composing & jamming

Technical Setup

get ready

Technical setup

In this video I will show you the best way to set up your looper pedal and the other equipment that you will need for this course.

Bass Drone


Lesson 1: Bass drone

In this first lesson you will learn how to create the first layer of your loops using a bass drone pattern with one single note. We talk about how to work with the looper pedal to create seamless loops so that they flow rhythmically. And finally, we’ll talk about how to solo and improvise freely using the notes of the key over these drones that you are creating.

Tonal Centers


Lesson 2: Tonal Centers

We introduce the concept of “tonal centers”, using different notes of the major scale as our bass drone to create different harmonic worlds that we can explore in our soloing, just like painting on a beautiful canvas.

Sound Effects


Lesson 3: Sound Effects

In this lesson we add a sound effects layer. This is a powerful tool we have for decorating our loops and creating an imaginary world for the listener. We also talk about the technical aspects of working with the looper pedal to add a second layer to your loops.

Movement in the Bass


Lesson 4: Movement in the Bass

We expand our bass part to include other notes of the chord, making our music more songlike and melodic. We explore different chords and build many examples together, recording them on the looper pedal and then improvising over them.

Pizzicato Accompaniment


Lesson 5: Pizzicato Accompaniment

In this lesson we will create an accompaniment layer that complements your bass part perfectly and brings your entire composition to life. We do this by taking advantage of a very special sound that the violin can create: pizzicato. Together we build many examples using different chords and different kinds of pizzicato accompaniments, and we talk about how to arrange the layers so that they work together musically.



Lesson 6: Percussion

In this lesson you will learn how to make your loops more rhythmic and groovy using a percussion layer. We do this using a wide variety of beautiful percussive sounds that we can create just with the violin. I’ll show you all of my favorite sounds and some especially nice ways of combining them.

Bowed Accompaniment


Lesson 7: Bowed Accompaniment

We add an accompaniment layer of bowed strings, giving a new texture to our compositions and allowing us to evoke sensations that we love from classical music. Using different articulations of the bow we can create different backgrounds ranging from tender and sweet to more contemporary environments. We also talk about the special arragnement considerations that bowed accompaniments introduce.



Lesson 8: Chopping

In this lesson you will learn the basics of the percussive technique of chopping, how to find the chopping sound on the violin, and how to practice this technique so that you can use it comfortably in your music. At the end of the lesson we build a complete loop together using all of the techniques you have learned so far, which now includes a chopping layer.

Mastering the Model


Lesson 9: Mastering the Model

In this lesson I walk you through you a complete review of our basic model for composing with the looper pedal, so that you can master this model and build a solid foundation before moving on. Mastering this model will give you the skills and clarity you’ll need for the more advanced techniques that are coming soon.

Chord Progressions 1


Lesson 10: Chord Progressions 1

In this lesson we will begin combining chords into chord progressions. We start by exploring pairs of consecutive chords of the major scale, and we will learn a simple technique for transposing our accompaniment patterns to the other chords.

Chord Progressions 2


Lesson 11: Chord Progressions 2

We continue our exploration of chord progressions, now expanding to non-consecutive chords of the major scale. We also learn a more advanced way to compose our accompaniment layers which gives us more creative freedom.

Creating a Strong Ending


Lesson 12: Creating a Strong Ending

In this lesson you’ll get to see a chord progression using four different chords of the major scale, providing much more harmonic movement and taking the listener on a longer musical journey. Once the loop is built, we will explore some nice ways that we can end our loops.

Soloing Over Your Loops


Lesson 13: Soloing Over Your Loops

In this lesson we’ll build another long chord progression together and I’ll talk about some creative strategies for your improvised solo. I will share some of my favorite tips for soloing over your loops, and I’ll give you some new creative elements to explore in your improvising.

Breaking the Mold


Lesson 14: Breaking the Mold

In this course you’ve learned a complete framework for composing your loops, which uses the model of a band to organize the different musical parts and uses basic concepts from the major scale to organize the harmony. In this lesson we will talk about breaking the mold, moving beyond these rules, and using all of your knowledge in a more free and creative way.

Performing Your Music


Lesson 15: Performing Your Music

During this course you have been developing your own repertoire of compositions for violin and looper pedal. In this final lesson, I give you some ideas about performing your compositions and how you can prepare for these performances so that they are enjoyable both for you and for your listeners.