show episodes
 
Join the quest! Learn how composers and songwriters create music in this podcast hosted by Minneapolis composer Charlie McCarron. Whether you’re a music composition grad or simply an occasional noodler on a guitar, each guest has a new perspective for you on the creative process of composing and songwriting, along with some concrete ideas to apply to your own music.
 
Join the quest! Learn how composers and songwriters create music in this podcast hosted by Minneapolis composer Charlie McCarron. Whether you’re a music composition grad or simply an occasional noodler on a guitar, each guest has a new perspective for you on the creative process of composing and songwriting, along with some concrete ideas to apply to your own music.
 
In this sub-podcast of Composer Quest, I break down tracks of mine and give techniques and tips I learned while creating them. My goal is to give you production ideas for your own composing and songwriting.
 
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show series
 
It’s finally here. Four years and 166 episodes later, we’ve arrived at the finale of the Composer Quest podcast. Before I get too sappy about it, I want to let you know what you’ll be in for in this monster episode. It rounds out the end of my world tour, after my journey home to Minnesota. This episode is definitely one for the fans; most of m ...…
 
It’s finally here. Four years and 166 episodes later, we’ve arrived at the finale of the Composer Quest podcast. Before I get too sappy about it, I want to let you know what you’ll be in for in this monster episode. It rounds out the end of my world tour, after my journey home to Minnesota. This episode is definitely one for the fans; most of m ...…
 
Ever since I heard music psychologist Dr. Diana Deutsch on Radiolab, I’ve been fascinated by musical illusions. In this penultimate episode of Composer Quest, I got to visit Diana in person! Join me on a trip that starts at a Halloween organ concert in San Diego and ends in Phoenix with an unprecedented songwriting/podcasting experiment.…
 
Ever since I heard music psychologist Dr. Diana Deutsch on Radiolab, I’ve been fascinated by musical illusions. In this penultimate episode of Composer Quest, I got to visit Diana in person! Join me on a trip that starts at a Halloween organ concert in San Diego and ends in Phoenix with an unprecedented songwriting/podcasting experiment.…
 
This episode marks my return to the US after my trip to Australia and Asia. Despite the jet lag, I was able to get 5 interviews in for this Composer Quest episode. Also, Jeff Goldblum?! And you’ll just have to listen for yourself to find out why this episode is called “Squirrels in California.”
 
This episode marks my return to the US after my trip to Australia and Asia. Despite the jet lag, I was able to get 5 interviews in for this Composer Quest episode. Also, Jeff Goldblum?! And you’ll just have to listen for yourself to find out why this episode is called “Squirrels in California.”
 
The second act of my Taiwan adventure features more interviews with music makers in Taipei, plus an interview with me about interviewing. We also discuss the jingles heard everywhere in Taipei, from the train stations to the 7-Elevens to the garbage trucks.
 
The second act of my Taiwan adventure features more interviews with music makers in Taipei, plus an interview with me about interviewing. We also discuss the jingles heard everywhere in Taipei, from the train stations to the 7-Elevens to the garbage trucks.
 
Join me on a musical tour through Taiwan in today's episode of Composer Quest. I stumbled into a music festival celebrating Hakka culture, and I got to record a bunch of interesting ensembles, including the Taiwanese jazz group Sizhukong. Plenty of other surprises come up in this episode, including an impromptu flight to another country...…
 
Join me on a musical tour through Taiwan in today's episode of Composer Quest. I stumbled into a music festival celebrating Hakka culture, and I got to record a bunch of interesting ensembles, including the Taiwanese jazz group Sizhukong. Plenty of other surprises come up in this episode, including an impromptu flight to another country...…
 
Australia has been my dream vacation spot since I was about six years old. In today’s episode of the Composer Quest World Tour, you’ll get an audio peek into my adventures staying with musical families in Melbourne and Poatina Village, Tasmania.
 
Australia has been my dream vacation spot since I was about six years old. In today’s episode of the Composer Quest World Tour, you’ll get an audio peek into my adventures staying with musical families in Melbourne and Poatina Village, Tasmania.
 
If you've ever thought about moving to Los Angeles to pursue a creative career, today's episode will give you a glimpse into that world. I talk with six creators about what it takes to turn art into your job, while staying motivated and creatively fulfilled.
 
If you've ever thought about moving to Los Angeles to pursue a creative career, today's episode will give you a glimpse into that world. I talk with six creators about what it takes to turn art into your job, while staying motivated and creatively fulfilled.
 
