Want to Compose Corporate Music?
Important: You can take my full course in video form – which includes live examples, demonstrations, and more importantly a visual learning experience.
Welcome! And congratulations for choosing to advance your skills and knowledge as a music composer. My course will take you on a learning journey. And your end goal and destination for this journey, is to unlock the secrets of composing corporate music.
Here are the benefits you will gain, by taking this journey.
- Learn the Foundations of Corporate Music
- Find out Your Vision & Mission
- Create a Professional Project Plan
- Get 10 Powerful Production Guidelines
- Master the Sound Palette for this Style
- Complete a Creative Songwriting Session
And your final project will be to compose your own track in the style of corporate music.
My Story & Journey in Music
Hello, my name is Mike, and I am a composer.
Just. Like. You. 😃
I have composed and produced music since 1998. And I will never stop, because music is my true passion in life, as I’m sure it is for you too, right?
That’s also the reason I created: professionalcomposers.com. My website, network and community for composers with High Goals and BIG Dreams. Composers like you.
Now take Action
Now before we continue, I want to ask you: Do you want to learn how to compose corporate music? Are you prepared to complete this course, and take action on everything you learn? Are you ready to level up as a composer?
Then let’s start your journey, right now! 😃
PS. If you prefer learning from videos/audio: Get your Special Discount to my Video Course here.
Your Vision & Mission
What is Corporate Music?
Let’s start by defining what Corporate Music really means? The main aspect of this style of music, is that it will primarily be used in corporate media productions. As background music to increase the quality, value and impact of a Commercial, Presentation Video and so on.
You are a Professional Composer
As a professional composer you make music for a specific purpose. An end goal, a project in mind. That’s the main difference between a composer vs a producer or artist. I have a personal quote that sums it all up like this:
“Your client has a vision, that will define your mission. And your mission is to create music with a purpose. That purpose is to elevate the final production.”
The Vision of Corporate Music
The vision and purpose of corporate music is to boost business, marketing and sales, by making the end consumer in a mood to buy.
Now, what if you don’t work directly with a client? Let’s say you want to compose a track for a music library, or simply for your composer portfolio?
As a professional composer, you should always work like you have a client. So if you don’t have a client when you are about to start a new composition, you need to come up with an imaginary project to make music for, and an imaginary client. Why? Because you want to make sure that your music will be made for a specific purpose.
Your Mission with Corporate Music
Your mission as a composer, is always make sure the style and mood of your music composition goes hand in hand, with the vision and purpose of the project your music will be used in. So in this case: your job is to compose music that makes people feel good, happy, uplifted and more open to buy.
Action – Define the Final Project
It is now time for your first action in this course. Which is to define the final project your music will be used in. Remember: You should do this, even if you don’t have a real client.
Why? Because by defining the final project first, you will get a much better perspective, and more clarity: on how you can write your music to elevate the final production value, impact and result of the project in mind.
This is why I recommend you to always define the end purpose for your music. Where will it be used, how will it be used, and what is the desired outcome of the particular production?
My Project Definition
I will now share the project definition I have come up with. I will compose music for an online video commercial, by a family-focused technology company, that just released a brand new product line. The product is a video game entertainment system for your car.
In the video they will show the benefits, and ease of use of their product by having footage of them using it when driving. They will also include b-roll of the children having fun using the product, and happy parents. The video will be narrated by a friendly voice over.
Action – Define the Final Project
Now it is your turn. Write down a specific description of the final project your music will be used in. And again, if you don’t have a real client, you simply imagine the entire project as I just did with my example.
Good luck defining the final production, and its main purpose. This definition will be the root that guides your entire creative project as a professional composer.
The Research Stage
Now it is time for the research stage. And one of the best ways to analyse the specific style of music you are going to create, is to simply search for it online, and then listen and analyse it.
