Music Theory for Electronic Musicians Interactive


J. Anthony Allen has been teaching music composition, production, and theory in college classrooms for over 10 years. His online classes, “Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 1 & 2″ have over 6000 students from around the globe, have been translated into Spanish, Russian, German, and Japanese, and are used in other school curriculums around worldwide. For the first time ever, Dr. Allen will be teaching this ground-breaking curriculum live and interactive, exclusively for Slam Academy.

In this interactive online class, students will work directly with the teacher in live video sessions on music theory. We will focus on learning how to organize pitches and rhythms to make dynamic and interesting melodies and harmonies. No experience with music theory is necessary. Playing an instrument and reading music is also not necessary. We will be focusing on how to use your DAW as your instrument to understand and work with music theory.

Screen Shot 2013-11-02 at 1.03.49 PMTHE NEXT START DATE IS: September 11, 2017
Enrollment limited to 15 students.


Full Program Overview:

Week 0: Orientation
Meet & Greet and arranging interactive Lab Sessions with Instructor’s and students’ schedules.

Week 1: Working with Music Theory on the Piano Roll Editor
To begin, we will look at basic music theory concepts with the Ableton Live, but you can follow along in any audio program. Assignment 1 Given. 

Week 2: The Perfect 5th, and What it Means to be “In Key”
We need to learn a few different intervals – the distance between 2 notes. Our first interval will be the fifth. Assignment 1 Due, Assignment 2 Given.

Week 3: Working More with Keys, the Third, and the Basic Triad
Once we have the interval of a fifth, and the interval of a third, we can start building chords. Assignment 2 Due, Assignment 3 Given.

Week 4: Diatonic Chord Progressions
In this section we will cover the secret sauce that tells us ALL the chords that will work in ANY key. Assignment 3 Due, Assignment 4 Given.

Week 5: 7th Chords
We’ve learned how to make triads – but we can go a little further and make more complex chords using 7ths. Assignment 4 Due, Assignment 5 Given.

Week 6: Using the Other Intervals (2nds, 4ths, & 6ths)
We skipped over talking about the 4th, the 6th, and the 2nd. But in a way, you’ve already been using them. Assignment 5 Due

Week 7: Project Reviews
This week we are going spend all of our time reviewing, dissecting, and analyzing your tracks, projects, and assignments up until now. We will share projects and collectively analyze each others pieces in class.

Week 8: Minor Scales and Keys
In this section we will move into minor scales and keys, explore some tracks that take advantage of minor keys, and do some analysis of Avicii and Deadmau5. Assignment 6 Given.

Week 9: The Circle of Fifths
This week we will talk about modulating to new keys, and how to smoothly transition into a new key area using the circle of fifths.

Week 10: More Chord Extensions
We’ve learned triads, and extended them to 7th chords. But what if we keep going – to 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths. Those are real chords, and have some important uses. Assignment 6 Due, Assignment 7 Given.

Week 11: Writing Melodies with Music Theory
Throughout this course we’ve looked at writing music using the techniques we’ve been discussing. In this section, however, I want to spend a lot of time specifically focusing on melody, scale degrees, and “tendency tones”.

Week 12: Harmonic Properties, Problems in Bass Lines, and Project Review #2
Have you ever had a bass line be a bully in your mix? Thinking through the harmony and what chord tone your bass is on could help. Assignment 7 Due.

Not sure if this is the right program for you? 
Send us an email to request your Free, no obligation, consultation session with one of our Ableton Certified Trainers. We can chat about your skill level, the best place to start, and if this program is a good fit for you. (No salesmen!)

Register For This Class

This extensive class is limited to only 15 students – on a first come, first serve basis. The price of the course is $2999.00, which includes all of the above plus full access to our library of “instant” online classes.

Register with a single payment of $2499.00
Register with a monthly payment plan of only $210.

Included in this Course:

  • 3 Months of classes
  • Every week, participate in class discussions in private forums.
  • Every week, get up to 3 hours of custom course videos
  • 2 hours of available lab time with the instructor using video chat
  • 1 homework assignment every week, focusing in on the topic of discussion and lessons
  • Weekly video feedback session on individual student tracks. Direct teacher feedback.
  • 6 month membership to Splice Sounds
  • Discounts and free entrance to select other Slam Academy Online classes, including the Instant Class library.

Register with a single payment of $2499.00
Register with a monthly payment plan of only $210.

A Sneak Peak at one of our Interactive Online Program:

From Our Ableton Live Online Program:

Level 2, Class 3, Lesson 1: Session Jamming

In this lesson we will first look at the components of Live that allow us to “play” our computers – as musicians play their instruments – LIVE.   After working through each of these components in action with our instructor, we can then start to ask ourselves the big question:  How am I going to use this in my own creative process?  

