I Enrolled At Point Blank Music School (Here’s My Review)

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I Enrolled At Point Blank Music School (Here’s My Review)
VERDICT
Point Blank Music School is a top-quality, professional institution with an unbelievable roster of teaching staff and courses on offer. It's unlikely you will find a better place to learn music production online.
Variety Of Courses
10
Quality Of Content
9
Platform
9
Value For Money
8.5
PROS
Learn at your own pace with online courses
Amazing roster of teachers and lecturers
Great variety of content
CONS
Expensive compared to other options
9.1
OUR SCORE

Preface

Having recently finished my undergraduate degree, this summer seemed like the perfect time to finally commit some serious energy towards my true goal: becoming humanity’s greatest ever music producer

However, I came across quite a catastrophic hurdle early on in my quest. The problem was, well, my mixdowns just sucked

No amount of aimless compression, confused EQ-ing, or abundance of reverb were making my tracks sound professional.  This was as good a time as I was ever going to get to immerse myself properly into the theory of music production. 

Enter Point Blank Music School

Who Are Point Blank Music School?

Established in London in 1994, Point Blank was awarded Silver TEF recognition in 2019 and was voted ‘Best Music Production School’ by the readers of DJ Mag. Although they have schools in London, Los Angeles, China, Ibiza, and Mumbai, it was the practicality and accessibility of their online courses that caught my eye. 

I can certainly back up the practicality of the course right now. During the 12 weeks of learning, I moved house, started a new job, enrolled in a new university and even my computer’s power supply broke, meaning I couldn’t access any of the learning material for a week. 

All of that happened and there were still no real issues. The online nature of the course meant I could teach myself when it suited me.

However, I’m sure that you’re far more interested in the ins and outs of the course!

Perhaps you are wondering… 

What exactly are you taught? Is it worth the money? Am I still going to feel a crippling degree of self-loathing each and every time I listen to my mixdowns if I don’t study at Point Blank? 

Don’t you worry, in this review I’ll be answering these questions and many more, as well as giving an honest verdict on my three month enrollment on Point Blank Music University’s “Mixing Electronic Music” online course.

Point Blank Music School (My Review)

Variety of Courses – 10/10

It’s an extremely rare occurrence for me to give anything a perfect score, but I cannot fault Point Blank for the variety of courses, and in particular the level of depth of each course that each course dives into. 

The 11-week schedule is broken down into weekly courses. The first week explores the basics of sound, with topics such as sound waves, dynamics, spatial awareness, and stereo imaging. You’ll also find an explanation of room acoustics, including how to best treat your bedroom studio to create an ideal mixing environment. 

As the weeks go on, more advanced mixing techniques are introduced. 14 days are given to dynamics where you’ll learn about compression, transient shaping, limiting, and gating. In other weeks, you’ll look at tools like equalization, reverb, and others being explored each week. 

All of these lessons come with video tutorials in both Logic Pro and Ableton (these are your choice of DAW’s to study the course in), but I will go into more detail about these tutorials in the next section. 

Each week you are supplied with downloadable material and stems to help you improve your production and mixing skills. Some of these stems come from some very big names! For example, the first batch of stems at your disposal are from Duke Dumont’s hit track ‘Ocean Drive’. 

These stems are a great way for you to get more comfortable with mixing someone else’s music, which is what the final project at the end of the course focuses on. 

These online lessons are then paired with weekly masterclasses. For one hour every week, you and your classmates are able to join a one-hour masterclass session (via Zoom), where your lecturer spends an hour showing the class practical examples of the subject that you had been learning about this week. 

Don’t worry if you think other commitments may stand in the way of you attending the masterclasses. Each hour session is recorded and made accessible for you during the time you’re studying with Point Blank, so you can quite easily watch the session back and take notes in your own time.

MOST COMPREHENSIVE
Point Blank Music School: Electronic Music Composition
£680 (Free Demo Available)

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'. 

View Lesson Structure Enrol In Free Courses

On reflection, the aspect of this course that impresses me the most is the way in which the logical breakdown of how to actually mix down a track has completely changed the way I view mixing music. 

This is reinforced by practical video tutorials that are provided with every new topic, making the delivery of the course absolutely superb. 

Mixing is no longer daunting, it’s just logical. Now, I see plugins as helpful tools that you use to fix certain problems. To a lot of people reading this, this may seem like common knowledge, but for someone who (in hindsight) didn’t really have much of a clue how to mix music four months ago, the teachings of this course are somewhat of a revelation inside my head.

Quality of Content – 9/10

The first thing I want to cover here is the quality of the video tutorials, which I briefly mentioned earlier. 

They are brilliant. There is a clear sense of “how” and “why” applied to each tutorial and technique covered.

Obviously, I can only speak for myself as everyone learns to the best of their ability in different ways. However, as a spatial learner, watching a professional apply a technique and talk through exactly how and why they’ve used that mixing tool really helped me to understand what was happening. 

You may be asking that with endless YouTube tutorials at your disposal at the total cost of $0, why should I spend money on Point Blank? 

It’s a fair question and I’m not going to lie to you. I’m sure that you can find the same sort of content on YouTube for $0 – but that’s the thing, you actually have to find it. Plus, these are just videos, whereas Point Blank goes way beyond this. 

Instead of being just an explainer video, it’s a small chunk of what you receive from a course provided by one of the most respected music universities in the world. Anyone would be mad to pay all that money just to access some video tutorials on music production. But in this case, you get so much more. 

