Do you want to become a better music producer? Or even just get started with the basics? Well you're in luck, as I've created an epic guide for both beginner and intermediate music makers. On this page you'll find important steps to becoming a music producer. Namely:
- The skills you need when learning to produce music.
- The best cheap music making software for beginners.
- Good beat production software for intermediate and experienced producers.
- Where to find advanced tips for music producers (e.g. mastering, compression, EQ… all the stuff needed for a professional sounding track).
- Whether or not it's possible to become a famous producer fast.
- And more.
You want to learn how to become a successful music producer, so let's get into it right away.
Note: While the below has some good knowledge for getting on the right track with producing, if you want to learn the techniques top producers use to make their tracks sound a cut above the rest, you'll need proper producer education, some of which you can learn via the guides on this site. Use these alongside the below for a complete look at becoming a pro music producer.
Tip: Use the menu at the top of this page to jump to the section you require.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
Free eBook: Discover how real independent musicians like you are making $4,077 - $22,573+ monthly via Youtube, let me know where to send the details:
What Makes A Good Music Producer
Before we look at the technical aspects of producing music, we need to cover a few things which will help you stand out from the crowd. Forget the best software to make beats; if you don't have that creative spark inside you, even thousands of dollars of software and hardware won't help you make good tracks!
The information on this page will get you started with the technical aspects of producing good music, but you also need to learn how to structure songs, get good ideas, and create your own unique style. With that in mind, here are some tips which will help you make better music:
Learn How To Structure Your Songs From The Best
While it's important to be original, when you're first starting out it's important you learn what goes into making a good song; specifically in terms of structure. This is an extremely important step that many often overlook, and as a result produce below par music for a very long time.
What I suggest is you is find a few good (but not to complex) backing tracks for your genre of choice. Next, pick one, and try and recreate it sound for sound in your beat maker software. You don't need to go to audio engineering schools to be able to do this, you're directly learning from the biggest tracks in your genre. This may take a few hours, or it may take a few days, depending on how fast you work and how good you are at picking up sounds.
Once you've recreate the song step by step, take a step back and look at what went into making it. Chances are there's lots more instruments and sounds involved than you initially thought there was going to be. Furthermore, I'm sure it changed up quite a bit throughout the song.
Of course you can't release this song or claim it's your own; this is all training.
Next, recreate another different style of songs, and then do another. I'd recommend you do at least 5 or so of these so you know what really goes into making the best songs in your genre. What do they all have in common if anything?
- Are they all around the same tempo?
- Do they all use similar sounding instruments?
- Are there similarities in the drum or hi hat patterns?
By doing this you'll begin to see structures and formulas which are proven to work, and things that you can possibly apply to your own work. Don't underestimate how important this step is.
Have A USP To Differentiate Yourself From Other Producers
Although it's important to learn what goes into making a good song using the above strategy, it's also important that you're not just a copy of what's already out there. Yes you can pick up and use tips for what makes a good song, but you need to add in something different of your own which makes you stand out from the crowd. For example:
- Maybe you can have a signature sound. A certain instrument or song structure that people can recognize your productions by.
- You could include a sample that you always use in one way or another.
- You could cross genres, making your music different from what's already out there.
- Maybe you could only have specif styles of vocals on your tracks, short bursts of vocals or chopped up vocals.
- Another idea is to differentiate yourself via your personality. While not a production trick, by being a likeable person or standing for something people can relate to, people will want to work with you for those reasons.
It'll be a lot harder to make it as a professional producer if you sound pretty much like everyone else, so do something to stand out from the crowd. And be sure to draw attention to what makes you unique.
Experiment With Different Sounds And Ideas
As with many things in life, many people will try and tell you there's a right and wrong way of producing. While this is true to an extent, once you know the right way and can use it well, you should aim to switch things up a bit.
If you follow the rules 100%, you will sound like everyone else. It's because of this that you should try unconventional sounds, different ways of mixing, and different song structures every now and then. How different you aim to make your beats is up to you, but test different things and see how people react. Some may not work out, but some ideas may be received really well and help you establish yourself as a producer worth buying music from.
So now you know some theory about what makes a good music producer, let's look at the actual music making side of things.
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.
Beginner Music Producers
As I mentioned, if you've never owned any music making software for PC or Mac, you don't want to jump in right away and spend $500 upwards on the best music making software. What if you do and then decide music production isn't for you? You've just wasted a lot of money, that's what.
If you're a beginner, I suggest you go for easy music making software initially. Not only is it easier to use than most of the top music making software, but it's also a lot cheaper. At around $39.95 for it, cheap but decent softwarewill be a good tool for testing the waters and seeing if music production is for you.
