In this article, I’ll share 8 top tips that you'll need if you want to be a music producer and you're going to start producing music.
Tip #1: Critically listen to a lot of music.
Don't just listen to fall in a trance or for enjoyment. Listen to it and analyze what's going on?
Try and work out what chords are being used? What kind of sounds and melodies are they using? Listen to their soundscape, symphonies and how did they mix the arrangement? How it's all put together?
So, not just listening to enjoy but to critically analyze music and once you do that, when you will come to start producing/creating your own music, you will have all these reference points of all the other songs. You’ll start recognizing what exactly they do and you can use something similar for that (obviously don't copy it) but you can do something similar.
Tip #2: Surround yourself with like-minded and positive people who can help support your music.
If you're surrounded by people who are negative and who tell you not to do it, it's really going to put it down around your mindset and you really won't want to produce music.
Sometimes it's difficult but try and find like-minded people. People who can help support you potentially. People you can collaborate with because when you are creating any kind of music, collaboration is one of the easiest ways to kind of shortcut your success.
If you're not that good at producing drum beats, find someone really good at producing drum beats and learn from them.
If you’re not good at writing lyrics, find a great lyricist and work with them. Similarly, if you are not that good at mixing, surround yourself with great mixing engineers and soon by the power of osmosis, you hopefully will be good at that as well.
It's just really immersing yourself in the culture and the music production. You want to be like dreaming it, sleep in it, thinking about all the time and that's really how you can succeed at anything.
In my opinion, you need to be completely obsessed with it. If you're just doing it here and there every now and then, that's fine as a hobby but if you want to do it professionally or if you want to take a bit more serious, you will have to concentrate and focus on it.
You want to get that fire and passion inside you and to surround yourself with a lot of like-minded people and people who are focused on music production or whatever skill you really want to learn. I think it will definitely help you.
Tip #3: Experience live music.
Music production or any kind of music isn't just for Spotify or recorded music. Live music is a big part of the scene.
If you're into dance music, go see the big DJs, see the big clubs, see how people react to this type of music, see what people enjoy, see what's popular and cool. If you want to be commercial, go to the Berlin Techno places or whatever is cool at that time. See what people are responding and what’s in the trend.
If you're just making music here and there every now and again, it's fine but if you want to kind of catch the current trends, you really need to know where the cool places are and where the best music is.
It really depends what you want but experiencing live music is still something great. I wouldn't create music just to try and be popular because people see through that but at the same time you want to experience live music.
It’s a different experience you get from live music. Even electronic live music is what you can't get from the recorded music. Go to a lot of gigs and at the same time, still critically listen and try to analyze what's going on? Why these people are dancing at this part? Why is this DJ so popular?
Try to analyze the whole process rather than just kind of jumping on the beats and enjoying the moment.
Same goes all genres of music. If you wanna be a rock musician, go see the rock bands you enjoy. Try to analyze and work out why these people like this song/music? Why people's head is bobbing up and down?
Tip #4: Train your ears.
This can take a very long time. Certain things that can help such as playing an instrument. It can really help train your ears because you will know what the chords are, how to play them, different scales and stuff like that.
The efficient way is to learn music theory. You do get the scale options but learning music theory and to know how music works can really help your production and songwriting. You want to train your ear so you can hear the sounds you want but at the same time, knowing the basics of music theory can really help you come up with some good ideas.
There are universities where you can do online courses. There are books and loads of ways you can learn music theory from. I recommend the piano/keyboard to learn some basic chords and basic scales that can really help your music, production and even help your mixes.
Tip #5: Learn DAW.
This is a Digital Audio Workstation. There are loads of great ones out there. Some of the popular ones are Logic Pro, Ableton Live, FL Studio, Studio One and to be honest, they all do a great job but just learning 1 or 2 efficiently can really help.
If you have an idea in your head and you want to get it down onto your laptop/computer, learning how to use software can really help.
It's not just recording, you want to learn about symphonies as well and that brings me on to my next tip.
Tip #6: Learn how to mix your music.
Learn how to mix your music even if you're a singer or a songwriter, learning how to mix your music can really speed up the process.
Learn the basics like the gain stage, how a compressor works, sound effects and that kind of things. It will really improve your music and it stops you relying on other people as well. You do want to collaborate to kind of get ideas from other people but at the end of the day, if you want to be a music producer, you have to know how to do it all by yourself, unfortunately.
We live in a day and age where you can pretty much do all of it yourself on a laptop. When I started really, it wasn't like these young kids on laptops. It was kind of the old guys in the studio but now we live in a great day where basically anyone can learn how to create their music and mix it as well which is awesome.
So, just learn the essentials. Go through mixing books, course and similar resources are what I recommend just so you can learn the essentials. You will have to study a lot of it and no doubt that it will take time but it will be worth it.
Tip #7: Marketing.
A lot of musicians, artists, and producers don't really want to do this but put your music out there, build yourself a website, try and get traffic to that website so people can experience your music and your work.
You can take a lot of geeking out, a lot of studying and learning how these different platforms work but once you learn how to do the basics, you will get a lot more plays and more people to listen to your music.
There are a few additional skills that will help you a lot like learning how to use a camera. You can also create vlogs to get more of a personal touch for your audience so the people can understand you as a person rather than just a drummer or a producer.
Tip #8: Try and think, is producing music for me?
It's not for everyone but if you do want to take it seriously you can spend a lot of time in front of the computer. You can be listening to a lot of samples. You're gonna be studying a lot of different production and mixing techniques.
Those who want to do this as a hobby just every now and again, that's absolutely fine but if you want to take music seriously, you will have to get used to isolation. You will have to get used to the computer screen.
You have to love symphonies, sound design, building music and really enjoy that process of escapism when you're making your music. Check yourself like is that for you? Do you want to be producing music all the time? Is this something you enjoy?
I hope you find this article useful if you want to start producing music. Also, if you’d like to get the updates through my videos, you can visit my YouTube channel with the name of ‘Tomas George’ and I will appreciate if you subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn the notifications on so that you don't miss any of my videos.