Music Production: Inside the Beat - Pop/Hip-Hop | Byjoelmichael | Skillshare

Music Production: Inside the Beat - Pop/Hip-Hop

Byjoelmichael, Music Creator

Music Production: Inside the Beat - Pop/Hip-Hop

Byjoelmichael, Music Creator

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14 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Course Project

    • 3. Defining the Goal

    • 4. The Kick

    • 5. The Snare

    • 6. The Hi-Hat

    • 7. Aux Percussion

    • 8. Tuned Percussion

    • 9. Drum Recap

    • 10. Harmonic Elements - Piano

    • 11. Harmonic Elements - Synth/Samples

    • 12. The Bass

    • 13. Melodic Elements

    • 14. Closing Remarks

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About This Class


In this course, you will learn an approach to create a track for professional release while sticking to the creative vision for the project.

I want to offer you an in-depth look into a pop/hip-hop production that was crafted for an artist, under a record label, with a specific goal to be the lead single of a series of releases that define this artist’s sound.  

We will take a look at how the musical goals of this project were defined and how that led me to make particular creative decisions when building this track.  

In this class you will learn: 

  • How to define the creative goals for a track
  • Creative ideas when building drums
  • Ways to create the mood with harmonic and melodic choices
  • Ways to use effects creatively to put your listener in the space you envision for the track

Of my 20+ years experience as a music creator, I’ve always learned best with real-world examples from those that inspire me, and as a result, I designed this course to feel like a workshop in which you can witness how everything comes together in a track for professional release.

You will create a track, or finish an already started track, with techniques learned in this course.  A link to the completed track can be posted in the project section of this course.  

So regardless of your level as a music creator, this course will be beneficial for the beginner and the experienced producer.  Also, I am using FL Studio for this course, but all of the concepts can easily be applied to any digital audio workstation.

Meet Your Teacher

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Music Creator


Hey all, I'm Joel!

I'm a music creator/educator and guitarist that strives to make music unique and inspiring. 

My musical journey began in St. Louis where I earned my Bachelor's in Music Technology and Master's in Jazz Composition.  I then spent years as the Director of Education at Nelly's music production college in St. Louis.  Throughout those years, and to this day, I have developed many artists and musicians to become the best musical versions of themselves and release music that is creative, unique to them, and of a professional caliber. 

Currently, I am living in SE Asia and finding inspiration in life abroad.  As a result, I am creating music that is introspective, instrumental, and painting sonic images of my experiences.

