Music production: beyond the basics

MP110 Music Production - Beyond the Basics
Duration: 6-8 days

This course is intended to prepare the delegate to assist in music recording, in a supervised context. Usually delivered as apart of a series (PMP101, PMP110, PMP201), this course introduces intermediate level concepts and practices, while consolidating the learnings covered in PMP101.

The course is ideal for any Pro Tools (or other DAW) user or operator or live sound engineer seeking to advance their music production skills with an understanding of current technologies and techniques used in studios and live environments today.

Course content
The course comprises the following nine intensive modules:

Module 1 - Working with microphones
  • Choice of microphone – an in-depth survey of microphones and related technology
    • Transducer type – and applications
    • Polar patterns
    • Attenuation (pads)
    • Filters
    • Y-cords
    • Proximity effect
  • Popping
  • Pop filters
  • Wind noise
  • Handling noise
  • Phantom and T-power options
  • Phasing - absolute and relative
  • Practical workshop utilizing all available microphones

Module 2 - Introduction to microphone placement
  • Mic placement basics for: speech, vocals, kick, snare, hi-hat, toms, overheads, percussion, bass amp, guitar amp, acoustic guitar strings, woodwinds, brass, orchestral percussion, and choirs
  • Outdoor microphone placement

Module 3 - Introduction to concepts of music mixing
  • The musical concept
    • Melody
    • Harmony
    • Rhythm
    • Lyrics
    • Instrumentation
    • Density

Module 4 - Introduction to mix techniques
  • The use of EQ
  • The use of compression/limiting in music mixing
  • Stereo versus mono
  • How we perceive depth and level in a music mix
  • Delay and phase issues in basic mixing
  • Introduction to concepts of imaging
  • Basic theory of stereo imaging
  • Panning
  • Volume
  • Pitch
  • Frequency spectrum
  • Stereo spread and reverb

Module 5 - Introduction to dynamics
  • Natural musical dynamics
  • Broadcast dynamics considerations
  • Artistic dynamics considerations
  • Volume controlled dynamics
  • Using volume as a differentiator within the overall mix

Module 6 - Introduction to EQ and panning as mix tools
  • Original purpose of EQ
  • Creative use of EQ
  • An exploration of uses of EQ for a variety of basic scenarios
  • Panning as a creative tool in achieving dynamic mixes

Module 7 - Basic automation in the mix process
  • Volume automation
  • Panning automation
  • EQ automation
  • Plug-in automation

Module 8 - Mix-styles
  • An overview of the application of the course-content to the mixing of a range of music-styles

Module 9 - Practical Masterclass on the mix process
  • An intensive hands-on multitrack-based mentored series of mix exercises in a variety of mix types using both best-case and worst case scenarios. These exercises involve both sound capture (recording) and mixing with a wide range of appropriate equipment – from the most basic to fairly advanced. Recording and mixing will be carried out both “as-live” (simulating live broadcast) and in a much longer-term record/mix cycle – which could extend over a number of sessions.
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