The videos are backed up with diagrams, photos, and written explanations that delve further into the mixing technique that you’re being taught about. They are basically the glue that brings all the teaching together into a practical, easy to apply piece of learning. 

Another aspect that adds to the ‘Quality of Content’ score is the fortnightly one-on-one sessions that are available for their online students. 

Now, it’s not very often that you can give praise to an individual when writing reviews on platforms on courses. With this in mind, I’d like to give a special shout-out to my program leader, John Watson, who was brilliant throughout the twelve weeks of the course. 

As well as teaching the weekly masterclasses, John hosts the one-on-one sessions. These offer a chance to receive feedback on anything you’ve been working on, including the final project or any mixing related questions you may have. 

John cleared up multiple muddy areas in my knowledge during our 1 to 1’s and gave insightful feedback to me in regards to my final project. This played a big part in helping me to achieve my certificate of achievement from Point Blank. 

Click here to view more of Point Blank’s all-star lecturers.

As I mentioned before, the course is taught across both Ableton Live and Logic Pro, with the final project (in my case) revolving around mixing down the stems of a punk rock track. 

Now, as someone who has spent the last 18 months learning how to make Drum & Bass in FL Studio, this was rather daunting. However, what this did do is push me out of my comfort zone. 

The course teaches skills that can be transferred to any genre. Once again this reinforced the idea in my head that mixing was more logical than I had previously assumed.

Although I did enjoy mixing down this track quite a bit, one thing that I found rather strange was the choice of genre. 

When purchasing this course, it’s advertised as ‘Mixing Electronic Music’, but once I was enrolled in the course it was changed to ‘Art of Mixing’. As I said, I personally had no issue with this, but if a course is being advertised as a place to learn to mix ‘electronic’ music, I found it surprising that the project that determined your grade for the course wasn’t a conventional electronic production. 

But perhaps there’s something I missed with all this, so I’m willing to chalk this up to a misunderstanding. Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the quality of content offered by Point Blank. 

The Platform – 9/10

Point Blank’s online course was easy to navigate and I had no almost no issues accessing the material. The one exception was that you could initially only watch the masterclass recordings on Firefox, but this was cleared up within the first week. 

The forum section adds a sense of community with your classmates. Without the interaction of getting to know your peers in a real university setting environment, it was nice to have the option to engage in conversation about different topics within the forum. 

Additional reading and video tutorials are found in the forum as well, giving you further scope to expand your mixing knowledge if you want. 

On the topic of ‘platforms’, the fact that you had to submit your project in either Ableton Live or Logic Pro was one of the only frustrating elements of my time with Point Blank, considering I am used to FL Studio.

I completely understand why they only teach in two DAW’s, and the fact that they created video tutorials for both of them separately was rather impressive. 

However, your final project must be submitted as either an .als or .logic file (as well as a wave file for comparison). As someone who had spent all of their time producing in FL Studio, it was time-consuming having to learn a new DAW alongside a mountain of new mixing techniques. 

I can understand why Point Blank has this policy, but I feel that my final project would have been better if I used FL Studio! Plus I would have been in a better position to just focus on the new mixing techniques I was learning. 

However, this would require a lot of effort on their part so I can’t really hold it against them, but it’s still worth pointing out. It’s likely we will see more DAWs supported in the future anyway.

Value for Money – 8.5/10

Now, this is an extremely difficult question to give a black or white answer to. I’m sure that by now you’re dying to know the cost of studying this course. 

In full, the course is going to cost you £680, which is about $900 USD. At first, it sounds like a lot for a 12 week course. But as someone who has spent the last three years paying many thousands for a uni degree, I would say it’s great value by comparison! 

If you can’t pay the full amount upfront, there is a monthly payment option as well. This makes the course much more accessible to budding producers. 

(If you’re totally broke, you can check out Free Online Music Production Courses (7 Solid Options) to find something that suits you.)

There are also lots of extra incentives to enrolling with Point Blank. As a PB student, you are entitled to 50% off Native Instruments Komplete 12, 50% off Ableton Live Suite, and 70% off Eventide Plugins. 

Whether this course is worth the money is a completely subjective question. I can only speak from my own experience. 

Personally, I would answer that question with a definite yes! I went into the course wanting to gain a much better knowledge of how to mix down my tracks to a more professional standard and the course delivered exactly that. 

My advice would be to look in-depth through the courses that Point Blank is offering. If you’re wanting to seriously improve your production skills there are numerous courses that cover a wide variety of topics. I can’t speak for these other courses, but if they are all taught at the same quality, then I can guarantee you’ll see a big improvement in your music by the end of the 3 months.

MOST COMPREHENSIVE
Point Blank Music School: Electronic Music Composition
£680 (Free Demo Available)

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'. 

View Lesson Structure Enrol In Free Courses

My Verdict

In conclusion, Point Blank offers you all the knowledge and tools that you need to level-up your mixing skills. 

The teaching is accessible, in-depth, and practical, giving you the best opportunity to fully dedicate and immerse yourself in the course. The flexibility of online teaching means you can immerse yourself in the learning materials whenever it suits you. 

I can only speak for myself, but my experience was extremely positive and the quality of music I’ve made in the month since finishing has greatly progressed. I’m sure you will not regret learning production with Point Blank Music School!

(SoundGym is another great platform for learning how to mix and produce, check out our review here to see how it compares to Point Blank’s online courses!)