- Uncertainty — “Should I do it?”
- No set direction — “Where do I start?”
Let’s address these problems.
“Should I do it?”
Producing is not as big and scary as you may think and you’ll probably have fun.
Before I started producing I was unsure about whether or not I should start. It seemed like a big move and was unrelated to what I had already put time and energy into, but what I was working on wasn’t as exciting to me as making music. I shared my uncertainties with a close friend of mine and he sort of shut me down. He told me that I never finish what I start. This was someone I respect and it was discouraging, but I chose to start anyways. Ultimately, I decided that I needed to do what felt exciting to me regardless of what other people thought and in spite of knowing very little about production. If I made major life decisions based on my fears and what other people thought I wouldn’t be producing, performing, and living my dreams.
The only real way to find out if production is for you is to try it. There’s more anxiety in thinking about doing something than there is in just going for it. We understand that you might be uncertain but just try the course. That’s why we have a money back guarantee, so there’s literally no risk for you. You’ll find out if it’s for you or not. Either way you win because you’ll either be on your way to finishing tracks or you’ll know that producing isn’t for you right now.
“I don’t know where to start?”
There’s a ton of youtube videos and blog articles out there but taking in a bunch of information isn’t necessarily going to make you a producer. You actually need to know less than you think. It’s about learning the right things.
What are the right things?
The right things are the skills that will help you make music now. In no particular order they are:
- Knowledge of recording software
- Writing harmony and melody
- Effects processing
- Creative workflow
This course is designed to give you the foundations in the skills above so you can start producing music right away. It starts you off with the basics, and each module builds upon the last to create a logical progression from simplest to most advanced concepts.
The content is presented in a variety of mediums; we use text, video and audio to create a comprehensive learning experience and to keep the lessons engaging.
You’ll get over 45 exercises ranging from mini assignments to producing a full track, so by the end of the course you will have applied everything you’ve learned.
You get six live packs throughout the course. A live pack is a shareable ableton project file that can contain samples, loops and presets. This makes it super easy to follow along with the lessons and gives you access to all the files used in the course.
Module 1 — Foundations Overview
Module 1 acquaints you with your home setup and the “instruments” you’ll be using to make music. Knowing these basic concepts gives you a clear picture of how music operates and how you use Ableton to build tracks.
- Work-flow, Goal-setting, and Vision
- Music & Musical properties
- Basic Components of a Desktop Studio
- Routing & Signal flow
- Ableton’s Functionality and Layout
Module 2 — Session View in Depth
This section goes into depth on how to use Ableton to creatively manipulate audio. You’ll learn how to use Ableton’s most basic sampling techniques to chop, loop and stretch samples. This means you can start doing edits, and sketch out your first arrangements.
- Basics of Session View
- Warping Audio
- Clip Editing – Warping, Chopping, Looping
- Envelope Automation
- Launch Automation
Module 3 — Rhythm, MIDI, and Drum Rack
Module 3 is your crash course in everything Rhythm. You’ll be able to understand what makes a beat groove, and you’ll learn techniques to bring your beats to life. By the end of this module you’ll be writing entire drum grooves right on your computer keyboard.
- Intro Rhythm Theory
- Feel, Groove, and Bringing Rhythm to Life
- MIDI Tracks, MIDI Instruments, Drum Rack
- Playing Beats
- Programming Beats
Module 4 — Harmony, Synthesis, and Operator
This module teaches you the fundamentals of synthesis and introduces you to harmony. You’ll be able to design your own sounds from scratch and apply these techniques to any synthesizer. You’ll understand what harmony is and get tools to write chord progressions.
- Intro to Sound Design
- Using Operator to Create Harmony
- Automation & Movement
- Intro to Harmonic Theory
- MIDI Note Piano Roll
Module 5 — Melody, Bass, and Operator
Module 5 goes deeper into groove. You’ll be able to write basslines that match your chord progressions and groove with your drums. You’ll also learn basic mixing principles to balance your drums and bass.
- Bass Synthesis
- Groove Concepts
- Harmony & Bass
- Rhythm & Bass
- Basics of Melodic Theory
Module 6 — Sampler Device in Depth
Module 6 will teach you creative sampling techniques using some of Ableton’s most powerful software instruments: Sampler and Drum Rack. You’ll be creating new percussive and melodic instruments with samples.
- Advanced Drum Rack Techniques
- Using Sampler for Percussion
- Sustained Sounds in Sampler
- Designing a Sampled Instrument
- Creative Sampling Techniques
Module 7 — Effects and Sound Sculpting
This section introduces you to effects processing, including compression and eq (the salt and pepper of music production). You’ll learn how to transform a dry sound into something that has texture and movement. You’ll understand basic effects so you can bring the emotion you want into your music.
- Signal Chain
- Dynamic, Timbral and Time based effects
- Mixing: Compression & EQ
- Sends and Returns
- Effects Racks
Module 8 — Arranging and Finishing a Piece
Time to bring it all together. Module 8 combines all the skills from the previous modules and teaches you concepts for arranging music. You’ll finish a track and be able to direct the energy of your arrangement to have the impact you want.
- Critical Listening
- Arranging your Session
- Tension & Release
- Basic Mixing Principles
- File Management
Module 9 — Extra Material
This module provides resources to support you in the larger journey of becoming a producer. This section touches on obstacles you may face outside of producing tracks and gives you tools to help you when you’re feeling lethargic and unmotivated.
- Building a Live Set
- Performing and Deadlines
- Networks & Groups
- Gear: Essentials & Distractions
- Workflow revisited
- Further resources
How it works
The course content is based online so that you have 24/7 access without worrying about losing files. You create a username and password upon enrolment, which you use to login and access the course from wherever you are.
It will take about 40-50 hours to work through the lessons and complete all assignments and exercises. We recommend putting in 2 hours per day, 5 days per week for 4-5 weeks.
After enrolment, the course content is available to you for six months. This way you can work through it at your own pace and review any material that you may want to repeat.
We have a 30-day money back guarantee. So if for any reason you have to cancel your enrolment in the course, simply shoot us an email and we’ll refund your payment within 48 hours.
- A copy of Ableton Live 9 Suite.
- A computer capable of smoothly running Ableton Live 9 – Usually this means a multi-core processor, at least 2 GB of RAM, and over 10 GB of free hard drive space.
- A decent pair of speakers or headphones – To start, all that we ask is that you aren’t using your built-in laptop speakers because you won’t be able to hear crucial parts of the music you’re making.
The equipment listed below is non-essential for this course, but eventually you’ll want to expand your setup. The first major upgrade to your setup is a pair of quality monitoring headphones, an audio interface, and a pair of studio monitors (speakers).
- Headphones & Studio Monitors – There’s audio equipment made for the consumer market, and there’s audio equipment made for recording artists. Products in the consumer market tend to “colour” the sound, to make it sound warmer or “beefier”. While this may be good for your living room, it’s not ideal for producing music. When you produce, you want an accurate representation of the sound. This is an essential consideration when purchasing monitors or headphones. Getting your first pair of monitors is a landmark, like getting your first car or having your first Mentos. For headphones, we recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and for studio monitors, we recommend Yamaha HS5s.
- Audio Interface – Put simply, an audio interface is just an external sound card that upgrades the quality of your audio. The interface is the middle-man between your software and your hardware. You’ll need an interface when you want to record instruments and hook up studio monitors. A great first audio interface is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.