Discover how to play modular synths with confidence and fluency, so that you can tap into new creative outlets, and make more music you love.
Step-by-step video training and coaching program to guide you through essential synthesis foundations all the way to professional-level patching, composition, & performance...
...without needing expensive gear OR a formal music background.
Enroll in Learning Sound & Synthesis
SEE WHAT TYPE OF RESULTS OUR STUDENTS ARE ALREADY HAVING WITH THE PROGRAM:
With the support and encouragement of Sarah and others in the LSS community, I started writing my first album ever using synthesizers only 4 months after starting the program. Going into this I never had any intention or expectation of performing, but within 7 months of starting LSS I did my first ever modular performance! Now, I'm just finishing up the album that I've dreamt of making for years. I would say this course is the BEST musical investment I've ever made! Thanks Sarah!"
- Jared Kozub (Ice Locus)
Six months ago I came in with nothing. Aside from being a devout listener, I had no understanding of CV or VCAs, waveforms, patch cables, gates or triggers. But now… it’s like WHOA. I now compose, orchestrate and improvise with these machines.
I thought I just didn’t have one of those brains with the innate ability to comprehend technical information. Sarah’s patience, breadth of knowledge and talent for education showed me that totally wasn’t true.
- Laura Shumate
Do you remember the first time you ever saw a modular synthesizer?
If you're anything like me, you were instantly fascinated by the wall of wires, blinking lights, and the incredible sounds...
I will never forget that moment, when I first I sat down at a modular synth, full of expectation and curiosity and then...absolutely nothing happened.
Wait a sec...
What button do I push?
What do all these knobs do?
Will I break it?
How in the world am I supposed to make music with this thing?
As I sat there, I started to feel more and more intimidated. I realized I didn't know the first thing about working with synths. I started to worry that maybe it was all too technical for me, and truthfully...I began to wonder if I was even capable of figuring it out.
Before I had made a single sound, I had somehow convinced myself I couldn't do it.
Eventually, over the course of many years, I gained the confidence I needed to really dive into learning modular synthesis, and I now record and perform internationally on these instruments, and teach this very topic at major universities and colleges in the US.
I realized over time that this struggle was NOT unique to me...Over the years I've had hundreds and hundreds of people share this very same story with me—perhaps some part of it rings true for you, too!
The truth is, learning how to make music with modular synths is challenging. It's not just about knowing what to plug in where—if it were that simple, we all would've mastered it years ago! It's about understanding electronics, signal flow, acoustics, synthesis, and musical structure, all while learning how to navigate an unfamiliar user interface—It's A LOT.
If you're like most people I work with, you've been trying to figure it all out on your own. You've watched tutorials, read manuals, asked your friends for help...but chances are, you're still feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Do any of the following apply to you?
Sarah Belle Reid—Founder & Instructor
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, let me just say: I get it. And I've been there. Learning how to work with modular synths can feel daunting, because there is a lot to wrap your head around, and most manuals and tutorials out there assume a lot of prior knowledge.
And let's get one thing clear...
This is not a matter of whether or not you are capable (YOU ARE!)
The real culprit here is simply a lack of a clear, complete curriculum that addresses all of the essential technical and musical elements equally, shows you how to connect them all together, AND how to apply them practically.
The beauty of modular synthesis is that the possibilities are truly endless—as long as you know how to tap into them!
And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you in this program: what all the essential pieces, concepts, and techniques are and how to connect them all together in the right order, step-by-step, so that you can explore these endless musical possibilities without the many year-long struggle and overwhelm.
And the best part? You can do this entire program with nothing but a computer—no hardware synthesizer needed! I teach everything using the free modular synthesis software VCV Rack, so that you can discover your ideal synth setup and workflow before spending money on any gear. And if you've got a synth already, that's fine too. You'll learn universal synthesis and composition techniques that will transfer to any instrumental setup you choose.
I have packaged a lifetime of experience, successes, failures, and invaluable lessons into an online program that will teach you everything you need to know to make music with modular synthesizers, no matter where you are in your journey.
If you’ve never touched a synth before, and can’t wait to get started making music you love,
Or you’ve been playing synths for a while and feel ready to expand your perspectives and deepen your practice…
I will help you make that transformation!
Learning Sound and Synthesis
AN 8-MODULE TRAINING AND COACHING PROGRAM THAT WILL...
Guide you step-by-step through the MOST important synthesis concepts and techniques that you can apply to any synthesizer you encounter!
Equip you with processes, strategies, templates, and examples for patching, composing, performing, and improvising with modular synthesizers that take you from your first patch to advanced multi-instrument setups and beyond
Inspire you with prompts and exercises that are designed to help you put everything you’re learning into action with confidence, so you can start making more music you love within days
Help you overcome technical and creative roadblocks through personalized live coaching, feedback, and community
TRANSFORM your musical practice and reach your creative goals, just like our past students:
“I feel more confident in sharing my music with people!”
