Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement, gents. You obviously know the feeling of looking up at the Cubase mountain and thinking “what’s the smartest way to climb this thing?”
I started by going through all the introductory videos and making notes, then trying things out, with limited success. An example: in the introductory YouTube vids, there’s a spot where Walt Honeycutt opens an instrument (Groove Agent One, I think) loads it with a sound, and then closes the instrument. If I close a window in any other piece of software, it’s content is closed and gone. Yet it was still in the track. Then he threw Beat Designer into it. And then closed it, too. Logically, how can a closed instrument still be available for use? Don’t answer that question. I get it now, I think. Once it’s in the rack and loaded, it’s in the rack available to bang and crash along with “My Love’s Gonna Get You” as appropriate, even if it’s no longer visible.
But at first it was baffling.
The “try a tutor first” idea is a good one. The trick is finding someone really familiar with Cubase, local, who can teach. I looked into the local studios around town but they are all ProTools based, so I may have to widen my search and make it a “study vacation” in Vancouver or Calgary. There is a Club Cubase chapter in both cities, so maybe that’s the place to start.
As you both suggest, our most precious resource is time, and as much as I enjoy exploring and learning music, Cubase is only one piece of my pie of music interests. The Berklee course caught my eye for two reasons. First, the school itself has a solid reputation. If I was young and single, me and my guitar would be there soaking it in. But I’m old, so that’s not gonna happen! And second, and more to the point, for that price, can their experts teach me enough of value in 12 weeks online to save me thousands of hours of asking and going down blind alleys and wasting time? I’ve learned that many things we get for free are usually worth that price, but investing in expertise - even expensive expertise - can be worthwhile simply for the time it saves you.
My goal is to be able to record acoustic and electric guitars over composed beds of piano, drum, and synth parts. I’d like to be able to input those parts via some keyboard playing (I’m primarily a guitar player, but also write on keyboard), and by handwritten scores in either the MIDI and/or Score editor. A Cubase course that could show me how to quickly create bed tracks of ii-V-I chord changes using some decent piano and string sounds would be a decent start for me.
So I guess my question can expand a bit to “If you have taken Cubase training, what did you take and did it help? And would you recommend it?” Which paid tutorials on the web have people found to be of value? Are there any decent Cubase 7 method books available yet?
Thanks again for the welcome and the supportive comments, and thanks-in-advance for your expertise and advice. Much appreciated!