Songwriting & Production Academy

Songwriting & Production Academy | San Francisco

Do you want to be able to write and produce songs that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those that can be heard in the charts? Want to learn this in a class that has no more than 8 people in it? You’ll be wanting to sign up to our Songwriting & Music Production Academy Program, then! We cover Rock, Urban, Pop, Singer/Songwriter and Commercial Dance. Learning the skills from these will contribute towards your standing out in your chosen genre. You’ll learn professional techniques from experienced songwriters, producers and engineers.  You can look forward to being inspired and motivated by them, as well as your fellow learners. Garnish is rightly proud of being able to offer the Music Grades System (we were the first in the world to do so) for music production. All Academy students will be entered for a Grade 6, 7, or 8 upon successful completion of the program. You can find out more about music production grades by clicking here.

Ableton Live

In DAW terms, Ableton Live is a game-changer – its session view allows top-line songwriters to audition their music on-the-fly, making melody construction a fun task that’s creative and constructive rather than a slog. That’s why we begin with Ableton. We’re an official Ableton-certified training center – and we’re able to offer all Garnish learners a 40% discount!

Music Foundation & Composition

This part of the program has enough knowledge, tips and techniques to keep you fired up for ages! All of it is waiting to be applied to your own productions and backing tracks – whatever your chosen genre. Learn to arrange vocals and sounds, to program bass-lines, to program strings and to sculpt organic sounds. Learn how to get the right sounds, and how to bring all of these elements together with basic synthesis to be ready for the master mix!

Top-Line Songwriting

This is a supremely important part of the program that brings out the hit songwriter in you! It unveils the techniques and tips that YouTube and songwriting books either don’t know or aren’t prepared to give up! The power and importance of the top-line can and should never be under-estimated – learn why your songs might not be sounding like hits yet…

Sound Engineering & Producing Vocals

This module deals with how to master the art of capturing sound for recordings, including piano, bass, synths and guitars. The ‘producing vocals’ section of this module is primarily aimed at songwriters and producers, but will be helpful for vocalists to know, too. It covers how to coax, coach and encourage the best performances from artists and session singers. The more you know about vocal production and how to capture vocal performance, the better the lead vocal will sound, and the better, therefore, the song will sound – the vocal being absolutely integral to the song’s perception and success. Don’t worry, though, this doesn’t mean course participants will be forced to sing (unless they want to!) – it’s ok to simply listen and observe.

Logic Pro

The Logic Pro part of the program is going to take the avid student on a comprehensive tour of this comprehensive DAW, so that they get to grips with features like MIDI FX, Flexpitch and manipulating and chopping up loops, to make signature sounds of their own. Students also learn all about the fantastic in-built sounds and FX that this awesome DAW has to offer. Contemporary producers will often have a favorite digital audio workstation, and many plump for Logic for its ‘sound’- so we cover both this and Ableton to extract the very best of both!

Mixing & Mastering

No academy course is complete without learning how to construct the home studio environment to achieve its optimum potential – and that’s why, in this module, students are shown what professional engineers learn about acoustics and setting up a home studio space. That’s quickly followed up by an in-depth analysis of EQ, dynamic controllers, how to fill the frequency spectrum, mixing vocals and, critically, making all parts come together as one amazing whole. As the student continues to build their knowledge of mixing techniques, they are shown exactly how to employ it within the realms of electronic music.

Sound Design & Production

This module takes the student way beyond subtractive synthesis to explore granular, additive, frequency-modulated synthesis and wavetable, as well as subtractive synthesis! This module also covers more advanced beat-making techniques as the student’s sound continues to develop – this will include sampling, resampling and glitch techniques.

Music Business

Ah yes, the music business! That maze of possibility… this part of the program looks at the what was, what is and what may be – in an analysis of what makes this industry tick. We cover the roles of rights and societies, record companies, publishers, managers and lawyers. We look at synchronization (syncs) and licensing, how to sell your music, how to get it noticed and the pros and cons of door-stepping and other DIY tools you can employ to navigate the music business.

