Learn Sound Design & Synthesis

Create your signature sound!

Sound design is creating a new sound through experimentation or an intentional process. It encompasses many techniques, including synthesis, audio layering, manipulation, and control finessing like automation or MIDI. Used in film, TV, and games, and of course, in music which will be the main focus of this course.

Dive into the free course samples on our YouTube channel and get a taste of the transformative learning experience we offer. When you become a member of the channel you can unlock full access to our comprehensive course library of class videos. Of course, all the videos are included when you enroll in our classes or programs!

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This course aims to establish foundational elements of good sound design, opening up as many pathways as possible to facilitate new ideas and for students to create a “sonic palette” of their own.

By building a proper foundation and being keyed into modern hardware and software innovations, students become intuitive and efficient at iterating on ideas, regardless of the nature of that idea’s origin. By exploring techniques and traditions, students will define many points in their workflow and cultivate a lifelong passion for sound design.

Program Overview: The program is centered around the art and science of sound design, with a strong focus on its applications in music. Using Ableton Live Instruments, Native Instruments, hardware synths, and Foley techniques used by the pros, this class provides students with the tools and skills required to shape and create unique sounds, both for artistic expression and practical applications in various media. 

A black and white image showcasing the pyramid sound design with music production program.

Course Overview

The program is centered around the art and science of sound design, with a strong focus on its applications in music. It provides students with the tools and techniques required to shape and create unique sounds, both for artistic expression and practical applications in various media.

Program Structure: The program spans 12 weeks and is divided into several modules, each focusing on a specific aspect of sound design. It begins with introducing students to the fundamentals and gradually progresses to more advanced topics, ensuring a solid foundation before delving into more complex concepts.

  • Introduction to the concept of sound design
  • Historical overview of sound design in various industries (film, music, gaming, etc.)
  • Exploring the role of a sound designer and their creative responsibilities
  • Understanding the impact of sound design on audience perception and engagement
  • Introduction to the language and terminology of sound design
  • Analyzing and describing sonic characteristics: pitch, timbre, amplitude, duration
  • Developing critical listening skills to identify and deconstruct sounds
  • Creative exercises in describing sounds using metaphor and imagery
  • In-depth exploration of additive synthesis: creating complex sounds from sine waves
  • Understanding Frequency Modulation (FM) synthesis and its expressive potential
  • Exploring wavetable synthesis: manipulating wavetables for evolving textures
  • Practical exercises in creating various sounds using different synthesis techniques
  • Introduction to physical modeling: simulating real-world instruments and environments
  • Modulation techniques: envelope generators, low-frequency oscillators (LFOs)
  • Transition from synthesis to sampling: capturing real-world sounds
  • Hands-on experience in building physical models and creating sample-based instruments
  • Importance of audio editing in the sound design process
  • Techniques for cutting, splicing, and rearranging audio clips
  • Creative manipulation through time-stretching, pitch-shifting, and reverse effects
  • Practical assignments involving reimagining and transforming existing audio material
  • Introduction to dynamic range compression and its applications in sound design
  • Understanding and implementing various filter types (low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, etc.)
  • Exploring waveshaping techniques for adding harmonic content to sounds
  • Hands-on exercises in using compression, filters, and waveshaping creatively
  • Exploring time-based effects: delay, reverb, chorus, and phaser
  • Understanding the spatial and temporal aspects of sound using effects
  • Creating ambient and immersive sounds using reverberation and spatial effects
  • Practical assignments involving the application of time-based effects to sounds
  • Delving into advanced effects: spectral processing, pitch shifting, vocoding, granular synthesis, amplitude modulation (AM), and Max for Live (MFL) effects
  • Exploring experimental sound design techniques through these effects
  • Hands-on experimentation with spectral manipulation and granular synthesis
  • Understanding and designing Low-Frequency Oscillators (LFOs) for modulation
  • Applying modulation to parameters for evolving and dynamic sounds
  • Automation techniques for movement and variation within sounds
  • Exploring MIDI for sound design and incorporating randomness into sound generation
  • Techniques for layering and blending different sound sources
  • Creating complex soundscapes through the combination of synthesized and sampled elements
  • Exploration of cross-modulation and hybrid sound design approaches
  • Collaborative projects involving the integration of diverse sonic resources
  • The concept of personal sonic identity in sound design
  • Analyzing the works of influential sound designers and musicians
  • Encouraging students to develop their unique sound and style
  • Group discussions and reflections on personal sound design journeys
  • Students work on their final sound design project
  • Incorporating concepts and techniques learned throughout the course
  • Peer reviews and feedback sessions to refine and improve the projects
  • Presentation and evaluation of the final projects, showcasing students’ growth and skills

This detailed curriculum provides a step-by-step journey through various aspects of sound design, starting from the fundamentals and progressing to advanced techniques. It encourages creativity, exploration, and the development of a personal sonic palette.


Program Topics Include:

  • Elements of a Waveform 
  • Components of a Synth 
  • Additive Synthesis 
  • Wavetable Synthesis 
  • Subtractive Synthesis 
  • FM Synthesis 
  • Drum Sampling 
  • Ableton Live’s Devices
  • Native Instruments Devices
  • Hardware vs. Software Synthesis
  • Sound Sculpting with Compression, EQ, and Saturation 
  • Basics of arrangement and layering 
  • Modulation 
  • MIDI

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Randy Thom at Skywalker Sound

“No matter how much experience you have, you do good art by making lots of mistakes and learning from them. That’s the way it happens early in your career, and it changes very little even after several decades.” –

Ready to Enroll?

  • In Studio Training
  • Day & Evening schedules
  • 1 three hour session per week for 12 weeks
  • book Personal studio time each week
  • access to our fully loaded studios with great Hardware & Soft Synths!
  • Join our in studio classes from the comfort of your own home or studio
  • Get all your burning questions answered
  • Unlimited access to our extensive online learning management system