I want to learn ProTools

Electronic Dance Music exploded like a Tesla coil onto the musical landscape some 30 years ago. From the earliest forms of hip hop and beat-making to the latest editions of techno, dubstep, and euro disco, EDM grew from underground dance club scenes on either side of the Atlantic Ocean and filled the void that disco vacated at the start of the ‘80s.

Therefore, it’s no coincidence that commercially viable home computers were being produced around the same time. We’re not saying the likes of DJ Kool Herc and Kraftwerk were breaking new ground at home on their Commodore 64, but a rising tide lifts all boats.

As the home computer market boomed, so did the equipment for music producers. In the early days, audio engineers and producers had to get the song all in one take. Somebody comes in late, everyone has to start over. A tedious endeavor at best.

However, once the ability to record, edit, and mix individual audio tracks and bring them together at a later time became available, the process became much easier. It didn’t take long for one track recording to become four, then eight, and up to 24 tracks for a single song.

Multitrack recording offered audio engineers, music producers, and artists more flexibility to be creative with their sounds during the final mixing and mastering of a song. Once the ability to digitally record tracks became available, the possibilities become endless. On their hit song “Africa,” the band Toto synchronized three 24-track machines to give the band up to 69 different audio tracks.

Digital Audio Workstations

Although there were many efforts to take audio recording digital, the high price of storage and the low speed of processing in most computers made it unviable in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. It wasn’t until the early ‘90s that digital audio workstations (DAWS) became available to more people. These early editions had the ability to work with a simple one-or-two-track recording.

The first versions were only available on Mac operating systems but it wasn’t long until PC editions followed suit. Major recording studios finally jumped on the DAW train after Pro Tools was released in 1991 by DigiDesign (now Avid Pro) with a whopping price tag of $6,000! And multitrack capacity just kept on growing. By 1997, Pro Tools had the ability to work with 48 tracks.

There was no going back. By the turn of the millennium, the music industry finally, fully embraced the digital revolution. In 1999, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin was the first No. 1 hit produced entirely on the Pro Tools software.

Working with Pro Tools

If you have any experience working with DAW, the dashboard will be relatively similar. And because it was originally modeled after a tape recorder interface, Pro Tools will have the familiar play, record, and stop buttons, along with track controls, mixers, and waveform display.

Even if you don’t have any experience, the interface is fairly intuitive. So dive in! Pick an instrument, place it on the stage, set the tempo, and anything else you can think of. Even if it’s a jumbled mess at the start, you’ll be learning all along the way.

To become a true Pro Tools expert, you’ll need to focus your attention on individual features. How does the fader affect the sound of an instrument? How do you alter the speed of a sound? Even if it’s just learning the best way to organize tracks on a song, you’re giving yourself a solid foundation.

We recommend Pro Tools Lite as the first digital audio workstation you download. The price is right – free – and you won’t be distracted by too many features either, just the basics. This slimmed-down, budget-friendly version will give you the tools you need to start building up your knowledge base.

One of the advantages of using Pro Tools is the available video tutorials, help docs, and message boards available to you in which pros and novices discuss this game-changing software. It can be frustrating getting stuck on a tool or procedure, but there have been many beginners just like you that ran into the same problems themselves.

So, for the most part, you’ll find the answers you’re looking for, although some solutions are harder to track down if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for. However, to get the most out of the software, it’s better to learn it as the professionals did. That’s where Recording Connection comes in.

Learn Pro Tools from the Pros

The Recording Connection Audio Engineering & Music Production Program will give you one-on-one access to an industry professional so that you can learn the ins and outs of the program that international artists and industry insiders swear by. In addition to the basics, our externs also learn how to integrate external gear, mix tracks, and proper acoustics and mic’ing procedures.

And they do it all within the real-world studio of their mentor. This is the kind of access not available in a traditional classroom (although e-books, midterms, and finals still play a part). Connections made during your time with Recording Connection can also help pave the way to a future in the industry.

But only if you’re willing to put in the effort. Our externs are expected to spend at least 10 hours a week with their mentors, and even more, if a schedule can be worked out. Our most successful graduates have found themselves working in the very studios after completion of the program or have even gone on to open their own recording studios.

Could that be you? Apply today and find out.

Other Options

There are several DAWs available at a variety of different prices. In addition to Pro Tools, Ableton Live 10 and Logic Pro are popular industry DAWs. Of course, you’ll pay for the functionality they offer: the most up-to-date versions are several hundred dollars.

However, if you’re just starting out, there are plenty of other low-cost or free options available. We recommend going this route at the start and waiting on the more sophisticated DAWs until you’re ready. Ableton Live 9 Lite is an example of free software and will give you a solid foundation when you upgrade.

Other free options include Audacity and GarageBand. But, really, there are many, many different downloadable pieces of software to get your bearings with. Because most of them are modeled after the earlier DAWs as well as analog consoles and gear, the interfaces are roughly the same. There’s a stage for tracks, record button, faders – all the basics.

What you pay for are the number of instruments, how many tracks you can save, and the availability of loops, samples, and beats. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start to upgrade the software, hardware, and anything else you need to start making the music you love.

If you have what it takes, apply today.

Get your music production certification and build your music production and audio engineering skills by learning with an industry professional near you.