My... See full profile

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1. Course Introduction: Hi, My name is Joel Kern, and I'm a music creator. Making music for May is more than just a hobby or a past time. It's literally my heartbeat and soul. I've been creating music for over 20 years now, and there's never been a point that I look back and thought, Why am I doing this? That's because I truly believe that music is the universal language all people can benefit from, and that's what keeps me at. In this course, I want to give you an in depth look into a production that was created for an artist under a record label specifically to be the lead single of a series of releases. To help shape the artist sound. We'll take a look at how the musical goals were defined for this particular project and as a result, how that led me to make the creative decisions are made in this course. I also hope to give you creative ideas when building your drums, creating the mood with harmonic and melodic choices and using affects in a creative way to really capture the listener and put them into space. You intend I've personally always learned best with real world examples from people that inspire me. So I purposefully designed this class to be sort of like a workshop that I take you along with me as we get an in depth look of a production that was created four professional police. So, regardless of your level as a music creator, this course has been official for beginners and advanced creators. Also, I use FL Studio for all the examples in this course, but all the concept should be applied to any doll. So grab your headphones or fire up the full range monitor speakers and let's get Teoh. 2. Course Project: All right. So for the course project, it's gonna be easy. I want you to tell me any of the techniques mentioned in this course that either helped you create a new track or finish a track that you were kind of stuck on and needed just that extra kind of bump to get you over the edge there, then post a link to that track. It could be a soundcloud link Spotify Link band, camp link. Whatever. It may be in the project section here and let me know how it helps. All right, have fun. 3. Defining the Goal : All right. So my go ahead just kind of play you a segment of the course of Berries. All right, so you get the idea. So it's super vibe e has a lot of depth to it. Um, real thick, hard hitting drums was the goal here. Certainly, hip hop was what I was going for. Slower tempo, with some dark, deep vibes in a lot of space that also allowed a lot of room for him to kind of, ah, you know, fit his vocals in there because that sort of the the goal here. 4. The Kick: All right, so let's start with. Ah, the drums. So the kick clearly big. Secondly, what's going on here? So, parent. And here it is. All right. So we got three different kicks stacked up, and this is definitely something for this type of music. Um, sort of pop driven hip hop stuff I would definitely go for, like, a thick, really thumping, uh, in your chest kick sound. So the first sample there it is. I mean, I could get away with just that real thick. Ah, lot of the attack on it. 2nd 1 you get the crunch. Some of the body third is literally just like the thump. So at this point, if you don't have headphones own, obviously you're gonna be missing out a lot of the frequencies. So, ah, if you have the luxury of putting on headphones, definitely pop those things, okay? And then the sake consideration at what effects were putting on him? Okay, it's on that big kick. I actually went kind of crazy on e Q. And it looks like around 54 hurts. I boosted. Um, idea here is that's like the chest frequency. You know, you're not gonna necessarily here a lot of it, But you're gonna feel that and then follow it up. I mean, you can't have that much of a boost without something sort of controlling it. So actually used a multi band compressor, which I like to use a lot on kicks and various instruments that just kind of need to be in one dynamic spot throughout that whole track. And then the glue, which is so amazing is a compressor. Um, you got your threshold and makeup gain. You control the attack and the release times the ratios, obviously. But the cool thing here is that it has a dry, wet mix, so you can kind of treat it like parallel compression so you can retain the original sound of the kick while also bringing in. However, much of the compression kick you want. Ah, and this I tend to kind of go super liberal with it, and I compress the crap out of it because then I can control it. Um, let's hear. Yeah, super thick. All right. These two don't have anything added to. Obviously, it's just those samples being themselves. That's another thing I want to talk about is when you're stacking the drums. You don't necessarily need to do a lot of mixing if you're doing a good job of selecting the samples that have sort of a tonal quality you're looking for. So three tips. One is the attack. The second is gonna be the body, and the third is going to sort of be the color. If you think of stacking like that, it might help. You kind of have Ah, good starting point. 