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't the best software for beat making. That said, it does provide an important role: giving beginner producers an affordable way to get to grips with music production. You'll get to make your first few beats and instrumentals which you can put online or give to any musicians you know. From here, a few months down the line you'll know if you want to pursue music production and engineering as a professional.
Use Cubase Or Pro Tools If You're An Intermediate Music Engineer
So let's say you've been producing for a while and you know that you want to produce music for a living. Maybe you want to go into music engineering one day, and you want the top music production software money can buy. In that case, I'd suggest you go for something more like Cubase or Pro Tools.
Both of these are widely thought of as being some of the best music production software around. They can offer a industry standard level of music production, and allows you to alter sounds in ways that cheaper music making software can't do.
Buying either of these tools will future proof your recording engineer career. If you don't want to, you won't have to buy an alternative again in future. You may however want to buy upgrades and additional plugins down the line if you want to make your productions sound even better.
Along with being some of top music making software around, both of these understandably hold a bigger price tag. That said, it's a one off cost, and it's always good to invest in your future. Whether you're learning how to produce music for fun or to potentially one day make this your career and earn a salary, with enough dedication and learning the skill thoroughly, you should be able to recoup your initial investment over time.
Remember, while the most important thing about being a top producer is the creative ideas in your head, being able to execute those ideas properly is very important too. For that you've need professional tools.
Learn Advanced Music Producer Skills
So if you know you want to be a professional music producer, there are a few technical skills you need to learn beyond the basic tutorials you'll find with your software's instruction files. These tutorials often teach you how to upload samples, how to arrange instruments in your sequencer, and other standard skills you'll need to run your digital audio workstation (DAW for short). This is great for beginner music producers, but if you want to step it up to professional beat maker status, you need to learn:
- How to properly mix your track.
- How to master your music.
- How to use compression to get the perfect levels.
- How to effectively EQ your tracks.
- And more essential skills for making a professional sounding track.
If you're serious about becoming a top music producer you'll need to learn these things. You don't need to go to music production colleges or get a degree in music production; the above video courses is like an online music production degree in itself. Although you don't get a certificate at the end (which doesn't help much in many parts of the music industry anyway), it's a lot faster and a lot cheaper. So have a look.
How To Become A Famous Music Producer Fast – Is It Possible?
Ok, so I'll let you in on a little secret:
There's no sure fire way to become a famous music producer quickly!
Well there is, but it's not at all easy to achieve. While unrealistic, it'd go something like this:
- Become better than 95% of other sound engineers very fast.
- Successfully connect with popular musicians and record labels and get them to use your beats in exchange for money.
- Ensure you're credited and mentioned on all the tracks when they're being played.
Easy on paper, not so easy in reality. If you want to get your name out there as a top beat maker, your best bet is to make good quality music and promote it effectively. I've already talked a lot about music marketing on this site so have a look around. Or if you're serious about learning how to promote your music, you should enroll in the IMA Music Business Academy for a structured music business plan you can easily implement.
So there you have it, a beginners guide on how to produce music like a pro. I hope you've enjoyed it; if so, please share if via social sites and link to it from your music site. I'll be updating and adding more to it in future, so be sure to keep checking back for the latest.
In the future I'll be talking about other kinds of DAW (you can see a list of them here), whether you should hire a studio or use a home one, where to get samples and more.
Final Bonus Knowledge
Here's a quick and important video by Graham Cochrane on the secrets the big music producers don't tell you (watch the first three minutes or so, after that it starts repeating):
Mad right? The good thing is you now know a very important fact which many still try and solve by mistakingly spending more on more expensive equipment. If you're ready to learn the same skills big producers and sound engineers use to make them their money, check out this section.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!
If you're slow at programming drums saves time and the vibe is very important always maintain your
- Compose a catchy melody. ...
- Use all types of chords. ...
- Create a memorable rhythm. ...
- Build your song around a riff. ...
- Write a song you can play live. ...
- Step away from your instrument to write. ...
- Get ambitious with song structure.
- Computer Hardware. For starters, a laptop or desktop computer capable of running modern software will be needed. ...
- Digital Audio Workstation. ...
- Musical Instrument Digital Interface. ...
- Audio Interface Hardware. ...
- Microphone. ...
- Other Accessories.
If a piece sounds professional, it has a great arrangement. I have worked with many artists who do not know how to arrange a song and they always want to make a complicated arrangement, but this is not the way to make the track great. A good song needs a simple structure and good placement for all instruments.
How to Edit Mp3 Audio Files - YouTube
Music production is hard because it demands a varied set of skills. Successful music producers need to be good at composing, mixing, and mastering music. They also need to know how to work with other musicians. Finally, they have to be business-savvy to make it in a highly competitive industry.
