- Want to become a fully accomplished music producer but don’t have the budget?
- Here are 5 ways you can learn music production for free.
If you’re looking for free online music production courses, chances are that you’re on a pretty tight budget.
Provided you can afford the basic equipment to get started, “not having enough money” is no longer an acceptable excuse for not being able to learn music production.
In fact, online learning poses a real threat to formal education — and it’s easy to see why. It’s cheap, efficient and practical — and you don’t end up owing thousands to the banks/government once you’re done.
Unfortunately, there is a caveat — not all courses and tutors are made equal. And some courses are best left free because well, they just aren’t very good.
So, if you’re looking to learn music production for free, but aren’t quite sure where to start, we’ve compiled a handy guide to point you in the right direction. While some of these might not necessarily be “courses” per-se, they are still great places to take advantage of their promotional offers and learn music production/audio engineering for free.
Learn Music Production For Free:
1. Coursera – Music Production Specialization
Endorsed By Berklee College Of Music
You might have heard of Berklee College Of Music before. It’s a renowned music college that has taught legends including:
- Quincy Jones
- John Mayer
- Steven Tyler
- Steve Vai
- Mike Portnoy
- Robert Moog
- and many others…
Coursera partnered with the same college and put together a prestigious course entitled “Music Production Specialization“.
This course equips you with the knowledge and tools you need to professionally record and produce music. But it doesn’t stop there — you’ll also be taught the inner workings of being a successful producer, like developing your identity, vision, and intention as an artist/producer.
Of course, all the technicals are a major component of the course, and by the end of it you will come away knowing how the physics of sound works, recording techniques, and how to process and manipulate effects.
The course is taught using Pro Tools, which until this day, still remains the industry standard DAW for most professional studio applications. If you want to work in professional studios across the world, Pro Tools is one you’ll need to know.
For your final assessment, you will have to complete a 4-week capstone where you’ll complete a project beginning at the pre-production stage through the recording, mixing, and mastering stages.
The course actually costs around $35USD per month to stay enrolled, however, we’ve included this as a free course because you actually do get a 7-day free trial which provides you full access to all of the courses in the specialization.
So as soon as you sign up, you’ll have 7 days to watch as many lectures, try assignments, participate in discussion forums and more.
If you’re up for the challenge of doing a little 7-day, hardcore crash course to take advantage of this offer, we highly recommend it. Be prepared to take notes!
It’s up to you if you wish to continue learning at their price once your trial runs out — but it could definitely be worth it just to get your hands on the accredited certificate of completion, which would do wonders for your resume if you’re looking to get actual work in the industry.
2. Audible – 30-Day Free Trial (Get 2 Free Audiobooks)
Audible is the world’s largest provider and producer of audiobooks. It contains a good range of quality audiobooks to upskill your music production, music theory, mixing & mastering, and more. Here’s why Audible is adored by so many people worldwide:
You own your audiobooks
Your books are yours to keep, even if you cancel.
Swap an audiobook for any reason
Exchange any book, any time.
Free Audio Shows
Unlimited listening to original podcasts for members.
Exclusive deals throughout the month
Up to 80% off selected audiobooks.
Listen online or offline
Enjoy when you’re online, underground or mid-flight.
Our Favorite Music Production/Audio Engineering Audiobooks
We recommend picking up any of these 3 music production audiobooks using your free Audible trial.
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Take Advantage Of The 2-Month Free Trial (It Won’t Last Forever)
Skillshare is another online learning platform that does charges members monthly to access their courses (around $10USD per month).
Fortunately, we have a 2-month ‘all access’ pass that you can take advantage of and take as many of their courses as humanly possible in 60 days. It’s such a good deal that I honestly doubt that this promotion is going to last forever.
There are over 2,200 music-related courses on there; everything from:
- Music production
- Music composition
- Music theory
- Mixing & mastering
- Music marketing
- and much, much more…
But if there’s just one ‘music production’ course that you should do out of any of them it’s Young Guru’s “Learn How To Mix” course. It’s tailored towards the ‘intermediate’ level producer, but I reckon it’s a must-watch for producers of all experience levels.
Fast forward to now with the ever-growing world of online education outlets, Guru has decided offer his skills, secrets and vast amounts of industry knowledge in the form of several Skillshare courses.
This online Skillshare class is made up of four sections, which include exclusive videos and materials broken up into the following lessons:
- Organizing a Mix – working with the basic components to a DIY mix, which include the Digital Audio Workstation [DAW], the tracks, and the controls, and how to optimally organize all of the audio information and tools for the task at hand
- Determining Levels – how to arrange levels in accordance with the artist’s vision for the song
- Adding Effects – how to work with basic effects like phasers, enhancers, reverb and delays, as well as create negative space or blend/fade where appropriate
- Tonal Balance – how to recognize when perfect tonal balance has been achieved
Learn How To Mix Music With Young Guru is the highest ranking and most popular course for music production on Skillshare, and for good reason.
