As a musician, there’s nothing more empowering than learning a new skill that you would otherwise outsource to someone else. Berklee Online wants to help you become an even more independent and multifaceted musician with courses that will help you be the DIY musician you aspire to be. Whether you want to learn a new music software, arrange your own compositions, or create your own marketing plan, here are 10 Berklee Online courses that will teach you how to “do it yourself.”

1. Popular Singing Styles: Developing Your Sound

When you hear a recording of Ella Fitzgerald, Adele, or Louis Armstrong, there’s no question as to who you’re listening to. Course author and professional vocalist Jeannie Gagné will help you discover what makes your singing voice unique. Through interactive exercises and a healthy amount of exploration, you will gain more mastery over your voice, enabling you to make artistic choices as you develop and refine your sound.

Jeannie Gagné provides an overview of her Berklee Online course Popular Singing Styles: Developing Your Sound.

2. Arranging for Songwriters: Instrumentation and Production in Songwriting

One of the most practical skills you could learn as a songwriter is how to arrange your own compositions. Grammy-winning songwriter and Berklee Songwriting Chair Bonnie Hayes, along with Berklee songwriting professor Sarah Brindell, teach you exactly what you need to know to write effective song arrangements. You’ll learn to consider which instruments best express the emotion and mood of a song, how groove and dynamics can support that emotion, how to define the instrumental parts to emphasize the vocal and support lyric narrative, and more.

Bonnie Hayes and Sarah Brindell tell you what you can expect from their course Arranging for Songwriters: Instrumentation and Production in Songwriting.

3. Creative Entrepreneurship

Course author Panos Panay points out that it’s no coincidence that some of the world’s biggest companies like Apple and Microsoft were co-founded by active and performing musicians. Panay, who is the founding managing director of Berklee ICE (Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship) and the founder of Sonicbids, collaborated on this course with Ken Zolot, who is a Senior Lecturer at MIT. Together they offer their expertise to teach you how to leverage your musical mind for business innovation.

In this video, course authors Panos Panay and Ken Zolot explain why musicians are natural entrepreneurs.

4. Art of Mixing

From equalization to panning, to dynamic processing, reverb, and delays, course authors Alejandro Rodriguez and Richard Mendelson will teach you all the steps of the mixing process. The Art of Mixing explores the many creative and technical considerations necessary to mix in today’s music production environment, regardless of platform or format. The techniques presented apply to any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), or digital or analog console.

5. Audio Mastering Techniques

Mastering is typically the final phase of an audio recording project. It requires the acute ear of a mastering engineer to iron out any imperfections and to manipulate the recording to achieve the best possible sound. Having worked with some of the biggest recording artists in the world, course authors Marc-Dieter Einstmann (Mick Jagger, Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Yo-Yo Ma, Elvis Costello) and Jonathan Wyner (David Bowie, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Cream, Miles Davis) will show you how to create a final master recording ready for duplication, replication, or online distribution.

Hear from one of the course authors, Jonathan Wyner, as he discusses the audio mastering room set-up.

6. Producing Songwriting Demos with Logic and Pro Tools

As a songwriter or performer, being able to produce your own high-quality demos is a skill that will greatly enhance the potential for your compositions. Chrissy Tignor’s courses will teach you how to produce songwriting demos from start to finish, using either Logic or Pro Tools as your DAW. In just 12 weeks, you’ll jump into the world of producing, recording, and mixing songs to a professional level.

Chrissy Tignor tells you what you can expect in her course Producing Songwriting Demos with Logic. The course is also available for Pro Tools.

7. Game Audio 101

If playing, analyzing, and writing your own sounds for video games is your kind of homework, then you’ll find yourself right at home in Game Audio 101. Leave it to composers Jeanine Cowen and Gina Zdanowicz to show you all the basics of scoring and sound design for video games, from recording Foley and working with sound libraries, to learning essential programs like FMOD and Unity, to composing and editing your music to suit the nuances of interactive media. You’ll also learn how to collaborate and network within the gaming industry.

Read: How to Become a Video Game Audio Designer

8. Ableton Live Fundamentals

This course is ideal for beginners who have never made music on a computer before, and also for experienced producers, DJs, or performers who would like to add Ableton Live to their toolkit. With the help of course authors Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns, you’ll dive right into learning the ins and outs of this software, composing and producing five original pieces of music by the end of the 12 weeks. You can expect to learn the various ways that the Ableton Live software can integrate into your workflow to record, compose, arrange, mix, and perform.

Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns provide an overview of their course Ableton Live Fundamentals.

9. International Music Marketing: Developing Your Music Career Abroad

If you’re a musician and have not yet considered the global market, then you’re missing out on thousands of potential fans and opportunities to get your music heard. This course will teach you not only how to manage your music internationally, but also how to profit from your efforts with the help of course author Shain Shapiro. Most importantly, you’ll learn about the cultures of the countries you will be exporting your content to and how their music industries work.

10. Project Management for Musicians

In terms of doing it yourself, there’s no better course than Project Management for Musicians to prepare you with a structured approach to accomplishing your musical goals. Course author Jonathan Feist—who is also the editor in chief of Berklee Press—will help you develop a clearer sense of the work you want to do, breaking down abstract ideas into realistic components, complete with a plan of action.

Read: Jonathan’s interviews on Take Note

If you have any questions about enrolling, feel free to contact an advisor at 1-866-BERKLEE (or +1-617-747-2146 if you’re outside the US) or email

 Published February 7, 2021