How To Produce Music: A Beginner’s Guide
The role of the producer has been evolving for years and years. It used to be the person who booked the studio sessions, hired the musicians, and controlled the direction of the recordings. Today, that role remains for some, but we also look at producers as “the people who make the beats.”
Atlanta producer Metro Boomin is just one example of a rising star in the modern world of production. He’s produced several number-one records, and he gets full-blown media features just like the vocalists he makes beats for. We even have producers like Deadmau5 and Skrillex who are playing arenas.
So while the traditional producer role is still alive, it’s evolving, and musicians are getting more and more adept at learning how to produce their own music.
Now that the role of a producer is changing so quickly, many musicians have been taking production into their own hands. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving in, such as, “Do I want full creative control and responsibility? Do I have the time and dedication to master the art of producing?”
So, if you’ve decided this is really something you want to do, there are a few tools you’ll need. Obviously a laptop or computer is essential, but beyond that, there are countless programs and tools to get your music sounding sharp and modern.
Write Your First Song
You’ve completed the recommended video course for your DAW, but now what? The best way to continue learning how to produce music is by trying to create original compositions, and overcoming technical hurdles as you run into them. It takes most people whoâve never touched a DAW around a month of semi-regular practice to create something reminiscent of music. Donât be discouraged if it takes you a little longer everyone learns at a different pace.
I recommend that you create your first song entirely with loops. A loop is an audio file that contains a sound, or multiple sounds, that will play back cohesively when repeated. The idea here is to get used to structuring a song into different sections. A website like Splice will allow you to download royalty-free loops and other samples for use in your productions.
In lots of pop music, a song’s structure may consist of an intro, first verse, pre-chorus, chorus, interlude, second verse, pre-chorus, chorus, and then an outro. For EDM this structure may consist of an intro, breakdown, buildup, drop, interlude, breakdown, buildup, drop, and then an outro. Practice arranging loops in a way that gives rise to something that evolves over time. By approaching the process of producing music from a macro level, you won’t get caught up with the micro details. Tangible results are encouraging and will motivate you to create even more music.
How To Produce Music Like A Pro
At this point, you know how a DAW works and some basic music theory and mixing principals. Now it’s time to learn music production beyond the beginner stages. What this tends to involve is a long period of time of you doing the same thing over and over.
The difference is, with serious focus and intent, you’ll get better each time. Iteration is the key to success. You should have a monumental output, making as many songs as possible. You don’t have to share them all, but moving from start to finish is the key to improvement.
“Lock yourself in a roomDoing five beats a day for three summersThat’s a Different World like Cree SummersI deserve to do these numbers” – Kanye West
If you want to improve, you can’t treat this like a game. You have to treat it like you’re in school, studying and practicing with intent. And you’ll actually have to study more and more music theory and mixing techniques, etc. Discovering techniques and applying them is what it’s all about.
Recommended Reading: Create Slideshow With Music Iphone
Exporting Your Own Song Productions
Music Maker is not a musical computer game, but rather complete software for music production. This software allows you to produce a song and publish it outside of the Music Maker program. Share them with your friends and then invite them to collaborate on your next production.
When you have finished your first production, export it as a WAV file or in the compressed format OGG and share your audio file.
- Choose “File” > “Export”. Here, you will find all the formats available in Music Maker Free. Additional export options, such as burning directly to CD, can be found in the Store.
During export, all tracks in the arranger are mixed down together with all effects and mixer settings into one “proper” audio file. The final result will sound exactly the same as when played back in Music Maker.
Why This Is Important
If you want to cut down on the time it takes you to learn music production, its essential that you understand the bigger picture. This way you can start prioritizing the right topics and skills to learn right from day one, thus avoiding wasting time on things you should be paying no attention to for now!
For example, you could spend months learning how to design a synth patch from scratch, or you could lose your mind learning everything theres to know about compression and still be stuck at square one with no real idea of how to take a song from demo to finished record!
Now, dont get me wrong, having fun and experimenting with new ideas is a big part of the journey, but I strongly advise you first spend the next 3 months doing something else entirely
as theres a far better and more time-efficient way to learn music production!
You May Like: Does Verizon Have Free Music Streaming
Get Familiar With Mixing And Mastering
The finishing stage of the recording, mixing and mastering, is usually done by a specialized Mix Engineer and/or Mastering Engineer with different equipment and experience. The Engineer should be a separate person, as a fresh set of ears is needed to make the important final decisions on how the music will sound.
Mixing and mastering is like a polishing of your final mix. Overall dynamic levels are adjusted so that they are in an acceptable range to sound good on different playback devices. Adjustments might also be made to the EQ and effects. Multiple songs in an album will be matched in level , and if a physical copy is being made, such as a vinyl or CD pressing, there will be a few seconds of silence added between songs.
You might also ask the Mastering Engineer to add the meta-data to your tracks. Meta-data is the digital information that makes your song searchable in a database or on the web, and is important for tracking the use of your music and for getting paid royalties when your music is used by others.
Mastering Engineers usually charge by the song, so you might want to shop around to compare the costs and services provided. Can you master your tracks yourself? Probably, yes, but its really a good idea to have someone new listen with an objective view towards adding the finishing touches, so that the track you already love will sparkle and shine even more.
Fill Out The Arrangement
Even though arrangement seems challenging, its not too difficult if youre working in a DAW.
If you record your parts as you go, your DAW timeline gives you a birds eye view of everything happening in the song.
When you look at it like that, all you have to do is make use of musical variety to enhance your songs impact.
Heres our list of resources to help you craft your songs arrangement:
Recommended Reading: Allcast To Xbox One
How To Start Making Music Conclusion
Again, if youre trying to figure out how to start making music, trying to learn all the above is going to prove overwhelming.