Having also done this course myself some time ago, I can say that it is definitely worth checking out and absorbing the wealth of knowledge that Guru offers up.
In case you’re feeling overwhelmed (with over 2,200 music production courses to choose from), here are our other 2 favorites that you should definitely enroll in during your 2-month trial:
4. Education & Bass Online
Education & Bass Online’s content is best-suited for the modern bass music producer, as a large portion of the course content is geared towards UK drum and bass and dubstep.
There are two components to the site: the free area and the paid members area. We suggest that you trawl through the myriad of free content on their platform first to get an idea of what they’re about.
The lectures are also delivered by some of the most prominent figures in the scene, such as Nomine/Outrage, Leon Switch, Nurve, Occult, LSN and DubApe to name a few.
The course content is a good balance of exploring native plugins (geared mostly towards Ableton, Logic & Cubase), but there are also a handful of courses that explore some popular, paid VSTs such as Omnisphere, Massive and Serum.
Highlights of the course content for me included:
- Learning how Leon Switch creates beautifully textured synth-leads in Ableton’s Analog
- Learning how to program Nurve’s signature mid-bass growls in Serum
- Being blown away by Cocktail Party Effect’s ‘no-input mixer hardware technique’
There’s actually so much content available on the free area that you are spoiled for choice. It also serves as a good taster for what they’re about, if you are considering to upgrade to the £10 a month ‘VIP Club’ fee.
If you do want to check out the paid members area, we do have a 24-hour ‘All Access’ pass that you can also use.
Spending only just a week digesting the free content of the course, I uncovered little nuggets of wisdom that made me go from “how did I never discover that feature before?” to “I have to try this right now”. There were moments where I had to pause the videos, just to open up Ableton and try out the techniques myself.
The one source on here that needs little to no introduction, I’m sure. This is pretty much as free as you can get, but the quality of information varies wildly. There’s nothing worse than learning from a Youtuber that has a poor setup, is just a bad teacher (sometimes both).
The fact is though, that Youtube has given way to some incredible channels that have been a staple in my music production learning journey. Here are 5 of my favorites that I come back to, time and time again when I am in a music production rut (damn you, writer’s block!)
Our Favorite Music Production Youtube Channels
The calm, soft-spoken Sadowick has built an empire of tutorials and guides on his channel, and are a goldmine of info.
They may or may not be your cup of tea, though — tutorials do sometimes tend to be overly long, but they certainly are in-depth.
Stylewise, he covers most things 4/4, and often focuses on deeper techno, house, disco and psy sounds.
His content is done mostly in Ableton Live, and often features deep dives into niche-specific synthesis techniques, creative sampling tips and much, much more.
Sadowick’s official website can be found here.
The legend, Dave Pensado (Grammy Award-winning mix engineer) is one of the holy grails of free information.
Again, his personality might not be everyone’s cuppa tea (content does sometimes drag on), but if you’re in the modern rock and pop world, you should definitely be keeping up to date with Pensado’s Place.
The official website of Pensado’s Place can be found here.
Chris’s channel is one I came across quite recently, and have been thoroughly enjoying his content. It’s well laid out, gets straight to the point, and the tips presented are of a very high standard.
From what I’ve seen, his videos are done exclusively in Logic Pro X, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on what you’re looking for. Regardless, many of the mixdown and mastering principles he covers are not mutually exclusive to any DAW.
Chris also runs Unlock Your Sound, a service that helps up-and-coming musicians create and release their music without all the headaches. Check out Chris’s website here.
Produce Like A Pro
Warren Huart has to be one of the nicest guys in the industry — his personality shines throughout his content, and is always a delight to learn from.
Moreover, the dude has an abundance of talent (and has the accolades to back it up). He has produced hits for James Blunt, Aerosmith, Korn, Matisyahu, The Fray and many more.
Similarly to Dave Pensado, Warren has lived through a few eras of music production, and so the wisdom he imparts is a good mix of classical (“vintage”) and modern production techniques.
He also regularly hosts very cool giveaways, so keep an eye out for those.
If you enjoy his content, definitely check out his blog, Produce Like A Pro. It’s filled to the brim with helpful, solid advice.
If you’re into metal and/or hard rock music recording+production, Glenn Fricker aka SpectreSoundStudios, is your guy.
His humor and attitude is as edgy as the music he mixes and records, and is a Youtube channel I visit often, even if just for the fun content.
“Fun” aside, the techniques and tips he provides are extremely solid, and he has about 9 years of content for you to trawl through.
As his channel is niche-specific to metal and hard-rock, majority of the content is geared towards recording guitars, bass, drums and vocals.
Glenn runs Spectre Media Group, which you can visit here.
Last update on 2020-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API