Search for Corporate Music
Simply search for “Corporate Music” on a stock music website like Audiojungle or Pond 5. These are marketplaces for music to be licensed for media productions, which makes them perfect for your research. If you do your job as a professional composer, you will be able to sell make money from your tracks by using licensing platforms like these.
Listen and Analyse
I want you to listen closely, and focus on everything you hear, every little detail. The instruments & sounds, the playing styles, the transitions & effects, the arrangement, the energy & dynamics, and so on. But most importantly, the overall sound, character and emotion of the composition.
Listen to a couple of tracks in this style, to get a feel for the overall vibe, instrumentation, energy, song structure and so on. And when you feel you have a good sense for the style and mood of corporate music, let’s continue your journey.
Create your Professional Project Plan
Now it’s time for you, to create your project plan. This is one of the most important things you can do as a professional composer, in the beginning of every new project start.
Why do you need a Project Plan?
Because this will be your master guide for the entire creative process. Let’s compare this to building a house. One does not simply start piling bricks in a random location!
You need a vision, a plan, and a blueprint, among many other things. In fact, for every new house there will be a new project plan.
And it is no different when your job is being a professional composer. Because your knowledge, skills and expertise will be used to create a desired outcome, a product.
You are a professional composer. Your product is your music. And the ultimate goal for your music, is to increase the overall quality, impact and result, of the final production your music will be used in.
Your Project Plan – Step by Step
So how do you create your project plan? Well, I have made a step by step Project Plan Template, that I personally use for my projects. And I am going to share it with you, right now!
Step 1 – Emotion & Vibe
Start by writing a list of keywords, that describe the overall emotion and vibe of your music. Keywords that will support the end purpose of the final production your music will be used in.
Examples of overall Emotion Keywords:
Happy, Sad, Powerful, Uplifting, Playful, Simple, Laidback, Silly, Dark, Tension, Sweet, Beautiful, Tragic, Majestic etc.
Keywords I have chosen for this project:
Uplifting, Happy, Upbeat, Light, Inspirational, Feel-Good and Easy-Going
Now, what keywords will you use in your project plan, to describe the overall emotion and vibe of the music you will compose for this project?
Step 2 – Action & Energy Level (0-10)
How much action & energy will your music have? From very calm and smooth. All the way to full on dramatic action and drive.
For example: 0 could mean a very slow, ambient and atmospheric vibe. And 10 could indicate music for a mega epic battle scene. Here’s a tip: Action mainly comes from rhythm, pulse, accents and drive in music.
My choice: For my project plan in this particular production I have chosen a medium action & energy level around 6. Which means some drive in the music to keep it upbeat and uplifting, but not too much action-oriented. What will you choose for your project plan?
Step 3 – Attention Level (0-10)
How much attention should your music attract? Basically, from subtle underscore, to full on attention-grabbing music.
For example: 0 could mean music that is completely in the background simply as a bed of sound. Atmospheric perhaps. And 10 could mean a super catchy and powerful chorus.
Here’s a tip: The Attention Level mainly comes from Lead Melodies, Hooks, Riffs, Accents, Power notes and Motifs. Everything that draws your attention to the music. Another tip is that longer sustained notes and chords will generally draw less attention.
My choice: For this project I have chosen to go with a low to medium attention level around 4, which basically means the music will be more in the background, but not be too bland and forgotten.
Step 4 – Fullness Factor (0-10)
How full should your music sound: from very light and sparse. To a super big and powerful wall of sound. Basically the fullness factor is how much of the frequency spectrum you fill with sound for your music composition and production.
For example: 0 could mean a simple tune for children played solo on a toy piano. And 10 could mean music for an epic massive cinematic action trailer.
My choice: I have chosen to go for a low to medium fullness factor of 4. Which is again, more in the background, and not too powerful.
Step 5 – Your Sound Guide
This is a general guide of what type of sounds, instruments and style you will use for the project. Not a list of specific instruments, but rather the character and vibe of the overall instrumentation.
