Music Theory For Electronic Music Producers

Capture the missing link between a good track and a great track.


In this interactive online class, students will work directly with the teacher in live video sessions on music theory. We will focus on learning how to organize pitches and rhythms to make dynamic and interesting melodies and harmonies. No experience with music theory is necessary. Playing an instrument and reading music is also not necessary. We will be focusing on how to use your DAW as your instrument to understand and work with music theory.


J. Anthony Allen has been teaching music composition, production, and theory in college classrooms for over 10 years. His online classes, “Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 1 & 2” have over 6000 students from around the globe, have been translated into Spanish, Russian, German, and Japanese, and are used in other school curriculums around worldwide. For the first time ever, Dr. Allen will be teaching this ground-breaking curriculum live and interactive, exclusively for Slam Academy.

Register HERE and Get Started Now!

Price: Your initial charge will be $149.00 for your first month. You will then be charged $149/month after your initial charge has been made. You can cancel at any time.

Always On – Start Anytime

The Slam Academy Online Programs are available to start whenever you like. Once you enroll, you will immediately have access to over 100 hours of video, projects, session files, and more. In addition, every week there is multiple live session where students can interact face-to-face with their instructor and fellow students in an interactive video chat room.

How Does it Work?

Once a student registers for the Music Theory Online Program, they will be given access to their own custom portal page. On it, they will have access to all of the class files, separated into 8 different “units”. From there, the student can go at their own pace. We recommend that this content should take 6-months to complete, as it does in our in-person classes.

If the student has selected the Live Chat version of the class, they will also see in their portal a link to access to the Live Chat. Students are welcome to access the chat at any time and talk to each other about what they are working on. The instructor will have hours posted for when they will be in the room as well.

Full Program Overview:

This is a Slam Academy Interactive Online Class. Students will have access to our entire library of Ableton Online class material, as well as optional face-to-face live video chat.

Part 1: Working with Music Theory and the Piano Roll Editor
To begin, we will look at basic music theory concepts with the Ableton Live, but you can follow along in any audio program.

Part 2: The Perfect 5th, and What it Means to be “In Key”
We need to learn a few different intervals – the distance between 2 notes. Our first interval will be the fifth.

Part 3: Working More with Keys, the Third, and the Basic Triad
Once we have the interval of a fifth, and the interval of a third, we can start building chords.

Part 4: Diatonic Chord Progressions
In this section, we will cover the secret sauce that tells us ALL the chords that will work in ANY key.

Part 5: 7th Chords
We’ve learned how to make triads – but we can go a little further and make more complex chords using 7ths.

Part 6: Using the Other Intervals
We skipped over talking about the 4th, the 6th, and the 2nd. But in a way, you’ve already been using them.

Part 7: Project Reviews
This week we are going spend all of our time reviewing, dissecting, and analyzing your tracks, projects, and assignments up until now. We will share projects and collectively analyze each other’s pieces in class.

Part 8: Minor Scales and Keys
In this section, we will move into minor scales and keys, explore some tracks that take advantage of minor keys, and do some analysis of Avicii and Deadmau5.

Part 9: The Circle of Fifths
This week we will talk about modulating to new keys, and how to smoothly transition into a new key area using the circle of fifths.

Part 10: More Chord Extensions
We’ve learned triads, and extended them to 7th chords. But what if we keep going – to 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths. Those are real chords, and have some important uses.

Part 11: Writing Melodies with Music Theory
Throughout this course we’ve looked at writing music using the techniques we’ve been discussing. In this section, however, I want to spend a lot of time specifically focusing on melody, scale degrees, and “tendency tones”.

Part 12: Harmonic Properties and Problems when Writing Bass Lines
Have you ever had a bass line be a bully in your mix? Thinking through the harmony and what chord tone your bass is on could help.

Register HERE and Get Started Now!

Price: Your initial charge will be $149.00 for your first month. You will then be charged $149/month after your initial charge has been made. You can cancel at any time.