Ideally, you should start with just one thing and take it from there. See if you can find collaborators who have strengths you dont, and you should be able to leapfrog in your music making efforts.
Most of all, remember to have fun. Music is supposed to be fun, and youll learn faster if you think of it as an experiment. Dont take it too seriously!
Do you have any other questions? Is there anything else we should have covered here?
Let us know in the comments below!
How To Start Making Music In Ableton
Are you ready to live the music producer life? I must warn you it’s awesome. Prepare for mood swings ranging from frustration to extreme euphoria, late studio nights, and traveling venues across the world, if all goes well. You might even get your dream studio, perhaps a secluded hut in the woods, for an ultimate flow of creative juices?
The way to start making music in Ableton is obvious start making music in Ableton. But to get fully ready, there are things you can do to get a head start. In this article, well explain the key steps you can take to start making music in Ableton, fast.
Lets start with the first step.
Read Also: Songs You Can Use On Imovie
Improve Your Marketing Skills
While not directly connected to rapping, every artist nowadays needs to have at least some degree of knowledge to know how to promote themselves and gather more fans. There is tons of free material on the internet to help you with that. Also, create a profile on each socialmediaplatform as soon as possible and focus on creating engaging content for your pages.
Be Consistent And Patient
The hard thing is to stick to things when you have outlived the first interest, and not yet got the second which comes with a sort of mastery. Janet Erskine Stuart
Despite all efforts to overcome creative block and the overwhelming feeling of not getting enough done or not doing your best work, stage 3 is inevitably going to last a while.
Its a natural part of an artists journey, one that cant really be avoided. You have to learn to live with it for a period of time before you come out the other side and enter stage 4.
Theres no magic trick or tip that will make stage 3 comfortable. Its uncomfortable by its very naturea constant struggle. This means that you have to be consistent and patient.
Consistency matters because, without it, youll never progress through stage 3. Consistency means building habits, and habits help you push forward when inspiration is nowhere to be seen.
During stage 3, its a good idea to get into a consistent rhythm, to set up a schedule.
For example, you might decide to commit to producing for 30 minutes per day no matter what. Start small and then you can work up to longer sessions .
Patience is also important. You have to understand that while stage 3 doesnt last forever, its not short. Even if you cant see the light at the end of the tunnel, you need to firmly believe that its there and wait. .
This is all part of developing an artists mindset, a mindset that keeps you driven and focus towards reaching your production goals.
Don’t Miss: Apple Music On Repeat
Beginners Guide To Music Production
Its MusicTechs guide to everything you need to know about music production: from recording to mixing to mastering. Welcome to our Beginners Guide Are you new to music production? Or are you returning to music making and need a refresher in certain aspects of recording, mixing and mastering? If either of these applies, then youve
Its MusicTechs guide to everything you need to know about music production: from recording to mixing to mastering. Welcome to our Beginners Guide
Are you new to music production? Or are you returning to music making and need a refresher in certain aspects of recording, mixing and mastering? If either of these applies, then youve come to the right place. Were going to explain all of the main principles of music technology and music production in as straightforward a way as possible.
Read the following and you should be in a good place to start your music making, whether as a hobby, semi-professionally or even as a career.
So Where Do We Start?The basics of a composition or song are its constituent parts i.e. the instruments and the vocals. These are the tracks and the core of the music production process is simply how you get the sounds together for each track, arrange them, mix them together and make them sound professional.
The device that enables all of this and which has become the heart of the 21st century studio is the humble computer: a Mac, PC or increasingly, portable devices like tablets and iPads.
Mixing Your Electronic Music
As with any recorded music, mixing is best tackled after the production stage.
The closer you can get to the sound you want in the composition and sound design stage, the easier the mixing stage will be.
The techniques for mixing electronic music are identical to that of acoustic music. But bear in mind a couple of caveats:
Recommended Reading: How To Add Apple Music Song To Imovie
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.
How To Make Music With Daw Software
The only real hurdle is getting a free DAW. If you’re willing to pay for one at the beginning, then I recommend starting with FL Studio for ease of use on Windows or use the free Garage Band on Mac.
Turns out Avid put out Pro Tools First which is a free but limited version. It’s good enough to get started for sure. It limits you to 16 tracks which is way more than enough if you’re clever and not wasteful.
If you learn either of those, you’ll know how to use them all and can upgrade later once you know you’re committed and not wasting money .
All you need to do is figure out how to:
- Create a MIDI with a piano roll, or
- Create an audio track enabled to record, and
- Set the input source to your webcam if recording
If you can play the keyboard and have one you can even enter MIDI data if you get a MIDI-to-USB cable. Otherwise you’ll click it in with your mouse. It’s extremely simple and often faster to use the mouse.
As a singer-songwriter, you can create an entire song out of two tracks: one for vocals and one for your guitar track. You should be skeptical of anyone that tells you it’s more complicated than this.
Recommended Reading: How To Access Apple Music Through Verizon
Start Adding To Your Plugin Collection
Lets face it, plugins are the bane of every producers existence. While they are awesome, provide incredible amounts of options and sounds, its too easy to get lost in gear-acquisition-syndrome.
When using DAWs 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 dont really need anything else.
With that in mind however, at a certain point in your production journey, you will run into some roadblocks, which youll want to expand your plugin collection for.
You might want to get a better synth plugin, or some cool digital audio effects. And, usually theyll 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 youre getting a plugin for a solid reason.
For instance: I need a compressor to warm up my vocals thats 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 its very situational. Learning how to use the Ableton built-in saturator will be more valuable to you than getting Sausage Fattener.
*2 CLiCkS bRO!*