best music production schools

8 of the Best Music Production Schools, Institutes & Courses 2020

Investigate the best courses for music production in 2020. Features free and paid course both online and real world.
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Which are the best music production schools?

If you’re thinking of going to school to learn Music Production this list of the 8 best schools will help you out. The courses selected in this article teach introductions and advanced lessons in recording, editing audio, mixing, mastering, audio software, studio equipment, audio theory, compositional competence and music business. To learn these production skills you could consider any of the following production programs at:

  1. Point Blank Music School
  2. Udemy
  3. Noiselab
  4. Melodics
  5. Loopmasters Producer Tech
  6. Masterclass Music Production Course
  7. Coursera
  8. Fadenza
5/5
5/5
Point Blank has a wide range of courses both online and offline. They offer music production in Mumbai, Ibiza, Los Angeles and London. The longer degree courses (2+ years) are based in London, with a selection of 3 month music production classes in Los Angeles and Mumbai. They also provide online courses for those who cannot travel to their campuses. There’s a wide range on offer, DJing courses, Music Production Summer Schools,  Radio Courses, singing and songwriting and sound engineering course. Many of the courses can be done one day a week for 3 months. This will give you a solid foundation on which to build your skills. If you are looking to take your production to the next level the 2 year accelerated learning BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering degree offers a multi-platform course covering: Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Native Instruments & Push.

There are 18 modules broken up over 2 years which broadly cover:

  • Sound engineering
  • Music Composition
  • Audio for games
  • Sound Design
  • Career Development
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Music Business

Click here for a more comprehensive breakdown.

Pointblank Music School Los Angeles
The 18 modules will provide a solid foundation for anyone to learn all the practical and theoretical skills necessary for a career in music production. In addition to the degree program Point Blank host live tutorials and weekly master classes from various industry experts. Some of these expert producers are Pete Tong, Mark Ronson, Goldie and Richie Hawtin. This wealth of experience provides an exceptional opportunity to learn production techniques from producers at the cutting edge of the music industry.  There are also a mass of youtube videos to get stuck into and a vibrant community to network and share ideas with.

This is a specialist programme with strong music industry credibility. It has been designed for students seeking professional instruction on up-to-date, industry-standard production tools.

External Examiner's Report 2016/17, BA Hons/DipHE/CertHE

Pros

  • Awarded “Best Independent HE” by What Uni 2018
  • 91% Student Satisfaction   
  • Exceptional contributions VIP producers
  • International Community
  • Multi-platform approach to learning music production software (Ableton, Logic & Pro Tools)
  • Learn cutting edge production techniques in multiple genres
  • Networking potential
  • Middlesex University has accredited Point Blank’s online courses.
  • Can learn online
  • 3 month courses available

Cons

At £15,485 for a year, the degree programmes are an expensive investment.
3/5
3/5

Udemy offers a comprehensive amount of online courses. The premise is that anyone can upload a course and sell it. This means there is a lot of Music production course on Udemy due to the low barrier of entry. It is wise to research the quality of any music production course before you purchase. A good way to do this is to check the rating system and view previous students comments. At the time of writing there isn’t a comprehensive music production course on Udemy, rather they are broken down into smaller course such as “Music Production in Logic Pro X” or “Music Production in Ableton Live”.

 

These type of courses will suit ‘entry level’ students by teaching the various features of music production software. They provide an overview of compostion, editing, mixing and the production a track. The layout of the courses will help in familiarisation of industry standard software and help to develop your creative flow and structure your compositions. The skills covered can then be improved upon with practice or with further education. If you are only interested in music production as a hobby these courses may be more suited to you. They are cheaper than formal education and can be learnt at your own pace.

