Get A Free Music Coach

[Important update, August 2017: The Free program is being redesigned and put on pause. You can still register to get the free Ableton Live Template and get news on when it starts again.]

I made an important decision to remove my newsletter and change it into free music coaching for every subscriber. Sounds crazy? Maybe. But also fun!

A little bit of help to make great things happen

What exactly is a coach?

While you can google for the definition, you may also summarize it with a simple explanation:

“It’s someone who helps you reach your goal(s).”


We can add in there self-improvement, knowledge transfer, experience sharing and technical advising. The same applies to a music coach. While it’s pretty common in sports or at work, we often overlook it when it comes to arts. But why not include it?

Ever since I started making electronic music, I’d say that my best stretches in learning often happened when I was in touch with someone who could address my questions. I’d go to them to learn:

  • How to use a specific production technique.
  • How to focus on finishing a song, a project.
  • Tips on sound design.
  • How to expand my network.


Anyone can be your music coach. Just reach out and ask.The great thing with helping others is that it opens doors on many things, like when you pause for a moment to find the right terms to arrive at the best explanation possible, and you end up improving your own understanding in the process. Ever since I had a music coach, I’ve been really interested in returning the help, mainly because I asked so many friends how to do things.

It’s been quite fascinating to see how electronics have evolved to make it easier for people to attain their goals of producing electronic music. As time’s gone on and the technologies have become cheaper, it’s become increasingly accessible to make music through computers or machines. The democratization of music has opened the doors for many people to make their dream come true by making music.

But this also raises some questions:

  • What should I get to start making music?
  • Which technology is best suited for me?
  • How do I start a song once I’m equipped?
  • Is this song really done or should I add something?

These issues can be hard to nail down, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

Everyone is different, both in personality but also in terms of how they deal with technology. Some are more tech-savvy than others.


The role of a music coach can be summarized as:

A music coach helps you set goals and achieve your objectives

Helping you set goals. The best way to not get lost is to choose a destination. A journey has multiple destinations and a music coach can help break down your long-term dream into multiple mini-milestones. With a plan in mind, it becomes easier to not let your mind run wild and become unproductive.

Understanding your limits while expanding your strengths. One of the first steps in any new hobby, activity or interest is to take a look at yourself. While some skills are transposable from other areas into your new field of interest, you’ll also need to take stock of your own limitations. Quickly identifying your weak points is a good way to motivate you into developing new skills. If you run up against your own limitations in any area, there could also be solutions you’re not yet aware of.

Structuring your workflow. The technique behind all techniques is to coordinate the different parts so that things fall neatly into place. If you mess with your production order, you might run into an episode of counter-productivity.

Being present. A coach is someone that can reply to your questions, listen, encourage, and drive. This part is the most crucial one.


If you’re interested in taking advantage of my free coaching, join my mailing list and we’ll get you started!


Give A Direction To Your Loops

I have never studied sound or music theory. My blog is a pure description of how my mind and artistic view has grown through time and practice. In this post, I will share some observations on percussion and how it can give your loops a new meaning.


Make Tracks From Your Loops

If you’re into making techno or more beat-driven tracks, you pretty much have your own routine. It’s always a bit different from one person to another because we all hear in different ways or simply work in a different flow. But all in all, here’s some of what we can say to sum it up:

When it comes to techno loops or other dance-related music, it sometimes happens that the percussion is the heart and soul of the track. There can be different reasons for this: it can be the DJ tools or loops, or it can also be that it’s just plain good as it is (e.g. a “foreverloop” that you never get bored of).


Percussion is often the heart and soul of a track, and as a producer, it can give your loops a whole new meaning.If you’re into straight-up percussive loops and perhaps play with simple ideas for fun or for an eventual track, there are some tips you can keep in mind, just like I do. But let’s not get crazy about it either: On the one hand, some people study percussion all their lives without seeing all of its subtleties, while others can go to university and learn that every culture has its own intricate, complex way of doing it.


Let’s keep it simple. But if you want to learn more, there are tons of great reads online.


So, in my case, I’ve been inspired by early workshops I did with Gabrielle Roth and have been interested in the “5 Rhythms” approach. Ever since, it’s been in the back of my head whenever I try to design my tracks. The 5 Rhythms categorize dance types into families based on their style of percussion. Roth believes that within an hour, once a practitioner experiences her use of the different rhythms, they can reach a level of personal enlightenment.

Loops can be the most useful tool a DJ might want. Some loops can be listened to forever.

This can make you question, in a way, your own personal quest and reasons for making music. Are you making tracks or are you working on a bigger set of instruments with the purpose of transporting the listener elsewhere? Not to fall into pseudo-new-age stuff, but it certainly becomes more exciting when you give your music a significance.

