PRODUCT REVIEW

deadmau5 MasterClass Review (2021): Is it Worth it?

Kevin Kessler
November 3, 2021

deadmau5 MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: In the deadmau5 MasterClass, you’re going to learn all about the creation, production, and performance of EDM (Electronic Dance Music).

How long does the deadmau5 MasterClass take?: In its entirety, deadmau5’s MasterClass will take you 5 hours and 25 minutes to complete.

Pairs well with: Alicia Keys, Questlove, Timbaland, Christina Aguilera, Tom Morello

Do I recommend deadmau5’s MasterClass?: Yes, I recommend the deadmau5 MasterClass to anyone who is interested in breaking into the EDM industry, but only if you already have a rudimentary understanding of how the equipment works.

If you have a working knowledge of EDM software and want to learn from one of the best, click here to get started

If you’ve ever been to a dance club, you’ve felt the reverberating beats and electric melodies of EDM.

And while you’re caught up in the moment, swaying and crashing into a sea of humanity to the feel of the music, it can be easy to forget that, just like Mozart’s Requiem or Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, these pieces were painstakingly composed.

Undoubtedly, the most famous name in the EDM world is deadmau5 (pronounced dead mouse).

Even if you’ve never seen him in person, you’ve undoubtedly seen images of his signature headgear. It looks like Mickey Mouse if he had been drawn by someone in a padded cell.

The helmet of deadmau5 sitting on top of a piano
The helmet of deadmau5 sitting on top of a piano.

Gimmick aside, deadmau5 (real name: Joel Zimmerman) is a phenomenon in the EDM world, composing songs that have stood the test of time and become true staples of the club scene.

Now, thanks to MasterClass, all you aspiring EDM artists have a chance to learn from one of the best in the deadmau5 MasterClass.

But does deadmau5 deliver as a teacher? Is the deadmau5 MasterClass worth the price of a MasterClass subscription?

That’s what we’re going to cover in this deadmau5 MasterClass review.

If you have dreams of igniting the club scene with your original EDM work, then read on because these MasterClass courses might put you on track to change your life.

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs.

Our Verdict

I recommend this MasterClass to anyone interested in learning more about electronic music production and who is actively seeking a career in it.

deadmau5 MasterClass Become a Pro at EDM

$15 /month
PROS
  • It takes place in a cool location, and there’s variety to the scenery.
  • Filled with cool music.
  • Hands-on demonstrations.
  • Shows you alternatives. He breaks down how things would sound if you did something differently.
  • Great section on remixing.
  • Shows you remixes of his own stuff by other people and why he likes or doesn’t them
  • Modules on the business side are interesting
CONS
  • He is not a great speaker and comes off as awkward a lot.
  • He occasionally gives unhealthy advice (Like depriving yourself of sleep to create good music).
  • Curses a lot.
  • Not really great for beginners with no knowledge.
  • Talks about how he slept through music classes.
  • Assumes you know the software.
  • Glosses over his own story and how he came up with his name, saying to Google it because he’s sick of telling the story.
  • A lot of angry ranting.

A few frequently-asked questions…

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes. The deadmau5 MasterClass requires a subscription to the MasterClass service. This can be purchased through the official MasterClass website.

How long is the MasterClass?

The deadmau5 MasterClass is composed of 23 videos, totaling 5 hours and 25 minutes.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

MasterClass memberships come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Is the deadmau5 MasterClass worth it?

The deadmau5 MasterClass is worth it if you’re an aspiring EDM producer who already has a working knowledge of the software required.

If the deadmau5 MasterClass sounds interesting to you, then click here to get started

About deadmau5

A lot of people have heard the name deadmau5, but not nearly as many have heard of the man who exists beneath the giant mouse helmet.

That man is Joel Thomas Zimmerman.

deadmau5 compared with Joel Zimmerman, the man inside the helmet

A native Canadian, Zimmerman combined his dueling passions for piano and computers into a career as the world’s most famous EDM producer. He took on the moniker of deadmau5 in 2005, when he dropped his first album, “Get Scraped.”

Since then, deadmau5 has produced eight studio albums, topping the Billboard Dance Chart on three separate occasions. This earned him a Juno award and six Grammy nominations. He has also headlined the music festivals Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Sonar, Ultra, and Electric Daisy Carnival.

How much does deadmau5 MasterClass cost?

deadmau5’s MasterClass comes included with all three MasterClass memberships.

The pricing for the three membership of MasterClass

The Standard Plan for MasterClass comes to $15 per month billed once per year. Students on this plan can watch classes with one device at a time. That device can be a computer, TV, phone, or tablet. A workbook and bonus content are included for all classes, along with access to a community forum exclusive to members.

