Published by: Julia
Armin Van Buuren’s dance music masterclass is comprehensive. Whether you are interested in producing EDM or other music genres, this course teaches you how to harness your creativity and share your music, with the world.
This is the longest masterclass.com course I have taken, so far. Yet, it is fluff-free. Armin holds nothing back. He really does share everything his 20 odd years in the music industry has taught him. It is totally worth $90 of anyone’s money.
Learn from the master of trance
Before, I dive in and tell you more about the actual course, first, a bit about who Armin Van Buuren aka The Master of Trance is….
In 2001, Armin sat behind the mike for his first A State of Trance radio show. Little did he know that his passion for EDM would propel him onto the international stage. Today, this famous Dutchman is listened to by an audience of 40 million, from, at least, 84 countries.
But, he is far more than just a DJ. He is a creator himself. In 2014, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for “This Is What It Feels Like”.
By the way, we recommend purchasing Masterclass for more than just one single course. The value comes when you take several. If you want to read our review of the whole platform, check out this Masterclass review article.
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He really is the king of trance. But, what you are going to learn in Armin Van Buuren’s Dance Music Masterclass takes you far beyond being able to produce Trance music. The creative process he shares with you can be used to produce most forms of music, especially EDM.
Learn dance music production from a talented teacher
Armin is a great teacher. First, he explains things, goes over the problems you may face, at each stage. Then, he goes through an actual example. Seeing him apply what he has just taught makes a huge difference to how much of it you can absorb and apply. His pads and leads video is a great example of his teaching technique and why it is so effective.
It’s not about the knives, it’s about the chef!Armin – Teaches Dance Music Masterclass.com
Finding Melodic Inspiration
There is no music without that initial spark. So, Armin starts in the logical place, right at the beginning, finding inspiration. He starts, by reminding you that what he is going to share is his process, but that does not mean that you should follow it exactly.
As Armin explains, everyone is different, you need to take inspiration where you find and develop your ideas in your own way.
What Armin does, very cleverly, is to help you to open your eyes and ears. To tune into what moves and inspires you, once you learn to do that you will never be short of ideas.
Building Your Home Studio
Armin might be teaching from a professional studio, but you can do everything he’s doing on your home computer. Here’s what you need to start making great tracks without breaking the bank.
This was a brilliant class. He goes through everything you need to know and does it super quick. I really liked the way he explains how to deal with sound wave issues. His blanket-related solution is particularly clever. It is an easy and inexpensive way to improve the acoustics of any room.
Throughout the course, he introduces the various pieces of equipment you will need. In each class, he explains what to look for when hiring or buying each item as well as how to get the most out of each one.
Using templates and staying organized using Logic Pro
As you will see, Armin takes an organized approach to his music-making. His experience has been that working this way ensures he fully captures all of his ideas. Interestingly, he starts each of his tracks with the same foundation. He always uses a basic Logic Pro template, to get him started.
During this video, he explains how to uses buses to group tracks together and quickly compare the difference each change makes to them. This organized way of working takes you step-by-step closer to your desired outcome.
Regardless of which music production software you like to use, you can do something similar. So, you will definitely be able from taking Armin’s music production course, regardless of whether you use Logic Pro, or not.
Developing the components of your dance track
After this point, Armin’s masterclass dances around the creative process, a little. But, basically he goes through creating and developing the following components of each track:
- Sketching and developing your melody
- Using pads and leads as a way to enrich your sound
- Creating a groove
- Mixing and mastering
- Building the Drop
- Reviewing the Track
- Working with lyrics and vocals
He takes you through the process of creating a music track, by sitting down with his producing partner Benno de Goeij and creating a completely new track for his masterclass students. It is a clever and effective way to teach you what you need to know.
Developing your melody
This is possibly the trickiest part of the creative process, which is why Armin spends close on 2 hours explaining how to develop the melody. This part of the process is not something that can easily be described using words. You really need to see it to understand how it is done.
There is no doubt that this skill takes practice. So, when you take the course, I would urge you to do the assignments, which are provided at the end of practically every video.
Ways to use pads and leads
Pads and leads are the main way you create the melody of a dance track. Armin uses layering to give his tracks more depth and power. He explains how you can do the same without overdoing it. You also gain an insight into the plug-ins he likes to use.
During these videos, you see the wisdom of staying organized and saving everything, as you go.
Creating your dance groove
When it comes to dance music, creating a groove is probably the most important task. The beat is what gets people on their feet. It is what energizes the room.
To get this right you need to be able to as Armin says sculpt the kick drum samples. He takes you through how to do this, as well as getting the bass right. Here he teaches you how to replicate particular sounds that you like and want to use for your track.
Later in the course, he also explains how to add more complex grooves by adding percussion elements. For this, Armin uses Ableton. You will see why when you take his masterclass.
Who says the bassline always has to be a synth? It could also be a drum. If it sounds good, it is good.Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music Masterclass
Mixing and Mastering
Polishing your track is a complex process. To be able to do this successfully, you have to step into the shoes of your audience. Think about how and when it will be played. Now, is the time to step outside of yourself a bit and hear your track in new ways. This enables you to tweak and polish what you have already achieved.
Armin shows you how to make sure that your music sounds as good when it is streamed as it does when it is heard at festivals and clubs.
Arranging your dance tracks
The perfect dance track takes the listener on a journey. Armin shows you how to excite and energize your audience. When you do this, you provide your audience with the chance to experience and express all kinds of feelings in movement. Getting the arrangement right is one of the main ways you can really connect with your audience.
