Electronic Music Production – Short Course

Monday 17 June – Friday 12 July 2024 | Level: Beginner

Limited places are still available for this course. Don't miss your last chance to join us this summer!Apply now


This short course is a perfect launch pad for aspiring electronic music producers and composers who want to learn the core principles of their craft, hone their practical skills and produce their own music! As a progressive education institute one of our core beliefs is that you need to spend lots of time with your own hands firmly on the gear. We call it learning by doing... and doing... and doing again.

As an aspiring producer or even a total beginner you may feel there are musical ideas or sounds bubbling up inside you but you're not yet sure how to express them to the outside world. Or perhaps you've started that process but you feel a need to improve your skills before playing one of your musical creations to someone else.

Our team of tutors are passionate about electronic music production and will ensure that the start of your journey is a successful and fulfilling one, providing you with the confidence to progress either alone or in a longer or more advanced course.

From understanding the basic principles of sound to getting to grips with Ableton Live. From recording instruments to operating hardware synthesisers. You will come out of the four weeks with a broad foundational understanding of electronic music production – and, most importantly, the fuel to forward your artistic journey.

Course structure

Subjects studied

Your course will cover the following subject areas:

  • Ableton Live 11 fundamentals
  • Listening skills and analysis
  • Source materials & sound libraries
  • Audio manipulation, warping, mangling
  • Sequencing, piano roll, arpeggios and input devices
  • Software and hardware drum machines
  • Software and hardware synthesisers
  • Sound design fundamentals
  • Composition and arrangement tools, tricks and techniques
  • Production approaches (genre, style, characteristics and format)
  • Creative EQ, compression and effects processing
  • Mixing tools and techniques
  • Create, mix and finalise your music ready to share with the world.
Weekly breakdown

Week 1 - Electronic Music Explorations

  • Project: Build a drum playback with your own samples!
  • Introduction Round
  • Setting up Ableton Live 11, programming a MIDI drum playback
  • What is sound?  First recordings with a mobile recorder, simple editing techniques
  • Make some noise! Exploring EMP Lab gear
  • Feedback round

Week 2 - Creating Audio Material

  • Project: Create a loop-based performance with your own recordings!
  • Sampling culture
  • Audio editing in Ableton Live 11, warping
  • Recording basics, dynamic microphones
  • Loop-based performance
  • Feedback round

Week 3 - Synthesis Week

  • Project: Create your own sound world!
  • Electronic music instruments
  • Software synthesisers in Ableton Live 11
  • Instrument recording
  • Hardware synthesiser, drum machines
  • Feedback round

Week 4 - Production Finalising

  • Project: Mix your own track!
  • Mixing Principles
  • Arranging a track, final adjustments
  • Mixing 101
  • Performance (Synth Jam)
  • Feedback round
Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand the basic principles of sound
  • undertake basic recording procedures
  • use dynamic and condenser microphones
  • record instruments
  • record MIDI Drums in Ableton Live 11
  • process audio files in Ableton Live 11
  • understand basic synthesis techniques
  • arrange a self-written piece of music
  • operate hardware synthesisers at a basic level
  • understand basic mixing principles
  • critically evaluate their work

This course is designed for two audiences.

The first audience are those looking for a productive way to spend 4 weeks developing their electronic music production skills to help support their own projects and meet like minded people to work with. For this audience the likely progression routes are:-

  1. Returning to their own project with a new set of skills
  2. Returning to Catalyst to take one of our other short courses.

The second audience are those students wishing to progress onto one of our longer courses whom require some practical experience to help prepare them for the longer course. Our Electronic Music Production & Performance programme follows on logically from what you learn in this short course.

More courses

"My producing and recording skills improved immensely during the summer program. The course introduced me to new concepts and techniques that provided a strong foundation for developing my sound."

– Jess Ornstein, Electronic Music Production & Performance student

A safe space to dream big

Doing what you love

Our team

Our courses are taught by a team of permanent tutors & visiting international music industry professionals with a genuine passion for passing on their specialist knowledge to others.

