RAMA’s Beatmaking Library

'beatmaking' video tutorials

Af adjunkt Merlyn Luke Perez-Silva

RAMA’s Beatmaking Library is a course of short video tutorials focusing on the art and craft of ‘Beatmaking’ – the composition and production of rhythmic patterns using music technology. Hosted on DJMs intranet and available for students and staff alike, these videos serve as a fundamental introduction to skills and perspectives that underscore rhythmic contemporary music.

The techniques are demonstrated in the Digital Audio Workstation Ableton Live, but are easily translated to similar software like Logic and FL Studio. A basic level of competency is assumed, however the course hopes to inspire everyone from near-beginners to experienced users.

The course is split into three modules. Part One introduces students to programming drum patterns, and Part Two adds some extended techniques to their compositional toolbox. Part Three introduces some key production techniques, as well as suggesting further paths of investigation for the budding beatmaker.

Many students who work with computers can trace their musical journey back to melodic instruments, like the piano or the acoustic guitar. These students therefore approach their music-making with a strong understanding of melody, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration. Conversely, their understanding and vocabulary of rhythmic composition is often not as well developed, and requires some work before the student can master composing in the grid-based visual interface of a DAW.

Delivering this teaching within our current educational framework is a challenge – the subject is too large to ‘squeeze into’ module plans without watering down their content. Nonetheless, I believe that understanding how rhythms are designed and manipulated is a vital skill in today’s music industry, and that all of our students should have access to learning it, during their time at DJM.

This course is the result of a Pedagogic Development Project undertaken in 2022/23. If you are visiting from outside DJM and don’t have access to our intranet, you can also enjoy the course on Youtube

You can see and hear Merlyn tell about the Beatmaking Library at RAMA Research April, 28th, 2023 below.

You can also watch an example of one of the lessons here