Let’s look at Page 46 of Making Music by Dennis DeSantis: “Write Drunk, Edit Sober.”  (The textbook for this course).   In this lesson, Mr. Desantis makes a powerful suggestion: Separate the “jam” times from the “post production” times.   This allows us to chase our muse when she appears, without being distracted by all of the tools and options available during the editing stage.  Here, Dennis works with a few mental exercises that will help us break free from the oftentimes overwhelmed headspace and into the “flowstate” of improvisation and free creation.

Don’t we all want to be there?   Let’s exercise this together in our weekly 1 on 1 lab times via Google Hangouts, or during our recorded video feedback sessions on our projects.   Every student at Slam Academy gets direct contact with an expert on a weekly basis, in both “hangouts” and within recorded feedback sessions of the student works.   In addition to that, all Slam students are immediately inserted into the thriving community of artists, musicians, producers, and sound designers that surround the Slam Academy family!

In todays first Video session, I would like to focus on the Resonator.

I would like us to first understand Resonators, and then explore ways in which we can build our own from scratch using filters, delays, and LFOs, all within a single audio effect rack. After we learn the fundamental principals at work here, we will focus on how we can use these principals in our tracks. I”ll show you a few examples, and a few tracks that I’m working on using resonators.

In our weekly hangout session, I would like to hear what you are working on using these. Below is a live pack that I outline in this video to get you started.

Resonator Modifications Live Pack: [Download]

What does the Lab Time Look Like?

A lot of students ask us how an interactive lab time works. Each student logs in from wherever they are in the world, and can optionally show their computer’s camera and microphone (so we can see each other!) The teacher starts the session with an open question session, followed by a lecture/demonstration on the lesson of the week. Just like in real life, anyone can chime in and ask questions as they come up. Following the lesson, another free-form question and answer session happens before adjourning for the week.

Remember that each student will receive the lesson of the week in videos before the lab session, so they can watch them on their own time. When the lab time happens, students are ready for additional reinforcement on the topic, to ensure maximum competency.

What does the Weekly Feedback Look Like?

Every week, students in the Online Program submit a track to the teacher. The teacher offers a valuable and encouraging critique of the track, and sends back a personalized video with some suggested improvements. These videos are often considered the most inspiring and powerful part of the entire online program by students! Even though these videos are not shared publicly, and are intended only for the student, one student has given us permission to share one of theirs to give you a glimpse.

More Preview Videos from our Online Classes:

Screenshot 2015-10-15 16.12.31    Online Class Example: Ableton Push Jam
From a moment in class, James Patrick aka Subtropic demonstrates a live performance strategy using the Ableton Push.
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Screenshot 2015-10-15 16.04.17    Waveshaping with the Ableton Saturator
Explore the possibilities of algorithmic distortion when the Ableton Saturator is combined with Max for Live!
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Screenshot 2015-10-15 16.01.52    Ableton Live Performance Series 1 – Clip Configurations
For part 1 of our Live Performance Series, Ableton Certified Trainer James Patrick shows off his Clip configurations as employed by his experimental hip hop/bass music alias Subtropic.
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Screenshot 2015-10-15 15.57.11    Digital Bass Re-Synthesis
A session from Slam Academy's Sound Design program, watch James Patrick combine digital distortion and resampling to magically harmonize those crusty overtones!
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Screenshot 2015-10-15 15.53.17    Sound Design Tutorial: FM Workflows – Leads & Pads
Slam Academy instructor James Patrick shares some of his approaches to creating leads and pads. This lesson is all about FM synthesis using Ableton Live's Operator.
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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 9.35.45 PM    DIY Spectral Delay
Slam Academy instructor and Ableton Certified Trainer James Patrick shows one of his tricks for making a quick Spectral Delay.
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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 9.53.07 AM    Vocoder Tricks
Slam Academy instructor and Ableton Certified Trainer James Patrick shows some of his signature Vocoder tricks.
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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 9.50.42 AM    DIY Multiband Dynamics
Slam Academy instructor and Ableton Certified Trainer James Patrick break down how to first understand and then really get the most out of Multiband Dynamic Processing in your music.
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Screenshot 2015-05-27 13.59.40    DIY Physical Modeling
How to make your own Physical Modeling Synthesizer in Live using Racks, Corpus, Operator, and some secret sauce.
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Screenshot 2015-05-27 13.53.58    DIY Step Sequencer
This is an excerpt from Slam Academy's Ableton Online Program. How to make your own Step Sequencer in Live using Racks and a few special tricks. *This video is from Slam Academy's Ableton Online…
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Screenshot 2015-05-27 13.51.01    Reaktor Designs, Day 4 – Granular Hybrid
This is an excerpt from Slam Academy's Ableton Online Program. In this class we explore using Reaktor to create hybrid granular synthesis. *This video is from Slam Academy's Ableton Online Program. << More from…
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Screenshot 2015-05-27 13.46.02    Aftertouch Techniques
This is an excerpt from Slam Academy's Ableton Online Program. In this class we explore using the aftertouch settings in Ableton Live with various instruments to create ultra-expressive instruments. *This video is…
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