Author: Erik Hawkins | Course Code: OMPRD-385

The "remix" has been a key marketing and creative concept in the music industry for years. Business savvy record labels have been releasing alternate mixes of hit songs in order to reach larger audiences since 12-inch record singles became popular in the late 1970s. Today, the remixing craze is in high gear, driven by the rise of electronic music (from dance to hip-hop), the proliferation of affordable remixing tools (such as powerful laptop computers and amazing music production software programs), the Internet (for ease of distribution and websites that host serious remixing contests), and national ad campaigns that use the term "remix" as a catchphrase for marketing everything from soft drinks to magazines.

However, behind the remixing craze lies a serious craft. In fact, beginning in 1998, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS, The Grammy people) recognized the technical and creative skills necessary to be an accomplished remixer and created a specific award category for Best Remixed Recording. This is very much deserved, especially since Remixing has been culturally significant over the years as an incubator for new music and technical innovation. Indeed, the practice of remixing has helped to foster many innovative music production techniques and sounds that have ultimately bubbled up through the underground into today's popular music.

This course focuses on the production techniques employed by the pros, professional remixers who earn money from their remixes and, occasionally, even a Grammy or two. To keep up with the class, you will need a powerful DAW program and a good understanding of your software. Your DAW program must have excellent audio editing, mixing, MIDI sequencing, and tempo mapping and warping capabilities. In addition, you'll need plenty of virtual instruments and effects for composing new parts and sound design. A few examples of DAW programs that meet all of these criteria are: Pro Tools, Live, Logic, and Reason.

The skills required to remix have a lot of practical applications beyond simply producing remixes. In this class you will learn not only the technical skills necessary to produce professional sounding remixes, but also how to "think outside the box," to hear a song's possibilities beyond its original arrangement and musical style. These skills will translate seamlessly to many areas of your own musical endeavors, from producing original material to thinking of ways for an artist to reach new audiences.

Course Goals

In this course, you will produce remixes based on several different types of source material: stereo masters, a cappellas, breakout tracks (Stems), and multitrack sessions. As the lessons progress, each remixing assignment will tackle another side of the remixing process that is more challenging than the last. Along the journey, you will learn to:

Identify the differences between an original and remixed version of a song Legally obtain material for remixing Employ appropriate virtual instruments and effects to remix a song Sound design effective "ear candy" for your remix Recognize the difference between warping and recycling audio Understand ticks-based versus sample-based tracks Tempo map a song Perform flawless tempo changes Compose new tracks that fit perfectly over the original song Remix practically any type of source material Build DJ friendly songs Produce professional sounding remixes Prepare your remixes for distribution and live performance

Lesson 1: The Art of Remixing

Definition of "Remix"A Remake is Not A RemixHistory of RemixingExercise: Listening to RemixesWorkshop: Remix Fun MachineRemix Source MaterialFinding Tracks to RemixAssignment: Find a Remix Material Resource

Lesson 2: Getting ReWired

ReWire ExplainedDiscussion: Do You Have ReWire Experience?Pro Tools Meet ReasonPro Tools MIDI Control of Reason's DevicesExtreme Audio RoutingWorkshop: Advanced ReWire Audio ConnectionsExercise: Making All the ConnectionsManaging CPU ResourcesQuizAssignment: Creating ReWire Session Templates

Lesson 3: Tempo Changes in Pro Tools

Recycling AudioTime Compression/ExpansionWorkshop: Comparing the Two MethodsDiscussion: Comment on the Two MethodsBeat Detective BasicsExercise: Beat Detective Test DriveTick-Based Audio TracksREX FilesDiscussion: Tick-Based Audio Tracks and Import REX Audio FilesElastic AudioExercise: Elastic Audio Test Drive (Remixing Radiohead)QuizAssignment: Tempo Change the Loops

Lesson 4: Remixing a Stereo Master

Stereo Master RecordingDefinition of a Mash-UpDiscussion: Stereo Master Remix versus MashupsChoose a Tempo and ConformSelect and Edit Your LoopsExercise: Rearrange the RegionsAdding Your Own PartsEQ Filtering for a Better FitQuizAssignment: Remix a Stereo Master Recording

Lesson 5: A Cappella Remix

A Cappella Remix DistinctionsDiscussion: Pros and Cons of Remixing an A CappellaImporting the A CappellaLocking the A Cappella to TempoVocals in the RoughExercise: Repair the Tempo DriftMicro-Editing for Perfect VocalsWorkshop: Micro-Editing VocalsAdding a Beat and the MusicWorkshop: Match the A Cappella to the MusicQuizAssignment: Remix an A Cappella

