7 tips to find the best online music production course 2020
Written by: Dexxter ClarkBefore creating my own music production course for beginners I did extensive research.
In this article the results of my research and “juicy” inside information from a music-production-course-creator himself.
I’m confident in the quality of my course and that’s why I have no problems sharing the details of my research with you.
Yes indeed I am a bit biased towards this subject: I published a music production course for beginners.
The goal of my music production for beginners course was to create the best online music production course out there.
So before I started, I did extensive research on the topic.
I consulted my YouTube- and my mailing list community many many many times to get a picture of what they like to see in a music production course for beginners.
I also looked at tens of music production courses online to see how you can separate a good music production course from a bad one.
In this article my findings.
The goal of this article is to help you as reader to find a good course.
I love that to be mine, but there are other great courses out there.
1. Is it a music production course or …Is the course you want to buy a music production course or a DAW course?
(DAW = Digital Audio Workstation = software to produce music).
I noticed that a lot of music production courses do not focus on the music production part, but instead focus on the DAW.
The crucial difference is that one focusses on the process and the other on DAW specific technicalities.
The DAW course assumes you want to learn the DAW and know the skill.
The other assumes you want to learn the skill and you need a DAW (any DAW) in order to get there.
Music production is for a big part a creative process, a part where a lot of my students tend to struggle, especially in the beginning.
I noticed my students needed guidance in finding a process that works best for them
I do that by letting them explore different approaches and pick the one that suits them best.
Making melodies is a very clear example.
You can approach the “problem" in different ways, start with chords, start with the melody in your head, pick an existing song, yada, yada, yada.
I say “this is the piano roll, this is method one, click these buttons, this is method two”
A DAW course would say: “in the piano roll. This is where you program your melodies”, they explain all the buttons, but not the creative part of writing melodies.
Needless to say, I focus heavily in my courses on the process approach and I suggest you find a course that does that too.
An added bonus is that you can follow along on other DAWs as well.
Knowledge about the process is what you lack as beginner, not the ability to press buttons.
2. The resumeLet me ask you a question: who is the best teacher?
Someone who achieved a lot or someone who can explain a complicated matter in a clear way?
Ideally both of course, but if you have to choose…
I took producing classes in Logic Pro years ago, the teacher was mediocre at best, he couldn’t answer even the most basic questions.
But his resume was great!
The price of that course was 3000 euro.
A resume says everything about achievements but absolutely nothing about skills.
The most famous DJs are faces for a brand with their DJ name, a lot of them hire ghost producers to produce their music.
A superstar DJ can be skill-less and on top of that, being the worst teacher in the world.
But oh boy, does that face sell music production courses!
Before you buy an expensive course, see if you can find some information about the teacher.
Nowadays every DJ/music producer has a website or at least social media.
If it is a superstar DJ, make sure he himself did produce music himself (and did not took a quick 12 dollar course on a course site).
Vetting a superstar DJ can be a challenge, because ghost producing is mostly a contractual kept secret.
Look on YouTube and search for “track explained” videos and keep your eye out for “unmasked”- videos. Music producers dissect their track in “track explained”-videos.
Some YouTubers see it as a sport to unmask the frauds.
A couple of superstar DJ`s were unmasked this way because they didn’t know what they were talking about.
It’s a huge red flag if you can’t find your teacher online.
Is there footage of your teacher explaining music?
If yes, do think you can follow along in the way he (or she) explains music production?
A YouTube channel is the best resume.
You get free inside in the teaching capabilities of your teacher and you know your teacher can actually produce good quality videos.
Yes, I’m biased in this regard with my YouTube channel, but you can’t say I’m wrong.
3. Why not a YouTube tutorials?Why a music production course in the first place and not a playlist with YouTube videos?
YouTube can be a great resource for tips, additional or expansion of information on certain small topics.
YouTube creators can’t afford to produce videos that don’t get clicks, because the YouTube algorithm will punish the entire YouTube channel for that.
But in the broad spectrum of learning music production, there are topics a beginner producers needs to know to advance, but never would get the clicks.
Beginner music producers simply don’t know that they need to know certain information before they can advance (who can blame them, they are beginners after all)
A course takes you by the hand and guides you step-by-step through the process of getting to a certain level of knowledge.
YouTube encourages creators to score more minutes-watched-per-video by rewarding videos with a higher ranking (YouTube want viewers longer on the platform so they can sell more ads).
