Traditionalists would have it that music should be played on guitars, drums and trumpets, but at Londonist we are keen to embrace everything the future has provided us, as it turns inevitably into the present. There are numerous programs you can use to generate music and an enormous number of online tutorials (both free and paid-for) but there’s no substitute for having a tutor show you the ropes, or in this case buttons.
Happily there are plenty of options all across the city to help make your music sound more like the Chemical Brothers and less like the theme from Pac-Man.
Each link will take you to the courses available and their prices.
Point Blank Music School, Hackney
Not only does it have a cool name, it’s even situated in London’s coolest music hot-spot (this week). Point Blank is highly regarded by the likes of the Independent Schools Inspectorate, and offers everything from short courses to diplomas on music production. Its short courses include a weekend crash course in Ableton Live and a 3-month, 1 day per week introduction to Logic Pro.
The Recording Workshop, Queen’s Park
The Recording Workshop has been providing short and long part-time and full-time practical courses for over 20 years, just off the Harrow Road in W10. The list of software packages it teaches is impressive and includes Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic Studio, Ableton and Reason. It also offers discounts on courses if you enrol for more than one at a time (including the wider courses such as dance music production and sound engineering).
London Academy of Music Production, Shoreditch
Formerly known as MusicEverything, the London Academy of Music Production has a strong focus on short and intensive music software courses for novices, and it offers courses in four of the most popular music production programs on the market: Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Pro Tools and Cubase 6. Its tutors include the sound engineer Jay Allen, who has worked with the likes of Plan B and Ms Dynamite, and DJ and producer Chris Stereotype who has played at venues such as Fabric and Ministry of Sound.
London School of Sound, Clapham
This south London college offers small classes, intensive training and flexible programs, specialising in Ableton, Logic Pro and Pro Tools for the Mac. Its courses range from eight-hour crash courses on Saturdays to more extensive training in each software package across three or four days. It even puts on a summer school covering all manner of electronic music production techniques, including four sessions on honing your DJ skills and learning to DJ with confidence in front of a crowd.
CityLit, near Covent Garden
It’s hard to round up a list of colleges or schools in London without including the ever-impressive CityLit, which has a whole bunch of music software courses starting at various times throughout the year. Ableton, Cubase and Logic Pro are all covered in both fast-track and more comprehensive courses. There is also a 10-week introduction to audio synthesis and sampling including use of Propellerheads’ Reason package, and even a one-week introduction to the Sibelius music notation program (though good prior knowledge of conventional notation is required for that one).
Garnish Music Production, Hackney
Another Hackney-based school, Garnish offers focused 24-week or one academic year courses in electronic music production, plus similar short courses in Ableton Live and Logic Pro as the Point Blank Music School up the road. Its offering also includes an introduction to Pro Tools 11, plus a broader 36-hour course on crafting electronic music from the ground up, with a selection of professional producers and specialists sharing their techniques.
Although the main purpose of the courses listed above is to help you get your head around the ins and outs of whichever software package you’ve decided best suits you or fits your requirements, it is of course possible you would rather develop your skills as a serious career option. For anyone looking to become the next Skrillex (and over 150 million Youtube views suggest there’s a market for it), the three-month course at Alchemea might be the answer. It covers advanced techniques in Logic Pro and Ableton, remixing, sound production, mastering and just about everything else to do with electronic music production. You even get an Alchemea t-shirt, though at £4,550 for the course you do really have to want that t-shirt.