Take a peek behind the scenes of the Composer Quest Olympics in today's episode. I also talk with video game composers in Chicago about career advice, rhythmic composing tips, and silly six-second Vine melodies.
 
Take a peek behind the scenes of the Composer Quest Olympics in today's episode. I also talk with video game composers in Chicago about career advice, rhythmic composing tips, and silly six-second Vine melodies.
 
From pig racing to public-access TV, this three-hour episode chronicles my adventure around New England. I talk with four different songwriters about their process, and I co-create two songs from scratch along the way.
 
From pig racing to public-access TV, this three-hour episode chronicles my adventure around New England. I talk with four different songwriters about their process, and I co-create two songs from scratch along the way.
 
This episode, I'm in Philadelphia and New York to chat about music theory, film scoring, and slot machine composing.
 
This episode, I'm in Philadelphia and New York to chat about music theory, film scoring, and slot machine composing.
 
This second episode of the Composer Quest World Tour is all about school. Should you go to undergrad or grad school for an artistic field? What do you learn in school that you couldn't on your own?
 
This second episode of the Composer Quest World Tour is all about school. Should you go to undergrad or grad school for an artistic field? What do you learn in school that you couldn't on your own?
 
For the final season of the Composer Quest podcast, 110 Kickstarter backers decided it would be fun to send me on a two month trip around the world, interviewing composers and songwriters. I'm thrilled to announce that the first episode of my Composer Quest world tour is here!
 
For the final season of the Composer Quest podcast, 110 Kickstarter backers decided it would be fun to send me on a two month trip around the world, interviewing composers and songwriters. I'm thrilled to announce that the first episode of my Composer Quest world tour is here!
 
Since I'll be on my Composer Quest World Tour this fall, I decided we had to do something worldly and big for the final composing quest. In the spirit of the 2016 Rio Olympics, I'll be hosting the official Composer Quest Olympic Games!
 
Since I'll be on my Composer Quest World Tour this fall, I decided we had to do something worldly and big for the final composing quest. In the spirit of the 2016 Rio Olympics, I'll be hosting the official Composer Quest Olympic Games!
 
How does a composer write music that doesn't draw attention to itself? How can a director convey scoring ideas if they're not a musician? Why is temp music important for an editor? When should sound design reflect the real world, and when should it be from a character's psychological perspective? Will the dialogue editor choose the lavalier or ...…
 
A common request from directors is to provide mood-setting music that doesn't call attention to itself. One of the best ways to do this is with long, held tones. Making these drone tracks can be quick and easy, but there's also an art to getting just the right emotional flavor. In this episode I share some of my drone variations for the film Tw ...…
 
How does a composer write music that doesn't draw attention to itself? How can a director convey scoring ideas if they're not a musician? Why is temp music important for an editor? When should sound design reflect the real world, and when should it be from a character's psychological perspective? Will the dialogue editor choose the lavalier or ...…
 
St. Thomas professor Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada specializes in teaching piano, creativity, and performance anxiety reduction techniques. In this episode of Composer Quest, Vanessa shares some tips on getting past mental blocks as a composer, and she explains how hypnotherapy can be helpful in reducing stress, increasing productivity, and spark ...…
 
St. Thomas professor Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada specializes in teaching piano, creativity, and performance anxiety reduction techniques. In this episode of Composer Quest, Vanessa shares some tips on getting past mental blocks as a composer, and she explains how hypnotherapy can be helpful in reducing stress, increasing productivity, and spark ...…
 
Erik Ostrom was working at a Silicon Valley startup when he realized songwriting was his true passion. He has since moved back to Minnesota and found another passion: the improv comedy world. In this episode of Composer Quest, Erik and I talk about his recent performance with The Local Music Scene, a song-based improv comedy troupe. Erik also s ...…
 
Erik Ostrom was working at a Silicon Valley startup when he realized songwriting was his true passion. He has since moved back to Minnesota and found another passion: the improv comedy world. In this episode of Composer Quest, Erik and I talk about his recent performance with The Local Music Scene, a song-based improv comedy troupe. Erik also s ...…
 
What would you do if you were given a barebones MIDI file, and told to fill it in with whatever sounds you want? That's the challenge I posed to Composer Quest listeners, and in this episode we'll get to hear from them about their experience completing our MIDI Remix Quest. You can download the full tracks at composerquest.bandcamp.com.This pro ...…
 
