Creating a roundup of the best online music production courses is quite the daunting task. Besides, who am I to rank the quality of these courses? Well, I’m obsessed with learning and have taken more music production and programming courses on Udemy than I can count.
After a while, you discover that some course formats work significantly better than others — especially for technical subjects. On top of that, I used to work as a college-level course developer for a music production school in Los Angeles called Icon Collective.
A lot of time and effort goes into the planning, content creation, and marketing side of developing a course. There’s plenty that can go wrong along the way. Something as simple as the format of the videos or poor audio quality is enough to scare off students.
I’ve vetted all of the music production courses on this list — and helped create some of them myself — so I’m willing to back up my picks.
Best Music Production Course for Beginners
Many courses either assume that you already know a fair bit about music production, or teach you the fundamentals and then leave you hanging. Music Production for Beginners: The Complete Ableton Course holds your hand as you take your first steps downloading a DAW, all the way up to a strong intermediate level.
You learn how to produce your first song under 1 hour. After that, you learn how to write chord progressions, rhythms, melodies, and basslines. You’re shown how to set up a home recording studio with specific gear recommendations and build a DIY recording booth.
Then, you learn how to record vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar and bass using reliable recording techniques. You gain a solid understanding of the core components of mixing and mastering your music, allowing you to create songs that sound clean and polished.
Finally, you’re shown how to upload your music to streaming services and start collecting streaming royalties. Watch the course trailer to learn more.
Music Production for Beginners is densely packed with material but it moves along at a pace that someone without any previous musical experience should feel comfortable with. There’s a total of 9.5 hours of music production tutorial videos to work through, and most lessons include a task that allows you to put what you’ve learned into practice. You’re provided with all the assets (audio samples, projects, etc.) that you need to follow along with the videos.
This course is priced at $199 but it occasionally goes on sale for $99. From a value perspective, Music Production for Beginners is a steal and it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best Music Theory Course for Music Producers
If you already have a pretty good handle on producing music but want to brush up on your music theory, Music Theory for Electronic Music COMPLETE: Parts 1, 2, & 3 is a great option. It covers the music theory that you need to write songs within a DAW. You begin by learning about the piano roll editor and how to program MIDI notes, name notes on a keyboard, and identify key patterns.
The course builds up to concepts like major 7th and minor 7th chords, 9th and 13th chords, changing keys in your tracks, modes, chromatic mediants, exotic scales, and much more. You get to analyze the music theory powering songs like “Shame on Me” by Avicii, “Ghosts N Stuff” by Deadmau5, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, and “Windowlicker” by Aphex Twin.
By the time you finish the course, you’ll have a solid baseline understanding of music theory. To be clear, this course won’t teach you how to play piano or become a keyboard virtuoso — it doesn’t focus on building muscle memory and reading sheet music.
However, it will provide you with the music theory that you need to program emotionally-driven MIDI arrangements, which is perfect approach if your goal is to write songs. Combined, there are 12.5 hours of music theory training videos.
Best Intermediate Online Mixing Course
If you’re at an intermediate mixing level, you’re probably already familiar with most mixing techniques so it doesn’t make sense to keep hammering in those concepts. Mixing Breakthroughs by Justin Colletti of SonicScoop is an 8+ hour mixing course that teaches you a reliable mixing system that you can use to bang out killer mixes using any DAW.
There are five core theory modules that sketch out the repeatable Mixing Breakthroughs mixing system. The course covers setting up a mix and creating templates, the best way to set your levels and pan position, dialing in the settings on your EQs, compressors, reverbs, delays, special effects, and more.
The practical modules give you the opportunity to mix tracks alongside Justin and see for yourself how the mixing system works. Stock plugins are used throughout the entire course to mix each track. You gain access to all of the unmixed songs and can download the projects for a variety of DAWs.
This course is intended for music producers who want to enhance their workflow, pick up some new mixing tips and tricks, and take their mixes to the next level. Justin also happens to be an excellent presenter so it’s easy to follow along with him. He also hosts The SonicScoop Podcast, which made it to first place on “The Top 9 Best Music Production Podcasts”.
Best Intermediate Online Mastering Course
The Complete EDM Mastering Course is relatively short at 1.5 hours long but it dives right into mastering music. If you’re unfamiliar with mastering, it’s the process of preparing your songs for distribution. Lots of beginners can ruin their mix at this stage of the production process if they don’t know what they’re doing.
You’ll learn about mid-side EQ, glue compression, peak compression, multiband compression, saturation, parallel compression, limiting, and dither. Ultimately, the course aims to help you boost your tracks to a commercial standard that sounds loud, clean, and clear.
The Complete EDM Mastering Course focuses on mastering EDM tracks but the concepts you learn can be applied to any genre. Music producers who are new to mastering will get the most out of this course, while producers that have a general idea of how to master their songs should find that it helps consolidate certain concepts.
By the time you’re finished the course, you can potentially start taking on mastering clients. Mastering songs for clients is one of the best way to go from an intermediate to advanced level. Client feedback can sometimes be quite harsh but it will help you quickly improve and learn the limits of your mastering tools.
Most Comprehensive Online Music Production Course
The Icon Collective Online Program is an 18-month music production course that’s broken down into six levels. It includes 60 hours of one-on-one time with a professional producer, 720 hours of optional online office hours, and live Q&As with guest artists. Here’s a breakdown of the course curriculum:
Level 1 – Music Production With Ableton Live I:
- Ableton Live: Fundamentals
- Arrangement: Song Flow & Sonic Placement
- Keyboard Techniques: Intervals, Scales & Chords
- THE ART OF FLOW ®: The Ego
- Studio Mentor
Level 2 – Music Production With Ableton Live II:
- Ableton Live: Recording, Effects & Advanced Techniques
- Keyboard Techniques: Chord Progressions & Inversions
- Studio Techniques: Fundamentals
- Synthesis: Intro to Subtractive Synthesis
- THE ART OF FLOW ®: Intuition
- Studio Mentor
Level 3 – Intermediate Music Production:
- Ableton Live: Live Performance
- Keyboard Techniques: Melodic Writing & Chord Practice
- Synthesis: Sound Re-creation & Advanced Techniques
- THE ART OF FLOW ®: Silence, Space & Solitude
- Studio Mentor
Level 4 – Advanced Production & Mixing
- Music Business: Concepts & Principles
- Keyboard Techniques: Rhythmic & Harmonic Writing Techniques
- Studio Techniques: Mixing & Mastering
- THE ART OF FLOW ®: Time, Timing, Timelessness
- Studio Mentor
Level 5 – Songwriting & Music Business
- Music Business: Bios, Branding, Management & Publishing
- Keyboard Techniques: Extended Harmonies
- Songwriting: Fundamentals
- THE ART OF FLOW ®: The Hero’s Journey
- Studio Mentor
Level 6 – Advanced Songwriting & Music Business
- Music Business: Marketing, Social Media, Making a Business Plan
- Keyboard Techniques: Modes & Compositional Development
- Songwriting: Advanced Techniques & Lyric Writing
- Studio Mentor
With a tuition fee of $14,995, this course isn’t for hobbyist music makers. It’s intended for people who want to make a full-time living working in the music industry. Ideally, you’re able to attend Icon Collective’s Advanced LA Program in person. Although your location, financial situation, and ability to obtain a student visa will determine the viability of moving to Los Angeles.