Lead Fundamentals

  • 3 hours of Streamed Tutorials
  • Access 24/7/365
  • Software Projects
  • Bonus Lead Samples

Once a groove consisting of beats and bass has been locked down, adding accompanying leads can be a daunting next step for beginners. With so many different options available, it’s hard to know where to even begin! This series of courses goes from the very top, showing simple workflows for coming up with engaging rhythms and melodies, then moving onto more advanced areas of sound design and FX processing, to arm you with a wide array of techniques for making captivating leads.

This first course is designed as the perfect next step after our Bassline Fundamentals course and begins with the absolute essentials when it comes to rhythm and pitch, helping you understand what notes to play and the timing to play them with.

As leads can often be very simple whilst still being effective in a lot of styles of electronic music, the first module focuses mostly on timing, showing how a wide range of ideas can be conceived purely from a repeating sample with an interesting rhythm. This is developed later in the module by introducing various level adjustments when it comes to overall volume and also waveform envelope, all carried out by straight forward editing of samples directly on audio tracks.

The next module then moves away from one-note patterns and into the world of melodies, starting with a brief explanation of key signatures and scales, before a demonstration of 3 ideas for coming up with melodic phrases, which are put to practice in both the major and minor key. There is also a bonus lesson showing how to create your own arps, or arpeggios, which are rhythmic melodies that can be applied to both a main lead or background element with great effect, so a very useful concept to know about.

By the end of the course, you’ll be armed with a multitude of simple techniques for working with audio and MIDI to come up with a whole host of leads that can be added to electronic music of any style.

Enrolling on the course provides immediate access to the streamed tutorials, as well as the Ableton projects from the lessons and a selection of bonus lead samples to practice with - all you need to start making quality leads today!

Course Intro - Creating Leads

Course Breakdown

Rob begins the course with a quick demonstration of how many different approaches are available when making leads, taking a single oneshot sample and turning it into a number of different patterns with increasing complexity. This module is purely to introduce the kinds of techniques covered on the course, not to teach you how to do them, so the pace is much faster than the rest of the lessons!

Module 1 - Rhythm Essentials
After an initial setup lesson, where the key is identified, there are 2 lessons that show techniques for making simple but effective lead lines that stick on the tonic note whilst adding syncopation and groove. Everything is carried out very easily with oneshot samples on audio tracks and basic editing is used to show how varying the amplitude envelope can have a massive impact on the pattern.
Lesson 1 - Identifying the Key - 10.39
Lesson 2 - Creating Rhythmic Patterns - 11.47
Lesson 3 - Envelope and Groove - 22.07

Module 2 - Pitch Essentials
This module focuses on how to create melodies in a range of styles. Once again, the lessons start off with an analysis of the tonal content in the existing parts, particularly useful when working with samples. Then, there are lessons that show techniques for working out the notes in certain scales and what it means to be in a particular key, followed by 3 approaches to making melodies in both a minor and major key. The last lesson moves onto the fastest lead style with a look at arpeggiated melodies or ‘arps’, also showing the differences between working directly with samples on audio tracks and playing them with samplers on MIDI tracks.
Lesson 1 - Establishing the Key - 11.37
Lesson 2 - Working out the Scale - 18.51
Lesson 3 - Creating Melodies in a Minor Key - 29.42
Lesson 4 - Creating Melodies in a Major Key - 20.20
Lesson 5 - Making Arp Patterns - 26.35

Bonus Module - Making Leads with Loopcloud
A quick overview of using Loopcloud (cloud-based sample browsing and sequencing) software to make leads, in terms of finding sounds and also creating various patterns.


Rob Jones

Rob is a classically trained musician, with piano as his primary instrument, and obtained a degree in music and sound recording (the prestigious Tonmeister course) from the University of Surrey. Having honed his skills both at University and in the studios in London where he worked in a technical role, he began releasing music on labels like Lot49, Dead Famous and Erase, under the artist name Anarchy Rice. Rob has been at the forefront of music software training since the very beginning, having kicked things off at Focusrite back in 2006. With both classical music and technical sound qualifications, as well as a wealth of presenting experience, he is ideally suited to the role of an online music trainer, and is 100% dedicated to sharing his knowledge and assisting others with what he believes to be one of the most rewarding things in life - making music!