Start the New Year with three music production exercises to improve your composition skills.


1. Reference an existing arrangement

  • Pick a simple track you like which works on the dancefloor and copy the arrangement bar for bar. Use it as a guide to understand why a track is successful.
  • Replace the sounds with your own similar sounds and write your own melodies. Think about the space each sound takes in the frequency spectrum and make sure yours are a similar match.

If you do this right you’ll end up with a completely different track and be one step further in understanding how to lay down an arrangement that delivers.


2. Go minimal

Too much choice with sounds and effects is not always a good thing. Great creative learning can come from simplifying your next session. Try one of these approaches:

  • Force yourself to use just one synth for a whole track. Creating all sounds, including drums from one place. You can layer some drums with samples if you need more impact.
  • Or choose to use only samples and no synths. Make a new folder of 20 or so samples and use sound design to create a whole track from only these samples.

3. Bootleg a track

There are so many acapella and remix packs out there, that make bootlegging easier than ever. It’s a great way to get yourself noticed if you do a good job, and the lessons you’ll learn from this exercise will be invaluable.

Remember, if you don’t directly profit then you’re not infringing any copywrite laws and you are free to play the track out or give it to DJs who will do that for you.


These are some of the lessons for beginners we work through with our students at Idealnoise. For in-depth tailored tuition on music production and composition techniques, book yourself onto a masterclass at our London based studio in Peckham, SE15.