Music Production for beginners TUTORIAL - YouTube
The most popular DAWS at the moment are Ableton Live, Logic Pro and FL studio. In addition to DAW's EDM artists also use several plugins for these DAW's which are in essence emulations of existing instruments and analog audio effects.
How Industry Producers Perfectly Mix Their Beats | Fl Studio - YouTube
- Bring Them in Early. The beginning of a mix is like a blank canvas. ...
- Process Them in Context. The solo button is your enemy. ...
- Use Pre-Delay. ...
- Find the Right De-Esser. ...
- Avoid Ultra-Fast Attack Times. ...
- Don't Rely on Compression Alone. ...
- Pay Attention to Breaths and Other Noises.
Mixing is hard because you have to train your ears to hear stuff you haven't previously heard. It's like learning an instrument. It takes patience and practice. And once you can hear all that stuff you still have to experiment a lot to have an opinion about it.
To make vocals sound better, start by editing – when editing, cut out background noise, use clip gain to balance dynamics, and even remove plosives or unwanted sibilance. Then you can introduce subtractive EQ, Compression, Additive EQ, Saturation, Exciters, and various forms of short and long reverb.
To make a vocal sound close in proximity, record closer to the microphone, use compression with a slower attack and fast release, boost the high frequencies, and keep the vocal as dry (less reverb) as possible. By combining these three techniques, you can get a very close-sounding vocal.
How to Combine Audio Tracks Quickly & Easily - YouTube
The Basics of Mixing for Beginners: Start Here - YouTube
How to Mix 2 Audio Tracks with Free Audio Editor - YouTube
Try to spend one hour per day focused on music production. If you find it exceptionally hard to do this, start even smaller (15 or 30 minutes).
On average it takes around 4-6 years to master music production to a level where you can produce to a professional standard. This time is dependent upon the hours you put in each day, and any relevant experience or skills you might already have.
Music production is an excellent career for those who are genuinely passionate about music. Producers are creative beings who trade nights of rest and peace of mind for songs. If thinking on your feet, solving issues, and leading people are some of your virtues, music production is a great career.
A super-producer is a music producer that can take on the majority of roles other music producers do, and do so incredibly well. Super producers are artists, tracking, mixing, and mastering engineers, composers, and often play the majority if not the entirety of the instruments on their record.
A lot of electronic music producers, as well as hip-hop music producers, make most of their money by playing live shows. Besides earning money, live gigs also allow them to connect with their fans, build their personal brand, and create buzz around their music.
How much do music producers make? The average salary for music producers is $32,379 per year . Some producers also earn a percentage of albums' revenue in addition to their base salary. Salaries vary based on education, experience and location.
Being a music producer is difficult for a number of reasons. The first one is that it takes a long time to get to a level where your music is actually worth releasing. There are intricacies involved in music production that not only take a while to understand in theory, but require deliberate practice.
- Ableton's Interactive "Learning Music" Course. If you know nothing about music theory, this is the place to start. ...
- LightNote, the Most Gorgeous Site to Learn Music. ...
- Michael New's YouTube Lessons. ...
- The Basics of Reading Sheet Music. ...
- Music Theory's Lessons and Exercises.
- Music production software and equipment. ...
- Producing music in a DAW. ...
- Songwriting and composition: create a song. ...
- Sound design: Build the sound you hear in your head. ...
- Samples, plugins and MIDI: Your digital sound tools. ...
- Sound recording: Capture the world around you. ...
- Mixing music: Blend your sounds together.
- Read the whole score.
- Listen to the whole piece.
- Play through the entire piece slowly.
- Divide the piece.
- Use various techniques for different passages.
- Put the whole piece together.
- Rinse and repeat.
- Find an audience to perform.
Absolutely! Just like the students studying on Berklee's Boston campus, Berklee Online students receive instruction from the same world-renowned faculty, with the added benefit of having music industry professionals from around the world teaching as well.
Each song is unique, so there can never be a cast iron reliable method for writing one. This means every song involves an element of trial an error which is time comsuming. There are also several skills we need to learn because songs are a jumble of fast moving parts and it's easy to write one that doesn't work.
- Continue developing yourself as a musician. ...
- Start with a title and hook. ...
- Develop your theme. ...
- Ask yourself questions about the title/hook. ...
- Find your melody and chords. ...
- Work on the parts of your song. ...
- Use technology and don't get discouraged.
What Is a Bridge In a Song? A bridge is a section of a song that's intended to provide contrast to the rest of the composition. From The Beatles to Coldplay to Iron Maiden, songwriters use bridges to change moods and keep audiences on their toes.