“This program has changed my confidence the most. I'm more confident now in my understanding of my tools and my instruments... it opened up my idea of what an instrument could be! Also, I feel more confident in sharing my music with people...I'm excited to be able to feel confident enough to say 'YES!' to doing performances or working on art projects that I wouldn't have otherwise.”
- Reina Scott
Each module of Learning Sound and Synthesis builds a solid foundation and mastery of core concepts and techniques, which progress step-by-step into more advanced strategies and practices.
You will follow videos, exercises, and prompts designed to unlock creative inspiration and get you making music within days (or minutes!) of starting the course.
"I joined LSS and it was a game changer for me. Now I’m able to create my own patches!"
When I first saw a wall full of modular synths in front of me in a store, I was instantly fascinated. I bought a few modules & tried to learn by myself, watching tutorials... but that was not enough and I was not making progress, so I would get very frustrated and stop playing for a few months, and then try again, and would be in this cycle, in a loop.
I joined LSS and it was a game changer for me. The course is so well built, and explains things in such an easy way to understand! It truly opened up my mind and stimulated me to appreciate every little tweak and modulation I make in a patch! It can still be a little overwhelming sometimes, but also quite an incredible feeling when I realize I actually understand the patches I’m making!
Now I’m able to create my own patches, and I spend hours exploring, making small pieces, and recording.
- Marcia Vieira
Let me show you what’s waiting for you inside Learning Sound & Synthesis once you become a Member...
8 Step-by-Step Training Modules:
Most people look at a synthesizer and ask, “what does it do?”
The better question—the question that will immediately expand your musical horizons and perspectives—is “how and why does it do what it does?”
There is SO much going on behind every synthesizer module and instrument that gives them their unique and irresistible sound and character: who designed them? How are they made? When were they created? WHY were they created?
By diving into the minds of famous synth designers and creators, you will be able to tap into their inspiration, understand their workflow, learn from their successes (& failures!) and harness the full potential of these instruments.
In Module 1, You’ll Discover:
- How to decode essential synthesis terminology and navigate the ever-growing landscape of electronic music
- How you can leverage 100+ years of development and discovery in synthesis to tap into endless inspiration and form a deeper connection with your instrument
One of the most important steps in learning synthesis is understanding the fundamentals of acoustics and sound itself.
How can you synthesize and design sound if you don’t have clarity around how we actually hear and perceive it?
Imagine how fun and rewarding it would be to hear a sound in the world around you and know exactly what sonic ingredients you need in order to recreate it...
In Module 2, You’ll Discover:
- How to approach sound design using 6 fundamental building blocks of musical sound
- How to leverage the unique ways in which humans perceive sound, so that you can tap into the full potential of synthesis
- How to analyze and reverse engineer any sound so that you can understand its core sonic identity
All of those classic synth sounds that you know and love can be reduced down to a simple set of core synthesis building blocks.
You may even be familiar with what they are—but that’s only part of the puzzle. The real magic is in having a deep enough understanding of how each component works to be able to connect them all together and create any sound imaginable.
In Module 3, You’ll Discover:
- The essential tools and patching techniques you need to create classic, rich, unique, and complex synth voices, textures, and sound worlds.
- A step-by-step approach to working with oscillators, waveforms, complex timbres, noise, filters, amplifiers, and more!
The secret to adding life and movement to your synth patches lies in mastering control voltage and modulation techniques.
In Module 4, You’ll Discover:
- How to use LFOs and sequencers in your patches so that you can create musical pieces with evolution and motion
- How to use envelopes to add shape, contour, and gesture to your patches—and the single most overlooked aspect of working with envelopes
- The difference between hearing and listening, and how to engage with your music on a deeper, more intentional level so that you can bring fresh perspective to each session
Understanding how all the components inside a modular synth work is only part what it means to truly be fluent in these instruments.
It can be daunting and intimidating to approach a blank slate, and knowing where to start can be one of the most difficult (yet important!) things.
In this module, I’ll share my personal strategies, workflow, templates, and thought processes behind creating dynamic patches, so that you can learn how to confidently build your own patches from scratch.
In Module 5, You’ll Discover:
- How to use advanced control voltage utilities such as attenuverters, voltage offsets, and voltage scaling modules to add nuance and subtle expression into your patches
- How to incorporate pitch, harmony, and melody into your patches
- How to use signal routing and control voltage processing to transform your modular synth patch at the press of a button
- How to harness the power of randomness to instantly breathe life, nuance, and motion into your patches
- Plus! You'll hear from two special guest artists: Todd Barton & Bana Haffar
How many times have you started working on a piece of music only to abandon it halfway through? Or sat down with the intention to create, but inspiration simply doesn’t strike?