Enrollment Includes

  • Admission to over 100 hours of video lessons crafted and organized by Slam Academy’s team of Ableton Certified Trainers to take students from the beginning concepts through advanced techniques.
  • Every week, participate in class discussions in private forums.
  • 2 hours of optional lab time with the instructor using video chat (Meeting times are flexible, but usually happen as one hour in the early afternoon, and one hour in the evening)
  • 1 homework assignment every week, focusing in on the topic of discussion and lessons
  • Weekly feedback session during lab time.
  • Direct teacher video feedback on Level projects.
  • Student community access via Google Plus.
  • Private online forum for collaboration, sharing, and questions.


Registration is open to all experience levels and genres. All are welcome.
Your initial charge will be $149.00 for your first month. You will then be charged $149/month after your initial charge has been made. You can cancel at any time.

Register HERE and Get Started Now!



A Sneak Peak at one of our Interactive Online Program:

From Our Ableton Live Online Program:

Level 2, Class 3, Lesson 1: Session Jamming

In this lesson we will first look at the components of Live that allow us to “play” our computers – as musicians play their instruments – LIVE.   After working through each of these components in action with our instructor, we can then start to ask ourselves the big question:  How am I going to use this in my own creative process?  

Let’s look at Page 46 of Making Music by Dennis DeSantis: “Write Drunk, Edit Sober.”  (The textbook for this course).   In this lesson, Mr. Desantis makes a powerful suggestion: Separate the “jam” times from the “post production” times.   This allows us to chase our muse when she appears, without being distracted by all of the tools and options available during the editing stage.  Here, Dennis works with a few mental exercises that will help us break free from the oftentimes overwhelmed headspace and into the “flowstate” of improvisation and free creation.

Don’t we all want to be there?   Let’s exercise this together in our weekly 1 on 1 lab times via Google Hangouts, or during our recorded video feedback sessions on our projects.   Every student at Slam Academy gets direct contact with an expert on a weekly basis, in both “hangouts” and within recorded feedback sessions of the student works.   In addition to that, all Slam students are immediately inserted into the thriving community of artists, musicians, producers, and sound designers that surround the Slam Academy family!

In todays first Video session, I would like to focus on the Resonator.

I would like us to first understand Resonators, and then explore ways in which we can build our own from scratch using filters, delays, and LFOs, all within a single audio effect rack. After we learn the fundamental principals at work here, we will focus on how we can use these principals in our tracks. I”ll show you a few examples, and a few tracks that I’m working on using resonators.

In our weekly hangout session, I would like to hear what you are working on using these. Below is a live pack that I outline in this video to get you started.

Resonator Modifications Live Pack: [Download]

What does the Lab Time Look Like?

A lot of students ask us how an interactive lab time works. Each student logs in from wherever they are in the world, and can optionally show their computer’s camera and microphone (so we can see each other!) The teacher starts the session with an open question session, followed by a lecture/demonstration on the lesson of the week. Just like in real life, anyone can chime in and ask questions as they come up. Following the lesson, another free-form question and answer session happens before adjourning for the week.

Remember that each student will receive the lesson of the week in videos before the lab session, so they can watch them on their own time. When the lab time happens, students are ready for additional reinforcement on the topic, to ensure maximum competency.

What does the Weekly Feedback Look Like?

Every week, students in the Online Program submit a track to the teacher. The teacher offers a valuable and encouraging critique of the track, and sends back a personalized video with some suggested improvements. These videos are often considered the most inspiring and powerful part of the entire online program by students! Even though these videos are not shared publicly, and are intended only for the student, one student has given us permission to share one of theirs to give you a glimpse.


Not sure if this is the right program for you?

Send us an email to request your Free, no obligation, consultation session with one of our Ableton Certified Trainers. We can chat about your skill level, the best place to start, and if this program is a good fit for you.


Register HERE and Get Started Now!

Price: Your initial charge will be $149.00 for your first month. You will then be charged $149/month after your initial charge has been made. You can cancel at any time.


Please contact us with any questions and we will be happy to help!

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