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Point Blank Music College Related Videos

Article in DJ Mag August 2018

I was interviewed by DJ Mag earlier this year, and was really chuffed to see the article appear in the August issue. I discussed my deconstructions for Point Blank Music school, and how they have evolved over the last six years. I'm attaching a photo of the piece below which you can download.

Article in DJ Mag August 2018

Interview for Point Blank

Here's an interview I did recently for Point Blank. There's loads of exciting stuff happening at PB in 2015.. check back for more details!

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Mixing Dance Music in Ableton Live Course Update

Over the last few months I've been working on a major update of Point Blank's Mixing Dance Music for Ableton Live course with top sound engineer Anthony Chapman. It's been expanded from a four week to an eight week course, and will guide you through fundamental mixing techniques like image and balance, dynamics, EQ, reverb, depth, mixing vocals and even mastering. It’s the perfect course for remixers, studio engineers and programmers alike.

Please check out the video below, and also read more about it here.

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This course is compatible with both Logic Pro and Ableton Live

Electronic Music Composition 2 (EMC²), is the natural progression from EMC, taking you further along your creative pathway. We continue to demonstrate how classic and cutting edge tunes are put together and sometimes break the 'rules'. EMC² explains the tricks of the trade, building on what you learnt from EMC and getting more in depth: extending your knowledge of musical theory; deconstructing BIG tunes to see what makes them work; how to get vocals into your work and examining the different approaches to writing that will help keep you inspired and prolific. EMC² is developed by virtuoso keyboardist Ski Oakenfull. It contains presentation techniques that enable you to see exactly what's being played on the keys and what's happening in the software/DAW. To enrol on this course you need to have taken EMC. If you want to take both you should consider enrolling on the EMC Professional Course Program and save some cash. See you in class! 

Electronic Music Composition (EMC)

In 2012 Ski was asked by Point Blank Music School to write an online course entitled Electronic Music Composition or 'EMC' for short. The first 4 week incarnation proved to be extremely popular, so later that year he set about writing a part 2. Eventually they merged into a single 8 week course which is currently running as both a standalone course and a module in Logic & Ableton certificate programmes. Take a look at the preview and syllabus description below!


This course is compatible with both Logic Pro and Ableton Live

Ever find it difficult to finish your tracks? In Electronic Music Composition (EMC), we analyze how classic and cutting edge tunes work and show you the techniques used so you can implement them in your own tracks. Over 8 inspirational and engaging weeks, EMC shows you how to develop the musical aspects of your tracks without getting too bogged down in scales and theory. You'll learn how to add hooks, riffs, chords, basslines, melodies, develop your arrangements and work with vocals whilst keeping everything in key so it 'sounds right'. Developed by keyboardist Ski Oakenfull (Sony artist/producer/writer/player for Incognito, Joey Negro and The Bays), this course shows you what's being played on the keys and what's happening in the software/DAW.  See you in class! 

Includes 120 quality videos (approx)/ 3 x 1-2-1 Live Tutorials (via Skype) / 1x DVR™ (1-2-1 recorded video feedback)/ 8 hours live masterclasses/1 year access / over 160 pages of course notes / 24/7 access to forum/ exclusive audio resources to download. Optional: sign your track to Point Blank Music distributed by iTunes, beatport, Juno Download and Amazon.

Content overview

Keys, Chords & Arpeggios

  • Terminology: the keyboard, root note, which notes 'work'
  • Major/minor scales
  • Transposing in Logic or Ableton Live
  • Basic chords and how to make them, major & minor chords used in sequence
  • Slowing down tempo of track for easier playing/recording
  • Ableton Live - warping, Logic - Flextime
  • Arpeggiating: automated & playing them yourself
  • All supported by plenty of videos, audio examples
  • Projects to download

Chord Progressions, Voicings & Basslines

  • Chords, basslines and how they work together, chord progressions
  • I-IV-V minor sequence, Ableton Live chord device
  • Human chord device, note intervals, alternative chord sequences
  • How to play shapes, different approaches to writing, different chord voicings
  • 1st & 2nd inversions, moving between chords using different voicings
  • Playing over chord device, extending chords: 7ths, Maj 7ths & Min 9ths
  • Which chords 'go' over which tracks?
  • Bass: playing under repetitive chords, repetitive lines and changing chords
  • Playing basslines with no chords over them

Rhythm, Riffs & Melodies

  • Rhythm: basic and syncopated, analysing examples, using piano roll
  • Riffs and melodies as hooks in the track, how to improvise
  • Chords & scales, improvising riffs & melodies over chords
  • Playing chords rhythmically, soloing, comping several ‘takes’ together
  • Using vocal samples as main hook, transposing vocal vs changing chords
  • Working with an acapella, vocoding melodies, playing chords rhythmically
  • Interweaving chords with drum track to make hooks, playing across the groove
  • Creating melody from electronic percussion, extra melody tips, octaving
  • Finding the top note of a chord and re-enforcing it with another sound

