Creativity: Unlocked

Here at Toolroom we’re always asked two things. What makes a Toolroom track special? How do I get signed to labels like Toolroom?

The answer is quite simple. It’s about standing out from the crowd; pushing your productions further and having that killer ‘hook’. This is what ultimately gets the attention of label A&Rs.

Too many producers finish their tracks without really asking themselves some tough questions. Could my original idea be improved? Are there better, less generic vocals out there? Could I write my own original bassline? Could I create my own unique melodic sounds? Do I really have a ‘hook’?

In Creativity: Unlocked, these are the questions we can answer for you. Over 16 weeks, we teach you a range of creative strategies and advanced production techniques that will make your tracks truly stand out from the crowd.

We look beyond the unnecessarily complicated theories and ideas covered in many traditional Sound Design and Music Composition programmes, and give you practical, achievable techniques that we know work for successful House and Tech House artists.

Take advantage of a truly unique curriculum devised by the Toolroom A&R team. Over 16 weeks, you’ll learn to take control of your tracks, and realize your creative potential. You’ll learn a whole host of new tricks and be tested on how you can implement them – then you’ll start working on your own idea, to be submitted to the Toolroom music team.

  • Learn in Ableton
  • Learn via live, interactive online production sessions
  • 16 week programme
  • Complete intensive assignments
  • Get regular A&R feedback
  • Get a free copy of Sylenth during the course
  • Taught by Toolroom artist D.Ramirez
  • Submit your final track to the Toolroom team

Modules

A unique curriculum taking you through the essentials of modern House & Tech House production.

  • Week One
    Being Creative and Developing Your Artistic Identity

    Part 1: Creativity and Artistic Identity

    We start by analysing some previous demos sent to the label, looking at what is missing and where they may be lacking with creative ideas. We will also discuss the importance of Artistic Identity, and how having a consistent sound and style enhances your chances of breaking through. Lastly, we study four sub genres within House music, and explain the differences in sound choice and how this can determine the overall style, positioning and success of the record.

    Part 2: Break Out Groups

    Later in the week, students will be split into four groups to discuss their sub-genre choices and talk through questionnaire answers, looking into why each student is choosing that sub-genre whilst thinking about their Artistic Identity.

  • Week Two
    Writing An Original Bassline Part 1

    Here we look deeper into the art of writing a good bassline, and how choosing the right sound and style can influence the success of the groove. We showcase how to write two different basslines using different techniques across two of the sub-genres. During this session we will also look at the art of synthesis where we will create our own bass sound from scratch using Sylenth, we will also be adding some minimal processing to the bass. For this session we will be focusing on Tech House & House.

  • Week Three
    Writing an Original Bassline Part 2

    Here we continue to look deeper into the art of writing a good bassline and how choosing the right sound and style can influence the success of the groove. For this session we will be focusing on Deep Tech & Techno. As an assignment, students will be asked to write four different basslines using the four different class techniques. Students have 7 days to complete this project.

  • Week Four
    Bassline Assignment

    Students will hand in their assignment of writing an original bassline.

    Tutors will record detailed A&R video feedback, and send back for Thursday.

  • Week Five
    Working With Vocals Part 1: Sampling

    During this session we look at various case studies and identify where the vocal hooks originate from, how they were sampled and the creative process behind this. We will then add vocal samples to our tracks and create an original hook to suit our sub-genre whilst highlighting where to find them. In this lesson we will be working with spoken word samples demonstrating techniques on how to make these fit into your groove with processing techniques in Ableton, focusing on Tech House and Deep Tech Sub-Genres.

  • Week Six
    Working With Vocals Part 2: Sampling

    During this session we look again at various case studies and identify where the vocal hooks originate from. We will then add vocal samples to our tracks and create an original hook to suit our sub-genre. We will be working with old school house acapellas demonstrating techniques on how to manipulate them to create something unique alongside making them fit into your groove through processing techniques. During this session we will also be working with royalty free sample packs to find something that suits the style and vibe of the chosen sub-genre. This lesson with be focusing on House & Techno Sub-Genres.

  • Week Seven
    Working With Vocals Part 3: Creating Original Vocals

    During this session we will record our own vocals to use on our tracks, demonstrating techniques to help write simple yet creative lyrics. This session will also cover some theory and advice on common subjects, helping you to explore your creative side. We will then look at creating Vocal FX, hits, pads & short vocal stabs from a variety of the samples we have used from the past three sessions. As an assignment, students must create two vocal hook ideas whilst thinking about their artistic identity and suiting their chosen sub-genre.

  • Week Eight
    Vocals Assignment

    Students will hand in their assignment of adding vocal hooks to their tracks.

    Tutors will record detailed A&R video feedback, and send back for Thursday.