5. The Snare: Okay, let's go to some of the snare. Yeah, okay. That's like a super crunchy, Almost like a clap snare. Yeah. Nice. And I don't think there's necessarily tube tech, which is compressor. I used to work on a lot, um, in the analog world, but the digital, uh, sort of replication of it's really cool. And I find it gives me a lot of the same vibes. Just fell in love with this thing. Um, and then some eq you to take off some of the top in, keep it thick, um, and reduce all those sub frequencies, and then we obviously can't get by with just that snare because it doesn't compete with the thickness of that kick. All right, So clearly Stack that was here. This? Yeah. All right. See what's going on here for good. A pattern of 13. Six snares. All right. So, total, we have seven snares, Um, literally on the backbeat of this hook. So I might have went a little bit overboard Here. Uh, do I always goes overboard? But when I feel like it, who cares? I'm a big sort of fan of sculpting the sounds and popping in what you need until you get your desired result. Sure. Six snares. Sounds like a lot, but don't, like, Limit yourself to these creative, crippling guidelines that you think, um, might be too extreme. Because if you don't explore those extremities, you're never truly going to find your own voice in music. All right, Trap snare with a little bit of a verb. Okay. Kind of gates off. I love gated verbs. Shows my age. Oh, tambourines. So you clearly got, like, this metallic sustain. Sort of a dark of fact I was going for for this track. Oh, yeah, Yeah. It's a nice ah, sort of eighties hip hop. Snare another trap layer for the brightness and snap, uh, almost like a dance snare. Real thick. Strong attack. Yeah, and no effects on these. I think I must have been pretty happy with how a compile them 6. The Hi-Hat: All right, let's move on. Let's take a look at the high. It's Here's your first. It's these high hats. Little just mimic the kick. Um, sort of like a semi open Hi. Hats. If you're going sort of something like that, it's clearly some reverb or something on that, Um, it's kind of take a gay endear. Yes, not a strong attack. Just sort of like a texture, um, builder and then yeah. Oh, I got this stock fruity. Reverb two, man, I love this thing in the right settings. Sure, it's like not some fancy waves convolution, reverb or something like that, but it doesn't really good job. And at hogs, very little CPU. Um, and sometimes my sessions get a little crazy. So is the nice addition and NFL studio Something I'm like is you always got a wet, dry makes that you can add, so you may create a send in a return saying, able tonight or in pro tools, but and here I can sort of create that effect with this knob and, uh, yeah, simplicity. All right. And let's go to the other high hat. Okay, Clearly loose. All right. So, big thing I like with creating high hat patterns and drums Overall, is that human element? So I am a musician. Guitar, drums, bass, keyboard or instruments. I'd like to play most. Um, and I always try to program my drum patterns to to feel human, regardless of the genre, because I feel like I feel guilty if I don't, you know, sort of like, I don't know if I never played the instrument, I probably wouldn't think of it like I do and maybe over think it, but hey, so this high hat pattern, um, yes, not a strong attack on it. Definitely shifted to be behind the beat a bit. So we're creating a poll here. Right? That kick is right on snares right on the high has kind of fallen behind the beat a bit. So you kind of get that nice pull to it. Uh, let's take a look at what effects we got. Okay. Sweet. Ah, this is a great river. Is one of those fancy waves ones. We clearly got a pre delay happening, which means the river was gonna come in some milliseconds after the sound source itself, and then it has ah medium short sale And then we've got this one knob pumper, which I love. It's basically an automatic volume, not, and you can see the blue how it's pumping on tempo. You could set the rate so she's that 1/4 note, which is the 1/4 rate. So when you kind of hear this, you just hear it kind of pumping, which kind of gives it this sort of, ah, character on it gives it a nice loose field. 7. Aux Percussion: Let's look it down here. It's some of these sort of accessorizing components. All right, Um, thes automation lanes look interesting. Let's take a gander. I pattern 16 here. It's just a, like a trap. Attuned trap snare. Nothing too fancy here. Um, super dry. All right, Here on pattern 14. We got a snare that clearly has a long river. Like a big impact. Um, but there's a void motivation here and which that shuts off. So right when that beat kicks in, that reverb shuts off, which I'm a big fan of that, too. I'm a fan of a lot of things, but you got to keep in mind the sustain oven instrument to because that silence is just as important to the group as is the sound itself. So if you have a snare drum pop typically has a quick decay, and it's off you obviously at a reverb to lengthen the decay. Right. Um and you can have a really loose, open sound if you have reverb just ringing out to, you know, whatever you have the rt 60 set to. But this is cool, because this is sort of like imitating what a gated river would do, and it cuts it off right when the beat comes in and then it shuts off right when the beat comes in. So thinking of your effects, your time based effects is being rhythmic can be sort of like a huge a nice detail, I guess. Okay. And here we got some would block action. There was a phase where I was at in would block on, like everything. Not sure I'm really over that, but I certainly like the sound of organic percussion. It's probably the musician. And me, um, let's take a look here. So Okay, we're going to this same mixture track. So we got that. Ah, pretty late river. And then it's pumping on rhythm, too. So Okay, we got this little drum fill here. Open a pattern 15 and all right. We got about four different snares. Who, like eighties again with those river herbs. Ah, sloppy clap. Sort of low fiish. Oh, crunchy, dirty snare. Yeah. Basic hip hop