Final Musical Touches & Arranging

  • Adding final musical touches and techniques to arrange & finish your track:
  • Build tension & release in arrangement, changing melody over same chords
  • Using different chord sequences for different sections
  • Using standard arrangement templates e.g. (ABABCB).
  • One chord sequence tracks: emphasising beats, adding strings, arpeggios
  • How melody changes feel of chord sequence between verse & chorus
  • Creating a B-section, using a high string line to build a section, modulating
  • Relative minor changes, shift modulation, circle of fifths
  • Use of strings, analyzing and extending an arrangement. Finish your track!

Extending Musical Theory

  • General EMC1 Recap
  • Mixing Major & Minor Chords, Slash Chords & Right hand Inversions
  • Breaking the rules with clashes and notes not in the scale
  • Working with Intervals and Chord Riffs
  • Extended Scale Theory - Modes & Alternative Minors
  • More about Chord Progressions - Dominant 7ths
  • Modulating
  • Extracting Feel - Making it Funky

Track Analysis: Massive Tunes

  • Analyzing big tracks
  • Including Avicii / Skrillex / Deadmau5 / X-Press2 / Julio Bashmore
  • Breakdown of Analysis Process
  • Arrangement techniques
  • The musical elements: how do they work?
  • Creating a structure template of each track to apply to your own compositions
  • Download projects containing bassline; chords; melodies; riffs; structure
  • How to take a track, get it in time and define the sections
  • Analyse a track of your choice in your DAW
  • Interpolating parts and focusing on arrangement

Approaches to Writing, Instrumentation & Finishing

  • Starting with samples; playing/singing over other tracks to create new parts
  • Setting boundaries & following formulas
  • Recreating other tracks (interpolation); working with musical samples
  • Working loops & samples (includes free downloadable sample pack)
  • Using keyboard/guitar to write chord sequence; writing with someone else
  • Remix approach: writing different music underneath an acapella
  • Using instrumentation to build up your track; strings; brass
  • Further arrangement techniques: creative drum programming
  • Analysing tracks' arrangements; applying these templates to your own tracks

Vocals & Collaborating

  • A look at how vocals are used in Electronic music
  • Getting a vocal onto your track; different choices and methods
  • Sing it themselves; use a Vocoder; work with a singer; chop up an acapella
  • We provide acapellas to work with; getting an acapella in tune & time
  • Using a vocal sample or phrase as a starting point
  • Writing your own vocal top line (just hook - not full song)
  • Approaching a vocalist; developing your idea with someone else
  • Producer/composer skills when working with vocalists
  • Full vocal dance tracks
  • Vocal recording process; other vocal techniques: harmonies; ad libbing
  • Collaborating with other artists/producers/friends

Ski at BPM 2012

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Check out the highlights from BPM 2012. Point Blank were there to host DJ and music production workshops and explore some of the latest pieces of music technology on the market.

Luke chats to the tutors Ben Bristow and Ski Oakenfull about their live setup which combined Ben's scratch skills sampled live through Ableton using the APC40 as a controller.

He also caught up with Andrew Woollard from Smithson Martin to learn about their Emulator KS-1974 and Tim Walter from Allen & Heath who gives the lowdown on the Xone DB4

Ski Interview at the Amsterdam Dance Event 2012

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Check out the highlights from Point Blank's time in Amsterdam where instructor Ski Oakenfull was at Cafe Cox giving 3 Ableton Live seminars as part of the ADE Playground. While we were there we also caught up with Andy Mac, product specialist at Akai Professional to talk about the MPC Renaissance

Later we headed to the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs party where we chatted to Ed Real, Managing Director at Track It Down about the state of the online landscape for electronic music artists today.

Article on Ableton's recent Live 9 Update and PUSH from Point Blank Blog

This article was written by Ski for the Point Blank Blog and published on 29th October 2012

Live users have been anticipating the announcement of version 9 for over 3 years now, causing some intense speculation about what new features might be added.  So when it was finally announced last week, you can imagine the frenzy of excited tweeting and status updating that took place. Ableton’s biggest surprise however, was the announcement of a brand new hardware controller entitled ‘Push‘. On reflection it seems like natural move for Ableton to introduce their own controller, especially when you consider other companies such as Native Instruments andAkai who have been doing this for a quite a while now. Both NI’s Maschine and Akai’s new MPC Renaissance come with their own standalone DAW software, providing some real competition for Ableton. Push however, raises the bar, and by benefiting from it’s predecessors, the APC40 and Launchpad, has combined all the best features to create what seems to be a unique new controller. Let’s have a look at what it has to offer..

ableton push