Thursday, January 28, 2016

Learn to Produce Music - "Courage" Progressive House Tutorial Series (Ableton Live)

I recently did a collaboration with Urban Francis to create a comprehensive video tutorial series about the production of a progressive house track. The track is called "Courage." We've made the entire project file available for everyone as a free download! We're encouraging producers to remix and share our track freely. To find more information about the music production in Ableton, go to this link:

For the "Courage" track, I'm going to start by providing an index of clickable links to all of the content in the five videos, so you can find certain sections faster if you're referring back to the videos for additional review.

Here is the clickable index. Click on the timing numbers down the left side, and it will open the relevant video at the correct starting time.

Part 1 of 5 - General Overview of the "Courage" Progressive House Track

00:00 - Introduction. What's this about?
04:13 - Overview of the scope of the project.
10:40 - Introduction to Urban Francis.
14:58 - Permission to remix and share the track.
21:59 - Technical notes: OS, DAW, plug-ins.
26:43 - Making elements stand out within your mix.
34:26 - Overview of the track in Ableton's arrangement view.

Part 2 of 5 - The Rhythm Section: Kicks, Snares/Claps, Hi Hats

00:00 - Introduction.
02:02 - Play through of full track.
09:54 - Overall overview of all drum instruments.
18:47 - The importance of variety in your track. Make it evolve.
21:25 - Overview of kick drum group.
26:00 - Effects chains and processing of kicks.
38:32 - Overview of snares/claps group.
41:32 - Effects chains and processing of snares/claps.
43:12 - Overview of hi hats group.
49:51 - Effects chains and processing of hi hats.

Part 3 of 5 - The Bass Tracks, Pianos, and Guitars

00:00 - Introduction.
01:46 - Overview of the bass lines.
08:55 - Effects chains and processing of the bass.
17:58 - How to resample a part.
32:51 - Examination of the piano/keys.
39:36 - Overview of the guitars.
43:45 - Effects chains and processing of the guitars.
46:50 - Audio effect racks and key mapping.
49:36 - Recording automation in real time.
50:55 - Editing automation by hand.

Part 4 of 5 - Chords, Melody, Pads, Vocals, and Effects

00:00 - Introduction.
01:45 - Overview of the chords/melody group.
09:14 - Effects chains and processing of the chords/melody.
12:33 - Adding a "track delay" timing offset.
17:26 - Overview of the pads and effects.
23:06 - Effects chains and processing of the chords/melody.
30:11 - Overview of the vocals.
38:55 - Automation inside a clip vs. on a track/channel.
40:16 - Slicing a sample to MIDI notes.

Part 5 of 5 - The Send/Returns, Master Track, and Tips for Producers

00:00 - Introduction.
01:35 - Details about all of the sends/returns.
17:58 - Overview of the master track.
23:22 - Exporting a final mixed-down audio track.
27:25 - Tips for producers.
32:52 - Using group folders for project volume control.
38:47 - Five subjects that upcoming producers must understand.
46:52 - Final thoughts.
49:14 - Contacting Urban Francis about collaborations.

Here are links to various versions of the track on SoundCloud. All may be downloaded and shared freely:

The full project files for this track, along with a comprehensive stems & samples folder and other material for producers/remixers, can be downloaded from my DropBox account at:

If you remix a version of this track, we hereby give you permission to share it freely (in a non-commercial sense) on all of your social media and other websites, with no restrictions, as long as you name and share the track using the following filename format:

Bolivia & Urban Francis - Courage (YOUR NAME remix)

For commercial applications (ie. release on commercial CD compilations, placement in television/film), please contact us to arrange licensing. For release of your remixes on paid sites such as Beatport, Amazon, we'll probably allow you to earn the money off your remixes, but we'd like to be contacted about it first to confirm this, so we know which labels are distributing remixes and what the remixes sound like.

If you find these tutorials to be useful, we'd really appreciate if you could please share this post with other producers, or share my full list of tutorial and other music-related videos from Thanks for watching!

I'm Jonathan Clark, known online as DJ Bolivia.  Do you want to learn more about DJ'ing and music production?  If so, visit:

If you happen to enjoy techno tracks, most of my tracks are available as free downloads from this link:

Thanks so much for visit, and for your support!  I really appreciate the fan base that I've been able to build up over the years.

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