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10 Best Online Courses For Music Production (2020)
If you’re looking for the best online music production courses, have an interest in music theory for electronic music producers, or quite simply need to know how to learn music production at home – then you have happened upon the right page. This article should serve to provide everything you need to get started in the world of music production.
Prefer to browse courses by genre? Check out these articles below (opens in new tab).
Noiselab is a relative newcomer as a provider of online music production courses, but one that caught my attention as their mission is to be the very best Ableton Live music production course out there.
What makes them unique is that instead of focusing on a variety of digital audio workstations (DAWs), they have set out to create the most comprehensive online tutorial platform specifically for Ableton Live users.
This does mean you get a fewer number of tutorials compared to other online courses, but it also means that all 300+ Noiselab tutorials you gain access to are lazer-focused on equipping you with the practical and theoretical skills in order to truly master Ableton Live.
Highlights Of The Course
Ableton Live ‘Hacks’ — a lot of ‘out of the box’ techniques like using multiband compression to open up space to a track. Had never thought to try this upwards compression technique!
‘Deconstructing Hit Songs’ — an insightful category of lessons where tutors would break down drum techniques and concepts used in popular songs by Skrillex, Kendrick Lamar, Carl Cox and a few others. These are goldmines of info!
Learning how to actually finish songs — arguably the hardest part of music production for many!
In this FREE course, you'll develop a strong understanding of Ableton Live's interface and its many preference settings. Understand how to use Live's browser to quickly sample sounds in your tracks without having to spend time inefficiently searching your computer. They also discuss the build blocks of Live - clips.
Point Blank are an award-winning school who have been around for as long as I can remember.
The reputation of their courses is in a league of its own, and they’ve been responsible for putting out graduates including Goldie, Plastician, Claude VonStroke, Pete Tong, and so many more.
Their Electronic Music Composition course is one of their best-sellers, and for good reason. Here’s a section lifted from the course description:
You’ll learn how to add hooks, riffs, chords, basslines, melodies, develop your arrangements and work with vocals whilst keeping everything in key so it ‘sounds right’. We analyse and breakdown massive tracks and artists in a wide variety of styles including Avicii, Skrillex, The Doors, Deadmau5, X-Press2 feat David Byrne, Nuyorican Soul, Julio Bashmore, Calvin Harris and loads more. What made these tracks huge and how are they put together?Electronic Music Composition (Point Blank)
You’ll also receive 66 downloadable project examples and study aids (no other course offers blueprints like these).
This is the most expensive course on this page, and only recommended for people who are aiming to take music production seriously, i.e. build a career out of it.
This course shows you how classic and cutting edge tunes are put together so you can use the techniques in your own tracks. You'll learn how to add hooks, riffs, chords, basslines, melodies, develop your arrangements and work with vocals whilst keeping everything in key so it 'sounds right'.
The indelible Deadmau5. In terms of electronic music producers, this guy has pretty much solidified himself as a household name. It comes as little surprise that the team over at Masterclass have therefore commissioned him to do a 101 course on how to boss it at electronic music production.
Watching a leading artist do a step by step walk through on their creative process is just one of the many luxuries that the 21st century and the Internet has allowed us. Deadmau5 is not really my preferred style of music, but credit is due where credit is due.
While it’s not the cheapest course out there, bear in mind that you are getting a guest seat inside the mind of someone who has developed their life to perfecting the craft.
I know most of you are here because you want to learn about electronic music production, but for those of you that also have other hobbies such as cooking, creative writing, photography, stand-up comedy (to name a few) – this deal feels a little sweeter.
Deadmau5 teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie-cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.
Syntorial is a video game-like training software that will teach you how to program synth patches by ear. With almost 200 lessons, combining video demonstrations with interactive challenges, you’ll get hands on experience programming patches on a built-in soft synth, and learn everything you need to know to start making your own sounds with ease.
Featuring 31 lessons all up (6 and half hours of video content), you'll discover Armin’s favorite plugins, so you can establish your wishlist as you make your way through the course. Armin demonstrates his techniques while letting you behind the scenes on some of his biggest hits.
Hans Zimmer, arguably the greatest composer for film in history. He has been nominated for 9 Grammy Awards during his illustrious career and has scored some of the biggest blockbuster films of our generation. It should come as no surprise that this course caused quite a stir when it was released.
As was with Deadmau5, having an insight into the creative process of one of the greats is an amazing opportunity for any producer of almost any skill set.
Each course comes with a downloadable PDF workbook that includes a 6-week lesson plan with assignments, various resources, & recommended films to view. Students are encouraged to follow along and utilize many of the chapter-specific sections that run alongside the video course.
The self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have learnt many of the fundamentals of film scoring.
7. Education & Bass: Bass Music Production Toolbox
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 Dubstep, DnB, Garage and UK Bass. The lecturers are also delivered by some of the most prominent figures in the scene, such as Nomine/Outrage, Leon Switch, Nurve (Macabre Unit), 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.
Spending only just a week digesting the 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.
While many other courses offer techniques for ‘mainstream’ genres, E&B does one thing really well and that is sharing their extensive knowledge of bass music production secrets and techniques. They also assist with getting your music heard, and their "E&B Sounds" feature adds a ton of value.
Throughout his career, Young Guru has earned his reputation as one of the most renowned recording and mixing engineers in music today. Having worked with artists such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, Drake, and Kanye West, Young Guru has received several Grammy nominations for his works and collaborations.
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
Jason Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Instructor. He has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance.
Another offering for Skillshare, Jason has used his extensive knowledge and repertoire to develop a “class designed for the electronic musician that wants to take their tracks to the next level.”
In this course, students will focus on learning how to organize pitches and rhythms to make dynamic and interesting melodies and harmonies.
It is stated that no experience with music theory is necessary, nor is playing an instrument and reading music. Your computer and DAW is all that’s required to get started right away!
Mixing isn’t about inserting a bunch of fancy and expensive plugins hoping to get a radio ready sound. Rather it’s all about strategic use of a few key effects that you already own.
Graham Cochrane, Teacher and founder of The Recording Revolution goes over the ins and outs of getting a professional sounding mix with only the stock, onboard plug-ins that come with your DAW. I found this course quite insightful as I was one of those people that swore stock plugs were for amateurs and always thought I needed the best and latest releases (oh, how mistaken I was).
Through strategic use of EQ, compression, reverb, delay and distortion, students will take tracks recorded in a home studio and polish them up to commercial standards.
You’ll learn how to:
Process your master fader
Harness parallel compression in multiple ways to fatten up your mix
Get clarity through a few simple EQ moves.
This class is ideal for the bedroom or project studio musician who has a basic working knowledge of their DAW but wants to learn how to take their mixes to the next level.
Last but certainly not least, The Pro Audio Files focus on tutorials, tips and hints for everything from hip-hop production through to reverb mixing techniques.
One of the brilliant things about the Pro Audio Files is the ability to filter by several options such as compression and ‘’mastering in the box’’.
Workshops are delivered in key bite-size chunks which enable you to revisit or skip to certain sections that you’re interested in (although we’d recommend watching from start to finish as there is always some really helpful advice included). The sessions come in an entertaining format and even utilise animations to explain the origins of what you’re learning about.
You’ll get the chance to watch live mixdowns which really get into the ideas and theory about each technique and allow you to see how (and why) you would use them in a mixing session.
You’ll also be able to get stuck into basic mixing tutorials through to more advanced content which makes the Pro Audio Files a good choice for beginner through to experienced.
We particularly love the more unusual topics such as recording and mixing techniques for cajon. There’s enough to keep you going for hours!