Forums > MaxMSP

Advice on focused Max study

Mar 28 2006 | 6:20 am

Beginning in April, I’m going to be taking on self-directed studies
in Max/MSP at the undergraduate level. It’s going to be a full credit
load endeavor, maybe supplemented with the odd Ableton composition
here and there, so I intend to spend a lot of time with Max.
Currently, I have a basic grounding in programming (C++), and
extensive background in digital audio / composition. This’ll be my
first formal experience with Max/MSP, though definitely not my last.

I guess I’m just a bit overwhelmed at the moment, and I’d love to
hear any advice anyone would be willing to offer, so I might spend
the next couple as effectively as possible. What are some good
beginner – intermediate resources? What might be some realistic goals
for a period of this length / intensity (I’d like to aim high)?

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!


Mar 28 2006 | 7:40 am

You will probably hear this repeated quite often here,
but Max/MSP comes with some of the best documentation
& tutorials ever; just do it all, starting at Max tut.
1, and work through all the Max tuts before starting
on the MSP stuff.
Second (and there’s no reason why this can’t run
concurrently with the tuts, even if things don’t make
a great deal of sense at first), read this list every
day – I’d reccommend subscribing to the ‘mail version
for this – and copy/paste every single patch anyone
ever posts here. Anything that starts with a ‘#P’ and
ends in a ‘copycount x;’ , just copy, and select ‘New
>From Clipboard’ in Max and see if you can figure it
Studying other people’s patches, no matter how simple,
is a really useful exercise, because there are so many
different ways of doing things in Max, that you can
always learn something from seeing how someone else
would approach each problem.
Best of luck with it, and be warned, Maxing can be
highly addictive!

Mar 28 2006 | 5:00 pm

Really, really learn the control rate stuff. This is a great time to
get a printed out copy of the Max reference and start going through the
docs, as there’s lots of useful messages there that aren’t in the
helpfiles. Particularly, look at objects for handling large amounts of
data, such as coll, table, vexpr, zl, and the jitter objects. Also,
practice using trigger for order-forcing and type conversion. If you
can do interesting things at the control-rate, the audio-rate stuff is
much easier.

Peter McCulloch

Mar 28 2006 | 5:08 pm

another thing i would like to add,as obviously you can’t learn everything at ounce, what helped me most in my learning curve ( which actually never stops…:) ) is to learn through projects.
give yourself little projects you want to achieve, that way you will get to know the objects you need and explore the approaches for each problem.
having a goal through a project , i find was for me the best and quickest way to learn this multifacetted software.
i would also advice to try to go to workshops if you can afford it, you always make great connections and discover a diversity of possibilities within max/msp/jitter/softvns/etc…

good luck and welcome


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