Data and information are certainly everywhere, especially since the introduction of the Internet, but information is not knowledge. The cost of reproducing information has dropped significantly, while the cost of replicating knowledge is a far more expensive process.
Let us differentiate between Data, Information and Knowledge:
Factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation. There is no judgment, interpretation, context, or basis for action. It knows nothing of its own importance or irrelevance.
Root in Latin is formare, meaning “to shape.” Peter Drucker said information is “data endowed with relevance and purpose.” It has to have a sender and a receiver, and it is the receiver, not the sender, who decides if the message is information or not. “We add value to information in various ways: Contextualized; Categorized; Calculated; Corrected; Condensed” (Davenport and Prusak 1998: 3–4).
The fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. To turn information into knowledge we need: “Comparison; Consequences; Connections; Conversation”
Alvin and Heidi Toffler also define the characteristics of knowledge in their book Revolutionary Wealth:
“Knowledge by itself is static, but knowing is dynamic. Knowledge enables us to act, which is its ultimate purpose. Knowledge requires us to use theory, since without theory there is no way to filter all of the information that is required to take effective action.” Knowledge by itself is not the goal, as Peter Drucker wrote: “Executives are not paid for knowing, but for getting the right things done”
The qualities of Knowledge:
1. Knowledge is inherently non-rival
2. Knowledge is intangible
3. Knowledge is non-linear
4. Knowledge is relational
5. Knowledge mates with other knowledge
6. Knowledge is more portable than any other product
7. Knowledge can be compressed into symbols or abstractions
8. Knowledge can be stored in smaller and smaller spaces
9. Knowledge can be explicit or implicit, expressed or not expressed, shared or tacit
10. Knowledge is hard to bottle up. It spreads
Knowledge is like the dark matter of the cosmos—we know it is out there, but we cannot see, touch, or measure it!
Why We Want to Spread the Knowledge of Music Production
Because we realise that even though there is a surfeit of data and information be it softwares or hardwares, knowledge on how to use it is what really matters. There is no point of having the best music softwares and hardwares at your disposal if you are not armed with the knowledge of how to put that information together to create a new song. And there is no getting your way around that. If you want to become a music producer you must learn the techniques of music production from a knowledgeable person who will teach you the techniques and give you useful tips to make your songs sound better and more professional. It is only then that the softwares and the hardwares at your disposal will come alive and you will be able to truly benefit from the enormous gift that technology has bestowed upon us.
Specific Knowledge is Rare
Which brings me back to something I quoted earlier. Specific knowledge is indeed rare. Because Music Production is a highly specialised knowledge and requires a great deal of time, effort and dedication to master, there are very few competent music programmers in the country. The few who have stuck to it and have become good are raking in the moolah by working with music directors and artists. These guys do not have the time nor the inclination to teach. So going to any of the many music institutes that have mushroomed in the city would be futile because I can assure you that you will learn nothing! Leveljam – our music production training program is not a strictly commercial venture. It is made up of a belief that good teachers must be available to those eager to learn with the sole objective of spreading knowledge and not making money! Our music programming trainers is every bit as good as any of the pros out there and with him you are guaranteed a fine instructor, mentor and friend.
The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius!
And guess what is the most amazing thing? Once you learnt this new skill, you have added one more explosive and much-in-demand skill to your life that will set you apart and set you on the road to the exciting world of music, music artists, live shows, recording studios, the works! The wheels have been given to you. Its time to build the carriage above the wheels that will take you places! And with this thought I will leave you with a latin phrase SAPERE AUDE! which means – DARE TO KNOW!