Learn Basic Music Theory
Should you learn music theory? Of course, you should! I never understood why some musicians resist learning the basic theory behind music: how to read and write, spell chords and scales, and analyze and understand rhythms, melodies, and chords. Its actually not hard at all, and if it seems hard then you are probably using the wrong materials or have the wrong Teacher .
Imagine that you lived in a foreign country where you had learned the basics of how to speak the local language, but could not read the language at all. You wouldnt be able to read a newspaper, read signs, read a restaurant menu, leave a note for someone, or understand written instructions of any kind. At some point this would become a source of frustration, wouldnt it?
Learning the basics of music theory absolutely doesnt need to be tedious or difficult, or even take a long time. There are excellent tutorials on YouTube for free, lots of well-written blogs on the subject, and getting a few books or taking a few lessons with a good Teacher certainly wouldnt hurt you in any way.
As with learning anything, you will need to apply yourself and make some small effort, but the rewards will be immeasurable and are sure to only increase your joy in music-making. Trust me on this. You will want to learn and understand music theory to the best of your ability.
Understand The Basic Elements Of Songwriting
One of the best ways to learn about songwriting is to listen analytically to a lot of songs. Choose artists and songs you love, so that it will be a fun and rewarding experience. The best musicians spend a LOT of time just listening. Its okay to have music on in the background, but analytical listening means you are paying close attention to the different sections of a song, and what is happening in each section.
For example, most songs start with some kind of an Intro and will then go to a Verse or a Chorus. Most, but not all songs will have a Bridge to provide contrast and relief to the repetition of the verse and chorus. There might also be an Instrumental Solo or a Vocal Ad-Lib section. Then at the end, if the song doesnt Fade Out on the recording, there will be a Coda or an Ending.
Maybe you are listening to instrumental music and there is no vocal. It doesnt matter, there will still be distinct sections and you should practice listening intently to identify when and how sections begin and end. Usually there is a Melody and a Chord Progression, too.Count the bars for each section and make a graph of the song form. The more you listen, the more you will learn to notice the various elements, and your understanding of how music is put together and how songs are written will grow.
Finding The Best Room For Conference Calls
Make calls from a calm, quiet place with plenty of cushioned objects
As anyone whos ever had a conference call interrupted by their kid will tell you, your location has a huge impact on your audio quality too. Try to find somewhere nice and quiet where you wont be interrupted. Coffee shops and work share environments are great for getting out of the house, but they can be noisy.
However, working from home has its disadvantages toowhether its a barking dog, a blaring car alarm, or someone mowing their lawn right outside your window at 9:15 am. Try to find a space in your house thats isolated from interruptions and excessive noise.
The size of the room also has a lot to do with your sound. If the room is too small, it can cause a short echo, which will probably make people ask if youre Skyping from the bathroom. But, recording in a room too large can make it sound like youre recording in a cave. Try to find a nice, medium-sized room with a fair amount of cushioned objects, like couches, and curtains, to help prevent sound reflections.
Read Also: Iheartradio Music Awards Channel
Editing The Final Product
How Do I Start Recording Music At Home
Beyond the computer and DAW software, you will probably want to buy some other hardware and peripherals for your laptop music-making. You will want a an entry level large diaphragm condenser microphone is the best choice for a start. You will want a good pair of studio reference headphones, which are designed specifically for music production.
Working with the virtual instruments that come with your DAW, you will want to edit notes or chords using a MIDI controller device. MIDI controllers come in different forms such as a pad controller or a keyboard, and will also allow you to manipulate the parameters to modify your sounds.
A complete entry-level package could run you as little as $800.00, and upgrading to pro gear might run a few thousand dollars more. Compared to what a complete recording studio used to cost this is a pittance. Once you cover the basics dont worry too much about the equipment and just focus on the actual music production process .
Also Check: Apple Music On Xbox
Take The Hiss Out With De
If ssss and ch sounds are causing spikes in your vocal recording, these need to be processed out. This unwanted artefact is called sibilance and is pretty hard to avoid during the recording process.
