Getting started and understand your needs

If you observe the various techniques, requirements and relevant knowledge, you may realize that the more you know, the more there is to know. While this journey is not impossible, you have to keep in mind that it will not be easy either. Starting this activity requires a little bit of passion, and the willingness to spend quite a lot of time on it; at the beginning it might be frustrating but, if you can get through the first hardship, it will be easier and rewarding later.

In this first part we will discuss about the most important first steps. Those will depend largely on the type of music you are looking to create, here our focus  will be on electronic dance music. If you’ve never played an instrument, your first and foremost preoccupation will be to get a good understanding and music theory. In general, and expecially for the beginners, you have no need to learn how to read music notation from a music score, which is mostly relevant if playing a physical instrument. Indeed, the first things you should be looking at are three essential concepts: notes, chords and scales.

To learn these, it is useful to have a piano keyboard. You won’t need a complete one, even a 25 key keyboard will do the trick. The Novation Launchkey Mini MK2 and the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII are cheap and excellent options for beginners and professionals; in fact, many famous artists have been often seen carrying one of these two pieces of hardware. If you can’t put your hands on one of these, you don’t have to worry, there are plenty of online virtual keyboards available both as apps or web mode. Under this aspect, Piano Ear Training Pro is an excellent app to train your hearing while you learn. That app will let you be able to hear how each note sounds, in each octave, while having access to various mini games to understand note distance, chords and scales. You will not only learn where each note is on a piano (the most recommended instrument for EDM, as you will usually be using these as inputs to your computer) but also begin to train your ear to understand subtleties between various notes and chords. An alternative resource you can find online is earbeater (, which I consider an excellent starting point for beginners or an handy tool for more advanced individuals as well.

The last advice I have for all of you prospective learners out there is to experiment. You will need a music production software (we will be focusing on Ableton), also known as Digital Audio Workstations or DAWs, which can be quite expensive. However, many of them offer student discounts and a 30 day trial versions. Before subscribing on of them however, make sure to check out YouTube tutorials just to get a handle on how the software GUI is structured. I would recommend to take a look at the “Ableton Live Ultimate Course” on the channel SadowickProduction, which offers a comprehensive look over the Ableton DAW. Once you think you glimpse the slightest comprehension of it, dive right in. At the beginning you will not be able to create much, but the time spent experimenting will probably turn out as the time where you’ve learn the most, especially once you overstep the initial stages.

In the next few weeks, you will hear a lot of unknown terminology if you start connecting with this world. To help you the next articles will also deal with the specific terminology.


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