MasterClass – Armin Van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
Every week, Armin van Buuren puts 41 million listeners into A State of Trance on his radio show. In his first-ever online class, the platinum-selling DJ breaks down his hits and builds a track from scratch to show you how he produces, performs, and promotes dance music. You’ll learn his technical process for using samples and plug-ins, mixing, recording vocals, and how to DJ a set. Your crowd is waiting.
Welcome to Armin’s studio. Get ready to learn more about producing, DJing, and growing your career from one of dance music’s all-time legends.
- Finding Melodic Inspiration
Armin’s production process starts with crafting melodies full of emotion and drama. Here are his techniques for creative melody making.
- 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.
- Templates and Organization in Logic Pro
It may sound strange, but for Armin great tracks start with great organization. Learn how to streamline your DAW projects for less hassle and more creativity.
- In the Studio, Part 1: Melody
It’s time to shift gears a little and watch Armin put some of the techniques he’s been teaching you to work. With the help of his producing partner Benno de Goeij, Armin’s going to produce an exclusive track right here in his MasterClass. This chapter is the first of eight parts showing you exactly how an Armin van Buuren dance floor hit gets made.
- Working With Pads and Leads
Use these production tricks to get more presence in your leads and fill out your track with euphoric atmospheres—all without clogging up your mix.
- In the Studio, Part 2: Pads and Leads
Armin and Benno start searching for the right melodies and sounds to fit the vibe of their new track.
- In the Studio, Part 3: More Leads
Experimentation plays a huge role in Armin’s production process. Watch how he keeps trying new musical ideas until he finds the sounds that truly inspire him.
- Creating A Groove, Part 1
Dance music should make people dance, but it takes skill to give your tracks the sonic impact they need to rock a crowd. Here’s how to dial in your kick drum and bass sounds.
- Creating A Groove, Part 2
Adding percussion can turn a simple dance beat into a rich and complex groove. Learn how Armin adds loops and layers to his drum tracks.
- In the Studio, Part 4: Adding Groove and Bass
Now that Armin and Benno have some melodies they like, it’s time to build out the low end of the track. Watch how the techniques Armin’s showed you for creating grooves come together in the context of a new track.
- In the Studio, Part 5: The Big Payoff
When inspiration strikes, Armin follows it. Here, he works on a new musical idea: a set of big leads to carry the breakdown of his track.
- Mixing and Mastering, Part 1
Once you’ve laid down a bunch of great musical ideas in your project, it’s time to sculpt the sound and make sure your audience is hearing everything you want them to. Open your ears and expand your skills with these lessons in mixing.
- Mixing and Mastering, Part 2
If you want your song to sound as big and loud as what you’re hearing on the radio and streaming portals, it’s all about how you process your master channel. Here’s how Armin approaches his “end bus.”
- In the Studio, Part 6: Cleaning up and Mixing
Now that Armin and Benno are feeling good about the elements of their track, Benno takes a step back to organize the project and rough in the mix.
- Mix & Arrangement Case Study: “Be in the Moment”
Get a look at the way Armin thinks about arranging and mixing his songs as he takes you section by section, channel by channel, through his new psytrance-inspired hit.
A great dance track takes its listeners on a journey—from tense and intriguing breakdowns to high-energy drops. Here’s Armin’s approach to crafting exciting musical journeys.
- In the Studio, Part 7: Percussion and Arranging
Armin and Benno bring a collection of percussion loops and FX into their Logic project. Then, after some rough organization, it’s time to start arranging all of the elements of their track into an intro, breakdown, and drop.
- In the Studio, Part 8: Building the Drop, Reviewing the Track
If your drop doesn’t work, your track won’t work. Watch Armin and Benno tweak their track’s drop for maximum impact. Then take a listen to how the whole track came together.
- Working With Lyrics and Vocals
Words—whether a sung melody or just a great vocal sample—can make your music catchier and more powerful. Here are some of the ways Armin adds lyrics to his productions.
- Vocal Session, Part 1: Tracking
Armin’s mastery doesn’t stop at dance floor trance tracks. In this chapter and the two that follow, Armin Van Buuren works with “Sunny Days” singer Josh Cumbee to show you how to track, edit, and manipulate live vocals.
- Vocal Session, Part 2: Comping
Once Josh has finished singing, it’s time to “comp” his vocal performance. Watch Armin’s veteran ears and musical instincts at work as he and Josh select the best parts of each vocal take.
- Vocal Session, Part 3: Editing and Mixing
Learn how Armin Van Buuren uses editing and effects to get a clean, powerful vocal track that still sounds natural to the listener’s ear.
- Singles, Club Mixes, and Edits
Using the example of “Sunny Days,” Armin Van Buuren shows you his step-by-step approach for turning pop songs into dance floor–ready club mixes.
- Approaching Your DJ Set
It’s time to move away from producing and start talking about taking your music to the stage. Here are the core principles that make up Armin’s DJ philosophy.
- Building a Set: Edits and Mashups
A great DJ set is a product of careful preparation. Learn how Armin Van Buuren uses Ableton Live to shorten his songs and make fresh-sounding mashups that will excite the crowd.
- Using the Decks: Basics
Armin steps behind the CDJ decks to talk you through what gear he uses in his live sets and why.
- Using the Decks: Armin’s Techniques
Take a deep dive—see every knob twist and button push—as Armin demos some of the ways he transitions between tracks and adds exciting layers and effects to his mixes.
- 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.
- Hosting A Radio Show
Don’t overlook the power of radio. Armin Van Buuren is passionate about his A State of Trance show, and it’s a crucial component of his global brand. Here’s how you can use radio to both grow as a musician and grow your fan base.
- Armin’s Early Influences
Where did the Armin van Buuren sound come from? These are some of the musicians and DJs whose music helped make Armin the artist he is today.
- Starting and Growing Your Career
Armin Van Buuren has had one of dance music’s longest running, most successful careers. Pick up some inside tips to help you get your music heard and make a name for yourself as a DJ.
In Armin’s last lesson, he reminds you to focus on your music, push past your doubts—and most importantly, always have fun doing it.
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