See the full programme structure week-by-week, including learning objectives and project work.
This 3-month online programme takes you step-by-step through the essentials of building a credible and relevant Tech House track to a professional standard.
Log-in weekly for live and interactive online lessons – then complete a set of intensive and challenging projects in between sessions. Your work will be given feedback on a weekly basis from the Toolroom A&R team, leading you towards finishing your track.
The bespoke curriculum is solely focused around you learning to make the sound that Toolroom represents. Additionally, you’ll get the chance to take modules on marketing and social media, business and financials, and also complete an optional remix project using parts from the Toolroom back catalogue.
The course is taught ‘native’ to Ableton – meaning you’ll only need a copy of Ableton, a computer and some headphones to participate. Splice are an official partner of the course – all students will receive 3 months of sample credits to enhance their productions.
Additionally, the Production Certificate is the first educational programme in the world to be approved by the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM).
During the first week we look at a number of key areas that are often overlooked in many production schools, identifying your ‘sound’ and understanding ‘hooks’ are crucial for any artist to help with their creativity, here we will deconstruct a Toolroom track to identify the key elements within and demonstrate how to begin creating the initial central idea that you will build your track around.
Here we will demonstrate building your drum loop using varied methods, looking at using out the box samples alongside creating your own with both audio samples and through midi programming. We will discuss and study a number of different Tech House drum groove styles and explain the variance in each from the difference in style of kick drum to the syncopation of each element.
The Bassline is one of the most important key parts to your track, here we cover some theory on understanding the job of the bassline and what style fits your sound – from rolling, simple note patterns, low-end subs, or more melodic, synth led basslines. We explore using out-the-box sample loops and how they can be manipulated and also demonstrate how to create your own unique bassline through both sampling and using one of Abletons VST’s.
We look at your main idea for the track and how to develop this into the key hook whilst focusing on its relationship with the bassline and drums. We also demonstrate how to create new hooks using both audio samples and building something original through VST’s and Midi. Focus will be on vocal hooks and the variance within this, melodies & stabs, and also how the bassline can become the key hook.
At this stage we take your loop so far and teach simple techniques to develop it further into an intro, breakdown and drop in order to evaluate how your track will work. Here we will be able to identify what other elements are needed to support your key parts so far. You will also study and learn a number of varied arrangements that can create different overall vibes to your track. An introduction to Automation will show how this affects key moments in your track, things like adding energy to build ups and drops.
Mixing your track well and getting the right balance between sounds can be one of the more challenging areas to master, but it can also be the difference between getting noticed or missed by label A&R’s. With the main elements to the track now in place we look at preliminary mixing techniques before we begin a more detailed and full arrangement, focusing on relationships between the drums, bassline, musical elements and any vocals and FX.
With the initial Mixdown in place we take our extended loop and build it into a full length DJ friendly track, extending it from the intro, to breakdown and drop, and the outro section whilst demonstrating how to add the right FX and automation to create key moments. We focus on each section, demonstrating varied techniques of introducing parts into your record alongside what common mistakes can be made when arranging a track that can make the difference between DJ & radio support.
During this session, you will have your own one to one A&R time with artist Ben Remember and our A&R team. You will receive valuable feedback across all aspects of your track so far and advice on anything that could improve your track to help bring it towards completion and a good standard for submission to the label. There will also be an additional session on Marketing.
After receiving valuable A&R feedback we look further at one of the most important parts of making a track, the mixdown. Here we re-assess all areas of the track to complete a more thorough and detailed mixdown and look into more advanced techniques like adding Compression, panning, EQ, Modulation FX and more.
Remixing another producers track can be an exciting opportunity for any artist, but can also be challenging and a daunting prospect to many, here Ben Remember demonstrates how he tackles a remix project step by step. You will then be paired with another student and have the chance to remix one of Ben’s recent releases. The winning remix will be chosen by the tutors at the end of the course.
Even though everything you need to produce a track is located internally within Ableton you’d be hard pressed to find any producer in the world who doesn’t use 3rd Party plugins at some stage when producing a track. During this session, we demonstrate how to get the most from some of the better plugins available and the techniques used when working with them. We will also discuss the art of sampling, some of the do’s and don’ts when sampling and delve a little deeper into an area that is a fundamental part of dance music.
Having now completed all the lessons and assigned work you will have a finished track ready to be submitted to the Toolroom A&R team. Your track will be given final feedback from the team and you will also have the chance to discuss and ask questions that may have arisen over the course.