You Must Start Studying Music Theory
There’s no way around this truth. Without understanding the basics of music theory, you can’t write chord progressions, melodies and bass lines, or even create a basic song structure. As you start learning techniques here, start listening as an active participant in music and try to listen for what you’re learning.
You should start at learning about how musical keys and chords work, then how to extract melodies and bass lines out of the chords you choose. Play around with that for a while then add chord progressions into the mix. From there you can start toying with chord inversions.
That’s enough to take you all the way to the top. You don’t have to get into jazz levels of theory or even beyond an intermediate understanding. Because there’s some other tricks and methods you’ll use that will add a sense of complexity and maturity to your songs. The process of learning how to start producing music cannot be separated from music theory.
Give More Than You Receive
Every time youve prioritized giving whether its in the form of feedback, sharing sounds or samples, offering advice, whatever it comes back to you 10x. Meaning the more you give, the more you seem to receive. That may sound like it is rooted in some negative intentions, but if you do it genuinely with no expectations in return, I swear youll see that life gets better and better – professionally and socially.
Theres a ton of music producers who think they need to hold on to all of their secrets. That if they shared some patch or sample or chord progression, theyd be inviting and promoting copycats. To those guys, I say this:
- Even if they did copy you, so what? Let them be second.
- Even if they had the same exact sounds as you, theyd still make something wildly different.
Plus, in reality sharing is the best way to build your network because youll be providing value to others. And btw it helps to do with a smile.
Know The Game Has Changed
Decades ago, artists would sign with a specific record label and then they together would produce copies of an entire album that would then be sold in whatever form was popular at the time from 8-tracks to CDs. Today, you will for the most part sell individual songs or albums as digital downloads through platforms like Spotify. Therefore, this type of platform has taken the place of the brick-and-mortar store in terms of the how you get your music to your customers/fans. Just so you know, though, this doesnt mean your money making potential is lost. Sure, you might still benefit more from concert and merchandise revenue but you can still make a significant amount money thanks to the 70 million people who pay to use Spotify or the additional 140 million who subscribe to the platform according to Statista. Thats a lot of revenue potential. This nets to over eight billion dollars of yearly revenue from just that one platform and Apple music is right on its heels.
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What Is The Best Music Production Software To Use
Now, onto the questions of the best beat making software. This is something many producers get hung up on, when in reality it’s quite an easy area to get right.
The type of music making software you should get will depend on what level of producer you’re currently at.
I’d recommend a different one for a beginner producer than I would an intermediate who knows they definitely want to go pro.
Let me explain.
When you first decide you want to learn music production, you don’t have more than an idea of what being a producer will be like. You might’ve seen famous producers and recording engineers and think you’d like to do the same. In reality though, you don’t know what really goes into producing a track. When you give it a try, you might find it’s not right for you.
Your first few months of audio engineering will involve a lot of learning. You won’t be making beats for the top musicians in your genre, and people won’t be paying you big money for your instrumentals. It’ll be a hard slog, at least initially.
It’s because of this that I don’t recommend investing too much money into your beats maker software at this stage of things. If you learn how to produce music and still want to pursue this path after you’ve learned the basics, then I’d suggest investing more and getting the professional music making software. But initially, start out small.
With that in mind, here are the two options I’d recommend depending on what stage you’re at.
Computer Music Production For Beginners Part : The Essentials
Not long ago, studio quality recording, mixing and were only in reach of those who had the money to hire out a professional recording studio. These days, with computer power on the rise and very affordable hardware and software, digital computer music production set ups are easily accessible to the public. Welcome to computer music production for beginners part 1: The Essentials.
Contributed by David Jiang for the Roland Australia Blog
If you want to get started in computer music production, there are four essential pieces of studio equipment youll need:
- A computer
- Digital Audio Workstation Software
- An interface
- Monitors or Headphones
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Knowing How To Make A Song Successful
Learning about the business is extremely important. One little-known fact about music producers is that, unlike artists or musicians, about half of music production is business related. A producer negotiates with artists, musicians, engineers, record labels, distributors, marketers, etc. to make a song successful.
And what is the metric of success when it comes to music, or practically anything, really?
