Reason Tutorial: How to make music in Reason

In the crowded landscape of digital audio workstations, there are a few that stand above the rest. Ableton Live, Pro Tools, and Logic Pro are what artists around the world use to create the music that gets everyone on the dance floor. There are other options out there, each with their own appeal and features.

For gear-loving music producers, there’s Reason. At the start (fall of 2000), Reason was made to mimic studio racks for virtual instruments, mixers, and other effects processors. In fact, it was often used along with Pro Tools, Logic Pro, and other digital audio workstations (DAW)s. Call it a virtual rack for the virtual studio.

The Age of Reason

Since then, Reason Studio (formerly Propellerhead Software) has added effects, samples, instruments, modular synths, and other upgrades. For example, version 5 featured the NN-XT Sampler which allowed the software to directly sample audio and upgrades to the already established Dr. Octo Rex loops.

The interface even features little virtual cords that allow the user to combine racks in any order they see fit. The most recent version of Reason still allows you to hook up to other DAWs, but also includes the Quartet Chorus Ensemble, Master Bus Compressor, and Sweeper Modulation Effect.

Get Your Start

Of course, if you’re just learning what a DAW is and don’t know a phaser from a flanger, this might not mean much to you. While there are free 30-day trials of the software, you may want to hold off until you have a better understanding of what a DAW does and how Reason differentiates itself.

Once you get the hang of a free DAW (such as Ableton Lite, Pro Tools First, Garageband) and understand what Reason can do on its own and with other software, give the free trial a shot. Learn how the racks work alone and as combinations.

Look online for step-by-step instructions on how to set up Reason including, the rack, the track stage, the instruments. Then learn how to add third-party extensions, hardware (if you want it), and tie it all together. There are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to make your first beats in a matter of minutes.

Once you understand Reason, you’re well on your way to making music of your own. With a tool as powerful as Reason, you want to learn as much about it before spending hundreds of dollars. But online tutorials and YouTube videos only go so far. Ever try to ask a video a question or to explain something further? They’re generally not very receptive.

Learn from Experts

If you’re truly interested in making a career in the music industry, learning a digital audio workstation is a must. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you want to make – Electronic Music, Pop, or Rock – a DAW is as important as any instrument. In fact, with a DAW, you won’t need instruments.

But you will need to know how to use a DAW to its full potential. That’s what makes learning with Recording Connection mentors so valuable. As an extern, you’ll work side-by-side with an industry professional, from day one, and inside of a real-world recording studio. But there’s more to making music than merely choosing drum beats or inserting samples.

With Recording Connection you can learn music theory, sound design, and everything that goes into professional music production. Reason does an excellent job of “virtually” setting up rack extensions but our mentors can show you how to set up the actual hardware.

There’s a lot to learn and our programs are around six to nine months long. That means you’ll need to be in the studio multiple times a week and be ready to learn, work, and learn some more. This goes beyond music as well – acting responsibly, making good on your word, and going the extra mile inside the studio are all components of your success as a student extern.

It sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Knock the socks off your mentor and you could get the connections, experience, and gigs which just aren’t possible at the average four-year university or trade school. Recording Connection externs who excelled in our programs went on to work at the studios where they trained, found work at other studios, or have even opened their own studios, founded their own labels, and launched their own careers.

Want to get started? Apply today.

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