sample. Um, these are all going to channel 15 which we don't really have any effects. So let's listen to that. Has a lot of push. Poll 8. Tuned Percussion: way Got these, uh, sort of tuned Tom's reverberated some there with which ones of days. I love that sound. Uh, I can't get another that, you know, what's funny is that's actually inspired by sig arose the Icelandic band. Big inspiration of mine Totally different than this. But that sound, um I feel like I could use it in any track, just like the river herbs and all that other stuff. But ah, sort of created a tuned melody that fits with the baseline and the cords on the verse, but using sort of a tom sound with obviously plenty of wet effects. Let's see what we got going on here. Scoot over to 19. All right. Thank you. The top end off. Just listen to real bright. If I put that eq you back on puts it in the back as the depth. Ah, reverb. Cool. Got that fancy H for which is amazing. With a decades I'm of nearly 4.5 seconds. So big deep river, which cigarettes used all the time. I love you guys. If you're watching this, uh, and then couldn't get away without using the glue. So got the compression that really helps us sustain If you're one and how the compressor helps to sustain, Will it set to a quick attack time where it ducks down right when the attack of the drum happens? But since that's a bone, it has somewhat of a decaying that drum sound. If I used the compressor, um, pretty intense, uh, and have somewhat of a fast release. I can shift that makeup gain up to where the tail gets louder so you can hear without it. Okay, with it, you hear a lot longer sustain its a lot more dramatic. 9. Drum Recap: Yeah. So super thick drums, Definitely using the glue that compressor. Ah, to sort of control the attacks and to create sort of a parallel compression to thinking everything up definitely stacked the crap out of the snares. And the kick is pretty thick, too. I might not do this for, like, a low five B, but for something that I want to compete with other singles on the radio, which the goal was, this was to be like a pop hip hop song. I needed some of that thickness in the track for sure. Um and then the placement of the beats. So behind the beat, creating that push poll you want some on be some behind the beef And then, of course, using your effects to create ah, deeper sense of groove and the drums while also creating some depth in the mix. Let's just listen one more time 10. Harmonic Elements - Piano: Why don't we take a look at, um, the piano? This is actually the driving inspiration for this whole track. So I want to quickly touch on the theory aspect of it. So this is actually inspired by was sort of called a line cliche. It's just a chromatic little up and down figure. So you got the note, dear, on back down to t shirt europeo. Okay. And the cords I built around it were actually a g major seven. Would you see here the first chord on? Then it goes to a D sharp Augmented seven sharp nine. Okay, um, and in simple terms, that's like a dominant chord or attention cord that then wants to release. And naturally, it wants to pull you. At least one of the places that wants to pull you is to e minor, in which this goes to e minor. Add nine, which is an e minor triumph, e g b. And then it adds an f sharp on it resolves to a B major seven on that be majors. I'm sorry. That be major seven is somewhat deceptive. To sort of give this, like, false sense of happiness in it is Overall, this is sort of in the key of G major or e minor, which are one of the same, and B minor would fit in that key. But instead to cap the phrase off, it resolves to be major. So it creates again this sort of false sense of happiness. Alright, I'll stop there with a theory stuff. Let's talk about the actual sound case. I use contact. And what of the instruments was the grand tour, which I love, So it's like a concert grand piano. Cool thing you can control is the lid height. So if you can have the lid all the way open, it's basically allowing your the strings to resonate and to escape quicker, which would sort of equate to maybe, um or full and bright presence on. You can also put it half mass, in which it creates more reflections against the um, body of it. And then you could also close it, which makes it more damp so you can get three different sounds closed open. Have you might not hear it too much. That's because I have the color set to being a bit more soft, Um, and you can also shifted to be hard on this instrument, which basically it's like a brighter, more intense, more velocity. Maybe, and when it's softer is gonna be obviously the opposite. It's less so. This is meant to be a mellow, dark sort of I B song, so I didn't want, like, a bright piano that's just like right in your face, all right. I typically always turn off the river herbs that these things come with because I like to have more control over the re verbs and such as the decay time, maybe e queuing inter compressing it, um, or pre delay time as well. So that's moved to sort of what's on the channel as faras mixing. So I do use isotope final. You can hear that sounds like rain or fuzz or on old record player. Well, I turned it off for the sake of this video because it's just gonna be too peaceful and then put us all to sleep. We don't want that, but it is a good way to sort of, uh, tamed down the sound of this big grand piano. It softens. It sort of filters it on, reduces some of the high frequency and you condone Get some saturation too dependent on how much you have this input gain pushed to. So that's on there. I'm gonna turn it off right now. The, uh, tube tech awesome tube compressor