Chapter 17 of 33 from Armin van Buuren



A great dance track takes its listeners on a journey—from tense and intriguing breakdowns to high-energy drops. Here’s Armin’s approach to crafting exciting musical journeys.

Topics include: The Intro • Find Ways to Tease Your Main Melody • Building Tension Before the Drop • Always Keep the Beat • Automating the Drop • Arrange With the Dance Floor in Mind: "Sunny Days (Club Mix)"

A great dance track takes its listeners on a journey—from tense and intriguing breakdowns to high-energy drops. Here’s Armin’s approach to crafting exciting musical journeys.

Topics include: The Intro • Find Ways to Tease Your Main Melody • Building Tension Before the Drop • Always Keep the Beat • Automating the Drop • Arrange With the Dance Floor in Mind: "Sunny Days (Club Mix)"

Armin van Buuren

Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music

Learn how to make dance music from the platinum-selling producer voted No. 1 DJ in the world five times by DJ Magazine.

Learn More


Log in to Armin’s studio

Every week, Armin van Buuren puts 41 million listeners into A State of Trance on his radio show. In his first-ever online class, the platinum-selling DJ breaks down his hits—and builds a track from scratch—to show you how he produces, performs, and promotes dance music. You’ll learn his technical process for using samples and plug-ins, mixing, recording vocals, and building a DJ set. Your crowd is waiting.

Join Armin in his studio to learn how he layers sounds, produces tracks, and prepares for his live sets.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class, along with exclusive audio stems from Armin's projects.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Armin and his label will also give feedback on select student work.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

A fantastic course from a cool, charismatic character. I particularly liked the nuts and bolts of music production in Logic Pro, my personal DAW as well. Lots of cool tricks. I wish there had been more of that, or perhaps a little slower, but I totally get that this was not the focus of the course. Bravo all around.

AVB is an excellent electronic music production teacher ... bravo!!!

I learned a lot of new, it was a nice meeting and learning :-), I do not do dance music, but I use similar elements in metal and rock, thanks so much.

Absolutely Armin Van Buuren is an amazing teacher.


Unique Loud S.

I produce other stuff instead trance. but i took this Course cause i need to know what makes Armin about some details production. and some arrangements, this is one of my tracks I recently made Hope you understand, is more techno/melodic and progressive track! Cheers and Sorry my english.

Thomas Mark A.

Some good stuff here but this format lays bare the shortcomings of this highly repetitive genre. After about 5 lessons in a row on this track I don't think I can listen to it anymore without hurting someone.

Kenneth S.

I love this segment! Getting the arrangement right is not so simple and you really need to have a good understanding of how to lead the listener and yet keep it interesting. Admin gives a great class here about what goes where and why... I think I'll re-watch this a few times!

Bogdan I.

Hello classmates. Because of this class and that of Deadmaus, I've entered on Splice and made my first, not so great I may add, track. But, I am not a dj, sound engineer or do I work in the music industry, I am a graphic designer and because this class was so amazing I got myself into actually doing something. Nice! Also, from now on I will never listen the music in the same way. Thank you Armin Van Buuren.


For such a young guy, Armin teaches like a master. I love his lessons, and I'm learning a great deal.

bash E.

I love creating the story for the listener with the music. I just made this track and albeit it not being the same genre Armin does (more future bass style), I tried to hit the points he talks about.

Jilly R.

its imposible to not like Armin, I am really enjoying these lessons, thank you for this.

Rick E.

For me, this is the most important one. I ask DJ's all the time: How many bars before you switch over to the other song? I get different answers.

Christopher S.

Please, if you like techno I would suggest watching SadowickProduction on YouTube. If you use the search on his channel and put in, "start to finish" you can see him produce a techno track in less than an hour (he has multiple videos in regards to such). A certain one I do like...

DJ Peak Performer

This lesson is so exciting for me. There are a lot of things to study from this lesson. Please check my new demo.


[INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC] - Trance music is all about release. It's about energy. It's about emotion. And you can bring that out by arranging it carefully. So obviously you have dynamic moments. You have breakdowns. And you have big drops. It's like a wave. You know, you're a surfer. You're waiting for the next wave and when the wave comes, that's the drop. It's the kick in the bass. You want to be on your board and the wave needs to take you to the beach. [ELECTRONIC MUSIC] A lot of my tracks start with a filtered kick. Just so one the first time that I'm mixing in a track, the kick and the bass, I really hit it. So for example, on this particular club mix of Sunny Days, you can see that I basically copied the kick. It's the same kick track, except for the fact that I don't have that big low end going on that the Bark of Dog plug-in is giving me. And I roll off a little bit of the low end. So you can see everything below 95 Hertz. Something like that. And basically, I've done that-- I could have automated that on the same kick track. But it's just easier also to see for yourself, like OK. Kick intro. I named the track kick intro. And also what I've done, I've done a volume automation right before the drop. You can barely hear it. It's still almost 4 dB I roll off right before the kick and the bass hit. So what that does is this. [ELECTRONIC MUSIC] Volume goes down suddenly. The kick is filtered. [ELECTRONIC MUSIC] Softer. Softer. [ELECTRONIC MUSIC] So when you're mixing in the club mix of Sunny Days coming out of another track, you can use that little trick to really announce the fact that you're bringing in another record. [ELECTRONIC MUSIC] You want people to sort of recognize a song and there are several hints you can use by already teasing what's going to happen in the breakdown, or the big chord progression. In this case, I'm introducing the pluck sound to announce the chord progression right before the drop. This is where the big drop is. And in this particular case, I'm already teasing with the chord progression that's going to happen here in the big breakdown. But I'm not introducing the plucks and the pats yet. It's just a baseline that's following the chord progression. So what makes this track interesting to me is that the chord progression is already going on before we go into the breakdown. Then we introduce the melody only in the breakdown. And we have the big payoff with the melody coming. It's not a standard way of working, but a lot of trance tracks traditionally have the big drop, the big melody, and the chord progression going when the kick and the bass hits back on the drop. That's not a standard thing because now there's a lot of trance tracks that have a lot more minimal approach to things. Like to be in the moment track. That has a completely different drop than this particular song. This is more of a classic trance structure, if you will. Because it really pays of...