Music Producer

The role of the music producer, and all of the component parts that go into that role, are explored in this module. From pre-production to completion through to the delivery of the final version. This module looks at each stage of the journey, analyzing the skills and concepts that lead to a successful conclusion. In particular, we look at how to create emotion through both sound and performance and how to focus on achieving your production goals by defining its direction. Through understanding of these concepts and the arrangement of the ‘sonic field’ and the musical notes within it, our students get the best chance to make their project/s compelling and unique enough to extract the very best from them.

Live Recording Session

There will be the opportunity to get hands-on training on site at Soul Graffiti Studios, where you’ll record a band.  There may even be a notable client or two working in the room next door to you…. Students will also get access to a a selection of vintage analog synths (and processors) in a pre-production studio – a great opportunity to source some amazing analog sounds for their projects.

Marketing & Branding

We conclude with a module that focuses on creating an effective Electronic Press Kit (EPK), how to brand and market a project, how to go about recruiting genuine social media followers and how to best exploit digital distribution opportunities.

Three Free VIP Short Course Membership, Worldwide

Want to learn FL Studio, or brush up on Sound Design again in the future? No problem, because on completion, all Academy learners at Garnish will get a free VIP membership for our shorter music production courses, worldwide.  This means that you can take up to three music production courses, with just the registration fee to pay at any of our participating locations (London, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Online), subject to availability, with no cap on when you’d like to take each course.  Our offer is valid as long as there is availability at your chosen participating school.

More Free Stuff

Thanks to our exclusive licensing partnerships, we have assembled a range of specialized assets: synthesizers, effects, and samples for Garnish Academy students. These instruments and sounds allow us to teach producers, side by side, using the same sets of expanded resources. Our constantly evolving license-partners and content producers add thousands of dollars to the value of our Producer and Academy courses. Many of these products are yours to keep. Others are free to use while you learn and are then eligible for exclusive upgrades at a fraction of their regular price.

We have our very own boutique sample label. Garnish students get a generous toolkit (mostly written and produced by Garnish instructors) for free, and an exclusive pack just for Garnish students not sold on the site! It’s recorded individual keys from Mark Ronson’s Mellotron M4000D, which our label chief Zack Johnson meticulously recorded in Mark’s studio in Hollywood. Thank you Zack and Mark!


$9999 + $500 registration fee | Payment Plans & Info

Six Months (Two Ten-Week Terms) | Monday, Wednesday and Friday | 11a – 6p

Academy 1: Term 1 – January 27 | Term 2: April 20

Academy 2: Term 1 – July 3 | Term 2: September 28 (skipping Thanksgiving week; ends December 11)

Academic Year | Three 10-week terms | Tuesdays & Thursdays | 11a – 6p

Term 1: 3rd Tues. of September; Term 2: 2nd Tues. of January; Term 3: Last Tues. of April

Two Year Weekend | Six 10-week terms | Sundays | 11a – 6p

Term 1 & 4: 4th Sun. of September; Term 2 & 5: 3rd Sun. of January; Term 3 & 6: Last Sun. of April

Two Year Evenings | Six 10-week terms | Tuesdays & Thursdays | 7p – 10p

Term 1 & 4: 3rd Tues. of September; Term 2 & 5: 2nd Tues. of January; Term 3 & 6: Last Tues. of April (x2)

Bespoke private tuition is also available for the whole program. Contact us for more information.

Free this year: optional Sound Design & Synthesis classes from our Electronic Music Academy

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    This kind of material and skill needs to be well TAUGHT. The instructors were excellent teachers and mentors. They are very passionate about the craft - and are extremely knowledgeable as well as experienced. But they also are very good at articulating the lessons and passing along that wisdom so we can learn... The course was an excellent mix of discussion as well as hands-on training. The instructors also set an exceptional tone for our classroom and created an environment that was motivating and optimal for learning. Great job!

    Eugene KirillovAlan Guno

    It was the perfect combination of knowledge and experience. The course was very well planned out, and never did it feel like we were going too slow or too fast.

    Kristina Korban

    It’s a great school and have great teachers. Some schools care only about fancy gear in the classroom and forget about the essential: the teachers!

    João Gama

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