Pros

  • A good starting point
  • £195 is good value for the amount of content.
  • If you can grab the course on a sale at £10.99 you are onto a winner.
  • Access on mobile for learning on the go.
  • Certificate (though not a formal qualification)

Cons

  • You could find the information for free on Youtube.
  • You have to have a copy of the software you are learning which may be a barrier for real newbies!
  • No formal qualification
  • No feedback – its a video course with no interaction
  • Mostly Entry level courses
On Line Music Courses from Pluginboutique.com
4/5
4/5
Noiselab is a dedicated platform for Ableton Live tutorials. Noiselab is developed by Ableton producers, established electronic musicians and Ableton certified Trainers. This is ideal for producers and musicians who want to learn how to make electronic music. If you want to learn how to produce music with Ableton this site is for you. To get an idea of how the courses are paced, broken down and delivered you could check out their electronic music production level 1 course for free. This is useful to see if you like the teacher, Thavius Beck. Thavius delivers a lot of the courses so you test run his style.
The courses on offer range from:
  • Music Theory
  • Max for Live Devices
  • Sound Design
  • DJing
  • Synthesis
  • Sidechain Compression
  • Composition
  • Making a house track from start to finish
Completion a few courses will give you a good overview of how to use Ableton Live 10 for producing electronic music. There are however some areas which are not covered, such as recording live instruments. These courses are definitely more specific to the electronic genre.

Pros

  • You can demo the Electronic Music Production Level 1 course for free
  • You have “a lifetime” to access the course after enrolling across all devices.

Cons

  • Specific to Ableton and Electronic music production
  • Price – You may find the information in some of the courses for free on Youtube
  • No feedback – its a video course with no interaction
4/5
4/5

Melodics offers lessons via a desktop app that teaches you how to play pad controllers, MIDI keyboards and drums. It’s currently free to download and comes with 60 free lessons to start you off. This is an excellent introduction for learning finger drumming, playing chords and improving your timing. These skills can be incorporated into your existing productions, live performances or DJ sets. The free lessons cover many genres, for example, Hip Hop, glitch & classical. Covering subject areas such as:

  • Arrangement
  • Hand and finger independence
  • Rhythmic rudiments
  • Polyrhythms
  • Syncopation,
  • Arpeggios. 

Once you download the app you can try all three instruments: Keys, Drums & Pads. Twenty free lessons are provided for each instrument. Once loaded up you can play along to the lessons via your MIDI controller (or computer keyboard).

The lessons are broken down in Grades (grades 1-8) as well as courses in music theory, building arpeggios, Ableton Push and basslines. The lessons work on fundamental concepts via the app to provide hands-on exercises so that you pick up the skills quickly. Each course progresses through a series of lessons. Every lesson has step by step instructions which can be accessed online and in the app. To help track your progress instructors sometimes provide feedback on your work.

Melodics monthly subscription provides 30 courses, 400+ lessons and new content every week for $29.99. This reduces to $14.99 on the annual subscription.

Pros

  • 60 free lessons! Great to try out first before you pay for extra lessons.
  • Good entry to learning beat creation.
  • Not many schools offer lessons on live performance for beats.

Cons

  • Lessons are focussed on improving musical performance to improve your productions, they do not provided lessons for all music production skills.
  • If you wanted to learn the keyboard you may benefit more from private lessons.
4.5/5
4.5/5

Launched in 2003, Loopmasters initial entry to the market was selling sample libraries for musicians and producers. Loopmasters now offer a collection of plugins and more recently video courses. 

The courses cover a wide range of electronic music production skills which will suit both beginners and advanced producers.There are in depth guides to software, production techniques and genre specific production methods. If you want to learn how to make a techno track, improve your EQ and compression, or learn about the new software you’ve bought then there will be a course for you. Here are some of the highlights:

 

 

Music Production Techniques

  • Beginners guide to Synthesis
  • Sampling Techniques
  • Producer’s Studio Guide
  • Sound Design
  • Abeton Live Dj Guide
  • DIY Audio Mastering
  • Remix techniques
  • A complete guide to EQ

Music Production Software

  • Ableton Expert (many Ableton Live courses)
  • Complete guide to Native Instruments Maschine Mk II
  • Sound Design with Serum
  • Techno production
  • Beginners guide to Logic Pro 9
  • Arrangement Techniques with Push

Genre Specific Production

  • House Production and Sound Design
  • Dubstep Production techniques

Pros

  • All courses are taught by certified instructors.
  • Big range of electronic music courses.
  • Great insight into genre specific production techniques.