Make a list of keywords like you did for the overall emotion & vibe, but this time focused on the overall sound character.
Examples of Sound Guide Keywords:
Modern, Retro, Vintage, Classic, Electronic, Acoustic, Synthesizers, Epic, Organic, Robotic, Cinematic, Intimate, Light, Atmospheric and so on.
Sound Guide Keywords I have chosen:
Acoustic, Intimate, Organic and Light Electronic
Bonus Tip – Work with the Client
Finally, I have a bonus tip for you. You should personally create and write down the project plan, since it will be your blue print as a professional composer. However, if you work directly for a client, I would strongly recommend you to get his or her input on your project plan. Start every project for a client, by being a good listener. Listen to the vision your client has for the entire production. And take notes. Remember, you client has a vision that will define your mission.
The more in sync you are with the client about how your music best will fit the final production, the less chance for rewrites and big changes in the music. And it is no fun having to go back to the drawing board when a client disagrees with the direction you took with your music. So make sure your project plan is made well, and that you explain and sync your plan with the client.
Action – Create your Project Plan
Now it’s your turn to create your project plan. Simply create a new document on your computer, and write everything down. This will be your creative foundation for the entire music composition process. So take this step seriously. Good luck creating the complete master plan for your project!
10 Guidelines on Corporate Music
I will now share with you: my top 10 guidelines, on composing corporate music.
Remember: these are guidelines, not rules. You don’t need to follow them, but you should be aware of them. You can think of these guidelines as a good starting point when you compose corporate music. Alright! Let’s begin, right now!
Tip 1 – Upbeat and Uplifting
Corporate Music is very upbeat and uplifting. So focus on Major Scales and Major Chords. Let’s say you choose the C Major scale. Then mainly use the 3 major chords of the scale. In this case C Major, F Major and G Major. And focus on light and upbeat playing styles of both the chords, as well as the rhythms and melodies.
Tip 2 – Keep it Simple
Simplicity is incredibly important for most production music used in TV, Commercials, Online Video etc. Simple chords, simple rhythms, simple melodies. For example: Mainly using standard triad chords, a steady straight rhythm, and a melody without too many notes and movement. Your key focus for corporate music should be to simplify.
Tip 3 – Use Light Sounds
Sounds that are natural, organic and dynamic are often preferred in corporate music. Not big and massive sounds like in epic music. Not raw and distorted sounds like in heavy metal. And not sharp and edgy sounds like in EDM. No, light sounds. Like: Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Ukulele, Pluck sounds, Whistling, Bells, Harmonics, Shakers, Claps etc.
Tip 4 – Get Straight to the Point
Intros are good for artists and albums, but corporate production music needs to get straight into the main mood of the music. Basically you need to get the drive and energy going right away. Especially if you compose corporate music for stock music libraries, where the potential buyers might just listen to the first 5-10 seconds on track after track, until they decide which one to use.
Tip 5 – Build the Energy
In corporate music, it often works great to gradually build the uplifting vibe and energy throughout the track. For example: By introducing new elements, instruments and parts, that add energy and movement for each new section. Think in terms of layering and adding. But don’t make these changes feel to sudden and surprising. Gradual progression is what you want.
Tip 6 – Avoid Low Energy
Don’t use long low energy sections, like breakdowns, in your corporate track. Avoid thinking in terms of standard song structure. Instead you should focus on the mood and energy during the whole track. And you should be careful of going too low with that energy anywhere in your track. Because low energy is not upbeat and uplifting at all.
Tip 7 – Avoid High Tension
Composing with tension is great for dramatic music, but not for corporate music. Avoid dissonant: chords, harmonies and intervals. And stay away from any unpleasant sounds and effects. Corporate music should have a feel-good vibe, not a “sit on the edge of your seat” vibe.
Tip 8 – Stay within the Comfort Zone
As a composer I personally want to add twists in the storyline of my music. But corporate music should not have big surprises and twists. I recommend staying within the scale you have chosen, not changing the rhythm too much during the track. And basically not making too sudden or big changes anywhere in the composition.