You can tackle mild cases of sibilance with a high pass EQ or low pass filter. You may even prefer reducing the gain of the problem areas manually in an audio editor, but again, the easiest route is to use a processor called a de-esser, an automated process designed especially for the job.
De-essers are pretty common plug-ins with a simple set of controls. Usually one would set the frequency of the problem area and then move onto the sensitivity or threshold setting to ensure the process only kicks in when needed. If you are in any doubt try using the plug-in presets as a guideline and starting point.
You can hear the de-esser working on the its section of the vocal here. Be careful – over use of the process can effect the signal in undesirable ways and make words sound unrealistic and illegible.
Be Careful With Your Vocal Editing
Todays software offers incredible control over recorded tracks for editing. If you have some experience with plugins and editing tools, thats great, but dont overuse them or become too dependent.
When youre doing vocal comping, try to use big portions of a given take so that you dont ruin the vibe and original nature of the performance. Fill in only the less solid parts from other vocal takes. Make sure you focus on the performance, not the pitch. Use parts that arent just sung well, but that also have personality.
Autotune and Melodyne are great tools, but don’t overdo them . Only fix the faulty words or sections don’t put the tuning plugin on the whole track.
Don’t Miss: One Song Multiple Instagram Stories
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.
How To Start A Conference Call
Assuming you followed the tips above, you should have your agenda prepared and your equipment set up before the call is scheduled to begin. As people join the call, have them announce their presence so you can great each guest by name. Tell a relevant story or simply make small talk to fill the time as people continue to join. If there are any new members to the call, be sure to introduce them to the other members of the team.
Once everyone has arrived, go over the agenda and make sure everyone has a copy so they can follow along. Make sure that your guests know to clearly state their name before speaking, so theres no confusion. If there are two callers with the same first name, identify how you will refer to each of them.
Vocal Assistant: The Starting Point For A Great Vocal Sound
Up to this point, weve developed a good understanding of how to think about mixing vocals. Vocal mixing has a lot of steps and can be highly time intensive. Fortunately, theres a feature of Nectar Pro that does most of this work for you. Introducing Vocal Assistant, one of the assistive audio technologies found in iZotope plug-ins, similar to Neutrons Track Assistant and Ozones Master Assistant. Vocal Assistant is able to analyze a vocal and identify what processing is needed based on a few broad characteristics set before analysis.
Once you activate Vocal Assistant, youll have the choice between Enhance and Unmask. Enhance will listen to your audio and create a custom preset to fit your vocal in the mix. This includes key and range detection for the Pitch module, creating a custom EQ curve based on the tonal quality of your vocal, applying the right amount of compression and vocal riding to achieve the optimal volume, and adding a bit of extra processing depending on which Vibe and Intensity you select from the Enhance menu. The Unmask feature helps carve out space for your vocal in the mix by correcting frequency masking in other tracks. You can learn more about unmasking in Nectar in this article.
Using Vocal Assistant is a massive time-saver and will give your vocal a great professional starting point for the sound youre looking for in a few clicks.
What Sort Of Progress Can You Expect With Anders Ericssons Learning Strategies
Ill let you be the judge.
I produced this in January 2016:
That was shortly after I began producing. It has a bunch of problems. Vocals are not processed properly. The low end is horrible. The overall soundscape is boring. The mixing needs a LOT of work. And so on.
Its nowhere near good enough for the club, YouTube or any respectable label.
Now, lets fast forward 14 months, to March 2017.
I produced this:
Big difference, right?
In other words, you do not need to grind for 12 hours a day for 4+ years to make music that sounds professional IF you approach your learning correctly.
In a recent case study about my rapid progress with music production, Sam said that:
the reason John has made more progress in 12 months than anyone else Ive ever seen is because of his systematic/deliberate approach to learning.
