Yukon Summer Music Camp

Write a song. Produce a Demo!

Mic 2

Write. Compose. Record. Produce.

With Producer/Recording Artist, Matthew Lien

Do you sing or play an instrument, and sometimes jam with friends? Ever wanted to write a song with others and then lay down some tracks? Have you been wondering how a recording studio works, and how you would record in one?

Have we got the class for you!

Join multi-platinum recording artist Matthew Lien at Whispering Willows Recording Studio for a week of song writing, structuring, recording, producing and more.

In this class you will write a song with your class mates and learn how to review your song, prepare it for the studio, and how to produce a basic version (we'll call that a demo) which you can share with others, use for a music video, or shop around for someone to record. 

In daily 2-hour classes over five days, you'll track a demo of your song and, who knows, you might be on your way to planning the rest of your EP, or your career as a recording artist, session player, producer, engineer, arranger, composer, or all of the above!

Day 1 – Composition and Structure

First up, we'll create and confirm your song. We'll make sure the melody is the best it can be, and the lyrics express what you want, how you want. We'll confirm the chords for the accompaniment, and the best key so you can sing it to the best of your capability. We'll review the structure – i.e. the intro, verses, chorus, bridge, outro – to prevent repetition and optimize creativity. During all this, we'll consider what makes a great song, and what formulas do most great songs follow. But we'll also consider the great songs that destroyed the formula.

Day 2 – Create the Reference

Now that we have your song's structure confirmed, we'll need to prepare the foundation upon which the song's production will be built. We'll use a MIDI piano as the instrument to create a guide track programmed with the simplest performance (for reasons explained in class). We'll then re-examine the song and make some changes to all or parts such as moving, adding or deleting sections; or changing the key of a part or all of the song. Once the guide track is ready, we'll print the piano and prepare the session for recording.

Day 3 – Record the Basics

Relying on our basic guide track from the previous session, we will start tracking your performances. We'll re-record the piano or other basic instruments (using instrument libraries played on a keyboard) which may be critical to the demo, infusing your feel and expression in your takes. We'll then record the lead vocal by looping sections to capture several takes of each part in the song. This will provide a realistic framework to dress up in production.

Day 4 – Produce the Demo

Next up, we'll edit the performances from the day before, and “comp” the vocal track. We'll now consider what instrumentation is needed to fulfill a reasonable vision of the song, such as adding some vocal harmonies, some strings or other pad effect, perhaps a solo, and so on.

Day 5 – Mix and Master

With all of our tracks laid down, we'll now focus on mixing your song. We'll explore the various processes used to make all of the tracks “play nice” with each other, add some effects, and try some tuning on the vocals. When we like the overall sound, we'll mix the song, and proceed to mastering where the final processes of levelling, compression and EQ are applied, resulting in a professional demo of your song.

Requirements: Must be ages 16 -18 yrs.

Must have been playing your instrument for at least two years regularly and understand song structure.

Some mandatory homework will be set prior to attending class (don't worry, it's fun and easy).

An understanding of music history and theory is a bonus, but not essential for this class.

See you in the studio,


Location: Whispering Willows Studio - 53B Drift Drive

When: Monday to Friday, 10:00am - 12:30pm

Cost: $250.00

Teacher(s): Matthew Lien

Seats Taken: 2 / 4

Minimum Age: 12.0

Maximum Age: 19.0

Please note: Late fees apply if registering after July 14, 2024