Tip 9 – Avoid busy Patterns
Basically, you should focus on writing less notes for any instrument and any part. Because again, corporate music should sound simple and familiar. If really you want to add more notes in any performance, I recommend focusing on the rhythm rather than the pitch of the notes. In fact, doubling some notes with rhythm can help to bring out that bouncy feel that is so connected to the style of corporate music. Bouncy playing styles feel very upbeat and uplifting.
Tip 10 – Keep it Straight
Groove, syncopation, triplets, or sudden rhythmic changes, should be used carefully. Corporate music should feel familiar, comfortable, and upbeat. Generally this means a steady and straight 4/4 feel.
Congratulations! You have now learned 10 great guidelines on composing corporate music. I recommend that you go through these fundamental guidelines until you learned them well. Because they may help you avoid making big mistakes when you compose in this specific style of music. Basically they can show the direction to kickstart your corporate music composition.
Sounds in Action – Drums & Percussion
Now I will give you a complete list of common instruments, sounds and playing styles, used in corporate music. The main point here, is for you to get more familiar with the sound, character and overall vibe of this genre and style of music.
As a professional composer, you will create your own sound palette, for every new project you start. The sound palette will be your main starting point before you go into the songwriting and composing stages. What sounds and instruments you choose to add to your sound palette is of course dependant on the genre and style of music, but more importantly: the project plan you have just created.
I want you to use my examples as a guide, to help you get started with corporate music. To help you create your own sound palette. So let’s talk about the sounds, instruments and playing styles of corporate music!
First let’s talk about the main drums. Since corporate music often have a very organic and natural character: an acoustic drum kit is often used. But a clean sounding electronic drum kit will do just as fine, depending on what character you want for your track.
Generally, the drums will not be in focus, so a light drum kit with a pop-like and snappy sound is often used. So don’t use heavy compression, saturation or anything that will make your main drums feel too heavy.
The playing style of drums in corporate music is almost always a straight and steady 4/4 beat, without syncopation, swing, triplets or groove. An easy way to start is to add a 4/4 kick with a snare for the driving accents. Either on the 2 and the 4. Or on the 3. Remember, corporate music is supposed to sound simple.
Tambourines and other shaker type instruments are often used to add a driving groove for more energy. This is also a great way to add that human and organic vibe, which is very common for corporate music.
Another human touch in the percussion is using finger snaps for light accents. And by nature, they literally sound “snappy”. You can use recorded samples if you want. But if you have a microphone, it’s actually super easy to record your own finger snaps for your corporate music track.
Hand claps are probably the most cliché sound for corporate music, because they instantly add that upbeat feel that corporate music relies on.
Real recorded hand claps are preferred compared to drum machine sounds. Either solo claps for a lighter sound, or group claps panned in the stereo field for wide and big accents.
Stomping your foot on the floor, or any specific surface will create a percussive type accent. And this accent often have more weight in the low-end compared to hand claps.
For truly impactful stomps you want to layer several samples, or use pre-recorded group stomps. The world’s most known group stomp sound is probably in the classic Queen song, we will rock you.
Vocal percussion style one-shots are very common in corporate music. Basically short shouts of exclamation. For example: “Hey!” is used very often in corporate music. It’s positive, and adds energy. It’s most often a group shouting the word in unison for extra impact.
Great! Now you have learned some of the most common instruments, sounds and playing styles of drums and percussion in corporate music. Let’s keep going!
Sounds in Action – Effects & Transitions
Now let’s continue with something that is super important in all types of music. However, this is often an area that is overlooked by many composers and producers. I am talking about the effects & transitions.
For example: sound effects and hits, ambience and atmosphere, and special techniques and sounds for: accents, details and transitions.