Building the drop
A key part of the arranging process is building the drop. Building tension and providing a release so that the beat can take over. There are several ways to do this, all of which Armin goes through in quite a bit of detail.
Reviewing the Track
Learning to listen and critique your own work is tricky. It is really hard to get past what you are expecting, so you can genuinely hear what your track sounds like. Being able to do this will enable you to hone things and achieve perfection. But, you have to know when to stop tweaking, something that Armin also explains.
Armin masterclass case studies
One of the best things about the masterclass format is the fact that a lot of the instructors provide case studies. This really helps to reinforce what you are learning.
Armin does a particularly good job of doing this with his case studies. The track he creates from scratch, during his masterclass, is in itself a case study. But, he also walks you through much of the creative process for “Be in the Moment” and “Sunny Days”.
Working With Lyrics and Vocals
Adding vocals is a great way to add texture to a track and make it that much more memorable and powerful. The right lyrics add meaning and opens up the chance to reach an even bigger audience. Armin takes you through using vocal samples as well as sung melodies.
In this section, he takes you through:
- Manipulating live vocals
- Editing and Mixing
In this section, the respect that Armin has for other artists really shines through. He is clearly a collaborative worker and knows how to get the best out of others. His respect for his team, including the singers he hires is obvious. In this video, he explains how to make them feel comfortable, so you can get the most out of them.
How to handle singles, club mixes, and edits
Most of the people that take this course will already know the difference between singles, club mixes and edits. But, not everyone will. So, it is really good to see him go through this. Armin is clearly doing his best to reach out to beginners as well as intermediate students.
Here, Armin demonstrates how to take a pop song and make it dancefloor-ready. He uses “Sunny Days” as an example to demonstrate how it is done.
The best way to approach DJ sets
He does something similar when he explains how to put together a DJ set. Over time, it is all too easy for a music producer to lose touch with his or her audience. Continuing to DJ ensures that this does not happen. So, this video class is actually very relevant for music producers.
The basics of using decks
Armin steps behind the CDJ decks to talk you through what gear he uses in his live sets and why.
He covers all kinds of things in this class. It would be impossible to cover absolutely everything. But, he touches on things like how to use CDJs, USB sticks and much more besides. It was great to actually see him handling the decks rather than just talking about it.
I especially liked the fact that he highlighted that you could hire your decks. The way he goes through the knobs and shows you how he uses most of them is excellent. He also goes through creating fades and several other presentation skills that performance DJs need to develop.
Live EDM performance tips
A live performer has to do more than just play great music. Learn how to handle yourself on stage, how to connect with your crowd, and how to be respectful of your fellow DJs.
Learning to read your audience and give them what they want is a key skill for any DJ. It is all too easy to get hung up on what a track will sound like when you release it for download and lose sight of the fact it has also got to work in a live environment. In this video, Armin explains how to get the balance right.
Hosting a dance music radio show
Armin is passionate about radio. His A State of Trance show is really what launched his career. He explains how he puts each one together as well as how he promoted his show and used it as a springboard.
Armin’s early musical influences
This was a fascinating section of the course. I’ve used my all-access pass to take around half of the 65 masterclasses that are currently available. One of the things I enjoy most about them is the insight you get into the way the minds of various artists work. Often, what you find out surprises you.
This was certainly the case with Armin’s early influences video. It made me pause and listen to some artists again that I had almost completely forgotten about.
Starting and growing your music career
There are tens of thousands of people out there who are trying to make it in the music industry. So, gaining some insight into how to navigate the system from an industry insider is without a doubt invaluable. Here, Armin shares all kinds of resources and communities you could tap into to give your music career a boost.
Using Armin Van Buuren’s masterclass dance music creation workbook
I am a big fan of the masterclass workbooks. Some are better than others and Armin’s is pretty good. It will help you to find things in what is a very long course. As will the fact that his instructional videos are mostly time-stamped.
This is quite important because you are going to want to dip and out of the videos to cement what you have learned. I suspect you will be using this course for years to come as you progress along your music production journey.
Why Armin Van Buuren dance music masterclass is ideal for music producers
There is no doubt that this is a great class for anyone who wants to produce music. Even those who are not aiming to produce dance music will benefit greatly from taking this course.
I would go as far as to say that anyone could take what they learn from this course, sit down and actually produce a track. If you were a complete beginner or are at the early stages of learning your craft it probably would not be that good.
But, without a doubt, you will be equipped to produce something. This is a very good thing, because, it enables you to get started and begin to practice. The more tracks you lay down the better you will get and the more you will be able to get out of Armin’s masterclass.
Why music and Buuren fans will love it too
But, don’t run away with the idea that this course is only for music producers. It absolutely is not. Yes, it is very technical. At points, you will end up staring at deck and mixing screens for 10 minutes, or more. But, during all that time Armin is opening up and sharing his thought processes, techniques and much more.
For music fans of all genres, this is pure gold. It provides a rare chance to get an insider’s view of how the industry that they love works.
If you are a fan of electric dance music, trance, clubbing, DJs or Armin Van Buuren that is even better. You are going to enjoy this course on so many different levels. My advice is to dive in and buy this masterclass.
Better still, spend the extra $90 and buy the all-access pass and take the Deadmau5 EDM course too. Then, go on to enjoy some of the other 65+ courses that you get access to, without having to pay anything more. As far as I am concerned, buying the all-access pass really is a no-brainer you can find out why by reading my full-blown masterclass review page.