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Music & Entertainment

On Stage: The Music


Lesson time 9:56 min

It takes effort and planning to play a set that's creative and keeps your audience engaged. Here's how to take your music from the studio to the stage.

Teaches Electronic Music Production
6 hours of instructions, 23 video lessons, and a downloadable course workbook.
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The live versions of the songs are different sonically than you hear on the record because there are some things that I can't replicate live that would have been on a produced record. One being kind of my master output. So my master output, I don't have the same kind of mastering chain on everything like we were discussing before that goes out. Because what is happening is all the individual outputs of those tracks are coming into an analog mixer. And that analog mixer is summing the parts. So the mix is slightly different. It's, honestly, at concert level volume, you can't tell. I can't tell. Nobody can tell. But I try my best to match the live equipment that I'm using live to emulate, or be like, what it is on the record. So I don't stray too far from it. Or like change drums up entirely. Or create whole new melodies and stuff like that. No, all that stuff stays exactly the same. Some levels might have been off a bit, as I'm adjusting the track, or getting ready for the next track, or, shit, you know, accidentally knocking a fader with a beer or something, you know. Like, that shit happens all the time. So there are some minor discrepancies, but ultimately the output is pretty close. My performances aren't DJ sets. So I can't play, you know, I can't I can't hear some kids screaming play Ghosts N Stuff, at the front and then immediately go into Ghosts N Stuff like a band could. The ratio to pre-recorded versus live is 1:1. I mean, it is all pre-recorded. That's the nature of electronic music. Unless you're, you know, improving with live analog sequencers. But I've always had this saying that you can do 100% live EDM really good for a very short amount of time. After that, because the songs change after four minutes, or five minutes, or something like that, so you would have to shut down all your live gear, kind of put your finger up in the air, load up all new sequences, all new patches for all that gear and, you know, maybe if you're lucky, four to five minutes later everything will boot up again, and then you can do the next track and it would sound different than the first. So printed audio helps in the sense that you can have a bed of all everything going at once and you can pick and choose, you know, what you want in and where at that point. But the other pitfall to doing it live, live, and I mean 100% live, is that there would be no communication in there between you and what's playing on video, and when and how. Or with motion control, with some of the mechanics and robotics happening and on stage and all that stuff. All that stuff you'd have to throw out the window because you can't do that kind of stuff live. So you know, I'm not the first and I won't be the last to program shows. So of course I get shit on by, oh, you played the same set. Well, it's not a set. It has nothing to do with sets. I mean, it's a...

Make better music

Before he was deadmau5, all Joel Zimmerman wanted for Christmas was old toasters to take apart. Now, you can watch him take his music apart. In his first-ever online class, Joel teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.


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

need more videos about mixing,mastering, tutorials about hide side of producing on abletone, and more about track balance, plugin choise,settings,

I have learned a great deal. But I have also learned that there are similarities with artists of this caliber and myself that present themselves and that put to rest the FUD around your own techniques and production skills. We all learn and Joel is not done learning himself. Humble, Crazy, Unique, Talented, those are all qualities that I look up to. Cheers bud.

What stays with me the most about this segment is how genuine Joel is, in addition to how passionate he is about his work, and his in depth knowledge of his equipment and resources. Great class. Do this.

I've been a part of the Horde for a long time. I've become used to grabbing what little wisdom I could from Joel's streams and chats. The Masterclass was great because Joel showed us specifically what he keeps under the hood while he produces, and his methods. Thanks everyone!



So if he can't replicate his master chain with his live equipment why not just bounce the stems with the master chain effects printed on the stems and then run those through his live rig?

A fellow student

I absolutely LOVE this, it is completely amazing to hear a master speak on his craft. I am so happy I got this service!!

Paul O.

This idea of having the original audio of each channel underneath as backup while sending midi out to e.g. a synth, allowing you to 'surf the program', reminds me of non-destructive editing in Photoshop. The PDF kind of glossed over that though.