These kinds of sounds and special techniques will add a lot more interest to your music, and truly get your tracks up to a professional standard. Here we go:
Reverse Cymbals & Hits
One of the most classic transition sounds is the reverse cymbal crash. This makes it a great energy builder right before a transition into a new section of your track.
You can actually reverse any type of percussive hit like this. It doesn’t have to be a cymbal crash. The reason cymbal crashes work so well for this technique, is because the sound has a very long sustain due to the resonance.
A “mirror transition” is a name I came up with personally, because it is basically the reflection of a sound that you place just before the real sound starts. They will mirror each other at the point they meet each other.
So let’s say your new section starts with piano where the first chord plays right from the first beat. And let’s say that chord is an F major. Well, then you make a temporary MIDI recording on that piano playing a sustained F major chord. Which you then bounce to audio.
Then you reverse that sound, and finally align it so that the end of the sound is right before the new section where the real piano track plays.
I have found that the mirror transition is very often used to start a corporate music track with. But you can use this technique to lead into any new section of your composition.
Any sound that gradually rises in pitch can be used for building energy in a transition. In corporate music these riser type sounds are not as prominent as in many other genres.
I recommend to dial them down in volume, and use sounds that are more pleasant and organic, compared to the sharp and edgy risers often used in EDM and epic music for example.
This is not a specific sound or instrument. It is a playing style and technique. Basically you go up the scale, to build energy and anticipation when going into a new section of the track. Either a short scale run, or a longer climb up the scale notes.
You can use this technique both for melody and harmony lines, but also for your chords. For chords you simply need to change the chord inversions to make the chord progression have an upwards direction.
Amazing! Those were some of the most common sound design and transition type sounds and techniques used in corporate music. Now let’s continue with the melodic instruments.
Sounds in Action – Melody & Harmony
Now finally we get into the melodic instruments, sounds and playing styles used in corporate music. The instruments and sounds that will play the melodies, the bass, the driving and comping rhythms, and the chords and harmonies.
Let’s start with the harmonic root of music. The bass. In corporate music you most often use a mellow and soft bass sound like a classic electric bass, or a warm and deep synth bass. You might want to layer this with a sub-bass for added depth. I always do.
Overall the bass in corporate music should not be too prominent, but rather add weight and keep the harmonic anchor throughout the composition. The playing style is most often either a simple sustained root note every chord change, or a simple driving rhythm like for example straight 8th notes. The focus is almost always on a straight and steady groove on the bass.
Guitars & Ukulele
Since corporate music very often has that human, organic vibe which focus is on a natural feel, acoustic guitars and ukuleles are very often used. Guitar if you want the warm and mellow sound, and ukulele if you want a really light and childlike sound. Sometimes you can also use an electric guitar for a bit more edge in the drive, but be careful to not use too much distortion.
The playing styles range from strumming the chords for backing and comping. Often very simple strumming patterns. To arpeggiated chords for a lighter drive. To muted plucks for simple melodies. And often harmonics are used for that light sound that sparkle in the high-end. Especially for very simple melodies with few notes.
Orchestral strings are often used in corporate music, either for backing with chords and harmony. Or for driving the track with ostinatos. But don’t make them too prominent like in epic and cinematic music.
Pizzicatos can also be used, which are basically plucked strings, and add a light and playful vibe. And staccato chords can be used in a similar way to a strumming pattern on guitar.
Piano is one the fundamental instruments in most types of music, and corporate music in particular uses piano a lot. From grand piano to upright piano, and even electric pianos.
When using piano for the chord progression, you can for example play every chord with simple sustained block chord on piano, just to add depth, while still keeping the simplicity. Or add a simple rhythm to the chords.
Pianos also work great for arpeggios to add drive, which will have that human and natural feel, very much like a plucked acoustic guitar.
A comping rhythm on piano is also used a lot, but make sure the rhythm sounds simple, because simplicity is the essence of corporate music.
Piano also sounds great for simple melody lines, especially with some added delay and reverb to fill out the space.