A music producer takes care of the creative direction of music, and also takes care of how the music will be distributed and earning income for further productions. A music producer is an industry boss man or woman with a sense of creativity. Artists and musicians look to music producers to create opportunities for them. A bedroom producer does the same by creating opportunities for themselves and for vocalists who wish to collaborate with them.
Three: Get A Degree From A Respected Music Program
Attending a respected music program and graduating with a related program is another way to continue learning, growing, and networking. Music producers often take care of project budgets and business-related responsibilities. As a result, you may decide to major or minor in the music business to round out your knowledge and skillset when it’s time to apply for internships and jobs.
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How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Music Producer
Most certificate and degree programs take less than a year. The Berklee College of Music offers an online certificate program that lasts 12 weeks, but it also has a Specialist Certificate that takes a year to complete, a Professional Certificate that takes two years, and a Master’s Certificate that takes three years.
How To Get Started In Music Production
You want to become a music producer but arent quite sure where to start? Our product specialist Rob Anderson recommends being clear on the kind of sound you want to create and then immersing yourself in your local scene. “This is a way to find out what tracks work, and ultimately help inspire you to start creating,” he explains.
Whether youre into deep house, techno, EDM, or hip-hop, head to clubs that play your chosen sound. Listen to podcasts or tune in to radio shows its useful to get to know the artists who are already out there making music.
Find mentors. Experienced music producers who can guide you through the steps to building your production setup and give you feedback on your music, Anderson says.
And DJs who want to expand their skill set can take heed from producers whove already made the leap, says French DJ and producer Sirus Hood. I was a local DJ in Paris and I was always playing in the same venues without evolving. I knew that the only way to go to the next level was by producing my own music.
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What Do You Need To Produce Music
OK, lets talk gear. Now, you could easily walk into a shop and spend tens of thousands of dollars without blinking, but I would not suggest this, to say the least.
For those of you who are just getting started, heres a shopping list of the bare essentials.
- A computer
- Music producing software, such as a digital audio workstation
- A MIDI keyboard
- Studio headphones
Yeah, thats it. Whats more important for aspiring music producers than purchasing gear is to master the gear at their disposal. Before you dive in, take a second to ask yourself a few questions.
- What is your budget for purchasing gear? Once you figure out how much money you can spend, youll have a better idea of what type of gear that youll need to master.
- What audio interface and DAW are you using? While its not a bad idea to know your way around multiple DAWs and audio interfaces, dont overwhelm yourself by trying to learn all of them at once. Start by learning the ins and outs of the tech that you know youll be using.
- What types of music do you want to produce? Your gear list will ultimately be dictated by the genres and styles of music that you think youll produce. A music producer who focuses on metal will have far different requirements than one whos learning how to start producing electronic music.
Start Adding To Your Plugin Collection
Let’s face it, plugins are the bane of every producers existence. While they are awesome, provide incredible amounts of options and sounds, it’s too easy to get lost in gear-acquisition-syndrome.
When using DAW’s like Ableton Live or Logic Pro X, you already have everything you need to make music.
Usually with hundreds of ways to shape your sound, as well as multiple different synths and gigabytes of samples, stock libraries have gotten so advanced, that you don’t really need anything else.
With that in mind however, at a certain point in your production journey, you will run into some roadblocks, which you’ll want to expand your plugin collection for.
You might want to get a better synth plugin, or some cool digital audio effects. And, usually they’ll help you make better music.
Beginners can get carried away with purchasing plugins though, so be warned!
There are always fantastic , so check those first, and make sure you’re getting a plugin for a solid reason.
- For instance:I need a compressor to warm up my vocals that’s a good reason.
- Not:this plugin is going to make my music instantly better because I saw someone else using it and they made something great.
Placing too much importance on plugins can lead you to creating dead mixes. For example, Sausage Fattener is an awesome saturator, but it’s very situational. Learning how to use the Ableton built-in saturator will be more valuable to you than getting Sausage Fattener.
*2 CLiCkS bRO!*
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Performer Music Industry Jobs
Most performers have various sources of income and dont rely exclusively on performance revenue to sustain their careers .
There generally isnt guaranteed pay as a performer , because it depends on the types of gigs you get booked for.
