12 Week Online Course - This is Lesson 1. Each week a new lesson is unlocked and will also include project files and course notes. Each week also includes 1on1 live chats or group live chats and opportunities for feedback on your assignments from your instructor.

Lesson 1

Rhythm 1: Pulse. Beat. Rhythm. Tempo. The One

  • The Importance of Rhythm/Beat
  • The Pulse of Music and “The One”
  • Beats Using Your Hands
  • Tempo and Mood 

Melody 1: The ABC's & 123's of Pitch 

  • Frequency and Pitch
    Octaves and Intervals (Introduction to Pythagoras)
    Key and Mood
    Note Names On the Keyboard and The Piano Roll
    White Note and Black Note Theory

LESSON 1 - The pulse of music and "the one"


LESSON 1 - Ableton Example


Lesson 1 - Movement is rhythm


Lesson 1 - Frequency and pitch


Lesson 1 - Note Names and the piano roll


Lesson 1 - Octaves and Intervals


Lesson 1 - Consonance and dissonance


Lesson 1 - Key and Mood


Lesson 1 - White Note and black note theory


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Lesson 2  

Rhythm 2: The Division of Time – The Power of 2’s and 3’s

  • Beats, Bars and Sections
  • Introduction to Time Signatures 
  • Note Values (Whole, half, quarter, eight, sixteenth, etc...)
  • Triplets
  • Hits and Rests
  • Beats and Grids (Ableton and on Paper)
  • Construction vs. Sculpting (Additive and Subtractive Method)
  • Different Ways to Count the Same Song

Bass 1: Building a Solid Foundation — Principles of Bass

  • The Role of Bass
  • The Importance of the Root
  • The Importance of Note Length, Tone, Rhythm and Placement

Lesson 3 

Harmony 1: Building Chords From the Root Up 

  • Introduction to Relative Scale Theory: The Numeric Method
  • Intervals: the Classical and the Modern Way
  • Root Notes and Chord Tones
  • Introduction to Chords: Major & Minor (Also Diminished & Augmented)
  • Role and Feel Chords
  • Introduction to Inversions

Melody 2: Introduction to Scales, Sub-Scales and Modes

  • The importance of the Root 
  • Scales as Relationships: Whole Steps and Half Steps
  • Major Scale and Natural Minor Scale: Relatives
  • Introduction to Modes
  • Introduction to Sub-Scales (ie. Pentatonic Scale)
  • Which Scales to Play on Which Chords?

Lesson 4

Harmony 2: Solid Chords. Broken Chords. Arpeggios 

  • Solid Chords
  • Broken Chords
  • Arpeggios
  • Alternating and Straddling

Rhythm 3: Variation, Interest and Style

  • Change the Accents (Velocity) While Keeping the Pulse
  • Straight vs Swing (Manual vs Automated)
  • More Time Signatures: The Difference Between 3/4 and 6/8
  • Variations of Rhythm: Changing the Lead-In Note

Lesson 5 

Melody 3: Relative Scale Theory

  • Arabic Numeral System (Interval Matrix)
  • Using the Interval Matrix to Find Any Scale/Chord In Any Key
  • Introduction to Relative Intervals for Harmonies
  • Symmetrical Scales Through Intervals

Harmony 3: Chord Changes

  • Chords Over Time
  • Diatonic Chord Changes
  • Variations (Outside of Diatonic)
  • Parallel Chord Changes (Using Chords Like Melodies)
  • Reorganizing Chord Changes
  • Common Chord Changes

Lesson 6

Rhythm 4: Variation, Interest and Style

  • Beat Variation: Anticipation vs. Delay
  • Beat Punctuality: Rushing vs. Slugging
  • Quantization

Harmony 4: Understanding the Importance of Voices

  • Voicings
  • The Weight and Character of Each Individual Voice
  • Instrument Choice and Timbre
  • Voice Leading
  • Root Notes: Re-Rooted and Rootless
  • Experimenting With Chord Shapes: One Note at a Time
  • Persistent Voice Through Changing Chords


Lesson 7

Melody 4: Making Any Instrument Sing — Intuitive Intervals

  • What Makes a Good Melody? 
  • An Introduction to Phrasing: An Analogy to Speaking
  • Intervals: Direction and Distance
  • The Interval Effect: Character and Mood
  • Chord Tones and Passing Tones
  • Tension and Release

Bass 2: Beyond the Root

  • The Next Most Common Notes After the Root
  • Reviewing Targets, Chord Tones, and Passing Tones
  • Using Anticipation and Delay
  • Using Direction and Distance

Lesson 8

Harmony 5: Gonna Need a Bigger Chord — 7ths and Extensions

  • 4-Note Chords and the Role and Feel of These New Chords 
  • Extensions Beyond the Octave
  • Superimposing Chords and Slash Chords
  • Chords as Sets of Intervals

Rhythm 5: Deconstructing and Constructing Complexity

  • Syncopation
  • Adding 2's and 3's
  • Compound Time Signatures
  • Simplifying Complex Rhythms (The Spanish Tinge to Moombathon)
  • The Cuban Clave
  • Introduction to Polyrhythms: Superimposing 2's and 3's

Lesson 9

Rhythm 6: The Backbone of a Song

  • Claves and Backbones
  • Common Beat Jargon
  • Patterns and Characteristics of Classic Beats 
  • Implied vs Explicit Rhythm

Harmony 6: Playing In Any Key— An Introduction to Transposition

  • Transposing
  • Relative Chords: Roman Numeral Chord System
  • Key Signatures
  • Circle of 5ths and 4ths

Lesson 10 

Melody 5: Harmony from Melody

  • The Concept of Counterpoint – What We Can Learn From It
  • Shape Movement: Expansion. Contraction. Parallel. Oblique.
  • One Note at a Time. You Don’t Need to Harmonize Every Note
  • Each Line as a Strong Melody 

Bass 3: Lines, Riffs & Licks

  • The 1 on The 1
  • Static Root Bass Lines vs Bass Lines that Follow Chords
  • Pedal Bass
  • Atonal Bass Lines: How and When to Use Them

Lesson 11

Melody 6: Extra Inspiration

  • Melodies that Do, and Do Not Follow Chord Changes
  • Ornaments
  • Inspiration From Anything
  • Concept of songwriting

Harmony 7: Grounding Chords and Movement Chords

  • Common Two-Chord Combination
  • Ideation: Swapping Major and Minor Chords
  • Ideation: Changing Time Values of Each Chords

Lesson 12

  • Looking Back at the Big Picture Concepts
  • A Look Ahead to EMC