  • Week Nine
    Melodics Part 1: Creating Riffs & Stabs

    The session will begin with some music theory on scales to demonstrate the importance of understanding harmony. We will then extend our groove to a simple ‘pre arrangement’. Working on this layout we demonstrate how to write an original Riff and stabs using a combination of Sylenth and audio samples across two of the sub-genres; Tech House & House, focusing on using classic stabs to enhance our Tech House groove and adding a repeated catchy Riff on our House groove.

  • Week Ten
    Melodics Part 2: Melodies, Chords & Pads

    Working on our pre arrangement layout we demonstrate how to write a creative Melody using Sylenth to suit our Techno Groove whilst focusing on how to construct Chords and Pads on our Deep Tech sub-genre. During this session we will look at the art of synthesis where we will create our own lead and pad sounds from scratch. As an assignment, students must write two different Melodic ideas over their tracks.

  • Week Eleven
    Melodics Assignment

    Students will hand in their assignment of adding melodics / music to their tracks.

    Tutors will record detailed A&R video feedback, and send back for Thursday.

  • Week Twelve
    Arrangement: Putting It All Together

    During this lesson we look at different arrangement structures, demonstrating how this can vary across the four Sub-genres to suit the varied styles, whilst focusing on how the key components work across your track; how they are introduced, how they work together with other parts, and how they are manipulated to create energy and tell a story. As an assignment, students must each start a new track in their chosen sub-genre thinking carefully about sound choice, students will work on these tracks to the end of the course for final A&R feedback from the Tutors and Toolroom Music Team.

  • Week Thirteen
    Student Gap Week

    Students to continue to work on their new tracks.

  • Week Fourteen
    Live Q&A

    This lesson will be a live Q&A session where all the students can ask questions about what they have learnt so far and any challenges they may be facing whilst working on their new tracks.

  • Week Fifteen
    Student Gap Week

    Students to continue working on their new tracks, and to send in their new tracks for final A&R Feedback.

    Tutors to record feedback and send back for Thursday.

  • Week Sixteen
    Live A&R Feedback Session with Tutors and Toolroom Music Team Member

    During this session students will submit their finished tracks for a final A&R review live in the class, we will also be joined by a member of the music team from Toolroom to give their thoughts on your work and you will be able to ask any questions that may have arisen that haven’t already been answered.

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Read the full curriculum

See the full programme structure week-by-week, including learning objectives and project work.

Please send us a message using the form below, and someone from the Toolroom Academy will get back to you within 24 hours.

Give us a call – (+44)01622 673676

Interactive online learning

Interact with your expert tutors and fellow students through weekly ‘live’ online classes. Can’t make the time? Log-in after the lesson and watch it back. Enjoy over 80 hours of practical learning.

Theory AND Practice

In the first section of the course, we’ll test you on the new techniques you’ve learned, to ensure you walk away with new advanced skills. In the second section, you’ll apply this new knowledge to your own music.

Continous Assessement

Don’t waste your time learning methods you’ll never use. Learn techniques that actually apply to the music you love. We are a boutique music academy, focused on House, Tech House and Techno.

Renowned Artists

Enjoy a curriculum devised and delivered by international DJ / Producer D.Ramirez, alongside senior Toolroom A&R and artist manager Pete Griffiths. Make new connections with the best in the industry.

Taught by Experts

  • D.Ramirez
    For his entire career, D.Ramirez is a name that has been synonymous with cutting edge and beautifully produced House music. A true genre pioneer within Tech House, he has written underground anthems and crossover tracks, including the legendary tracks ‘Downpipe’ with Mark Knight, ‘Yeah Yeah’ with Bodyrox and more recently ‘Retreat’ on Crosstown Rebels. As a producer and studio engineer, his knowledge and reputation is unparalleled.
  • Pete Griffiths
    With over ten years service at Toolroom and 20 years’ music industry experience, Pete has played an instrumental role in making Toolroom what is today. Having scouted numerous Beatport top tens and discovered many acclaimed artists, he has an expert voice in identifying hooks, improving arrangement and ensuring tracks are 100% ready for commercial release. Some of the artists Pete A&Rs for include Mark Knight, Weiss, Prok & Fitch and Adrian Hour.

Is this course for me?

I’ve mastered the basics but struggle finding hooks

So you’re sending tracks to labels, but not hearing back? You won’t progress as an artist if you struggle with developing ideas. This course gives you creative inspiration and insights into finding and creating hooks.

I want to get more creative in my sampling

Modern house music is full of the same old sample pack sounds. Get out of this rut and learn how to be truly innovative in your sampling.

I’d like to experiment with writing original music

Why not be truly original, and write your own unique sounds? Learn all about writing basslines, chords, riffs and stabs plus some musical theory.

I want to truly establish my artistic identity as a producer

We’ll help identify your creative positioning, and give you a totally in-depth understanding of the sound choices and creative decisions you need to get there.

Take the next step

We’ll be in contact to discuss the syllabus and your production ambitions, plus info on start dates & pricing.

Please send us a message using the form below, and someone from the Toolroom Academy will get back to you within 24 hours.

Give us a call – (+44)01622 673676