For lots of people MAGIX Music Maker is the perfect gateway into the world of professional music production. The user friendliness of the program allows beginners to get quickly used to the menus and working methods until they can do it all blindfolded. After mastering the necessary editing skills it is high time to get down to business. There’s nothing worse than having a creative idea and not being able to make it work because you’re not sure how to find the necessary features and tools in the program. Shortcuts and certain mouse modes can be a great help in preventing this from happening. In this article we are going to look at some really useful ways to make it easier for beginners and advanced users to use the software effectively.
Keyboard shortcuts for faster editing
Shortcuts save time when editing because they enable you to access the features you need directly, instead of having to navigate through menus and submenus. As easy as it might sound, simply using the spacebar to stop and start playback is a great shortcut that everybody can use. You can also press Escape to pause playback at the current marker position, this stops the playback marker from jumping back to the start. This can be particularly useful if you are looking for specific sections within an object.
When editing music you may need to duplicate an object in the same track. Instead of wasting time by clicking the mouse a whole lot, simply use the shortcut CTRL + D to add the copied object directly after the selected object.
Now the foundations of the instrumental part have been laid it is time to attend to the vocals. The audio recording dialog can be opened by pressing “R”. The Song Maker feature is ideal for beginners, which can be opened by pressing “W”. You can quickly make custom songs using Song Maker, which allows beginners to identify and analyze song structures. How are the separate elements arranged? What relationships do the objects have to one another? These example songs also provide you with ideas for your own productions.
While editing it is a good idea to save your arrangement often. This can be done quickly and easily using the shortcut CTRL + S. To see a list of all keyboard shortcuts simply press “U“.
A small selection of useful mouse modes
Preview mode: Preview any selected audio objects. To do so simply click and hold the object with the left mouse button to play a preview. This can be really helpful if you have a complex arrangement, as when you first start out it’s tough to keep track of all the objects and their respective sounds. Switch to Preview Mode by pressing CTRL + 8.
Cut mode: You can cut an object if you only want to use a certain part of it. You can also use this technique to remove unwanted sections quickly and easily. Switch to Cut Mode by pressing CTRL+ 6.
Automation mode: Electronic music producers often raise or lower the volume of certain sections in their songs, such as the bridge, for greater effect. The Automation mode is a great tool for making detailed volume adjustments. As well as using this mode to adjust volume settings it can also be used to draw the shape of effect curves. Switch to Automation Mode by pressing CTRL + 4.
Return to the regular mouse mode by pressing CTRL + 1.
Three more tips to make music editing easier
It is quite common to forget to experiment with the playback speed objects or songs when beginning with production. If you do want to change playback speed you need to adjust the BPM (beats per minute). Simply click on “BPM” and enter a speed.
A metronome can be useful for lots of things, including playing virtual instruments. Even if a person has decent natural rhythm, it’s advisable to make sure there are no inconsistencies in the arrangement when it’s finished. Next to the time display you can turn the metronome on and off.
It’s easy to get confused, what with all the options, instruments and effects in Music Maker. How long is my piano track? Do my drums in track 1 play in time with the guitar in track 5? Music production often requires you to focus on the small details, which makes it easy to forget about “the whole”. By pressing “F12” all objects in the arranger field will be made visible, so you don’t accidentally lose something.