Capo for the Studio, Music Lessons & Live Performance

Musical Life in Los Angeles

Derek Olds

Los Angeles, CA USA ›

  • Co-owner of Elation Entertainment
  • Co-founder of Creation 2 Elation, a music program for teenagers
  • Credits for Ne-Yo, Common, Raheem Devaughn, Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monae, Madonna, Beyoncé, Prince, Robin Thicke, and many independent artists.
  • Music teacher
  • Independent artist

Finds Capo useful for…

  • Songwriting and producing
  • Teaching guitar, piano and vocals
  • Rehearsing as a singer
  • Practicing guitar
  • Learning songs in alternate tunings
  • Recording guitar parts to songs
  • Finding exact notes and leads
  • Last-minute touring situations
  • Exporting chords from an mp3 to build guitar parts and melodies

From recording in the studio, to song writing and producing, to rehearsing as a singer and guitarist for stage, to private teaching or music production lessons in Logic Pro, Derek Olds has integrated Capo into every dimension of his musical life and professional career.

Derek worked at the Apple Store in Santa Monica, California until recently when his new LA recording studio, Elation Entertainment, took off.

Not just for beginners

“When I worked at the Apple Store, I’d show Capo to kids and adults all the time. The first thing that got people excited, especially seeing it on the iPhone, was that you can throw a song in there and Capo would immediately detect the chords, tempo and key. For people getting started, that’s amazing!”

Whether I go to learn a song myself or teach someone how to play a song, I bring it up in Capo.

In addition, Capo helps Derek teach the abstract concept of figuring out how to play a song so his students can actually visualize and ultimately figure out for themselves. He finds that this is useful for his students and for himself! “When I’m teaching, I explain that the chord maps that are first displayed in Capo are usually the simplest way to play them. You can even look at the spectrogram and literally see the notes. Whether I go to learn a song myself or teach someone how to play a song, I bring it up in Capo. It shows you that “7” on the Bmaj. Then I can double-click and see all the ways to play it. It gives me ideas of how to try it.”

Slow it down

Derek has also found that Capo’s ability to slow songs down without affecting the sound quality is very helpful for people getting started – especially kids. “When kids are learning, the first thing I do is go to 3/4 speed to make it easier to learn. When I do that, they’re like, ‘Ohhhh… now I can do this!’ With this added confidence, the learning process just accelerates!”

Calling all musicians

Even though Capo was developed with the guitarist in mind, Derek finds Capo is a learning tool for all types of musicians. In his classroom, Capo is used to help teach guitar, piano and vocal students. “When I teach guitar, it’s so easy to show them the chords with Capo but when I teach piano or vocal students we’ll hide the chord boxes and use the spectrogram instead to figure out leads and see the notes.” Regardless of musical instrument, Derek finds Capo is an invaluable tool throughout the entire learning process.

Capo in the studio

Derek also uses Capo in the studio and says that it’s become his “playback engine”. If someone wants him to add guitar parts to a song while in the studio, he immediately opens the song up in Capo instead of Logic or ProTools. Derek says that “it looks really cool in the studio and a nice touch is that the album artwork is also displayed”. Additionally, “People think you really know the song when you open it in Capo!”

Exporting Chords to GarageBand (or Logic)

Derek is excited about a new feature in Capo 3.2 that allows you to export the MIDI file of chords detected in Capo. "It’s so helpful when you’re writing to someone’s idea and they send you an mp3,” Derek explains. "Now you can quickly start building around it, and write a guitar lead or another vocal melody!”

Live performance

As a traveling musician, Derek has found Capo to be beneficial for learning songs quickly. “I’ve been using the ‘Add a Capo’ and ‘Alternate Tunings’ features within Capo so much. Seeing how to play the same songs in alternate tunings when I don’t have a crew handing off guitars to me on stage has been invaluable. It saves time on stage to just have one guitar. Without a crew, I couldn’t be switching guitars between different songs. So, many times I have to learn a song last minute in a different tuning for stage because I only have one guitar with me.”

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Photographs by Andrea Macias Jimenez