Starting out as a musician is no easy task. Even if you have a bit of musical experience, the learning curve is still quite high for producing, mixing, and mastering your own music. Improving and succeeding as a music producer will ultimately come down to the hard work and dedication that you put into your craft. However, there are a few ways that you can help speed up the learning process. Below I have listed the top ten tips for beginning music producers.
1. Get feedback on your music
Getting feedback from other producers is one of the best ways for you to learn as a music producer. The key is to get feedback from producers whose opinions you trust and that are more experienced than you. This will ensure that you are getting feedback that will help improve your track and help guide you in the right direction.
and that are more experienced than you. This will ensure that you are getting feedback that will help improve your track and help guide you in the right direction.
2. Fancy software isn’t going to make you a better producer
Beginning producers often think that if they have the newest plugin on the market that they would become professionals. This could not be further from the truth. If you gave a professional music producer a basic set of production tools and then gave a beginning producer any software available on the market, the professional producer will always create a better sounding track. Understanding music theory, dynamics, frequencies, and arrangements are all components of making a professional song. Having the latest synth isn’t going to help you in all of these areas. Stick to a few basic tools when you are starting out and learn the ins and outs of this software. This will allow you time to learn the fundamentals of music production at a much quicker rate as you won’t be distracted by the latest software that you think will magically turn your amateur productions into professional ones.
3. Produce quickly
When you first start producing music, it can be very easy to get distracted. You are just getting used to your DAW and all the software in it. Staying focused on creating music without getting distracted will help you improve the quickest. Don’t know exactly what the compressor’s threshold does? Don’t worry about it. Focus on completing the track, and don’t focus on the smaller details. In the beginning stages, there is so much you don’t know and going down a rabbit hole of learning what a compressor is, what the threshold is, and how you can apply it to your tracks, can take hours of studying and produce almost no results. There will be a time and place to learn all of these technical details, but now is not the time.
4. Keep your projects organized
Organization is incredibly important. Labeling, grouping, and color coding your tracks are one of the best ways to improve your workflow. Without this organization, it can be easy to get lost in your project. This will inevitably slow down your workflow and slow down your growth as a producer. Every time you create a new track in your DAW, label it appropriately, color code it and put it in a group of similar instruments.
5. Focus on one skill at a time
Mixing, mastering, arranging, and sound design are all different parts of the production process. Beginning music producers are often overwhelmed by the amount of work and knowledge that goes into becoming proficient in each of these processes. In the early stages of your music production journey, it is best to pick one of these particular skills and learn just this one skill. If you are inexperienced in all of these areas, when you try and create a track and work through all these different skill sets, you will quickly become discouraged. Honing in on one particular area of the production process allows you to learn every particular skill set in depth instead of having little knowledge about each part of the production process.
6. Be patient
You are not going to be making professional records overnight or even a year from now. Time and patience are necessary to succeed as an artist. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t making the music that you know you could be making. Trust that with time, hard work, and patience that you can achieve your music production goals.
7. Back up your work
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard of music producers losing all of their work due to a computer crash or stolen laptop. This tip doesn’t just apply to music producers. It applies to everyone using a computer. Buy an external hard drive and preferably a cloud-based service to back up your computer. If your computer unexpectedly crashes or your laptop gets lost or stolen, you are never going to get your projects back unless they are backed up.
8. Produce everyday
If you are looking to take your music production career seriously then your actions need to follow. Producing every day will give you the greatest opportunity to succeed in this hyper-competitive industry. Most professionals are taking time each day to make music and you should too.
9. Learn sound design
Inexperienced producers either feel they don’t need to learn sound design or are intimidated by it. Sound design is an important skill set that is needed for transforming that idea in your head into your DAW. A great place to start learning sound design is with learning the fundamentals of synthesis and learning about the various audio effects and how they can be applied to sounds. Experimentation is key with sound design so get creative.
10. Analyze your favorite artist’s tracks
The answers are right in front of you. You are able to play back your all-time favorite tracks as many times as you would like and dissect them. Listen to how the track is mixed, what elements are used in the track, and how it is arranged. This will help you understand how a professional track is built.
Music producers who are just starting are in for an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience, but this experience will also come with frustration as learning how to produce is no easy task. Hard work and dedication will be your calling card for success in the long run. By applying the ten tips above you help bypass and shorten some of the frustrating times ahead and can achieve success as a music producer faster.
Daniel is a caffeine-dependent entrepreneur, music producer, sound design junkie, and world traveler crazy about teaching modern electronic music production through his site SoundShock.