We do a proper breakdown on sound choice – something totally fundamental to the Toolroom Academy teaching methodology. We explain why some sounds some better together than others. You develop your artistic identity in these early stages.
We focus on editing the drums, using Audio and Midi. We look at Groove Pool and rhythm, adding swing and shuffle into sounds making them sound more real and less predictable. And finally, we focus on the musical elements – the stabs, the bassline, the vocals – making hooks your own.
Having got creative with the sounds, we’re going to develop these sounds into an idea – a small arrangement. Are the sounds working as well as we thought, in context? We look at automation and grouping effects, adding energy into our song. We’ll start making our own EFX with Operator.
An introduction to song arrangement will show you why the specifics of the sounds are important, and why they work together. A good song isn’t made by tricks, but by a good ear and understanding of sounds. We’ll get an idea started, forming a mini arrangement.
People jump to mixing down way too early in their musical journey. We need to get some fundaments right before we start worrying about over-complication. Just having good sounds, balanced properly, is a massive deal, and a lot harder than it sounds.
In the final lesson, we have a whole studio session with Ben, broken into three bitesize parts. He starts a completely new project, using all the same techniques from the course in different ways – so you can see how what you’ve learned so far can be applied in a multitude of ways.
Having worked with hundreds of new and upcoming producers within the Toolroom Academy, one thing we’ve noticed is a tendency to push for the end result too soon.
In other words – for producers to start trying to make finished tracks, or try advanced techniques – before they are ready. And sometimes, this can be a detrimental thing. Do you ever make tracks that you know aren’t quite right? Are you over complicating your creative process?
Another recurring issue for upcoming producers is not finishing songs! Folders upon folders of unfinished projects can get really frustrating. It may well be you need to take a step backward, before you go forward.
Without learning the fundamentals of the art form, you’re never going to fully hit your potential. Part 2 of the Toolroom Academy Foundation Programme will give you these foundations.
It’s a direct follow on from Part 1, but also a standalone course for producers who already know their way around Ableton.