Music Producing & Engineering
Course 13: Scratch Tracks and Demos

Scratch tracks and demos are essential to the production process. They provide context for ideas, work as a guide, help to spark new ideas, and can significantly help you save time in the studio by providing a blueprint from which to work. In course 11, you’ll learn the importance of a demo track and how it functions as a tool to sonically express a musical thought or idea.

Developing “the producer’s ear” doesn’t happen overnight, it takes experience and lots of work in the studio. In this course, you’ll learn about pre-production demos (songwriting, feel, idea) and production demos (garage, Nashville, production). There are varying degrees of “polish” with each of these demos, but each has a place in the production process

You’ll be making three different demos in this course: mainstream alt-rock, modern pop, and a genre of your choice. You’ll learn to clearly display musical ideas for chord changes, feel, and style of the song and create a distinct sense of form (verses, chorus, etc.). There will be the ever-present course review, quiz, and blog entry for this course as well.

The objectives of course 13 include understanding the initial process of creating a scratch or demo track, how a rough idea can lead to a polished product, and whether a scratch track or demo is heading in the right direction. You’ll also learn how to create your own scratch or demo tracks and use those beginnings to start shaping a professional recording.


  • Gain an understanding of the initial process of creating new musical pieces.
  • Understand why starting with a rough idea can lead to a better finished product.
  • Be able to create rough scratch tracks and demos for musical pieces.
  • Be able to determine whether a scratch track or demo represents the proper direction which will likely lead to the final product being what is visualized.
  • Be able to create scratch and demo tracks for musical ideas.