The next level up is the Plus Plan, at $20 per month, billed annually. Subscribers on this level receive everything that’s offered on the Standard Plan, along with the ability to watch classes on two devices simultaneously. You can also download videos for offline viewing on an iOS device.

The Premium Plan is MasterClass’s most expensive option at the cost of $23 per month billed annually. When you subscribe to this plan, you’re going to get everything offered on the Plus Plan, plus the family-friendly option to watch classes on six simultaneous devices.

It might sound expensive, but remember that one membership gives you unlimited access to the courses of other celebrities like Shonda Rhimes, Gordon Ramsay and Judy Blume.

Get more information on MasterClass memberships here

What is included in the deadmau5 MasterClass?

Runtime: 5 hours, 25 minutes

Course Value: 3.5/5

Lessons: 23

Supplementary materials: Workbook and fundamentals guide

Supplementary workbook

deadmau5’s MasterClass comes with a supplementary workbook with chapters corresponding to each individual lesson.

A page from the workbook associated with the deadmau5 MasterClass
A page from the workbook associated with the deadmau5 MasterClass.

If you were to print the workbook out, there are also pages dedicated to note-taking.

The workbook is a full 61 pages long and doesn’t include many pictures of visual aids, making it appear as a wall of text with frequent empty spaces reserved for notes.

What I found interesting was the fundamentals guide that came with this course. It’s only four pages long, but it explains a lot of EDM basics, which deadmau5 does not go into throughout the class itself.

A page from the deadmau5 MasterClass fundamentals guide
A page from the deadmau5 MasterClass fundamentals guide.

This was an interesting and welcome addition to the class, seeing as how he completely glosses over the fundamentals and this class tosses you into the deep end of the proverbial pool.

The MasterClass Hub

The deadmau5 MasterClass has an effective hub, which is easy to navigate and use.

 The hub for the deadmau5 MasterClass
The hub for the deadmau5’s MasterClass.

The deadmau5 MasterClass hub is a community forum where students can come together to discuss what they’ve learned and support one another in their EDM journey.

You have questions and comments about the class itself, and even remix challenges posted by other members of the community. It’s a great place to try out what you’ve learned and bounce it off of other like-minded individuals.

A complete breakdown of the deadmau5 MasterClass curriculum

deadmau5 breaks his curriculum down into 23 different lessons, designed to walk you through EDM production theory, EDM production in practice, and both the business and performance sides of a career in EDM.

Curriculum:

  1. Introduction
  2. The deadmau5 Process: Theory
  3. The deadmau5 Process: Practice
  4. Building Your Home Studio
  5. Developing Melodic Structures
  6. Turning Melodies into Arrangements
  7. Introduction to Synthesized Sounds
  8. Experimenting With Modular Synths
  9. Digital vs Analog Synths
  10. Shaping Sounds With Effects and Processing
  11. Beats: Part 1
  12. Beats: Part 2
  13. Structuring Songs
  14. Remixes
  15. Mixing
  16. Mastering
  17. Mastering Case Study: Snowcone
  18. Starting Your Producing Career
  19. Understanding the Music Business
  20. On Stage: The Music
  21. On Stage: The Technical Side
  22. On Stage: The Show
  23. Closing

Course summary:

I walked into this course with no practical knowledge or experience around EDM production. I wanted to see how well deadmau5 communicated the fundamentals of this subject to someone like me who is starting from zero.

The answer is: not super well.

He speeds through a lot of stuff and kind of assumes that you know what you’re doing already. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re someone intimately familiar with the workings of EDM software, you’re going to get a lot out of this.

But it left my head spinning a bit.

Instead of covering the basics, the opening lessons jump right in to his own personal theories and practices regarding EDM production.

Theory

In the theory section, you get a lot of his personal opinions and takes on the EDM industry, and it’s very interesting. He talks about his dissociation from music.

While most artists and composers dredge up their work from some deep primal place, deadmau5 most assuredly does not. He also doesn’t associate specific stories with his work, opting instead for a kind of choose your own adventure style approach for the listener.

At one point, he also states that he gets his best inspiration from not sleeping. This feels like irresponsible advice, and I don’t recommend you try it.

deadmau5 explaining the ins and outs of EDM production in his MasterClass
deadmau5 explains the ins and outs of EDM production in his MasterClass.

Was this interesting? Sure.

Is it what I wanted to hear as a beginner? No.

Application

This is where the bulk of the course takes place. He teaches you the ins and outs of how he creates music.

A screenshot of deadmau5's computer as he creates original EDM work.
A screenshot of deadmau5’s computer as he creates original EDM work.

You get hands-on instruction here, with shots of his computer screen as he drags and drops various elements in and creates original works.

Business

This section only lasted for two chapters, but I found it to be the most compelling piece of the course.

He talks at length about the music business, how to get yourself signed, what he looks for in talent, and how to assemble a strong team to work with you to create an amazing and fulfilling career.