Now, when it comes to the rhythms, they are:

  • Flowing.
  • Staccato.
  • Chaos.
  • Lyrical.
  • Stillness.


One track can focus on one or multiple, but you can also integrate them all to create something balanced.

SEE ALSO:  The Rule Of 10: Production in Rotation for Big Results 



One of Gabrielle Roth's 5 Rhythms, a good flow is the basis for all other rhythms.


To me, this is the most important one.

A good flow is the basis of all other rhythms.

It implies that your track, even with drastic changes, has a way of making all the rhythms work together so that it creates a cohesive whole. Great flow also makes a song catchy and re-playable.


When it lacks: There will be a feeling of awkwardness in the transitions. DJs will observe a drop of energy from the crowd.

Try: Working with transitions and arrangements. Try to separate your song into sections, and then find a way to move from one to another. That can be achieved with percussion changes or effects.



Powerful and dynamic would be the best terms to describe this one. Think of huge samba drums or repetitive, hypnotic, minimal techno loops. The staccato is often dense and can go from very simple to very complex. It isn’t only necessary in percussion; it can also be in the form of simple arpeggios applied to a melody, for instance.

When it lacks: At some level, it can make a groove feel weak and static, which is the opposite of what a great staccato can bring to your work.

Try: Using arpeggios and applying them to any of your sounds. Tweak the settings to get something unexpected.


When DJs apply it strategically, surprising a crowd with an off-the-grid beat or rhythm ("chaos") can make people go crazy in a good way.


Often hated by DJs who love linear and predictable loops for easier mixing, chaos here doesn’t necessarily refer to Ornette Coleman’s free jazz. I’d say it’s when things get a bit off the grid, and go slightly unquantified in the spirit of infusing your track with quirky grooves or unpredictable moments. When applied strategically, surprising a crowd can drive them crazy in a good way. Chaos can also refer to breaking free of standard genres and ideas to forge something new.

When it lacks: Your loop might sound generic, clinical, predictable — and yes, boring.

Try: Tapping percussions using PUSH. Apply weird grooves from Ableton. Adjust transients so they fall off the grid just a little bit. You may also slice your loop and randomize the order of the sounds.



Great melodies can make a song timeless.


To me this is the hardest, but that’s mainly because I’m more of an artist than a musician. What “lyrical” implies here is the use of melodies to conjure an emotion. There’s no restriction here: we’re talking pure emotional material, from sad to happy, deep to cheesy. Great melodies can become ear worms and can stay in people’s minds for a long time, making some material timeless. When someone can whistle your main idea, you know you have lyrical content.


When it lacks: Your song might be cold or simply ephemeral. There’s no main idea that we can refer to when describing it to someone else.

Try: Experimenting with melodies or asking a musician for help. You can turn to solutions like Liquid Rhythm to assist you as well.




The most difficult to explain, because this one is a pure game of subtle micro-changes. Stillness in music is often translated to boring because nothing seems to happen. When nothing happens, a lot is happening… in the listener’s mind. They will start craving something, will start wondering, getting a bit anxious. Stillness is the art of creating an intelligent tension that makes the eventual release both soothing and powerful. You can also see it as linear music, which is a genre in itself. That is another game.

When it lacks: If you don’t allow for your listener to have any tension building, your song might feel self-supporting or shallow.

Try: Finding songs that build tension in you. When listening to them, pay attention to the very moment where you start getting a bit anxious, and notice how the song is built at that very moment so you can replicate the formula in your own music.

Useful Music Producer Skills For All

This article will answer one of the questions I get sometimes from people who consider making electronic music, which is: what sort of skills make production easier? It depends on the personality of the music producer in question. My answer might surprise you.

What kind of producer are you?

The great thing about electronic music, and especially at the moment, is how it’s opened a democratic space that makes it possible for pretty much anyone to make music. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get where you want to be, but the doors are opened.

Here, I observe a few different kinds of producers’ personalities.


Six personality types of music producers


Music knowledge is the main skill of the musician/producer, but he is often technology-challenged.

  • The musician: Very often you’ll see the musician who now uses software to be able to do everything they need.
    • Strength: Music knowledge
    • Flaw: Sometimes is technology-challenged.


The craftsman-producer knows it all and learns quickly, but sometimes this skill is countered by his belief that the technology will do it all.

  • The craftsman: Knowing pretty much all the technicalities of software, he loves new technologies and is more interested in tweaking, while not necessarily finishing tracks.
    • Strength: Knows it all. Learns quickly.
    • Flaw: Sometimes he believes the technology will do it all, and he procrastinates.