So you see, the process of writing songs is perfectly possible even if you don't play an instrument. Start with what you've got: lyrical ideas, hummed melody lines, some chord listening skills, and so on.
The piano is arguably the easiest musical instrument for kids to learn and there's a ton of easy songs to learn. It's a great way to introduce children to music, mostly thanks to the simple, logical layout of the keys.
The easiest way to make a song without live instrumentation is to create a song with only vocals, also called an acapella track. Singing acapella can be a challenge if you plan to do a hard melody or include harmonies, so make sure you have a strong musical ear and can stay in key.
Music Production Equipment
Computer. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): Pro Tools, Logic Pro, GarageBand, etc. MIDI Controller. Audio Interface.
Kanye West, Dr. Dre, and Pharell – three of the most well-known and successful hip hop producers and songwriters – all use Pro Tools for their musical process. Other notable users include Danger Mouse, Timbaland, and pop producer phenom Max Martin.
- Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter. Type: Equalizer. ...
- Neve 1073 by Universal Audio. Type: Equalizer. ...
- Abbey Road RS124 by Waves. Type: Compression. ...
- Waves CLA-2A by Waves. Type: Compression. ...
- Trash 2 by iZotope. ...
- C6 Multiband Compressor by Waves. ...
- Delay Tape-201 by Arturia. ...
- Valhalla Plate by Valhalla.
How to Make Beats Like the Pros - YouTube
How to Mix in FL Studio 20 - YouTube
HOW TO MIX & MASTER YOUR BEATS IN FL STUDIO 20 - YouTube
How to Balance Vocals - YouTube
With almost everything in the music production world, there is no one or "right" way to do something. But that being said, there is still a general rule of thumb that you want to follow when mixing. Start mixing the instruments first, then move on to the vocals.
Here's what I found. Generally speaking, mixing engineers will set vocal levels to approximately -18dB, plus or minus a few dB. They're usually one of the louder parts of the mix. If they're not the loudest part, they're often perceived this way due to techniques like subtractive EQ, compression, and de-essing.
- Open or create a new Pro Tools session: ...
- Locate your playback position at bar 2:
- Click on the top menu bar: Event -> Time Operations -> Move Song Start:
- The Time Operations window will open at the Move Song Start function as: ...
- Set the previous parameters as:
- Press “Apply”:
Writing a Song in Pro Tools: First Steps - YouTube
Learn At Your Own Pace
You can take the class at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home, or studio. Our Online Pro Tools Training courses offer hours of step-by-step explanation and demonstration, as well as downloadable materials to follow along with.
Professional studios can take any form, anywhere. And with a Pro Tools system, you can produce the same quality music as a high-end facility—no matter where you create it, even if it's a home studio setup.
- Select Playback Engine and I/O settings. Playback Engine settings. I/O Settings.
- Create audio track and select the input path. Create an audio track.
- Record audio with Pro Tools. Record enable and play.
How To Record in Pro Tools - YouTube
This indicates that Pro Tools is ready to record. To begin recording, press the Play button or hit the spacebar. When you are done record, press the spacebar again or click Stop in the Transport Window. To listen back to your recording, you need to take your track(s) out of record mode.
Making music with samples in Pro Tools - YouTube
AVID Pro Tools First - Tutorial for Beginners in 12 MINUTES! - YouTube
Pro Tools | First plug-ins
2 is a great Virtual Instrument to start creating music with. It comes with over 2,500 presets including piano, organ, pads, synths, drums, percussion, brass, woodwind etc.
For students already familiar with other DAWs and mixing fundamentals, each course can be taught in short 2 to 3 day intensive classes.
For better or worse, Pro Tools is about as hard to learn as any other software program or DAW. The time it takes you to learn and master pro tools will vary depending on your previous experience, age, and how much time you commit to learning the software. On average, it takes about six months to master pro tools.
FL Studio is aimed towards electronic music producers, most of which don't sample much live audio. Pro Tools, on the other hand, excels at capturing live performances and live recordings of all kinds. This is why you'll see Pro Tools most commonly used in professional recording studios.
That said, 40 has a preference when it comes to DAWs that he uses to produce Drake's music, and they are: Avid Pro Tools. Ableton Live. Steinberg Cubase Pro & Steinberg WaveLab.
Kanye West, Dr. Dre, and Pharell – three of the most well-known and successful hip hop producers and songwriters – all use Pro Tools for their musical process. Other notable users include Danger Mouse, Timbaland, and pop producer phenom Max Martin.
Today in the 21st Century it's just more convenient to also use digital tools and not only analog hardware to produce music. So after Kanye West creates his beats with his analog gear he is using the Digital Audio Workstation called Pro Tools for the processing.