I talked about and the drum video of this truck Just sort of not much compression. You can see the meter here, eyes dip in Nome or than minus one minus 1.5 db. So it just helps give it a little bit of ah sustained and controls it to not be so peaky because I need this thing just to set in one place of this beat, which is common for, like, hip hop pop tracks like this dynamic range is not that, uh, wide to be honest with you and this modern music. But it's the reality of Iraq and is the sound. So that's why I compressed it a bit. Ah, fruity limiter. This is actually side chaining to the kick. So I've sent the kick to basically duck the level of this track. When the kick it's, um if you want to learn more about side chaining, just let me know I could make a video showing you how to do it NFL and pro tools and able to to, ah, that's on there to help the kick have more presence of the piano kind of ducks out of the way. When the kick, it's sure you've used it a 1,000,000 times. If not, check it out, Uh, in a big fancy verb. All right, so that puts it sort of in the concert hall. Feel the 4.5 2nd just about, uh, tail, which is huge. I take it off, you can hear very dry, a little too intimate. Put it on for the vibe of this song. I wanted to be dark, dreaming on and moody, so that verb was on it. Ah, the one of filter, which is being automated It a different part of the song. And then Pan man, which moves it around, is being automated at a different part of the sun. 11. Harmonic Elements - Synth/Samples: we could hit on another harmonic instrument, which is the universe. Let's hear that. Wait. So obviously the same chords is the piano just by removing low notes. So ah, the sound of this is another contact instrument called Exhale, which basically takes a vocal samples. So I wanted something dreaming, sort of heavenly something, um, to give that sort of vibe to it a bit airy, but not too bright and present because I want his voice to be What's fighting brightened? Present in distract. Um, so exhale is awesome for that. You should check it out. And it sounds a bit like this, really via via an eerie. And of course, if we look a thief effects, there's some EQ. You just taken out some of those mids, the muddiness boxing nous, I guess. And there's a one knob pumper on it that's pumping on tempo just to help it kind of give that motion if I took that off, you hear? Mm way A little bit of pump from the sample, actually repeating itself, but the actual pumper gives a nice tempo pump. Okay, 12. The Bass: Let's move on to the base. That again if you don't have head funds getting me here in this. So the base is straightforward. Ah, sort of a sub base and is playing the route notes of the chords. So the G for the G major seven. The D sharp for the D Sharp augmented seven sharp name E for the e minor and be for the B major. Seven. Straight forward. The scent is a modular V to sort of a sub base patch. So sick, really complex, actually just used the presets because I didn't want to spend half my life. Figured everything out. Maybe some of you guys can teach me this better, but listed Sounds cool and it fits. Survived the track. 13. Melodic Elements: And then there's a couple other elements will go through real quick. Here there is then this our pay Geo Piana in the course. So it's the same piano is before it's just played with, uh, less velocity. Same big reverb is the piano before has the pumping effect as well. Ah, and it's the same core. Just our page created up in a higher active again, um, created sort of, like dream he vibe. But if you know Philip Glass anything about Philip Glass you can sell where I got this inspiration sort of in, like every Philip glass composition. Anyways, the last element I want to talk about is a melodic aspect. If we can call that. Yeah, uh, this is the instrument. Exhale again, and I'm using these sort of vocal samples. And if you push a different key, you get these different, um, samples. I selected the key t e minor, because that's the gist of what this song is in. And, um, I actually used the effects within it. Classical reverb options. They have delays, Didn't use it. Compression, uh, dirt, all sorts of stuff. I mean, this plug and is really cool. Um, it just gives you a bunch of cool vocal samples that you could manipulate and add in again at its for that like, dreamy aspect to um, So let's just kind of listen through these elements together, and I'll kind of quit talking for a second. So this latter, half of the verse into the course. 14. Closing Remarks: Okay, guys, congratulations for finishing the course. I wanna thank you for taking the time and the commitment to get through the whole thing, I really hope is open your eyes to some new creative approaches you can use in your tracks . Three inspiration for this was that I see so many producers and creators kind of getting stuck in this lane of creating just these stocks. Sort of beats, um that necessarily don't have much of their particular creative voice in it. And sometimes people just need to oversee somebody else's workflow to help him kind of maybe get out of a rut or to re inspire them. I certainly have benefited from that before, and I hope that this course offered you just that. So feel free to finish the course project. Feel free to link with me on social media and make sure you follow me on skill share so you can keep up to date with all the courses that release I'd really like to hear from you. Regarding any courses that you want me to do in the future on. I love to create something that can help you in your musical journey. All right, guys, take care. I'll see you next time.