Desktop Music Production

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Desktop Music Production

Starting Date: April 4, 2016
Duration: 8 weeks
Online Sites: Thinkific, Hangouts
Software: Any DAW (digital audio workstation, see list below)
Price: $295

Are you a fledging producer? Do you have the next top 10 hit in your head, but need help getting it produced? Or maybe you just want to start writing your own music for fun? Then this course is for you. We’ll start from the very beginning, looking at how your favorite songs are put together right up through performance, production and mastering. You’ll be working in a musical style of your choosing and end up with a finished master of your tune.


You start by choosing an existing pop song in any style and from any era (though not classical, that’s another class). You’ll then create a model based on that song. From there, we’ll move into your DAW, where you’ll record your song. Finally you’ll mix and master it using techniques of professional engineers.


The course will be conducted using a Wikispaces site and Google Hangouts.There will be instructions for each week and videos modeling how the instructor is completing the project. You will complete the work and post it on your wiki page. The instructor and the class will provide feedback.  There will also be a Google Hangout meeting during week one and at the end of the class.


This is a project-based class. There are no tests or quizzes. Evaluation will consist of constructive criticism and feedback from the instructor and your peers. Your model helps define the terms in which your song will be evaluated.


The one thing this course can’t give you is an original idea, so that’s the only real prerequisite. It will also help if you play an instrument at some level and have basic keyboard skills like knowing the names of notes, understanding the difference between black and white keys. If you can play some scales and chords, great, but it’s something you can pick up while you’re in the class too. We’ll cover plenty of techniques that will let you create your music even if your keyboard skill are limited.


Week 1 Analyzing your chosen song and creating a model

Week 2: Laying down the basic tracks, drums, bass, melody, harmony

Week 3: Producing: adding parts and effects

Week 4: Mixdown and Mastering

Suggested DAWs

  • Logic Pro (Mac only)
  • Pro Tools
  • Digital Performer (Mac only)
  • Cubase
  • Ableton Live
  • Ardour (FREE)
  • Reaper
  • Cakewalk Sonar (Windows only)
  • Reason (v 6 or later)
  • Fruity Loops

You can also use GarageBand or Mixcraft, but the mastering tools are quite limited.