The biggest thing that can cause problems when getting started on anything unfamiliar is trying to get started with it right away. There is a saying, something along the lines of “you have to learn to walk before you can run” and while I think that this is great, I also like to add to it. My thing I like to think of before I get started on anything is to “learn how to crawl so you can learn to stand, so you can learn to walk and eventually run.” I know it is a long saying, but sometimes approaching a technology is like learning how to walk. If you don’t know what you are supposed to do and don’t have the basics of the basics, you can’t really go anywhere.
I was pretty much on my own when I was learning how to use the Scarlett, and I tried to just jump into it, and that didn’t get me anywhere. I thought I would try to just try it out and see where I could go, and that took up too much time and caused a lot of frustration. Once I took a step back and applied the getting the basics of the basics, I was finally starting to get the hang of it. I started to learn about the technology that I was supposed to become familiar with from different sources, taking a look at websites and videos to help me get an idea what exactly I could be doing with this interface and a Mac.
Whenever I tried to learn how to do a certain thing I would enter a search engine and see what could be useful. When I tried connecting the interface to Ableton Live I Googled it, and found videos like this Ableton tutorial (recording audio), which ended up leading me to this Ableton Live 9 Tutorial YouTube Playlist, where I was able to have almost everything that I needed to know about the basics of using the Scarlett in Ableton. After some more digging I was able to figure out how to use it in Garageband, because it was more or less the same thing. Getting to Soundtrap was a whole different story.
Ableton and Garageband were easy to find tutorials for, but I wanted something that was more realistic, something that pretty much everyone will have access to, and I found Soundtrap. Making an account is free, and you can access it from just about everywhere, but connecting an audio interface to it is just a bit different. Unlike the other 2 DAWs, there wasn’t an easy search, so I had to reach out to people that I knew. I was able to learn through them the slight differences in how to record on the interface: (on a Mac) it has to be done through Google Chrome, and you have to prep the track for recording before you actually begin recording. Other than that, the setup is fairly similar to the other 2 DAWs. These might not seem like that big of a deal, but I had a lot of frustration over not being able to figure out how to use it myself.
I think that it would be beneficial to do like Ableton did on YouTube and create a “playlist” of things that everyone should know before they get started. This can be web searches, articles, websites, videos, etc. that you can access and share. Doing your research might prove to be more helpful than just attempting it yourself. In some cases (as I found out with Soundtrap) there isn’t a whole lot so you might have to do a different type of research. In doing the searches I haven’t had a lot of time to actually “mess around” with the interface, but now that I have all of this information I think that I will be able to figure it out, and have my references as a back-up. I tried to walk before I could crawl and stand, and I failed. Once I stopped and learned the basics of the basics, walking became easier, and I think that running will be that much easier.
Anyone interested in audio interfaces, composing, producing, etc. should become familiar with their equipment. When looking for an audio interface and a DAW that you like, it is important to do your research and know what you can do with it. There are so many benefits to knowing how to use this type of technology. A real-life example of this is a violinist, Taylor Davis. Check out this Instagram post by her in which she explains how she came to use her own computer and interface (not Scarlett and the DAWs talked about, but other options to consider looking into) to record and produce her own music, from her house. In it she talks about how she got started, how she explored, and the benefits of being able to do all of these things by herself. Check out her YouTube channel(s) and website and explore more of what she does, and see where being able to do things this way can lead.