Light bell sounds are often used in corporate music, mainly to layer with other instruments playing the main melody. And again the main melody is often very simple, with few notes.
Bells have a character similar to harmonics on guitars and other string instruments. That long ringing end in the sound. That is why bells and string harmonics work great together as layers.
Whistles & La La La
One type of sound that is often used in light and upbeat corporate music, are the vocal melody sounds like: Whistling the melody, or even doing the la la la, or similar type of vocals.
Yes, super cheesy, and even slightly childish. But they work great in advertising, because often the brand want that incredibly simple, super happy, and even childlike character in the music to go with their commercial.
Tuned percussion is also used often in corporate music, because of the light and snappy sound they create. Instruments like vibraphones, glockenspiels, marimbas etc. are great for the main melody of a corporate track. Especially when layered with another instrument like a piano or guitar.
Synths are used in corporate music. But most often they are on the softer and lighter sound spectrum. And not too much “in your face”. So no harsh EDM leads or epic synth stabs.
Some of the most common synth sounds are very short and plucky sounds, which are similar to a muted pluck on a guitar. Or warm pad sounds similar to a sustained orchestral string section. Basically a starting point for synths can be to use sounds that are closer to acoustic instruments.
Congratulations! You have now learned some of the most common instruments, sounds, techniques, and playing styles of corporate music. Let’s continue, right now!
Action – Create your Sound Palette
Get ready for your next project in this course, which is to create your own sound palette to use as the starting point for your corporate music composition.
Your Project Guide
Now your project is simple and straightforward, but will require you to bring out your creative skills as a professional composer.
You will now create the sound palette for the corporate music composition you will create in the end of this course. Here is the process I follow myself for setting up the sound palette of a new production.
You can use my method as a guide, or simply as an example. The important thing is that you actually create your sound palette before you continue with the songwriting and composing stages.
1. Create your Channel Groups
I find that using track folders or groups is a great way to keep your project organised, and at the same time automatically making you aware of the types of sounds you will use for your composition.
For example: You might want to use a specific group for drums and percussion, another for effects and transition sounds, another group for driving rhythms, and so on. How you structure the tracks in your DAW project is up to you. But I strongly recommend you start with the main structure for your sounds.
2. Start with Empty Tracks
Now I know from personal experience, how easy it is to get stuck on finding “the best instruments, sounds and presets. That’s why I have learned to start my sound palette creation, by adding empty MIDI tracks and Audio tracks first. Temporary tracks that I label with the kind of sound each track will use. Basically: empty tracks with a name. That way you will force yourself to focus on the most important thing for your sound palette, which is what types of instruments and sounds to start with, not the exact preset or sample.
3. Add all Instruments & Sounds
The final stage is of course to fill all those empty tracks with instruments and sounds. But again, don’t try to find the best sound, because you will waste a lot of time searching for perfection. Just go with any instrument or sound that is suitable for the name of the MIDI or audio track you created.
Because your sound palette is only a starting point, not the perfect tool kit. You are going to add, remove and change instruments and sounds later anyway, you actually compose and produce the track. So just fill up every track with an instrument or sound that suits the labeling you made in the previous step, and that’s it. You will have created your sound palette to start composing your track with.
Here’s a bonus tip. Once you have completed your sound palette, you can save your DAW project as a template, so that you can use it for future corporate music productions. However, I know that many composers like to start from zero on all new tracks. So this is a choice you have to make on what you prefer for your workflow.
Now go ahead and take action. Your project is to: Create your own sound palette for corporate music. Good luck, and have fun. When you have completed your project, let’s continue your journey!
Composing 1 – The Creative Session
Congratulations! You have created your project plan, with a clear vision and mission, as a professional composer for this specific production. You have created your sound palette. And you have become familiar with the sounds, instruments, techniques and playing styles of corporate music.
What is Next?
Well, every music composition starts in the same way. In your mind, from your creative ideas. And in your heart and soul, from the emotions you feel.
