How to Make Dance Music Just Like The Pros

in the studio making beats

So you want to learn how to make electronic dance music?

I first want to start off by saying dance music production is not something you can master in a weekend. Although it may sound easy, creating dance music is just as hard as creating most other types of music. It will require patience and passion. You will most likely get writers block along the way, but don’t let that stop you! Even professional electronic musicians can get writers block.

Required Music Knowledge

Surprisingly, to get started producing dance music, you don’t need a lot of music theory knowledge. I will say that theory is highly recommended for getting started. It gives you a better sense on how to great melodic ideas that sound good.

Some say it’s better to not have any music theory knowledge. While this topic is debatable, some say not having a vast knowing of how music theory works can expand your horizons and leave you open to new ideas.The Ableton Cookbook wrote a great article touching upon this subject. In the article he says, “Music theory will provide you a whole bunch of safe answers about what to do next”. This could not be more true! Not having a clue and trying many different note combinations compared to having a playbook full of what to do when writing music can open up so many new ideas for you. I’m not telling you to completely ignore theory, but some the greatest musicians didn’t know music theory such as Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, or even Slash.

Choosing the Right Software

There is no right or wrong answer in choosing software. It is all a big matter of what you prefer. So first off, let’s stop calling this software. The proper name for music production software is a Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW for short. The top DAWs include Ableton Live(my favorite), FL Studio, Logic, and Reaper.

Let’s go into some more detail…


Ableton Live

Ableton Live is my go-to DAW. I love how fast I can accomplish ideas in Ableton. The user interface is very appealing and has many great built in features. Ableton is also used by DJs. Ableton is great for live performance and can be configured to help you mix between tracks.


FL Studio

FL Studio is widely used by many House and Electro music producers including Nicky Romero, Avicii, and Porter Robinson. This software makes it very simple for anyone to get involved in music production. This doesn’t mean that Fruity Loops is a beginner software! Like I said, many producers use this DAW to produce their music. I’d recommend FL Studio for anyone just getting started because of it’s small learning curve.


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Logic Pro X

Logic is Apple’s take on a DAW. It has a very sleek look and comes with a great quality built-in sample library. I found that Logic is great for real-instrument recording. If you are on a Mac, it is worth at least checking it out.


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If you are looking for a high quality FREE DAW, look no further… Reaper is completely free and has all the features you need to start making music. All of the other DAWs have very high prices. If you are on a budget, or don’t know if music production is for you, checkout Reaper!

Basic Rules of Electronic Dance Music

Ok, so now you have your DAW. It’s time to make beats right? Hold your horses partner. We first need to go over some basic rules of electronic dance music(EDM).

  1. Have a change every 8 bars. 
    • Having a change every 8 bars makes it easier for club DJs to mix your songs. It makes tracks more predictable. Notice how 9/10 club DJs aren’t playing strange experimental tracks with weird time signatures. This is very important when making dance music. Some people make small changes every 8 bars and they’d have a big change every 16 bars. This works too!
  2. Keep your notes within a scale! 
    • In music, a scale is a group of notes that sound good together. If your notes are just random, chances are they will sound crap! I know earlier I said that music theory doesn’t necessarily matter. Well this part does matter if you want decent sounding music. For more information on musical scales, check out this article.

Recommended Free Resources:

If you want to learn even more, here are some links to some great information regarding music production. Enjoy!


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