F A Q ' s
When and where will class be held?
Class will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8pm PST, virtually over Zoom. You will receive class notes and recordings afterwards, so if you have to miss a class you can catch up on your own time.
What will I learn?
You will be learning everything you need to know to get started producing your own music in Ableton Live. We will be diving deep into the capabilities of the software, including (but not limited to): beat making, sound design, synthesis, sampling, creating instruments, arranging songs, mixing songs, and finalizing them for mastering and distribution.
We will not be learning to produce in a specific genre, rather we will learn the building blocks for crafting music in Ableton. As each student will want to produce in their own preferred genre and style, we want be sure everyone has the opportunity to find their own sound.
But this class isn’t just about learning a software. It’s also about learning how to incorporate music production into your life as a meaningful practice. We will address overcoming the “imagined” barriers to music production, such as handling self-doubt and overwhelm, and practicing self-discipline to ensure momentum, progress, and results.
By the end of this course you will be capable of and feel excited to create music that reflects your own unique musical style.
Isn’t music production like… really hard?
No. Literally anyone can do it… if I can do it you can do it! Will it challenge you? Of course! But the good kind - the kind that makes your brain feel good and makes you feel powerful and capable. My goal is to teach music production in a way that feels easy. I feel like I was a beginner forever, so I’m able to see things as beginners do. I believe this gives me a unique ability to explain things simply and in a digestible manner. It’ll make sense… I promise.
Doesn’t music production take like… forever to learn?
I mean… we’re never done learning. I’m still learning all the time. And that’s amazing, because I promise you’ll never get bored. Of course, it’s going to take a lot of time and practice before you’re producing music at a professional level. But it you can start making music you’re excited about right away.
Often times, I find beginners have some of the most unique and intriguing music, since they’re free from creative ruts and they’re experimenting with all sorts of techniques and sounds that are new to them. Some of my favorite songs I've produced were made back when I first started. But it’s also true that the more time you spend practicing, the faster you’ll learn. And how much you practice is up to you.
How much does it cost?
Since the course is virtual and there are other students in class, I’m able to offer The Sound Playground at the highly competitive price of $489 - which comes out to only $15 per hour of instruction. Included in the cost is 32 hours of class, class notes and videos that will be accessible 4ever, one-on-one mentorship, around the clock teacher support and 40% off Ableton Live. Not to mention a lifetime of music-making fun 🙃
Why should I learn from a class instead of just learning for free on YouTube?
YouTube is wonderful; I love it as a source for filling in the blanks of our knowledge, and learning from different perspectives. However, it’s not the place you want to start if you’re a beginner.
When you’re just starting out, It’s hard to know what you need to know and in what order, and there is no order to follow on YouTube. Many beginners make the mistake of diving in too deep too fast (e.g. getting wrapped up in a video about parallel processing before they even know what a dry/wet knob does). Learning production concepts in the right order is critical for proper understanding and to avoid getting overwhelmed and quitting.
And on the topic of overwhelm - there is SO much on YouTube that it’s nearly impossible to sort out which are the good videos, who are the reliable teachers, and which concepts are actually necessary at your stage of production. More often than not, you will end up spending huge amounts of time searching for the perfect video, only to find duds, frustration, and possibly even giving up.
Also, unless you are practicing the techniques you’re learning on YouTube, you won’t remember anything. A video binge won’t get you anywhere unless you put the techniques in practice. In The Sound Playground you’ll be learning at a tested and proven pace that will allow you time to practice the concepts as we learn them, and allow time to let them soak in.
I don’t have the time now, will you be teaching this class again later?
I’m not sure if and when I’ll be teaching this course again. If this is a particularly busy season for you, remember that you will get access to the class notes and videos forever, so once you enroll you can go through the material at your own pace.
“I don’t have enough time” is one of the most common “imagined” barriers to music production that I hear. While I understand that we can all get busy, the reality is that we all have the power to make time for what’s important to us. I encourage you to reflect on what you’re currently spending time on, and see if there’s a way to rearrange your schedule so that it allows for time to make music.
The reality is that few of us actually “have time” to make music - we make time for it. It’s less a matter of what you have time for, and rather what you choose to prioritize. If you choose to prioritize music as the life-giving creative expression that it is, then I bet you can find time for it.
Do you have to have Ableton Live?
Yes, you will need to have a copy of Ableton Live. You can either purchase it in full, or get started with a 90-day free trial. All my students get 40% off Ableton, so when you purchase the software (if you don’t have it already), get in touch with me and I’ll help you out.
It’s worth noting that you get two licenses with your purchase of Ableton Live, so you can share it across two computers.
What version of Ableton do I need?
Technically, you can use any version. However, I highly recommend you get Live 11 Suite. It comes stocked with the most effects, sounds and instruments, and gives you full capabilities. Learn more about the differences between versions here.
Do I need a studio or fancy gear?
Nope. You will, however, need a computer with Ableton on it. I also recommend you get speakers, headphones, a microphone, and an audio interface. However, you don’t need these all right away - you can grow your setup one toy at a time.
The most important thing you need is the desire to learn. I want to help you create the music you hear in your head - because I know how much I love it and how much it has changed my life - but my encouragement won’t go anywhere unless you have the desire to do it yourself. To get the most out of class, I also ask that my students spend 15 minutes every day playing around in Ableton.
What if I have to miss a class?
That’s okay! While I like to have everyone present in class because I love seeing and interacting with everyone, if you have to miss a class you can watch the recording and review the notes on your own time.
What if I live in a different time zone and can’t make class like... ever?
I have students from around the globe, and for those who are in a time zone that’s incompatible with the class, they follow along with the recordings and notes. For these students, I do my best to connect with them outside of class, too, since I don’t want them to miss out on opportunity to ask questions me questions as they come up.
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