In this article and interview with Anders Ericsson, youll discover how to make the same kind of progress that I made, while working on your music only 3-4 hours a day.
Don’t Miss: Play Music On Xbox 360
Best Webcams For Conference Calls
Upgrade to a Logitech webcam for HD-quality conference calls
For videoconference calls, looking professional is just as important as sounding professional. Using a webcam with grainy, low-res video is like showing up to a pitch meeting with mustard on your shirt.
Most built-in laptop cameras have limited video quality. Plus, the camera is stuck in that awful position staring up at you from below, which is nobodys most flattering angle. External HD webcams offer the best image quality and the most flexibility for conference calls.
When shopping for a webcam, there are three main elements to consider: resolution, frame rate, and features.
Promote Your Music For Distribution
After your recordings are finished, you will face a whole new set of challenges on getting your music out so the world can hear it. Beyond mixing and mastering, post-production could include duplication , artwork, jacket design, photographs, liner notes, and promotional strategies for the release, distribution, and sales.
You will probably want to upload your music to streaming platforms like Spotify, and to design a promotional kit if you are planning to shop your music to labels or get live performing gigs. You should absolutely make sure to add the meta-data to your tracks so that the distribution and sales can be tracked, and you might also want to self-publish or seek a publishing deal with one of the major publishing companies. You could also write a plan.
One of the nicest things about this part of the process will be the feedback you receive from your listeners, which will validate the quality of your work and prove its value. Everybody has their fans, and so will you! Positive reactions from listeners will inspire you to create more music.
Learning to make music and then continually improving your musical and recording skills is a worthy goal indeed. The most important thing is to just start where you are and dive headlong into the learning process. Everyone has music inside of them, and can realize the joy of getting that music put into a form where others can appreciate it. The sooner you start, the sooner you will see the rewards of making music.
Don’t Miss: How To Make Song Repeat On Apple Music
How To Produce Professional Music Within 12 Months
This is a guest post by John Lavido. From aha to oh shit, Johns sharing everything on his journey to 100,000 fans. Follow his journey here.
If you want to make great music that touches hearts and makes people feel something whether theyre dancing in a nightclub or relaxing in their living room theres one guy you need to pay attention to above all others:
Anders Ericsson is the worlds preeminent expert on learning and elite performance. He made a name for himself studying chess champions, violin virtuosos, star athletes and memory mavens.
Maybe youve heard of the 10,000 hour rule? The 10,000 hour rules states that the only way to become a master of something is to practice it for 10,000 hours.
Well, get this
Anders Ericsson is the scientist who did the research behind the 10,000 hour rule. In Peak, he explains that its not a rule at all. Rather, it grew out of a misunderstanding of Anders research .
But more on that later
With Anders being the worlds preeminent expert on elite performance and mastery, I decided to interview him on how to apply his research to become great at electronic music production.
This article is about that interview, and how to apply Anders strategies to electronic music production.
How To Find A Good Teacher
How do you actually identify a good teacher? Being a good teacher is somebody who has an impact on the students that youre teaching.
Good teachers know how to get results. Theyre not necessarily the most entertaining, the coolest, or even the most well-known. What they excel at is primarily how to learn and improve effectively.
The good news is that contrary to what most people think finding a good teacher is relatively easy.
Ive enlisted the help of several music production teachers by offering to help them with their marketing. Instead of asking them to teach me for free , I offered to help them first , and then asked if theyll teach me.
Its a win-win.
While you might not be able to offer someone marketing help like I did, theres usually something that you can do.
For example, most people are busy, so find out whats taking up their time, and offer to do it for them. The trick is making it EASY for them to work with you.
Dont ask them to dream up some task for you, because that takes effort on their part.
First, engage and chat with them if you can, and subtly try to find out what theyre struggling with, and what they might need help with.
Maybe they need someone to manage their social media accounts for them.
Maybe they need great content for their website.
After you have been working with a teacher for a while, youll eventually surpass their abilities.
You May Like: Iheart Music Awards Live Stream