Music production: intermediate

MP201 Music production - Intermediate
Duration: 8-10 days (usually split over several weeks, allowing practical application of the learnings between classes)

This course is intended to prepare the delegate to be able to start mixing a variety of music styles without needing direct supervision. It is envisaged that it would form part of a full-length music mixing course which would ideally be implemented over a two to three year period, with this introduction (101, 110 and 201) forming the first year’s content.

Practice in between training sessions is vital, as is the correct scheduling of the modules – so that gaps between sessions are neither too long or too short.

This course is targeted at the Pro Tools user or operator seeking to develop their music recording and mixing production skills beyond the basic level.

It is highly recommended that each delegate first complete the following courses:
  • PT101
  • PMP 101
  • PMP110
In addition, the following courses are recommended:
  • PT201
  • PT210M

Course content
The course comprises the following ten intensive modules:

Module 1 - Applied microphone techniques
  • A review of microphone types and applications with extensive practical exercises

Module 2 - Applied mix techniques
  • The use of EQ of all types: differentiation and application
  • The use of compression in music mixing: DSP-based and outboard
  • The use of limiting in music mixing
  • Use of mono and stereo techniques and an introduction to surround music mixing

Module 3 - Concepts of music mixing
  • The musical concept
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Rhythm
  • Lyrics
  • Instrumentation
  • Density in depth
  • Song structure in depth
  • Performance in depth
  • Equipment spec, quality and its impact on recording
  • The Mix

Module 4 - Concepts of imaging
  • Theory of stereo imaging
  • Panning
  • Volume
  • Pitch
  • Frequency spectrum
  • Stereo spread
  • Reverb

Module 5 - Use of dynamics
  • Natural musical dynamics
  • Broadcast dynamics considerations
  • Artistic dynamics considerations
  • Volume controlled dynamics
  • Using volume as a differentiator within the overall mix
  • Placement of mix components per style and content: vocals, backing vocals, kick, snare, toms, hi-hat, cymbals, bass, guitars, keyboards, organ, piano, horns, other instruments and effects
  • Use of compressors/limiters in perceived loudness manipulation
  • Use of delays and other time-based effects in determining song dynamics

Module 6 - EQ as a mix tool
  • Original purpose of EQ
  • Creative use of EQ
  • EQ possibilities for: vocals, backing vocals, kick, snare, toms, hi-hat, cymbals, bass, guitars, keyboards, organ, piano, horns and effects

Module 7 - Introduction to panning as a mix tool
  • Panning as a creative tool in achieving dynamic mixes
  • Panning for: vocals, backing vocals, kick, snare, toms, hi-hat, cymbals, bass, guitars, keyboards, organ, piano, horns and effects
  • Panning for orchestral mixing
  • Use and panning of spot mikes in orchestral recording and mixing
  • Effects of phase differential and level in integration of spot mikes

Module 8 - Automation in the mix process
  • Volume automation
  • Panning automation
  • EQ automation
  • Plug-in automation

Module 9 - Introduction to mix-styles
  • An overview of the application of the course-content to the mixing of a wide variety of mix-styles

Module 10 - Practical Masterclass on the mix process
  • An intensive hands-on multitrack-based mentored series of mix exercises in a wide 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 highly sophisticated. 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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