Making a great synth patch is one thing, but turning it into a performance or a piece of music is another thing entirely.
In Module 6, You’ll Discover:
- Four strategies for structuring modular compositions, from using DAWs to generative patching
- Strategies for improvisation and live performance on modular synths, including how to work with graphic scores
- How to wrangle feedback and chaos in your patches
- How to work past mental blocks and get yourself out of creative ruts
- Plus! Special guest lectures from Omri Cohen, Kurt Kurasaki (Peff), and Ryan Gaston
You might be thinking to yourself, “This all sounds great, but what if I want to use a hardware synth or controller?” Or perhaps you’re an acoustic instrumentalist and you want to COMBINE your passions?
...and if you are, I’m right there with you! I LOVE VCV Rack and use it in a lot of my music, but I also love the feeling and interaction that comes with playing physical, hardware instruments and controllers. Not to mention, I’m a trumpet player, and my absolute favorite way of making music is by connecting my trumpet to my modular setup to combine both acoustic and electronic worlds.
That’s why I have created an epic module dedicated entirely to expanding your practice beyond VCV Rack. I have had multiple students tell me that this module could be an entire course on its own!
In Module 7, You’ll Discover:
- How to connect MIDI controllers, sequencers, and synthesizers to your VCV Rack patches, so that you can get hands-on
- How to use VCV Rack as an effects processor for acoustic instruments and external hardware, so that you can tie your whole workflow together
- How to interface acoustic instruments with any modular synth setup to create responsive and interactive patches
- How to work with samples and granular synthesis techniques, so that you can access new textures and sonic dimensions
- How to work with binaural effects, sound spatialization, delay and reverb to create depth and motion in your music
Learning Sound & Synthesis is driven by its community. This is an ever-expanding module dedicated to addressing your needs and musical interests.
Module 8 currently includes strategies for working with rhythm including clock dividers, polyrhythms, patterns, and logic, with more on the way!
As an LSS student, you will continue to get access to all future additions to this module.
LSS ISN'T JUST VIDEOS AND EXERCISES...
I created Learning Sound & Synthesis to be a complete, comprehensive curriculum in playing, composing, and performing with modular synths, and to help you reach your goals quickly and easily.
An important factor of developing in any area is being able to receive meaningful support and feedback.
So that's why LSS includes 5 live group coaching sessions.
Got a question? Looking for feedback? Something—anything—not making sense?
Between our group calls and our supportive Members Community, we've got you covered.
MEET SOME OF YOUR LSS COMMUNITY MEMBERS:
"The coaching calls allow you to interact with Sarah and the group directly, which helps to create a sense of belonging in this new community of musical practice." - Graham Freeman
"We know each other and care about each other, in the group calls we get to vibe on each other, play, have fun, and get a class, and then in the community we get to share again." - Laura Shumate
"Sarah's teaching, her enthusiasm, and her knowledge of the content is just wonderful. She is SO helpful." - Josiah Sytsma
You might be asking yourself, “What if I don’t have a modular synthesizer? Can I still do this?”
Great question! The short answer is YES! This program uses a FREE modular synthesizer application called VCV Rack that is designed to emulate the sound, workflow, and control of hardware modular synthesizers. You will learn universal tools, techniques, and concepts that you can apply immediately within VCV Rack, and that will transfer over to any synthesizer you work with in the future.
“I recommend this class for anyone—beginner or experienced synthesist.
I’ve been using software & hardware synths in my music for about 3 years. Even though I have many hours of self-directed patching under my belt...the course material shook up assumptions and ingrained patching habits I wasn’t even aware I had.”
- Chris Johnson Bidler
Ok, How Much Is My Investment?
Often, creative coaches and mentors can charge $100+ per hour, and college music training programs can be over $40,000 for one year. I have grown so much as a musician and artist from experiences like these, but I also recognize that many people are left out at these price points. One of my main motivations for creating this program in the first place is about making electronic music and synthesis education accessible to as many people as possible.
At the same time, Learning Sound & Synthesis is NOT your typical massive online class where you feel lost among thousands of students and are left to figure everything out on your own, with little to no contact with the teacher.
This program combines training videos with LIVE coaching calls and a supportive, global community of like-minded folks, just like yourself, who are passionate about learning and making music. This is a space to be curious, to ask questions (and have them answered!), to share music and ideas, to seek support and to help others overcome challenges.
This is a small investment in yourself that will result in lifelong transformations and connections.
You can join Learning Sound & Synthesis for just 3 installments of $187. And, once you enroll, you’ll have lifetime access to the materials.
If you’re anything like most people who read this far, you’re likely interested in joining Learning Sound & Synthesis. But chances are, you might also have your eye on 1 or 2 new Eurorack modules or synths that you’d love to buy.
