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By Mike Gwertzman

Editor’s Note: In our previous issue, Jennifer Harmon reported on Musicians Institute Online’s “Intro to DJing,” a 10-lesson internet class for upstart jocks. In this issue, Mike Gwertzman examines online classes from MasterClass.com and FaderPro.com, both of which concentrate on music production.

I’m only five minutes into Armin van Buuren’s first lesson in his MasterClass on dance-music production, and the Dutch trance megastar has already tossed a bucket of cold water onto most aspiring artists’ aspirations.

“I know there’s a lot of people out there who may dream about private jets and Vegas residencies and playing mainstages on all the big festivals around the world,” he says directly to the camera. “And yes, you can do it. But there’s a bigger chance that you won’t.”


It was somewhat of a surprise to hear this piece of raw honesty so early into his class, which spans 33 separate video topics. But this bit of Dutch directness is a great lead- in to understanding one of the fundamental truths about making music: There’s many people doing it, there’s a lot to learn, and if you don’t love the process of making music itself, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

That said, producing electronic music has never been more accessible than it is right now. Gone are the days when bulky mixing boards and real-deal recording studios were necessary to make tracks. Nowadays, you don’t even need expensive synthesizers or obscure pieces of discontinued gear. Today, anyone with a laptop and a simple piece of software can come up with a club-ready track.

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