So the goal of a YouTube video is to score watch time minutes, the creator is rewarded to drag viewers attentions out as long as possible.
The goal of a course is to get information across.
Which one would be more effective in getting … information across?
4. Quantity is not qualityIt’s easy to mistake quantity for quality.
If course A is 20 hours for 12 dollars and course B is 50 hours for 200 dollars.
Which one is better?
The amount of content is no measurement for quality:
- The course with more content could have a teacher that takes twice as long to explain the same knowledge. Effectiveness isn’t calculated into hours.
- Not al course length/content is the same, which makes comparing them hard. Maybe the course of 20 hours has upgrades that make more expensive than the one with 50 hours.
- The creator of the 50 hour course could have created a lot of “air” in course, did 5 examples instead of 2 of every topic, just to extend the length (and perceived) value of the course
- The 50 hour course could contain more topics/knowledge, but do you know for sure?
When I created my course I was relieved that I didn’t have to look at video length at all, in contrast to YouTube where the amount of minutes watched count.
The knowledge in my music production course needed to be communicated in a clear an concise way.
In one video that takes 2 minutes, the other takes 20 minutes.
5. PriceIn price perception, perceived value is the most powerful psychological trick to move product.
When you see a course that normally would cost 200 dollars, but is now on sale for only 12 dollars.
What is your first thought that comes to mind?
“really one twentieth of the price? How is that possible? What’s wrong with the product?”
“it`s on sale, I need to buy it now because the sale expires in 12 hours”.
It should be the first, right?
One twentieth of the price is the equivalent of a 40,000 dollar car that is now on sale for 2000 dollars.
How can that be?
Do you only get the wheels and the steering wheel?
But apparently it moves product, otherwise these websites wouldn’t work this way.
A sale this big made me suspicious: how can you give that much discount?
Unless … the actual worth of the product is 12 dollars.
So I tracked :)
For the last 2 two years the website in question had a "temporary" sale that expires in 1,2 or 3 days.
So now you now, my course is also on discount, but with numbers that are more believable to the naked eye than the car with only the steering wheel.
From the course site’s perspective I understand this tactic.
They don’t have to lift a finger, they let others create the courses on their site.
A lot of small profits together (over all their courses) makes a large profit.
But I don’t understand this from the perspective of the course creator.
If you are really as good as you say you are, why are you underselling yourself for 12 dollars (minus the cut of the course site)?
Something still doesn’t add up.
A price says something about the quality of a product.
12 dollars for a music production course is not a good indicator for a quality product.
A new Mercedes for 2000 dollars doesn’t make sense either.
6. Know your teacher before you startThe (personal) music production course I took was terrible.
I interviewed two gorgeous women that knew their stuff and assumed that one of them would be my teacher.
Instead I got the lesser quality b-model (literally and figuratively).
With every course (personal or online course), make sure you get to know your teacher so you can evaluate your teacher before you start the course.
7. Creator motivationWhen I started YouTube in 2017 I never intended to make a video production course.
My viewers kept asking me for step-by-step beginner tutorials on the subject.
The course flowed gradually out of my YouTube community.
Together with my community I developed a course.
How is that with the creator of course you want to buy?
Is the course an afterthought or a quick cash grab?
8. Quick bonus tipsSome last quick tips to find the best music production course:
- Insights in the structure of the course can give you an idea and a small description per lesson can give you an insight in the course. Not being able to see the curriculum of a course is a huge red flag
- Make sure the course has a money back guarantee. The longer the guarantee, the more confident the course creator is in his product.
- A community on social media is social proof. Reviews on social media can be rigged, social media not.
- Choose the DAW you want, don’t listen to what everybody says you need to use. Use the one that feels natural to you. If you have chosen your DAW choose a course that extends your choice of DAW.
ConclusionLook for YouTube channels or other social media that do referrals or sell courses themselves.
First of all you can sniff out the capabilities as a teacher and the level of knowledge (YouTube is ideal for that).
Second, they have a community for feedback, which makes their YouTube videos and the course better.
Third, they have social proof it’s just not random guy that created a course for a quick cash grab.
Fourth, a YouTuber has a responsibility towards his (or her) community to deliver a quality product. Reviews on course sites can be rigged, social media not.
I hope you want to check out my music production course for beginners , if not, I hope you find a course that fits your needs.
If you are serious about DJing and want to take it to the next level on the CDJ,
you should check out my CDJ 2000 video course.
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Music Producer / YouTuber
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Music Producer / YouTuber
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