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Play With Your Music

Peer to Peer University via Independent

This course may be unavailable.


"Play With Your Music" is a free, 6-week online course where you'll make 3-5 songs of your very own, using the newest tools on the web. You'll learn the in's and out's of audio production, while working with music you already know and love. Anyone with an interest in making music is welcome, and all you need is a computer and a browser.

 If you’ve ever wanted to learn to mix your own songs using the newest tools on the web, you can now do so as part of “Play With Your Music” #PWYM – an online community and course offered in collaboration between NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, Peter Gabriel and Peer 2 Peer University.


Module One: Critical Listening

Choose a song to analyze

  • Identify instruments and timbres
  • Place sounds in spatial field (left-right, front-back)
  • Describe timbral qualities
  • Repetition: listen to song in Infinite Jukebox
  • Video lecture and Q&A: On Space and Timbre as Creative Dimensions of Music

Module Two: Recording Analysis

Analyze for Musical Structure

  • Listen for form along timeline
  • Label sections
  • Count beats and measures
  • Separate musical layers
  • Identify when timbres enter and exit within the mix
  • Annotate interesting aspects of the recording
  • Video lecture and Q&A: On Musical Structure in Songwriting

Module Three: Deconstructing and Reconstructing a Mix

Work with #PWYM Mix tool

  • Reconstruct a mix from the stereo recording
  • Manipulate balance, pan, mute and solo
  • Share convergent mix with your learning ensemble
  • Create a creative mix, and share with your learning ensemble
  • video lecture and Q&A: On the Multitrack Production Process

Module Four: Creative Audio Effects in the DAW

Add effects to a dry mix in Soundation

  • Overview of common audio effects
  • Basics of reverb, delay, EQ, & compression
  • Dragging and dropping clips
  • Copy and paste
  • Looping
  • Sample-based production, hip-hop and dance music
  • Copyright and ownership
  • Exporting and sharing your mixes to Soundcloud
  • Video lecture and Q&A: On the Musical Uses of Effects in Recorded Music

Module Five: Remixing with MIDI in the DAW

What is MIDI?

  • Compare and contrast audio and MIDI
  • Compare and contrast music notation and MIDI
  • The piano roll: working with MIDI

Editing MIDI

  • Drawing and deleting notes
  • Copy and paste within the piano roll
  • Copy and paste in the multitrack view
  • Remix techniques
  • Video lecture and Q&A: On Creative Approaches to Computer and Electronic Music

Module Six: Remixing it All Together

Remixing in the DAW

  • Take given multitrack (audio and MIDI) and create a new version
  • Share on SoundCloud
  • Peer critique
  • Iterate and refine the mix, re-upload
  • Vote on best mixes

Bouncing and sharing your mix: audio formats and fidelity

  • Mono vs stereo
  • Sampling rate and bit depth; the CD red book standard
  • Data compression: Why is it necessary? MP3 (128K vs 320K), AAC, streaming
  • Video lecture and Q&A: DIY Home Recording Strategies on a Budget/i>

Reflection and documentation

  • What went right with your remix?
  • What do you want to improve?
  • What still doesn’t make sense?

Where to from here?

  • Free software: Audacity, Garageband
  • Non-free software: Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton, Reason
  • Basics of audio recording: mics, preamps and interfaces
  • Learning resources


Taught by

Alex Ruthmann


4.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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