Arts & Entertainment, Music

Basic Tools for Bedroom Composing

St. Vincent

Lesson time 07:33 min

Annie shows you the setup she uses to write and record most of her music before she enters a professional recording studio.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Setting Up Your Bedroom Studio · Essential Bedroom Accessories · Making the Most of Your Home Studio


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:08.93] - I recorded a lot of my first album in my childhood bedroom at my mom's house sitting at the computer like this with a Sonic iced tea. [00:00:21.18] But through that, I learned how to arrange. I honed some of my engineering chops, and I learned what my voice really sounded like. I learned how to make different sounds and explore. [00:00:36.62] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:45.01] You don't need a whole lot to just go ahead and start as a songwriter. There's some tools that you can have pretty easily at your disposal and just record things in your bedroom. Learn about that process. You could have an idea, and at the end of the day, five hours later, you've got a song. It's so exciting to be able to just do that. [00:01:09.17] So during the time when I was making what would become my first album, I did a lot of it in my childhood bedroom with a setup somewhat similar to this except it was a laptop. It was an Inbox, which is a first-generation Inbox, which was-- you could monitor. You could put on headphones and listen, and you could record two signals. So you could put in a local XLR cable, or you could put in a line-in guitar cable and record in two. [00:01:46.09] I was using Pro Tools at the time. And sit there and play and go, oh, that's not right. Try again. Dot dot. Sit there and sing. That's not right. Go, go, go, go, go. Track, track, track. And so I did a lot of that first record just sitting at my mom's house. [00:02:06.23] I was playing a lot of guitar and bass, but I also would just go to pawn shops and find little toy pianos. Or the glockenspiel, God bless, was big at the time. I had one of those. My mom got a dulcimer at a craft festival, and I was messing around on that, and it really was just-- it was just exciting to be able to try out different sounds, things that I didn't really know how to play. [00:02:30.71] That's another thing I'll say for songwriters. If you're stuck on something, go to an instrument that you don't play. Go to an instrument that you don't play well. And all of a sudden, you're not going to be able to rely on muscle memory. You're just going to be-- you're just going to be finding new things and going, ooh, that's exciting. Ooh, OK. I guess I wrote this on a bass, you know, or I'm not very good at piano, but I can poke around until I find something that excites me. [00:02:58.66] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:03:04.77] So today, I've got a little home-studio setup, just a little audio interface here that I can plug a guitar into and I can plug a vocal mic into. And that has phantom power because some mics require phantom power, and some do not. See, just a little set of headphones here. I'm using this keyboard as a midi controller. If I wanted to play something into the computer using a soft synth in the computer, I could do over here. [00:03:35.53] I've got a keyboard here. I like the kind-- I like the hotkey situation over here. So I can turn things like clicks on and of...

About the Instructor

Under the stage name St. Vincent, Annie Clark has won Grammys while remaining fiercely innovative and true to herself. Now Annie is opening the door to her process to teach you how to explore your creativity. Learn how to record music, write songs, improve your guitar skills, and embrace your vulnerability. Let Annie guide you through the ups and downs of creating art so you can share what’s in your heart with the world.

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St. Vincent

Explore your creative process and embrace vulnerability with St. Vincent, the Grammy-winning, genre-defying artist and performer.

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