Cons

  • If you don’t produce ‘electronic’ music you may not be interested.
  • Price – You may find the information in some of the courses for free on Youtube
  • No feedback – its a video course with no interaction
Electronic Music Production Courses from Pluginboutique.com

6. Masterclass Music Production Courses

4.5/5
4.5/5
The Masterclass brand finds celebrity professionals to deliver expert lessons in their field. There are three courses that are of interest to Music Production enthusiasts: Timbaland, DeadMau5 & Armin Van Buuren.  

 

Timbaland delivers his music production masterclass over 15 lessons (with a downloadable workbook). He covers beat making in great depth by teaching his process and production workflow. Six of the 15 lessons are solely dedicated to teaching you how to build beats. You’ll learn Timbaland’s creative approach to beatboxing, building chord progressions and layering drums. The lessons called “Song Origins” involve him breaking down some of his well-known productions. This gives you an insight into some of his tricks and tips he uses to make his productions stand out from the competition.  

Course lessons:

  1. Introduction
  2. Studio Sesssion: Making a Beatbox beat
  3. Building Beats: Tim’s Process
  4. Making a Beat: Getting Warmed Up
  5. Song Origins: “Dirt of Your Shoulder”

6. Making a Beat: Starting with a chord progression
7. Making a Beat: Tweaking and Layering Drums
8. Song Origins: “Pony”
9. Making a Beat: Manipulating Vocal Samples
10. Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown

11. Song Origins: “Gossip Folks”
12. Making a Beat: Adding a Topline
13. Song Origins: “Are you That Somebody?”
14. Tim’s Influences
15. How to Persevere

To those who don’t know, Deadmau5 is an electronic music artist/ producer. He rose to fame in the early 2000s with his track “Faxing Berlin”. Since then he has become one of the most prolific producers in his genre. The Deadmau5 course delivers 23 video lessons over 6 hours (with a downloadable workbook). The lessons show you how he approaches sound design, mixing, melodies and mastering. Whether or not you are a fan of his musical style you will find wisdom in this course that is applicable to all genres. His course is broken down into the following:

Course lessons:

  1. Introduction
  2. The deadmau5 Process: Theory

  3. The deadmau5 Process : Practice

  4. Building you home studio

  5. Developing Melodic Structures

  6. Turning Melodies into arrangements

  7. Introduction to Synthesized Sounds

  8. Experimenting with modular Synths

9. Digital Vs Analog Synths
10. Shaping sounds with effects and processing
11.
Beats: Part 1
12.Beats Part 2
13. Structuring Songs
14. Remixes
15. Mixing
16. Mastering

17. Mastering Case Study: Snowcone

18. Starting your producing career

19. Understanding the Music Business

20. On Stage: The Music

21. On Stage: The Technical Side

22. On Stage: The Show

23. Closing

Armin Van Buuren is a Dutch DJ, recorder producer and remixer. He was voted the top DJ in the world 5 times by DJ Mag. He’s got six studio albums under his belt and countless remixes. He has become one of the most well know trance producers in the world. The Armin Van Buuren course delivers 33 video lessons (with a downloadable workbook). Based in his studio the lessons teach you his approach to creating grooves, bass, breakdowns, mixing and mastering. Even if you aren’t a fan of his music you will still learn production skills applicable to all genres in this course. His course is broken down into the following:

Course lessons:

  1. Introduction
  2. Finding Melodic Inspiration
  3. Building your home studio
  4. Templates and organisation in logic pro
  5. in the studio, part 1: Melody
  6. Working with pas and leads
  7. In the studio part 3: pads and leads
  8. In the studio part 3: more leads
  9. Creating a groove, part1
  10. Creating a groove part 2
  11. In the studio Part 4: Adding Groove and bass

12. In the Studio part 5: The Big Payoff
13. Mixing and Mastering, Part 1
14. Mixing and Mastering Part 2
15. In the studio part 6: Cleaning up and mixing
16. Mix and arrangement case study: “Be in the Moment”
17. Arranging
18. In the studio Part 7: Percussion and arranging
19. In the studio Part 8: Building the drop, reviewing the track
20. Working with lyrics and vocals
21. Vocal Session Part 1: Tracking
22. Vocal Session Part 2: Comping

23. Vocal Session Part 3: Editing and Mixing
24. Singles, Club Mixes and Edits
25. Approaching your DJ set
26. Building a set: edits and Mashups
27. Using the Decks: Basics
28. Using the Decks: Armin’s Techniques
29. Performance Tip
30. Hosting a radio show
31. Armin’s early influences
32. Starting and growing your career
33. Closing

Pros

  • Courses are taught by industry experts at the cutting edge of electronic music production..
  • Great insight into genre specific production techniques.

