From watching homemade tutorials on YouTube to subscribing to training websites such as Lynda.com, Internet users can learn almost anything online as long as they know where to look. One education platform, however, is taking online learning to the next level by providing its users with free, live access to workshops taught by some of the preeminent professionals in their respective fields.
Founded in 2010 by Chase Jarvis and Craig Swanson, creativeLIVE was conceived as a way to connect aspiring creative professionals with the world’s top creatives in a live, online setting. In the few years since its launch, the platform has broadcast more than 250 courses in such fields as photography, video, design, business, and software training to more than 1 million students worldwide.
In September 2013, the platform added an audio channel to its online broadcast network, allowing users to learn the technical skills and industry knowledge necessary for a career in music production and business directly from the industry’s leading DJs, producers, and managers.
iQ by Intel had the opportunity to chat with creativeLIVE CEO Mika Salmi about the new audio channel, as well as ask metal guitarist/producer Eyal Levi (Whitechapel, August Burns Red) a few questions just days after the drummer taught his own creativeLIVE workshop, “Digital Drums with EZDrummer.”
Why did creativeLIVE think now was the right time to launch its audio channel? Did audio present any unique opportunities or challenges compared to your other categories of workshops?
Mika Salmi: Going into audio/music had been a goal of ours for a long time. It is a great fit for us. It’s also a passion for me personally. Every new channel we launch into has unique characteristics, so the challenge is to understand the learning needs of our future students, and that means having a deep knowledge of the industry and potential instructors. Fortunately, we have a few people on staff whose passion and knowledge of audio/music exceeds my own, and they are leading the charge.
Besides being a fraction of the cost, what sets creativeLIVE online courses apart from those found at traditional colleges, technical schools, etc.?
MS: Our key characteristics are: 1) We have world-renowned experts teaching the classes; 2) The classes are live and interactive; and 3) The classes are free. Aside from the live/social aspect, traditional schools don't offer those things.
Eyal, why did you decide to partner up with creativeLIVE to teach your “Digital Drums with EZDrummer” workshop?
Eyal Levi: I’ve always wanted to help spread knowledge on how life actually works in the music world. In addition to that, I’ve always wanted to spread that knowledge via a platform that actually reaches people. You know, a huge website rather than a random tutorial online. creativeLIVE totally fit the bill.
Why do you think it's important to shoot creativeLIVE content in front of an in-studio audience?
MS: We want our instructors teaching to real students. The class may have thousands of students watching and interacting with the instructors via the live broadcast, but talking to cameras is not the same as interacting with real people.
How did YOU learn to use EZDrummer, Eyal? How did that learning experience impact the way you taught your workshop?
EL: I learned 85 percent of EZDrummer via trial and error, and that’s what I encourage everyone to do. Just dive right in. If you want to become proficient or even great at something in music, just roll up your sleeves and get going with it.
Can you talk a bit about how the reality of teaching your workshop compared with your expectations going in?
EL: I’ve worked very, very hard to get to the point of having close to zero preconceived notions about a live-action situation. I guess years of touring conditioned me to that.
Teaching the class was very similar to playing a show. I was ready to improvise, and with the help of my great friend Finn McKenty, I did a boatload of prepping. The only real expectation I had (besides the ones on myself) was that creativeLIVE would have their act completely together, and they did. Otherwise, I just expected myself to deliver to the best of my ability.
Did anything about the experience or the students surprise you?
EL: I was pleasantly surprised by the number of music professionals in the audience. That made me very happy. Many of my old tour buddies and even bandmates showed up and gave shout-outs. I was also very, very happy to have such intelligent and in-depth questions from the viewers. It gave me hope!
Do you wish you could have taken a creativeLIVE class when you began your career in the music industry?
MS: I would have loved a class on producing industrial music. My roommate (and fellow DJ) had an E-mu synthesizer, and we taught ourselves how to use it.
EL: Absolutely! I think it would have saved me at least a few years of frustration. As I said, I’m about 85 percent self-taught and could have really used some real-life how-to back in the day. The thing that creativeLIVE offers that a traditional education doesn’t is that real-world factor. This is info that can literally save people years.
Who would have been your dream teacher?
MS: I wish I could've taken a free class with someone like Ogre from Skinny Puppy teaching!
EL: Hard to say because most of my musical idols would probably make awful teachers. Sad fact.
As the Co-Founder and Lead Writer/Editor for LA Music Blog, a Los Angeles-based music news and review website, Kristin Houser’s life revolves around music and technology. She has been an avid fan of music ever since discovering her parents’ vinyl collection while still in elementary school, and she is fascinated by all the ways technology allows her to discover new music and share it with the world. She currently manages a staff of fifteen writers and contributors at LA Music Blog, and when she isn’t scouring the internet for her latest musical obsession, Kristin frequents Los Angeles’ many music venues where she can usually be found hovering near the front of house engineer while jotting down set lists in her smart phone. She is very pleased to share her latest music