For this special 150th episode of Composer Quest, I got to talk with Gregory Scott, co-host of my favorite music production podcast, the UBK Happy Funtime Hour. Gregory answers my tough music production questions like: “what effect would you use if you could only choose ONE?” He also shares his process in creating the upcoming Sneaky Little Dev ...…
 
For this special 150th episode of Composer Quest, I got to talk with Gregory Scott, co-host of my favorite music production podcast, the UBK Happy Funtime Hour. Gregory answers my tough music production questions like: “what effect would you use if you could only choose ONE?” He also shares his process in creating the upcoming Sneaky Little Dev ...…
 
Early video game music was in some ways a revival of Baroque counterpoint. In this episode, I share one of my video game-y tracks inspired by counterpoint techniques, and inadvertently inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog.This production lesson originally aired in Composer Quest episode 149 with Jess Scherer and Peter Lund. For more music production ...…
 
Jess Scherer and Peter Lund faced a songwriting quandry: what do you write about when you've been happily married for several years? They decided to stretch their imaginations by writing a magical concept album about wizards, and it turned out to be great songwriting fuel. In this episode of Composer Quest, our conversation covers songwriting t ...…
 
Jess Scherer and Peter Lund faced a songwriting quandry: what do you write about when you've been happily married for several years? They decided to stretch their imaginations by writing a magical concept album about wizards, and it turned out to be great songwriting fuel. In this episode of Composer Quest, our conversation covers songwriting t ...…
 
Composer Bryan Schumann has embraced self-imposed deadlines; he’s been consistently making at least one “thing” every week in 2016 and blogging about it. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about what he’s learned from this experiment. Bryan also talks about his eco-friendly music projects, like a bike-powered electric band and his futur ...…
 
Composer Bryan Schumann has embraced self-imposed deadlines; he’s been consistently making at least one “thing” every week in 2016 and blogging about it. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about what he’s learned from this experiment. Bryan also talks about his eco-friendly music projects, like a bike-powered electric band and his futur ...…
 
Since the recent episodes of Composer Quest have been about electronic and video game music, I thought we could do a composing quest related to it. So here's your challenge, should you choose to accept it: create a loop-able piece of music that's under 2 minutes, using MIDI. Send me your audio file and MIDI layers (charlie@composerquest.com) by ...…
 
Since the recent episodes of Composer Quest have been about electronic and video game music, I thought we could do a composing quest related to it. So here's your challenge, should you choose to accept it: create a loop-able piece of music that's under 2 minutes, using MIDI. Send me your audio file and MIDI layers (charlie@composerquest.com) by ...…
 
Anton Torres has been an electronic music hobbyist for over 20 years, using the very earliest incarnations of Apple's Logic and Ableton Live. In today's episode of Composer Quest, Anton shares some wisdom on living a creative life, even if you only have 15 minutes to spare each day. We also hear why Anton decided to leave his suit and tie job i ...…
 
Anton Torres has been an electronic music hobbyist for over 20 years, using the very earliest incarnations of Apple's Logic and Ableton Live. In today's episode of Composer Quest, Anton shares some wisdom on living a creative life, even if you only have 15 minutes to spare each day. We also hear why Anton decided to leave his suit and tie job i ...…
 
A few weeks ago, I got to participate in a very fun live composing event at GlitchCon, called Game Music Melee. Three of us composers got up onstage to write video game music on the spot, based on game suggestions from the audience, in JUST 30 MINUTES. Not a lot of time. Emily Reese of the Level with Emily podcast hosted, and after two rounds o ...…
 
A few weeks ago, I got to participate in a very fun live composing event at GlitchCon, called Game Music Melee. Three of us composers got up onstage to write video game music on the spot, based on game suggestions from the audience, in JUST 30 MINUTES. Not a lot of time. Emily Reese of the Level with Emily podcast hosted, and after two rounds o ...…
 
What do you do when you've written an A section and B section that don't quite fit together? In this episode I analyze my surf-inspired chiptune track to figure out how to smooth this transition point.This production lesson originally aired in Composer Quest episode 145: Game Music Melee. For more music production lessons and composer interview ...…
 
Musician, neuroscientist, and author Daniel Levitin has brought music psychology to the masses with This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs. For today's episode of Composer Quest, I got to interview Dan about why humans evolved to be musical. Dan also shares songwriting tips he's learned in talking with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, ...…
 
Musician, neuroscientist, and author Daniel Levitin has brought music psychology to the masses with This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs. For today's episode of Composer Quest, I got to interview Dan about why humans evolved to be musical. Dan also shares songwriting tips he's learned in talking with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, ...…
 
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