The partier is fun to be around and has lots of ideas, but often has trouble getting started.

  • The party dude: He loves to party and loves the music but is neither a musician nor a computer guy. He would love to explore making music but it’s not an easy task.
    • Strength: Has tons of ideas and is fun to be around.
    • Flaw: Has trouble getting started.


The DJ knows how to get a dancefloor moving, but can be a bit lost in achieving his goals with music production.

  • The DJ: His main hobby is to spin records. He likes production but it’s not his main thing.
    • Strength: Has a clear vision of how music should be made to work a dancefloor.
    • Flaw: Is a bit lost in how to get there.


The artist-music-producer is highly creative, but is often allergic to technology.

  • The artist: He’s not a musician but has tons of ideas and loves pairing with a craftsman.
    • Strength: Highly creative.
    • Flaw: Is sometimes allergic to computers, prefers gear and gets lost in the process.


A balanced music producer skills profile can mean you're a Jack-of-all-trades, but a master of nothing

  • Balanced profile: He’s a bit of everything above with one as a priority.
    • Strength: Gets things done.
    • Flaw: A Jack-of-all-trades is master of nothing.


Of course, this is all just based on general observation, and there are way more producer genres than this. There’s no best profile, but some will have an easier path ahead because of certain skills that are known to make things smoother.

Let’s see what those skills are.


Important skills for producing music


As a producer of electronic music, a general understanding of computers can help you go a long way.


The very first skill I’d point out, from my experience and also from being an audio technology teacher, is a general understanding of computers. I’d say this is what has been helping my students most in going further in their production.

I know it might sound dumb. But you have no idea how people that are computer-savvy can progress so much faster than someone who’s not so good with general concepts.

They understand simple things such as “Save As” vs “Save,” file organization, installing, keyboard shortcuts, and troubleshooting. Those are skills that are essential because there’s so much time that is lost in studio trying to understand why things aren’t completely working.

How to get there: Follow great websites like Synthopia and Attack Magazine.



What would come next, if we relate to DAWs (digital audio workstations) in general, is not necessarily a skill but a personality trait: curiosity. The more curious you are, the more creative you will be, and the less stagnant as well. These are two essential things necessary to success, but also to fun!

Cultivating curiosity will come by the desire to know what else is being made out there and not to be content with your own circle of influence alone.

You know there are other ways to do things, and you’re curious to know how you can improve your technique. As music producer skills go, you can’t get enough of this one.

How to get there: Program a calendar pop-up based on location or time, so that when you get to the studio after listening to new music you found on Soundcloud, you’ll get an alert to check for technology tools on sites like KVRAudio.



This one is difficult, but patience can be your best ally. It will teach you to:

As a producer of electronic music, patience can be your best ally.

  • Let tracks be unfinished for now and know that they will eventually get done.
  • Not share your tracks immediately after finishing them because you might need time to listen again and fix certain details.
  • Accept that most labels will take up to 3 months to confirm they will sign a track.

How to get there: Set down rules for yourself on when to post a track and when to send it as a demo.

It’s hard to respect your own rules when you’re your only boss.

So you could ask a friend to be a moderator of your Soundcloud, for instance.

Deep Listening

Not completely technical, but oh so essential to get you anywhere. If you can use these tricks to improve your listening, you’ll always be able to discern what has to be touched and what has to be left as is:

  • Close your eyes to listen to your track.
  • Leave a loop playing in the back while you clean or cook.
  • Be able to follow the progression of one sound through an entire song.

How to get there: Practice listening to music with your eyes closed. If you’re a bit more open, try a Mindfulness app.

Ableton Live training, mentoring, and consultation

And to conclude, one of the main skills that will always help: People skills.

The art of understanding people and how they behave is such a precious asset when you’ll have collaborators.

With all this, you have a full set of music producer skills.

Nerds will have it easier, but the great thing today is that music is accessible to everyone — and in any case, not all nerds are sociable!


What is the Electronic Music Equipment Needed to Start Producing?

Are you here because you’ve been planning to make electronic music? I will try to cover the main questions I get on a regular basis about electronic music equipment for home studios.

Get ready to produce

I recently received an email from someone who wanted my advice on what he needed to start making music. Usually, people want to know if they need a specific sound card or which DAW is the most appropriate. But this email had a never-ending list of gear, monitors, laptops, sound cards, VSTs, mixers and so on.

People tend to think that if they have the perfect studio set-up, music will pour out and things will get easier.


That’s pretty much a myth and I’ll explain why.