Lesson 6: Remixing Breakout Tracks

Breakout Track DetailsDiscussion: The Advantage of Breakout TracksSetting Up the Breakouts TracksWorkshop: Organize the Breakouts TracksGroove QuantizeMicro-Editing Instrument PartsExercise: Make These Tracks Groove TogetherWorking with Loops in Pro ToolsQuizAssignment: Remix the Breakout Tracks

Lesson 7: Remixing a Multitrack Pro Tools Session

Multitrack Session SourcesDiscussion: Other Multitrack Sources at Your Disposal?Another System's SessionMultitrack Remix StrategiesImporting Audio Regions and TracksSteps for Completing a RemixWorkshop: 12-Step Remixing ProgramQuizAssignment: Prepare the Multitrack for Remixing

Lesson 8: Recording New Parts

The Game PlanDrum Loops and MIDI SamplesMIDI Groove ExtractionExercise: Map and Groove the MIDI FilesInstrument Loops and MIDI SamplesStrategies for Staying in KeyDiscussion: Got MIDI Samples?QuizAssignment: Lots of New Parts

Lesson 9: Structure and Transitions

Traditional Song StructureRemix Song StructureExercise: Find a Mix-In ExampleProducing Variation and Transitions Between SectionsExercise: Find a Studio-Produced Transition ExamplePro-Tools Arrangement ToolsQuizAssignment: Produce Your Remix Song Structure

Lesson 10: Final Music Production

Sound Design TechniquesAdvanced Stutter TricksDiscussion: Share Any Other Final Music Production TricksMix While You GoIdentifying High-Impact Production PointsAssignment: The Final Music Production

Lesson 11: Mixing

EQ for Club and Radio PlayCompress to Control DynamicsVarious Mixing TipsWorkshop: Identify the EffectSound ReplacementDiscussion: Share Any Special Mix TricksMixing Steps ReviewQuizAssignment: Do the Mix

Lesson 12: Mastery and Delivery

Distribution PlansDistribution ChannelsDiscussion: Plans for Your RemixesMastering Choices at Each StepWorkshop: Mastering StepsIndications of the Changing TimesDiscussion: Comment on the Industry ChangesQuizAssignment: Master Your RemixNext Steps

Erik Hawkins

Author & Instructor

Erik Hawkins is a composer, producer, remixer, and author whose talents and technical expertise have leaders in the music industry calling him a "taste maker." He has worked with and remixed a variety of top artists, including Irene Cara, Digital Underground, Conscious Daughters, Strypper, Brenda Russell, and DJ Sasha. His own progressive dance music tracks have been used by major television networks and film studios, including ABC, CBS, MTV, Nickelodian, and New Line Cinema. Some of the TV shows and films in which his music can be heard include Ugly Betty, CSI:Miami, Burn Notice, Big Brother, The Last Day of Summer, The Disaster Movie, and The Informers.

More than one hundred of his articles have appeared in the industry's top publications, including Electronic Musician, Mix, and Keyboard. He's had monthly columns in Remix, MC2, and DigiZine. He has authored several books, including Studio-in-a-Box (ArtistPro, 2001) and the Complete Guide to Remixing (Berklee Press, 2003).

For lots of cool music production tips and tricks, check out his Berklee Online blog page:

To hear more samples of his music, visit his Web sites:

Online Courses Taught by Erik

Pro Tools 101Pro Tools 110Producing Music with ReasonRemixingProgramming and Producing Drum Beats

Do you have the pre-requisite knowledge required for this course?

Take our self-assessment quiz to find out!

Any DAW software program with comprehensive MIDI, virtual instruments, effects and audio capabilities. For example, Pro Tools, Live, Cubase, Sonar, Logic, and Reason. PC Web Browser: Firefox (recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer (or Edge) Mac Web Browser: Firefox (recommended), Chrome, Safari Flash Player: current version QuickTime: current version Adobe Reader: current version
USB to MIDI keyboard controller High quality external audio interface (recommended) Studio quality monitor speakers (recommended)
Windows 7 or higher or Mac OSX 10.7 or higher High-speed Internet connection 4 GB RAM or more At least 20 GB of free hard disk space


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Next Term Starts June 27

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