But depending on your goals, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue. Here are a few types of performers:
The Value Of Understanding Music Production For Songwriters
You can, of course, take it all the way and learn how to produce distribution-ready music completely on your own. If youre an artist, this will potentially save you thousands of dollars. Plus, you may even be able to produce for other clients and make extra income.
But even if thats not your goal, just learning the basics of music production will allow you to:
- Find your own unique style
- Improve your songwriting
- Produce demos to pitch to other artists
- Produce demos to show to another producer, who can then polish them up and get them ready for distribution
- Collaborate with other producers and accurately express your ideas about how you want your song to sound
Now that youre aware of the benefits of understanding music production for songwriters, lets get into how to actually get started. We wont get into too much detail about specific DAWs and techniquesthere are plenty of great articles about this on the Splice blogbut well cover the basics steps youll need to take and the factors youll want to consider.
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Is Music Production A Good Career
If thinking on your feet, solving issues, and leading people are some of your virtues, music production is a great career. Nowadays, the lines that separate an artist from a music producer are fragile, especially in the independent world. If you’re writing and recording music at home, you’re also producing.
Get A Digital Audio Workstation
Technology has made it easier for anyone with a computer to explore music production. Aspiring music producers can download a Digital Audio Workstation to familiarize themselves with the software used to record and produce music. While the software used in music production may appear complicated at first, there are many online tutorials and resources to learn their features quickly and easily. There are several options when selecting a DAW, so consider a free trial period to decide which one you prefer.
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Key Discipline : Finish Fast And Finish Often
As Ira Glass so famously put it, the best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work. Herbert Lui, Why Quantity Should be Your Priority
One trap that a lot of producers fall into in stage 2 is the perfection or masterpiece trap. They think that they must create amazing workthat they must focus on creating masterpieces.
Having a perfectionist attitude in stage 2 is not only an inhibition to learning and progression, it also destroys your self-esteem. Why? Because even if you were to set the perfect standard for your work and achieve it , youre progressing at such rapid speed that youll be disappointed in your masterpiece a few weeks later.
What you should focus on instead is finishing. Not just finishing, but finishing tracks as often as you can.
When I was in stage 2, Id finish tracks in one day. They didnt sound that great, but I learned something new with each project.
You have to focus on quantity during this stage, because if you do, quality will inevitably go up and youll learn much faster than you would otherwise.
Gain Access To The Recording Studios
After you have built a bond of trust with the studio owner, you may be allowed to use the studios, nights or weekends if there are no paying clients. This is a great opportunity to try out many of the production techniques you have learned by being in professional recording situations day in and day out. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of these opportunities! You must practice the lessons you learn in the studio till they become second nature. As I always say, record your friends and make your mistakes with them. This way, you won’t make the same mistakes with your paid clients.
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Try To Produce An Original Song
Once you feel like you have a good grasp on what makes a good song, its time to put this knowledge to the test and try producing something original. This is an exciting step, because this is where youll start to discover your own unique style and signature sound.
The most important thing to remember here is to have patience. The first few songs you try to produce likely wont be any good. But every time you sit down to practice, youll learn something new and get a little bit better.
Never Stop Learning F*ck Complacency
Youll have to realize that it never stops.
Whether youre a superstar like Skrillex, or just a kid in their moms basement, the drive to get better and learn more should never diminish. The second you think you have succeeded – whether commercial or personal its only the next step in a never-ending staircase.
You cant allow yourself stay stagnant and not strive for improvement. Otherwise, your art will become stale, and perhaps more importantly, youll feel less fulfilled or challenged in your work.
To aid in your music production journey, here are some of my favorite resources Ive spent the last several years digging through:
But hey, dont make this a priority just bookmark these sites and comb through them when creativity is lacking and youve already tried making music for several hours.
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What Jobs Can I Get As A Music Producer
There are a lot more jobs you can get as a music producer than you think. Back when I was a music production school student, I was a bit close-minded to the things that were really capable. It was beat-maker or nothing else.
That’s changed a bit since then haha!
Here’s a list of common music production jobs:
The possibilities are endless. You could be a composer for TV & Film, run your own Podcast, run a YouTube channel, design sample packs, do sound design for games, become a foley artist and more.