Producing Music with Reason


Authored by Erik "Hawk" Hawkins


Course Code: OMPRD-275

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


With a rack of virtual instruments, effects, mixers, a comprehensive sequencer, extensive groove control for fine-tuning the "feel" of your music, and a patching system that emulates real-world hardware setups, Reason provides a nearly complete production environment for producers and engineers. Producing Music with Reason presents a broad overview of this versatile software's capabilities, and the techniques you'll need to learn to operate it effectively. The course covers sampling, sound design, and sequencing basics, and guides you from the fundamentals of mixing and mastering to more advanced problem solving techniques that will improve your overall productions. You'll learn to create your own unique sounds, and because the program's parts closely parallel much of the setups used by today's top producers, you'll also learn portable skills that you can transfer to a number of different software and hardware setups.

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By the end of this course, you will:

  • Develop your own instrument patches
  • Understand simple and advanced samplers
  • Compose using multiple pattern sequencers
  • Apply real-time grooves to change the "feel" of your music
  • Know how to make and use a catchy hook
  • Give song structure to your project
  • Mix and master your final project

See our Student Deals page after enrolling for exclusive discount offers on a Reason+ Subscription. Read Less

Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: Getting to Know Reason

  • Introduction
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Listen to Reason
  • Discussion: Comment on the Songs
  • Definition of a Producer
  • Discussion: Producer or Self-Produced?
  • The Big Picture
  • Installing and Checking Reason
  • Exercise: Loading and Playing a Song
  • MIDI Controllers
  • Exercise: Test Your MIDI Controllers
  • Workshop: Choose the Right MIDI Controller
  • Workshop: How Well Do You Know Reason?
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Patching Devices
  • Recap

Lesson 2: Devices and Patches

  • Introduction
  • Sound Library File Types
  • Browsing for Patches
  • Exercise: Browse for Patches
  • Workshop: Match the File Type to the Device
  • Refills
  • Song Self-Contain Settings
  • Keeping Sounds Organized
  • Workshop: Organizing Sound Files
  • Discussion: How are Your Sounds Organized?
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Loading Patches
  • Recap

Lesson 3: Exporting and Importing Audio

  • Introduction
  • Export Audio
  • Exercise: Export Audio
  • External Audio Recording and Processing
  • ReWire Explained
  • Effect Plug-In Formats
  • Discussion: Other Programs
  • Importing Audio Into Reason
  • Sampling
  • Exercise: Record a Sample
  • Assignment: Bounce, Process, Import, Sample
  • Recap

Lesson 4: Simple Samplers

  • Introduction
  • Redrum as a Sampler
  • Exercise: Exploring Redrum Kits
  • Workshop: How Well Do You Know Redrum?
  • Dr. REX Loop Player
  • ReCycle Software Program
  • Exercise: Copy REX Loop to Track
  • Workshop: How well do you know Dr. REX?
  • Exercise: Exploring REX Files
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Create a Custom Redrum Kit
  • Recap

Lesson 5: Advanced Samplers NN-XT

  • Introduction
  • NN-XT Sampler
  • Exercise: Exploring NN-XT Patches
  • Exercise: Make a Velocity-Mapped Drum
  • Discussion: NN-XT Versus Redrum
  • Recycled Loops
  • Workshop: Making Good Recycling Choices
  • Exercise: Recycle This Loop
  • Loop Tuning for Timing
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Build a Sample Instrument of Many Zones
  • Recap

Lesson 6: Pattern Sequencers

  • Introduction
  • Redrum Pattern Sequencer
  • Workshop: Redrum's Pattern Sequencer
  • Exercise: Redrum Patches Sequencer
  • Exercise: Compose a Redrum Pattern
  • Matrix Pattern Sequencer
  • Workshop: Matrix Pattern Sequencer
  • Exercise: Compose a Matrix Pattern
  • Pattern Shuffle
  • Patterns for Control
  • Exercise: More Control
  • Pattern to Track and Pattern Lane
  • Discussion: Patterns Versus Tracks
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Programming a Groove
  • Recap

Lesson 7: The Sequencer and Quantize

  • Introduction
  • Sequencer Basics
  • Important Edit View Facts
  • Tools in the Tool Window
  • Workshop: Tools and Tracks
  • Discussion: Song Mode versus Edit Mode
  • Transport and Record Controls
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Exercise: Record Drums and Bass
  • Quantize
  • Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Sequencer
  • Assignment: Build a Groove
  • Recap

Lesson 8: The Rhythm Section

  • Introduction
  • Production Reference Song
  • Exercise: Select a Reference Song
  • Basic Beat
  • Exercise: Complete the Beat
  • Where to Begin?
  • Discussion: Where Will You Begin?
  • Basic Chord Theory
  • Discussion: Chords Shape Many Elements
  • Bass Line
  • Workshop: Matching the Musical Parts
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: The Rhythm Section
  • Recap
  • Combinator Extra Credit
  • Optional Assignment: Create Your Own Combinator Instrument (Extra Credit)

Lesson 9: Melody and Hook

  • Introduction
  • Defining Terms
  • Creating a Sampled Hook
  • Writing a Melody
  • Workshop: Match the Melody to the Rhythm Section
  • Discussion: Melody, Sampled Hook, or Both?
  • Multitrack Recording
  • Exercise: Making a Multitrack Recording
  • Back to Reason
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Hook and Melody
  • Recap

Lesson 10: Song Structure and Production

  • Introduction
  • Song Structures
  • Exercise: Production Reference Song Analysis
  • Arranging for Change
  • Exercise: Working with Song Blocks
  • Tempo, Time Signature, and Bar Count Changes
  • Producing Transitions
  • Assignment: Song Structure
  • Recap

Lesson 11: Final Production and Mixing

  • Introduction
  • Advanced Production
  • Exercise: Begin the Final Production
  • Mixing Overview
  • Workshop: Put the Mix Steps in Order
  • Pan, EQ, and Compression
  • Discussion: Essential Mix Tools in Use
  • Reverb and Aux Channels
  • Automating the Mix
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Final Production and Mix Down
  • Recap

Lesson 12: Final Mix and Mastering

  • Introduction
  • Final Mix Moves
  • Setting Up Multiple Speakers for Better Monitoring
  • Exercise: How Does Your Mix Sound in the Real World?
  • Mastering Demystified
  • Processing Goals of Mastering
  • Workshop: Mastering in Reason
  • Tips of Processing Power
  • Mastering Entirely in Reason
  • Quiz
  • Assignment: Final Mix and Master
  • Recap


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
This course does not have any prerequisites.


  • No textbooks required


  • Reason+ / Reason 12


  • MIDI keyboard controller
  • Audio interface
  • XLR microphone and cable
  • One of the following studio monitoring options (both recommended):
    • Studio monitors (pair), such as JBL 305Ps or better, as well as necessary cables
    • Over-ear studio headphones, such as Sennheiser HD 600, Sony MDR-7506, Philips SHP9500, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, etc.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Erik "Hawk" Hawkins

Author & Instructor

Erik "Hawk" Hawkins is an EDM artist, producer, composer, remixer, label owner, and author. His music has been used by major television networks and film studios, including ABC, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, and New Line Cinema.

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Dozens of his articles have appeared in the Industry's top publications, including Electronic Musician, Mix, Remix, and Keyboard. He has authored several books, including Complete Guide to Remixing and Producing Drum Beats. His Berklee Online course, Programming and Producing Drum Beats, won the 2012 UPCEA Award. He also manages his own busy YouTube channels and has collected way too many vintage synths. Read Less


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

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