Performance

The end of the course is dedicated to live shows and how he works on stage.

 deadmau5 sitting at his computer.
deadmau5 sitting at his computer.

He goes through the music, the technical side of the show, and the show itself. This includes how to get the most out of your audience and create the best possible experience for both you and them.  

What I learned

I learned one major thing from this course.

I don’t like deadmau5.

Like…at all.

He isn’t a great speaker, he curses like a sailor throughout (so if you’re sensitive to such things, be warned), and I felt like this class was more autobiographical than instructive.

He’s presenting his opinions and takes on things, which is fine, but I never felt like I was being taught something. Instead, I felt like I was following someone I didn’t particularly like as they walked me through what their job is like.

He also comes off as super bitter when talking about the music industry. He has clearly been jerked around throughout his career and definitely wants you to know about it.

However, you can’t deny the man’s explosive talent, and it was genuinely interesting to watch him work. I just don’t feel like I really learned anything.

8 takeaways from this MasterClass

Here are the top 8 things I took away from this course:

1. Disassociate music from everything:

deadmau5 has no emotional tie to the music he creates, unlike many other artists who associate it with feelings, body movements, etc.

2. People can take away different things from the same body of work:

As an artist, deadmau5 doesn’t associate specific stories with his music. Instead of establishing a true canon for his work, he prefers to let the listener create their own story based on their feelings.

3. EDM is about repetition:

He says that you can write a whole track in just 16 bars. Repetition is the key to finishing on time and on budget. Sometimes the original work that goes into a song comes out to only 23 seconds. It then becomes about arranging or duplicating it.

4. If you don’t do something out of left field, you’re not going to stand out:

You need to develop things that don’t make sense and aren’t conventional. It’s about finding ways to make great music that you want to hear.

5. EDM has a formula just like pop or country:

deadmau5 describes the formula for electronic music as:

  • Intro
  • Breakdown
  • Main hook
  • Breakdown again

6. For live shows, you have to create transitions from one song to another

The outro of one song will be in the same key as the intro of another so that they can seamlessly flow into one another.

EDM live shows never have a break in the action so you have to keep things going without breaking your momentum. This is, of course, not as important for albums.

7. What starts as a remix can become something else entirely that’s all yours

deadmau5 talks about taking vocals from an existing track and creating a totally new melody around it.

8. Labels want self-sufficient artists

The best way to be signed by a label is to be efficient and self-sufficient. They don’t want people who need to have their hands held the entire time.

Learn more about EDM production in this electronic music MasterClass

Memorable quotes from this MasterClass

“Part of being original, part of having a sound is being able to create music or effects or processes that can’t be recreated. That’s what makes you unique.”

– Course Introduction

“Essentially all music is, is a series of cycles.”

– Lesson 5, Developing Melodic Structures

“There’s two types of music production, it’s pleasing yourself, and then it’s pleasing the crowd. If you’re doing one or the other, that’s fine, but it’s hard to do both.”

 – Lesson 5, Developing Melodic Structures

No one’s out to help you. No-f&$%ing-body. And if they are, they’re out to f&$% you. I guarantee it. Nobody out of the goodness of their heart are doing things to further your career and get no gain from it whatsoever, unless it’s your mom.”

“ – Lesson 18, Starting Your Producing Career

deadmau5 Masterclass pros and cons

As with anything you’re going to encounter in life, the deadmau5 MasterClass has its good and bad qualities.

Let’s explore them in the following sections.

deadmau5 masterclass pros and cons

Pros

There’s a lot to be said about watching a master at work, regardless of their craft. To that end, there was a lot that I really liked in this course.

  • It takes place in a cool location, and there’s variety to the scenery.
  • Filled with cool music.
  • Hands-on demonstrations.
  • Shows you alternatives. He breaks down how things would sound if you did something differently.
  • Great section on remixing.
  • Shows you remixes of his own stuff by other people and why he likes or doesn’t them
  • Modules on the business side are interesting

Cons

Of course, nothing is truly perfect, so there were some aspects of this class I was not thrilled with.

  • He is not a great speaker and comes off as awkward a lot.
  • He occasionally gives unhealthy advice (Like depriving yourself of sleep to create good music).
  • Curses a lot.
  • Not really great for beginners with no knowledge.
  • Talks about how he slept through music classes.
  • Assumes you know the software.
  • Glosses over his own story and how he came up with his name, saying to Google it because he’s sick of telling the story.
  • A lot of angry ranting.

Do I recommend this Masterclass?

Despite my personal distaste for this class, I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about electronic music production and who is actively seeking a career in it.

If you’re just starting out and have no existing knowledge of EDM production and what goes into it, then I can’t really recommend this MasterClass.

Start taking the deadmau5 MasterClass now