Sony Music-signed record producer and Rockland County resident Brandon Korn—known professionally as Bkorn—may not perform on stage, but he is no stranger to the limelight. The Grammy and three-time BMI award-winning professional has crafted hit songs for huge names in the music business throughout his ten-year career, including Travis Scott, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and more. He is also the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Les Paul Award from Ramapo College of New Jersey, as well as the 2019 Young Alumnus Award from the University of Hartford.
Having gotten his own start at age 17 from watching YouTube beat-making videos, Korn has always welcomed opportunities to pass on his knowledge to aspiring producers in a more hands-on way, running workshops and teaching lessons when possible. So when he drove past the Nanuet music school Bach to Rock one day in September, he decided to step inside to see how he could help.
Two months later, Korn now serves as an instructor in the Bach to Rock Beat Refinery program, teaching students of all ages how to make their own hip-hop and club beats electronically. Using the industry standard software Logic Pro, Korn guides students through the process of making a song from scratch. This involves instruction on how to make melody and drum tracks, as well as tips on song structure. At the end of every lesson, Korn AirDrops the student’s track to their phone, allowing them to analyze their progress between sessions.
“The way I see it is, there’s no one size fits all for anything,” Korn said when sharing his teaching philosophy. “Especially with what I do, which is beat-making. I know what’s worked for me and that’s what I’m going to teach people. So far, it’s going well.”
“Our Beat Refinery and music production programs aren’t exactly unknown, but they’re not utilized to their fullest extent,” Joe Negrin, director of Bach to Rock’s Nanuet center, added. “Bringing on someone like Brandon who’s an industry professional and knows all about it is really helping us take things to the next level.”
Part of taking Bach to Rock’s Beat Refinery to that level is Negrin and Korn’s goal to provide more educational opportunities. On Tuesday, November 14, Korn led his first Music Production workshop for the school, where he shared his own story and beat-making process. Using a large screen to demonstrate, he showed students what tools and equipment he uses and broke down the work that went into producing several of his biggest hits. Korn hopes to lead a second workshop in December for students, as well as the community at large.
“It’s not only an educational thing, it’s a good vibe type thing,” Korn explained. “They don’t have to be interested in music production. People that come here just have a love for music. It’s really interesting.”
Korn also emphasized the deep satisfaction that teaching at Bach to Rock has given him.
“I remember that after my first lesson here, I called my wife,” Korn recalled. “I told her, ‘I just had the best time.’ It gives you a sense of gratitude when a student gets up, gives you a high five and they’re like, ‘Thank you.’ Just knowing that you’re making a difference in their day, whether it’s teaching them something or just being someone for them to share a moment with. That’s such a gratifying feeling to me. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something more than just doing music.”