Back in December, I heard about an opportunity to learn music production from Andrew Huang via a new learning platform, Monthly. Being that Andrew is what many would call a successful YouTuber & music producer, I thought this was quite the timely opportunity to learn from someone who's been actively working in the industry for over a decade.
Before I continue talking about my experience, I want to preface by saying Monthly takes a serious commitment -- as you only have 30 days, the course moves incredibly fast! If you're interested in taking any Monthly course, I'd recommend making sure it's a priority for you.
Upon signing up, Andrew greets you with a welcome video, talks about tools & equipment you'll need, the fundamentals of music theory + music software & scheduling time to learn & practice.
The course is divided up into 3 main sections:
Electronic Production (days 1-12)
Sampling, Sound Design & Synthesis (days 13-22)
Vocals & Live Instruments (days 23-30)
In each section, Andrew has pre-recorded lesson videos walking through his process; some of these are 30 minutes in length, while others are over 2 hours. The videos took me twice as long to get through because I was constantly pausing to take notes.
Pro Tip: Once you register for a Monthly class, you have lifetime access to the course material, so don't drive yourself crazy trying to take down every last detail. You'll be able to go back & watch the videos again.
When you upload your work, other students in your cohort have the opportunity to provide feedback. Gaining constructive feedback for me was a reminder I wasn't alone in this process, even though I was spending hours upon hours held up in my living room that's doubling as my home studio.
The end goal of this course was to have produced 3 original tracks! That's a tall order in 30 days! The key with this was not to focus on perfection, but rather to submit your work on time. At some point, you have to stop editing & just submit what you have. It's a challenging thing to do when you know your work will be judged by others. I saw so many people prefacing their work by saying something to the effect of, "I need to finalize the bass line." OR " This is not at all my musical style, but." My point is: every single student had the same insecurities with what they were posting, but the crunched time doesn't allow you to work on one song for 6 months.
While my experience was mostly positive, I wanted to list out a couple areas I think Monthly could improve upon:
Andrew Huang might not personally comment on your tracks. He never commented on any of mine, but I would receive notifications that he was commenting on other student's work. I would recommend not having the expectation that you'll receive feedback directly from him. I went in thinking I would & was disappointed.
Connecting with fellow students is challenging. The only way you can communicate with other students is by commenting on their work. Having experienced other online learning platforms, I assumed you'd be able to private message other students for the purpose of asking questions, collaborating in the future or just networking. I guess you could leave your contact info. as a comment on their work, but that means everyone in the course would see it, so no.
You can't ask the instructor questions. Nope, nada. Monthly doesn't provide any way of contacting the instructor directly. I completely understand the reasons for this as the instructor is a YouTuber, not a professor, but I think adding office hours would've helped.
Ultimately, I think this course was incredibly valuable & worth my time & financial investment. And while I wasn't able to finish all the assignments, I definitely feel I've upped my producer game. My plan is to use my lifetime access to keep repeating this course on my own.
I think it goes without saying, but this post is in no way sponsored. I am not affiliated with Monthly...I'm just a musician constantly looking to educate myself. Monthly offers courses outside of music; take a look at their offerings here: https://learnmonthly.com/homepage