Electronic music equipment: facts vs myths


Bigger studio, bigger problems


electronic music equipment needed necessary producers producing productionWhile it’s easy to see how much fun there can be with more toys to play with, this comes with a bunch of problems. The best way to start is to get the minimum needed to get rolling and then slowly add to it. For instance, if you start with a DAW, which is pretty much the centre of everything, your first task is to get to know it by learning the terms and technicalities, and by understanding how it works — its logic.

As soon as you feel you need to add more things to get somewhere, you’re falling for distractions and getting sidetracked from your main objective.


If you add something new, you’re then stuck with 2 things you don’t really know of and you multiply the chances of getting lost.  Then you will wonder where to start to troubleshoot an issue.


Too many options, too many choices


Facing too many options is a trap - electronic music equipment needed necessary producing producers production facts myths

Facing too many options is a trap

In other words, the more options you have, the more you get lost in choosing your options.  If you have fewer options, you’ll eventually run out of ideas and you’ll have to get creative to get elsewhere. When you have fully exploited your samples by playing with them, modifying them and so on, then adding new sounds will be a giant new addition to your toolkit.




The illusion of ease is counter-productive


Thinking that if you have the best studio, you’ll finish more songs is not only wrong, but also a good excuse not to sit and work. With the huge interest for modular synths/equipment in recent years, people have been frantically buying new modules thinking, “That one will get me that sound.” People buy, then resell, then buy again, and eventually they have that giant rack of equipment that produces a few bleeps. Well, it’s great — but the process to get there is costly.

So, where to start?

laptop ipad basic electronic music equipment laptop ipad tablet getting started producing producers production

The basics: laptop or tablet.

There are basically two main scenarios, if you’re starting:

  • good computer, with good headphones and a DAW.
  • tablet, such as an iPad, with audio apps and headphones.


Don’t fall into the trap. Buy analog gear to start with.



SEE ALSO : Equipment Needed to Make Music – Gear vs. Experience vs. Monitoring 

You may expand if you want, but then you might run into some issues, such as being stuck with what you have. You might not be able to record what you do or edit it. The option of finishing songs becomes a bit tricky.

My suggestion for you is to have a cycle of acquisition for electronic music equipment. You can get little upgrades for one before moving on, or cover one completely and then move on. But since technology evolves really fast, if you cover one quickly, it might be outdated in 6 months to 1 year.

Here’s a good cycle to respect that I’ve found helps me not to get overwhelmed:


1 – Computer
2 – DAW/Software
3 – Monitoring
4 – External equipment




How it works. We start with the bare minimum and then as you get comfortable (and at ease with your budget), move to the next step.

1 – Computer. To me, this is where you gain the most returns on your investment, both in the short term and even long term. You can be self-sufficient with little programs that range from free to professional all-in-one solutions. On top of that, you can use it for communications or personal use. Things to focus on are a blazing fast hard drive (nowadays SSD is the best thing ever), a lot of RAM, and a fairly solid CPU. If you don’t have money for a DAW yet, there are many kinds of freeware or demo copies you can explore in the meantime and even record with. I know some producers who started with really laughable setups, but managed to do mindboggling productions. It was mainly because they didn’t have the bias of technical knowledge, and because the less you know, the more daring you are with trying new things.

2 – DAW. With a solid computer comes a DAW. This is where you take a step into the world of production on a more serious level. With your DAW, you’ll be able to record your jams, explore sound design, and compose your first songs with flexibility. I can’t point you to a specific DAW in particular, but I’d encourage you to use demos and pick one that you feel most comfortable using. Most of them also come in different bundles, so you can upgrade as you learn. Personally, I use many for my productions. Ableton Live is my top one because it offers me tools that are close to what I need the most, but for sound design I love Reason, and when it comes to mixing I like Studio One.

3 – Monitoring, both sound and video. As soon as you can, invest in a pair of good headphones, a sound card, and monitors, preferably in that order. For monitors, not many people will tell you this, but I suggest renting before buying. Sound is a very personal thing, and I might recommend something that wouldn’t work for you. This is a huge investment and keep in mind you might have your monitors for 10 years so be careful. If you can, get a dual monitor setup. They are very practical for helping you produce with ease.

  4 – External Equipment. This part alone could be an entire blog post, but this section involves gear, synths, mixers, MIDI controllers, and so on.

Let me know if you have any questions! I’d be glad to give more details.

Strategic Guide To Releases Planning And Production

In this first post of the year, I try to share my own perspective on music release planning for both labels and musicians. It will be looking into how a busy agenda can do wonders.

Music release planning is a game-changer

I’d say most of the musicians I know will produce music in bursts of inspiration. They’ll make music as they can and as they are able to finish it. When you understand how labels work and when they release music, you can also organize your strategy for submitting music.