The core of any creative and artistic project is always the same…To come up with ideas, which are the seeds that will grow into your final production.
Find your Creative Zone
I have found that the best way to spark new ideas, and get yourself started with the songwriting and composing stage, is to get yourself into “Your Creative Zone”. You know, that special zone of complete inspiration, that we creative artists want to get into.
When we find that zone, ideas will start to flow endlessly out of us, and everything seems to go so smooth and easy. There are many ways to kickstart your inspiration, and get into your creative zone. Here are some examples I personally use:
- Listen to Reference Tracks: Tracks in a similar style of your project. This can help you get into the mood and character of the specific style of the music you will create. You can simply go to a music licensing website, or to YouTube, and search for “corporate music” in this case. Then listen to a couple of tracks to get into the vibe.
- Listen to Your Favorite Music: Even if it is not even remotely similar to the music you are going to create, I have found that it can get you into that amazing mindset of creativity and inspiration, simply because you get excited to make music. So start up Spotify, or whatever streaming service you use, and listen to a couple of your favorite tracks, until you feel the urge and desire to make music yourself.
- Visual Eye Candy: I personally respond very emotionally to visuals: like photographs, images and videos. You can find inspiring images on for example a desktop wallpaper website, or simply by searching for high quality images on Google. You can also find a visually appealing clip from a movie to spark your inspiration.
- Play for Fun: If you know how to play an instrument, or a MIDI keyboard, you can simply start by playing for fun. I mean completely free, without even thinking about the specific style of music you are going to create. Just play an instrument for the pure enjoyment, and you will often find your creative zone.
- Voice of Freedom: One of my favorite ways to kickstart my creativity and inspiration, is to use my voice. You can simply record yourself humming melodies, hooks, riffs, and even beatboxing. And this is so much easier than trying to play them on an instrument.
Action – Your Creativity Kickstart Session
Your action now, is to find your inspiration by doing a creativity kickstart session. Your goal is to get into the right mindset and vibe to create music. What I call: “Your Creative Zone”. Use some of my tips, or find your own ways to kickstart your inspiration and creativity. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun with your creative freedom!
Composing 2 – The Sketching Session
Now it’s time for what I call “the sketching session”. This is a super fun process, where you balance your creative freedom, with the directions of the project plan you created.
As you come up with ideas, you should also record them into your DAW, using any one of the instruments of the sound palette you created earlier.
Record in Sections
Personally I like to record all ideas in at least an 8 bar section. Because that will give me a good building block to expand the idea from. So I recommend you to avoid recording too short phrases and ideas.
Separate your Ideas
I also like to separate the ideas in the sequencer, by leaving a 1 bar gap between these sections. Because one idea does not have to be only one instrument and part. It can be for example 3 different instrument playing together for 8 bars to form the rough idea.
Follow your Project Plan
When you do the sketching session, you should focus on balance. Which means that you should let your imagination free when you sketch and come up with ideas, but make sure to only record the ideas that you feel are suitable for the project, and in tune with your project plan.
Action – Your Sketching Session
Amazing! Now take action, and do a sketching session to kickstart the songwriting for your music composition. I wish you good luck, and great fun when you create the seeds for your entire production.
Composing 3 – The Commitment Session
In order to get forward in anything you do, you will need to make an active choice on how to proceed. It’s time for the commitment session.
The step is about choosing one single core idea, that you want to use as the first building block, to base your entire future composition on. Basically it is like planting a seed that will grow into a large tree.
This step is about choice, but also commitment. If you don’t commit to one main idea, your entire composition process will become awkward to say the least.
So what choices do I recommend you to make in this step?
- Your Main Musical Idea: Meaning to choose one of the individual sections you recorded in the sketching session, as your primary building block to base your composition from.
- The Main Tempo: Meaning the BPM of the track. Corporate music, like most production music, will almost always have the same BPM throughout the whole track. Find a suitable tempo, and commit to it by setting it in your DAW.
