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Electronic Music

Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office: A15
Email: mitchelldan@deanza.edu
Phone: 408.864.8511

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday
Room A11:
15 minutes before 9:30 Music 1A
10 minutes after 9:30 Music 1A
Room A91:
15 minutes before 12:30 Music 51
10 minutes after 12:30 Music 51.

Dan Mitchell retired from the De Anza College faculty at the end of the spring term in June 2017. If you are a student, community member, or other person looking for information about the college and its music program, check the class schedules at the De Anza College website or contact one of the current music faculty members — see the Music Department website for more information.

De Anza College offers up to three electronic music classes each term. Classes are designed for music majors, students in other fields who want to learn about music software and hardware, general interest students, and others. Enroll early to make sure that you get a spot since we have reduced the number of available sections during some terms due to budget limitations.

Electronic Music Classroom - De Anza College

Electronic Music Classroom – De Anza College

2015-16 Electronic Music Classes

The De Anza College Music Department offers two electronic music classes.

Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music meets on Monday/Wednesday at 12:30-2:45. In this class you will learn about using powerful software to create music — primarily we work with the Logic X program, though you’ll be able to apply what you learn to other apps, too. The class is open to all students, and while it is helpful if you have some basic experience making music, there are no prerequisites for the class. Course credit is transferable to CSU. This course is offered during the fall, winter, and spring terms. (It typically fills with a wait list, so enroll early.)

Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music  meets on Tuesday/Thursday at 12:30-2:20. Most students take this class after completing Music 51, but if you have experience with music software you may be able to enroll directly in the Intermediate class. A primary focus of the course is on sound design, the creation of your own sounds and other resources using the Reason  and the Logic applications. Late in the term we learn how to combine both programs and link them together to create a powerful multiple-application music environment. Course credit is transferable to CSU and UC. Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music is offered once per year in the spring term only.

Contact Dan Mitchell at mitchelldan@deanza.edu with questions.

Electronic Music Classes

The De Anza Music Department provides access to music software and hardware for students in a variety of classes including electronic music, comprehensive musicianship, music fundamentals, and more. Our electronic music lab was recently updated with brand new computers and newest versions of music software including LogicReasonSibelius, and more.

Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music

This class is for those getting started on using electronic music technologies. You’ll learn to work with the Logic application. (Logic is a high-end DAW—digital audio workstation—application that supports synthesis, mixing, sequencing, arranging, composing, and much more.)

Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music

This class focuses on sound design (how to create your own sound resources, instead of relying on presets) and we use both the Reason and Logic applications. Students typically take this class after completing Music 51, though students with prior experience may consider enrolling directly in Music 8.

Class Schedules

As many as three sections of electronic music are offered each term—though budget have somewhat reduced the number of sections. See the listing below to determine when each section is currently scheduled. (F = Fall, W = Winter, S = Spring):

Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music

  • Monday/Wednesday section at 12:30-2:15 (F,W,S)

Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music

  • Tuesday/Thursday at 12:30-2:15 (S)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this website?

The Electronic Music Weblog site is for the use of students enrolled in Music 51: Intro to Electronic Music, Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music, or Special Projects in Music (Music 77 – electronic music only).

What will I learn in Intro to Electronic Music: Music 51?

You will become competent at using entry-level sequencing software to create music using software synthesizers and computer software. By the end of the course you will be able to create short musical projects using these skills. You will also be a more knowledgeable consumer – very important if you are considering buying software and equipment. You will also learn about the development and history of electronic music.

What software is used in the Electronic Music classes?

We use a variety of programs including Logic, an integrated audio and MIDI sequencing application (Music 51 and Music 8); Reason, an integrated “virtual rack” program (Music 8), and others.

Who can take Intro to Electronic Music?

There are no prerequisites for Intro to Electronic Music, so any De Anza College student may enroll in the class.

How much music background do I need in order to succeed in Intro to Electronic Music?

The answer to this question depends on your goals. As mentioned above, there are no prerequisites and some students with little  formal musical training have succeeded in the course. If you have any music experience at all (play in a band, sang in choir, took piano lessons as a kid, etc.) you should be able to do fine in the Intro class.

Students with more musical background and training will often do different types of projects than those students with less formal musical training. All assignments in this class are designed to accommodate these differences.

Who can take Intermediate Electronic Music: Music 8?

This class is for students who have successfully completed Intro to Electronic Music: Music 51. Any student who completes that Intro class and wants to learn more should enroll in the Intermediate class.

Students who have not previously taken Intro to Electronic Music may be able to take the Intermediate class in situations like the following:

  1. You took a comparable Intro class somewhere else.
  2. You have equivalent experience, even if you are self-taught.
  3. You have significant experience in a related subject such as audio production, film/tv, computers, etc and some experience in electronic music.

Contact Dan Mitchell if you have questions in this regard: mitchelldan@deanza.edu.

What will I learn in Intermediate Electronic Music?

You will learn how to:

  • use professional-level sequencing and audio software.
  • use sound design skills to create and design your own sound resources using a variety of resources
  • work in a studio with multiple devices and software programs.
  • create musical projects using this hardware/software.
  • analyze and troubleshoot common studio problems.
  • find and share information about electronic music and related topics

We focus on the Reason music application, continue to use the Logic application from Music 51, and integrate the two using the Rewire environment.

What if I want to learn more after I finish Intermediate Electronic Music: Music 8?

After you complete the full two-term sequence of De Anza College electronic music classes you may be able to take Special Projects: Music 77 for 1 unit. This gives you access to the studio and to consultation with the instructor. (Note that enrollment in Special Projects is at the instructor’s prerogative and may be limited. Music 77 is not available every quarter.)

Do the classes use Mac or PC computers?

We use Macintosh computers and software.

But what if I want to learn how to do electronic music on a PC?

No problem! The classes are designed so that the knowledge and skills you acquire can be used on either computer platform and in any software package. Despite marketing claims to the contrary, most of the programs at particular price-points on either platform tend to provide similar features that are available in other programs as well.


What kind of synthesizer, software, etc. should I buy if I’m going to take these classes?

This is a common question – but don’t buy anything yet if you are about to take electronic music! After you take the class and learn more about electronic music and the ways you want to use it you will be ready to start looking for the software and equipment that is best for you. Your choices will depend a lot on your intended use, what you can afford, what equipment you already have, and so on.

Wait… and use our equipment for free while you learn and gain experience that will make you a smarter buyer.

What if I have other questions?

You can email me at mitchelldan@deanza.edu. (You can call my office at 408-864-8511, but email is generally quicker – especially on days when class does not meet.)

If you are enrolled in one of my classes, and a member of this website, you can post a discussion message (see “New Topic” in the sidebar) containing your question. You can also talk to me in class or during an office hour.

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