Cons

  • If you don’t produce ‘electronic’ music you may not be interested.
  • Price – You may find the information in some of the courses for free on Youtube
  • No feedback – its a video course with no interaction
5/5
5/5

Coursera is an online portal for learning many kinds of topics from the world’s best universities and companies. One course that stands out is Berklee College of Music’s  Music Production Specialization course. The course teaches skills in audio recording, music, music production, sound design and audio editing. The specialization is comprised of four courses:

  1. The art of music production
  2. The Technology of music production
  3. Pro Tools Basics
  4. Music Production Capstone

The art of music production

This course teaches you how to create emotionally moving recordings with the focus being on learning tangible artistic concepts. This means you can apply the recording concepts to any gear you want to use. It’s a great approach which will help you develop your critical ear. It is suggested this course will take 17 hours to complete over 4 weeks.

Week 1 – Listening Like a Producer (6 videos)
Week 2 – Identity, Vision and Intention (6 videos)
Week 3 – Strengthening Musical Production: Tools & Strategies (10 Videos)
Week 4 – Defining the Sonic Signature of your song (10 videos)

The technology of music production

This course focuses on the production process of recording, editing and mixing. Each lesson demonstrates a different set of music production tools. Compression, delay and equalisation are examined and explored. Their application taught with an emphasis on your creativity within the production process. Approximate time to learn is 27 hours over 6 weeks.

Week 1 – Sound and Signal Flow (18 videos)
Week 2 – The DAW (27 videos)
Week 3 – The Mixer (9 Videos)
Week 4 – Dynamic Effects (9 videos)
Week 5 – Filter And Delay Effects
Week 6 – Synthesis

Pro Tools Basics

Pro Tools basics is an introductory course to Avid Pro Tools and Pro Tools First. If you are unfamiliar with Pro Tools, it is one of the most widely used DAWs in the music industry, found in the majority of professional recording studios. This 18 hour spanned over 4 weeks course teaches you the following:

Week 1 – Welcome to the Pro Tools Basics!
Week 2 – Exploring MIDI and Software Instruments
Week 3 – Recording and Manipulating Audio
Week 4 – Mixing and Mastering

Music Production Capstone

The final course in the Music Production Specialization, the Music Produciton Capstone allows you to showcase the skills you have learnt in the previous three courses. You will be asked to create and submit a fully finished song. This will require you to put into practice the acquired skills of recording, editing, mixing. You get feedback from the peer review stage which helps to boost self confidence and tweak your production. this final course takes approximately 12 hours spanned over 4 weeks.

Week 1 – Welcome to the Music Production Capstone & Pre -Production
Week 2 – Production
Week 3 – Editing
Week 4 –
Mixing and Mastering

Pros

  • Extensive in depth course.
  • Receipt of professional certification.
  • Financial aid available.
  • Highly rated reviews.
  • Self paced learning

Cons

  • Long course duration
  • Price – You may find the information in some of the courses for free on Youtube
5/5
5/5

This site is awesome! Kadenze has brought together a load of educators, artists and engineers from leading Universities. They have created a series of courses in the field of art and technology. Not all the courses are related to Music Production, but you are bound to find something of interest to help you develop your skills. As a free user you have access to a wide range of free courses, all delivered via video. Some of the courses are longer in duration and much more in depth, these tend to be paid for. With each free course you can gain a certificate if you wish for the monthly membership fee of $20. These free courses are phenomenal!

Kadenze Music Courses to check out:

Pros

  • Majority of courses are FREE!
  • Contains quality niche courses.

Cons

  • Doesn’t provide an overview of music production course

You may also like:

Electronic Music Production Courses from Pluginboutique.com