Philippa McIntyre

Want to get your listeners’ heads bobbing and feet tapping? Philippa McIntyre will take you deep into the joy of electronic music production, deep-house deep. Having been a staple of New Zealand’s scene for over 20 years, Philippa’s music has uplifted Berlin’s grooviest dance floors since 2013 – the same year she became a tutor at Catalyst. Combining her love of the house genre and its community with her knowledge of the industry, she launched her record label AT PEACE in 2020.

Stefan Knauthe

A true veteran of the scene: Stefan Knauthe has witnessed and contributed to Berlin's rise to the capital of electronic music, working with many of the city’s leading artists since arriving in 1988. The Ableton Certified Trainer is one of Catalyst’s original and most experienced educational professionals. He’s been using Ableton since the days of the flip phone! Stefan is also a modular synthesis fanatic: a regular workshop leader at the likes of Superbooth and Loop, and a composer and producer of ambient and experimental electronic soundscapes.

Laurence Osborne

Allow yourself to be infused by Laurence (Laurie) Osborne, aka Appleblim’s special attributes: innovation and collaboration. The UK dubstep legend behind the Skull Disco label has, for decades, been raising eyebrows with his bass-heavy club music – blending elements of techno, ambient, garage, jungle and more – and performances at the prestigious likes of Berghain, Fabric, and the Bunker. Laurie regularly collaborates with some of the biggest producers in the genre and his music has been remixed by the likes of Ricardo Villalobos and Torsten Pröfrock. 

An international creative community

Catalyst is a thriving creative learning community of tutors and students from more than 75 countries. 

Studying here is a golden opportunity to meet up and collaborate with like-minded peers from around the world. A key part of our approach to learning involves working with others whether as peers, mentors, collaborators, audience or fellow travellers. Passion is always better shared!

Tune in

In the end it doesn’t matter how great we think our courses are. What matters is what our students actually do during their time with us. Have a listen, leave some comments and decide for yourselves.

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Essential information

Entry requirements

The most important prerequisite for attending any course at Catalyst is that you must be passionate about building and developing your skills as an electronic music artist, producer or performer.

Our courses are designed to be accessible to anyone so we do not require any level of academic certification to apply. To qualify you should usually be aged 18 or over. If you're coming from outside the EU a holiday/travel visa will usually suffice.

For more information, please contact a member of the team. We love to chat! Please reach out to us at admissions@catalyst-berlin.com or call us at +49 30 2900 9052.

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Course dates and application deadline

UPDATE: There are limited places still available for this course, so we are currently still accepting applications. Places are filling up fast, so apply now!

Course dates: Monday 17 June – Friday 12 July 2024

Course length: 4 weeks

Application deadline: Friday 17 May 2024

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Tuition fees

Enrolment fee*: €495

Course fee: €1,755

Total: €2,250

If you decide to enrol in both a Summer Short Course and an undergraduate course (HE Certificate or BA) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.

* Note- Enrolment fee is non-refundable.

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Open days, Q&As & taster workshops

Get a feel for Catalyst and our courses at a range of both online and in-person events. Join us at a Virtual Open Day or an Open Day at our campus in Berlin, chat to our programme leads at Meet The Tutor, or try a taster workshop.

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Primer Workshop - Access to Higher Education

Designed for those wishing to join our main programmes, but lacking the formal education requirements to apply through standard entry.

These free workshops run at the same time as your short course programme and cover writing skills, reading, structuring arguments, debate and understanding context.

They utilise task and project-based learning methodology to ensure that you’re prepared and ready for our longer HE Certificate or BA (Hons) programmes.

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More courses

Advanced Sound Design – Short Course

Created with the artist/producer in mind. You have a grasp of the fundamentals but need to develop a new sonic identity, explore new frontiers or push your work to the next level.

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Electronic Music Production & Performance programme

Become a pioneer in the world of electronic music production with our project-based curriculum, in which experimentation and risk-taking are key to your success.

Find out more

Mixing & Mastering Electronic Music – Short Course

Designed for electronic music producers who are seeking to advance their creative and technical approach to refining and finishing their creative work.

Find out more