(this is an in-person class/mentorship etc – like piano lessons or something… – and not an online course – so, it’s just for those who live close by in LA)

Below, is a song I wrote to give you an idea of how and what I’ll be teaching. It’s loosely inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s – The Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra (most recently noted in the 2012 film: Moonrise Kingdom) – but less about instruments. I’m much more interested in ensuring that things are ‘fun‘ – over the technical details / in this course. This is more about the mind as an instrument. You can always hire an orchestra, right? haha

Some questions you might have:

Who is this for? Well, I have a 12-year-old – and so, she was the one that inspired this – but too much younger than that might not be the right fit? It all depends on the personality, I guess. My studio is across the street from Renaissance Art Academy – and so I thought maybe some of those students might be interested in the electronic side of music gear, but anyone who’s enthusiastic about this type of thing would be welcome. It all depends on the person really. If you watched that video up above… and you listened to that song – and it sounded exciting – then, this is for you.

Here’s a video from an 11 and 13-year-old pair of sisters that’s always made us smile.

Let’s talk about it! You can write to me here:

derek@sheriffderek.consulting OR info@perpetual.education


This video and song above say it all – but if you’d prefer to read… here’s the loose script I wrote… : )

I didn’t really listen to much music until I was 12 or so. I’m not sure why (I was born in 1982).

When all the other kids were watching The Simpsons and buying Madonna and M.C. Hammer tapes – I wasn’t really paying attention to that. I liked Disney’s Alladin. I liked the music in video games. I liked chasing people around and playing hide and go seek and capture the flag and building forts. I wasn’t – unaware of music… but my parents weren’t super Beetles fans or anything.

I knew that guitars were ‘cool.’ I asked my father how to use some power tools – and cut out the shape of a crazy guitar out of wood. I painted it – and that seemed good enough.

When I was 10 I learned how to play the saxophone for the elementary school’s band. It got stolen – and life went on.

When I was 11 and 12 I learned how to play the piano for an hour – once a week – before school. That was pretty great – but for some reason – it didn’t totally stick.

When I was 13, I took some guitar lessons. It was fun, but – it wasn’t very inspirational. I didn’t practice enough – and my teacher was always kinda disappointed when I showed up. I always had a guitar laying around after that… and I played it – but it wasn’t until I had the tools to create entire songs – that things clicked for me. Instruments are special – but in the context of song creation, they are just tools.

The thing is – that not everyone has those tools – and not everyone gets the right encouragement at the right time.

It seems like as a culture – we expect you to be naturally ‘gifted’ or naturally depressed or narcissistic enough to have the drive to “make music.”

I think we should all have a chance to see how it works.

I wonder what it would have been like – if I had “How to make Pop Songs” lessons instead. I bet it would have very fun. My friends were all singing in local plays, but I was scared. My mom was very encouraging – and just about as supportive as you can be – but singing just wasn’t a thing that seemed possible for me. I finally got the guts to sing along as Ayisha and Michael were singing – and they looked at me like I was crazy – because they’d never known me to sing. That felt pretty terrible.

Since then, I’ve grown up. I realized I love making music and I love singing. I wish I’d learned that earlier! Now I’m a product designer and music has been on the backburner a bit for now.

So, as I was looking around my studio (and feeling bad for all the synthesizers and drum machines and guitars that no one is playing…) and I thought! I should just teach that class.

Well, here it is!

While I continue to build our flagship “Design for The Web” class – I’m also offering this as a fun side project. These instruments are lonely! They need you!

I’ll teach you – (one person) (many people) how to make super fun songs. It’s not going to be anything like classically learning an instrument… it’ll be like holistically learning how to have fun with instruments. Maybe you want to write and record songs – or maybe you want to make a band with your friends – and you need to overcome your natural fear of being way too happy ;). I can sort you out.

Tell me about the bands you like. I’ll show you how they made those songs. Maybe you don’t know any bands or about music. We can listen to music and learn about how songs work. It’ll probably be much more fun than learning to play the flute (although there’s nothing wrong with that – this could just be some additional fun to supplement your flute career). The point is – that it’s not just about the notes of one instrument – but how to compose different stuff with our feelings and our natural sensitivity to sound. Should we make a scary song? Do you want to make people dance? What does that sound like? What buttons do we push? How does the technology work?

Everyone “wants to be famous” these days… but instead… let’s just see if you like playing music – or singing – or being in a band and all that fun stuff. We can make songs and funny music videos – and this can really be whatever we discover during the process. Maybe you don’t like any of this stuff! That’s also an important discovery.

I’ve got a studio full of tools. Let me guide you through how to use them.