By the way, if you haven’t signed up on Bandcamp yet, I strongly encourage you to get an account now!

Most labels who release monthly or more plan most of the year in advance. They receive many demos and they will fix some dates. There’s a strategy for the ones that are a bit more organized. Here are some tips:

  • Festivals. There are peak points in the year where music gets played by DJs, and festivals are one of those busy moments for networking and exposure. If your track gets played, many people will be wanting to play it too.
  • Downtime = vacations. Certain periods in the year have lower sales. This happens around vacation times when DJs are playing less. This time is good for consumer music releases though, as they will be your main audience.

I remember once spending an afternoon at HardWax in Berlin and discussing music releasing strategies for producers.

Pete and Shed were both agreeing that an artist, to be seen enough but without overwhelming his followers, should release 3 times per year. That has been a magical number I’ve always kept in mind.


Producers should keep in mind that it takes between 3 to 6 months for a label to organize a release. This involves proper mixing, mastering, artwork and promotion.

For labels, here are some tips and target points for music-release planning. Let’s analyze a year’s activity.





For music release planning, remember that the BPM Festival in Mexico in January is one of the busiest electronic music festivals in the world, with 300+ artists and pretty much all industry players there.One of the busiest festivals is certainly the BPM festival in Mexico. 300+ artists and pretty much all of the main industry players are there. It is an excellent excuse for people to extend their New Year’s vacations, while artists network in the following months. January used to be really dead for sales, but that’s changing today.

Producers: This is a good moment to network, spend time making new tracks, and listen to live streams and podcasts to see what’s working. Make a list of the labels that release the kind of music you make, and establish new contacts.

Labels: If you’re releasing here, dance-floor material will be appreciated. This is a good month to test the waters with compilations that can define the upcoming months of music.




Mid-January to early March is a period when sales tend to be low. North America and Europe are in winter mode and people go out less, but an important moment of the year is coming up next, so preparation is key.

Tip: Slow months mean studio time should be really active.

Producers: Tracks done, time to hunt for labels and follow up. This is a good moment to consider getting a release out for early summer.

Labels: Time to prepare a sampler/demo to send to key DJs for the upcoming spring festivals. If you want to release ambient music or more downtempo, this is a good period too.





When planning music releases, remember that the WMC in March is another big moment of the year.Another big moment of the year is the famous WMC, where so much is happening. Some DJs are ending a winter tour there and will be happy to play your bombs. It’s also a really key moment to test your important release as the peak of the year is 2 months away, in May.

Tip: Contact some DJs you see being booked beforehand to share unreleased material with them.

Producers: If you can travel, now’s a good time. Focus on shopping for labels. Studio time can be on pause to give your inspiration a break and renew.

Labels: Promotion, promotion, and promotion. A good time to invest in marketing. Ambient releases are okay too.




May is a great time for music producers to plan a release, with DEMF, Spain's Sonar, and Montreal's MUTEK (pictured) all back-to-back.

credit: Vice Thump

May is a great moment for a release. You tested in March and crowds might know some strong tunes, so then releasing now for Germany’s famous May Day is an excellent move. That’s also because what’s hot in that moment will help define some of the summer hits that will play at important events. Many key artists will be on tour, and with Detroit’s DEMF, Sonar in Spain or Montreal’s MUTEK, you have back-to-back events where artists want the best to play.

Producers and labels will have to network at this point.




This is the beginning of festival season. A lot of the bigger festivals have all of the same big names, while many lesser-known artists won’t be booked. Romania’s Sunwaves is around this time and is a good destination too. If your music is not prime-time, this period might be a bit low for sales. It’s also a very bad time to release a vinyl as people spend less time shopping and rely mostly on the music they gathered in early summer.

If you can’t relax, spending time in the studio should be more than valuable for the last stretch of the year.




The back-to-school period is a very busy period for clubs, just like spring is. Consider this to be an important period for releasing dance-floor music. DJs are back from festivals and hungry for new material. It’s an excellent moment to release an album. There’s a lot of buzz around the Burning Man festival, where more and more artists attend each year. It can be something to watch.




These are slow months. They’re a good moment for studio time and preparation for New Year’s, but also for the BPM festival, as described at the beginning. The end of the year is also a moment for labels to look back at what they did that year and evaluate their sales. Perhaps you can also take notes and do a post-mortem before the following year’s music-release planning.

For producers, I find that with the Black Friday sales, November is a good time to invest in gear and equipment. A lot of gear will be on sale and you can check out what was released that year, look into reviews, and then decide how to spend your money best.

 SEE ALSO :  Make Your Music Bucket List Happen