- The Key and Time Signature: For corporate music you will most likely use the key of a major scale, as well as the standard 4/4 time signature. But make sure to commit to it by writing it into your DAW.
Action – Your Commitment Session
Now it’s time for you to take action again by doing the commitment session. Make your final choices, and commit to them, before you continue. And make sure to reflect your commitments in your DAW project.
This will help you get started with great focus when you compose the music. But it will also make it crystal clear what you work on, every time you open up the project again. Which you will most likely do many times before everything is finished.
Good luck making your final choices and commitments that will form the foundation for you entire music composition!
Composing 4 – Writing your First Scene
You have created your core idea to base your composition on. Now when I start any new composition, I like to write one single scene first. I call it scene, because I have always described music as a story, like a movie with many scenes, a storyline, action and emotion and so on. Basically, as a composer, you are a storyteller of sounds.
Make it a Full Scene
I usually write my first scene as a 16 bar section, with all the main elements present. So that the starting foundation will be there. Not every instrument and part, but enough to paint the full picture of that scene. At the very least I want parts take care of the main: Rhythm, Drive, Harmony, Melody, and Bass.
This can for example mean: a main drum kit for rhythm, a strumming guitar for the drive, piano for the harmony which is the chord progression, and strings for the main melody, and well…bass for the bass.
You to add whatever tracks and parts you like, as long as your first scene will feel complete. Not perfect, not produced. But a complete foundation.
Choose which Scene to Write
I most often prefer starting with the main theme and chorus, because I have found that the seed takes root and grows faster this way, at least for me. You may prefer focusing on the main groove and beat as your foundation for the first scene.
Action – Write your First Scene
So go ahead now and write the first scene of your music. Make your seed take root and grow before you continue with other sections of your composition. This will make the composing process so much quicker and easier. Good luck, have fun, and I will see you in the next video.
Final Project – Compose a Full Track
The final part of the composing stage is of course to compose the entire track, your music story. This process will be different for every music composition you make. Every new project you work on. That’s part of the beauty of composing music.
However, to help you get started with your final project, I want to give you my quick guide and overview, that I follow myself. I divide the final composition process into the following 3 steps:
1. Compose the Music Story
Focus on the emotions, energy, tone and character of the music. And how it evolves throughout your composition. Think of your music as a story arc with different scenes. And most importantly, compose your music according to your project plan.
2. Add the Professional Sheen
Focus on details, expression, movement and transitions. Because music is like life, in constant motion, and full of detail.
3. Polish the Final Composition
This is one of my personal secrets for getting a professional sound. It is to do the primary mixing of your music inside the very composition, meaning the notes and audio parts in the sequencer. Focus on arranging, transposing parts, clean up etc.
Complete Your Final Project
Now complete your final project, which is to compose an entire track in the style of corporate music. This is not an assignment btw. It is completely free and for your own benefit. Because learning by doing, and creating something complete, is the best way to level up your skills as a professional composer. Have fun composing your corporate music composition!
Congratulations – You are Amazing!
Congratulations! You have now completed my course, and learned how to compose your own corporate music. Here’s a step by step action guide and summary of this course:
- Define the Project: Vision & Mission
- Do your Research
- Create a Project Plan
- Design your Sound Palette
- Composing 1 – The Creative Session
- Composing 2 – The Sketching Session
- Composing 3 – The Commitment Session
- Composing 4 – Write your First Scene
- Final Project – Compose your Music Story
Now take action. Because the only way to move forward on any journey, is to take a step forward, and then another step, and so on.
I always say that the success recipe is to:
- Learn every Day
- Practice every Day
- Create every Day
My name is Mike, and I wish you good luck and great success as a professional composer.
My name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist, video creator, coffee lover, and true nerd…
PS. Level up your skills from my Courses on Music Composition, Production and Sound Design.