Learning Modular Synthesis Online Courses
Whether you are getting into modular synthesis through software, a semi-modular, or a full modular system, I want to help ease your learning curve by sharing my own knowledge. I believe that if you understand what’s going on inside your synth, it will be faster and easier to use to create the sounds in your head, and to re-create those “happy accidents” later.
I originally learned synthesis on a Steiner-Parker Synthasystem in the late 70s, and had a kit-based PAiA modular in my dorm room in college. In the 80s and 90s I went on to design synths and related gear for Sequential, Digidesign, Marion Systems (Tom Oberheim), and Roland, write for Keyboard and Music Technology magazines, and teach synthesis at UCLA Extension in Los Angeles, California. After a detour into the film and video industry for ~20 years (including the creation of nearly 50 online courses on graphics & editing software), I’m back playing with modular synthesizers – and creating a book plus courses for the beginning and intermediate users on how to get the most out of them.
My courses include:
- Learning Modular Level 1: The Comprehensive Starter Course — This online modular synth course for beginners starts with fundamental concepts such as harmonics and voltage control, moves on to explain the major formats and core modules you should consider, and then explains both East Coast and West Coast synthesis modules and techniques starting with the basics. I believe you’ll go from newbie to confident user by the time you finish watching this 4-hour course. Click here for more information plus the introductory video.
- Learning Modular Level 2: Eurorack Expansion — You already have a semi-modular or small modular system, and now you’re wondering what to add next. With so many Eurorack format modules available, where do you start?!? In this intermediate-level course, I’ll be covering a wide range of modules one at a time, demonstrating how they work, what they’re particularly good at, how you would go about interfacing them with your current system, and what new sonic and performance possibilities they would open up for you. This course is constantly expanding; it currently contains approximately 240 movies and 28.5 hours of content! Click here for more information plus the introductory video.
- Learning Modular Synthesis: Arturia Modular-V — Prefer using software synths? Or want to minimize your up-front investment when finding out if modular synthesis is really for you? In this 3+ hour course for beginners I’ll show you how to use Arturia’s software emulation of a classic Moog modular synth, starting with basic patching and then moving through the different modules to create classic East Coast sounds as well as using FM plus modular effects. Click here for more information plus the introductory video.
- Learning Modular Synthesis: Moog Mother-32 — Decided to start your journey with a semi-modular synth such as the Moog Mother-32? This 2-hour beginner course starts with hooking up your Mother and creating your first patch, and next explains how to use the synthesizer and sequencer portions of the module. Then you’ll learn how to move your Mother to a Eurorack case and start expanding it with other modules. Click here for more information plus the introductory video.
All of the courses above are available through LinkedIn Learning. These services offer nearly 300 courses on audio and music ranging from software and instrument instruction to songwriting to interviews with DJs and producers, all available for a monthly or annual membership fee.
I am also now offering offering these courses from this web site for a one-time/stream forever price. Details are included in each course’s description. Members of the Learning Modular Patreon tribe get access to either the Eurorack Expansion course or all four of the courses, depending on their level of support. My Patreon channel is a great way to get even more information on modular synthesis.
And: I have also co-authored with Kim Bjørn (of PUSH TURN MOVE) a new book about modular synthesizers, called PATCH & TWEAK. Click here for more details.
By the way: You will find that I color-code the patch cables I use in all of the hardware-based synthesis courses and movies I create. The intention is to make it easier for you to follow a patch by studying what is connected to what. My color-coding system is shown at right.
And for those who are curious, I use Black Market Modular cables and passive multiples. I did some research, and liked that they combined the thicker of the wire gauges commonly used with slender plug barrels so it would be easier to fit my fingers into a dense patch. I have recently started using HoSA Hopscotch cables for when I need a simple 1:2 passive splitter.