As an individual artist, YOU get to decide what the show should be and how it's executed. A show that is a CD set with automated lights, strobes, robotics, digital fx and maybe even live dancers can be more entertaining than watching a producer scramble around, twisting faders/fx knobs, hitting pads and plinking synths...or maybe it isn't. Create a show that YOU can be proud of, and most importantly, entertains the AUDIENCE. The best way to tell if you're doing your live show wrong is the audience doesn't react...period.

Rich S.

Very few folks are buying albums (especially physical versions) today. Our group, streamed over 100,000 times last year, and we earned less than $250 from that. We made it to 82 on the Amazon streaming list for our holiday album. We cannot make a living or even meet expenses at the current reimbursement rate for music sales. There are two ways to survive, live performances and merchandise (or both). This lesson is important for that reason, but getting from the great music stage to getting signed is a jump cut in this course. If we already had live performances set up, ..., if we had clubs willing to play our sets (as opposed to singles/tracks), ..., etc. then this lesson would have been a lot more fulfilling, but a fair number of folks taking this course are just starting off and not even as far along as our group is. In those cases, this lesson is without context. The course would have been a lot better with something akin to a transition plan. How do you know when your music has hit the mark? What are next, reasonable steps? Etc. With Joel talking about electronic music being "dead, and I [Joel] killed it," I'm not sure where that theoretically leaves the students.

Ryan C.

Studio made : minimal noise, no echo's, sound waves don't hit other surfaces an spread out, cause the noise cancelling foam is there to keep the noise from becoming a part of your music! Live : More excessive noise, people yelling, music waves bouncing off surfaces an making more noise. Shit you don't want in your Live track album! I'll put it to you this way: I have Astro A50's ( Gaming headset ) It's made to block out all other noise, so I can just hear the game an not someone yelling at the top of their lungs outside of my house, or next-door. Now if I tried to play Call of Duty with a crappy headset ( turtle Beach ) Im going to hear people yelling an other noise I don't want to hear while playing, Call of duty. In a Studio you don't hear excessive noise , Live you do ! Unless you have made a helmet that covers your face an cancels out the excessive noise coming from the outside so you can still play a live show without being distracted!

Hasib R.

Its pretty standard at pretty much every club to have CDJs and lugging around your gear can become very annoying. When I'm on stage, the last thing i would want to worry about is something not working (synths, drum machines, laptops). The quicker and the easier the sound comes out the less anxiety i'll have and it will let me focus on the music. I would go crazy if i had to lug my gear all the way to the show, have something not work and im about to go on. I prefer to DJ than to do this live mashup stuff until i prettymuch master my DAW or any other live gear i might have down to the bone. And also, why not just play your masters and enjoy the show instead of tampering around with it the whole time? Once its a finished track, id just accept how it is and mix it in and out, it takes too much effort to go into my DAW and mix things up. Not only that, DJing is an art when it comes down to it, it does take some skill, especially to do vinyl, that earns a lot of respect in my eye.

Jeremy S.

His advice is on point, but I think the only reason he doesn't "perform live" is that he's a self proclaimed non-musician. He's a programmer. He knows how to use his program to achieve the sounds and create the music he wants. Most EDM fans are there for the show, not a live performance, which is fine....however, as a musician that can play almost any instrument, I'm interested in performing live, which I guess would entail programming live, creating loops, adding layers, and playing leads, as well as using pre-recorded material. It certainly can be done, and would require practice like anything worth doing. But I guess in the end, if the audience doesn't care...why no just press the play button while pretending to do something on-stage...

Dmitry S.

It's interesting that the middle of the song/set is not as important. Now that I think about it, there is truth to that, although I personally still find value in mid-sections.

A fellow student

Frankly, who cares about live music? It is the show that matters and how you put it together. Playing live is just one subset of the entire show. People want to experience a show—bring home memories of having attended something special, and it doesn't matter if you play live or not.