Trust me, I get it—G.A.S (gear acquisition syndrome) is REAL, and oh so tempting!!
But, I have to be honest with you about something: buying that one new module *right now* isn’t really going to help you get closer to your music-making goals...especially if you're still struggling to fully understand vital synthesis, signal routing, and patching concepts.
I understand that you want more out of your synth, you want to be able to create more sounds or layers, to be able to perform a full piece live, and generally to just play more—but a lot of the time people reach for another module to solve a musical problem, when really, there’s an underlying gap in skill or knowledge that they need to fix, instead.
In fact, numerous students have told me that they have had Eurorack modules and hardware synths sitting around virtually unused for years before they enrolled in Learning Sound & Synthesis—and now they finally have clarity on how to actually use and make music with them.
Investing in Learning Sound & Synthesis costs roughly the same amount as a single Eurorack module—but instead of adding one new sound or tool into your kit, this program will give you everything you need to completely transform your musical practice from top to toe.
“I highly recommend this course to anyone new to synthesis as well as the experienced!”
“I came out of it with polished technical skills, knowledge, and new perspectives on sound. It really felt like Sarah’s wisdom was being transferred to me in each lesson. Each topic left me curious and ready to explore new sonic worlds. I promise you’ll be making cute (or scary) beeps and boops in no time. On top of that, the coaching calls are an excellent place to connect with other musicians and excavate synthesis & sound further.”
- Jevin Almazan
I've got a 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee
Learning Sound & Synthesis is 100% RISK FREE.
I am TRULY committed to and passionate about providing the best experience possible for my students. If you aren’t completely satisfied with this program simply email our customer support manager Kristine (at [email protected]m) within 30 days, and we will happily refund your full payment.
Plus! Receive These Bonuses When You Enroll Today
The 8 main modules in Learning Sound & Synthesis will completely transform the way you approach modular synthesis and music-making, but that's only the beginning.
When you enroll you’ll get 3 additional gifts, designed to augment & simplify your synthesis-learning experience!
How to Plan Your 1st Hardware Modular Synth - Workshop
A $197 VALUE
Planning your first hardware system can be extremely overwhelming—with thousands of module options (and more every day!) and dozens of different kinds of cases, power supplies, and formats, it can be hard to even know where to begin.
This 2-day live, hands-on workshop will teach you everything you need to know in order to confidently plan out your first hardware modular synth, and to avoid potentially damaging (& expensive) mistakes.
In this workshop, you will:
- Discover my step-by-step process for planning a modular system that fits your ideal workflow and musical goals
- Learn about different synth formats (Eurorack, Serge, Buchla, 5U, etc.), their technical and aesthetic differences, and how to choose the right one for yourself
- Gain clarity on all the important technical specs, terminology, and nitty gritty related to purchasing and planning a modular synth (modules, cases, power supplies, cables, and more)
- Have the opportunity to receive a direct consultation on your ideal instrument setup with personalized recommendations for modules and gear
Sound Explorer's Resource Bundle - $97 Value
If you’re anything like me, you’re not just fascinated by modular synths, but by all aspects of electronic music, synthesis, composition, improvisation, and sound art.
I have spent YEARS researching and exploring these fields, and I have compiled a detailed library of my top recommendations for books, articles, documentaries, tools, and other resources to inspire and expand your musical horizons—including PDFs of rare, out-of-print books!
From Patch to Polished - Mini Course
A $247 VALUE
In this mini course, you get to become a fly on the wall in my studio, and watch as I guide you step-by-step through my entire music creation process—from coming up with inspiration for a piece, to building modular synth patches, recording everything, to working on editing and post production in a DAW and getting it ready to release.
Take my exact templates and processes outlined in this course and plug them into your own workflow to jumpstart your next creation and help you finish more music!
Hi, I’m Sarah Belle Reid!
I’m a performer-composer specializing in modular synthesizer, trumpet, and homemade electroacoustic instruments and controllers. I have performed at major music festivals around the world (Primavera Sound, Moogfest, Roskilde Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and others) and have performed and recorded with incredible artists of all genres, including Charlie Haden, Julia Holter, Avey Tare, and Adele.
I am DEEPLY passionate about making music in unexpected, innovative ways and helping others unlock their full creative potential and discover their own, truly unique musical voice. I have taught electronic music and music technology at a number of different universities (CalArts, Chapman University, Temple University) for over 5 years, and I'm thrilled to bring this synthesis program online to help more people dive into this inspiring topic.
...And, because I actually give a FAQ! Your most popular questions, answered:
Have a pressing question you need answered before enrolling in Learning Sound & Synthesis?
Below is a list of the most common questions I've been asked. If you don't see your question here, just reach out to us at [email protected] so we can assist you!