No matter how famous or talented a music producer is, they all had to start somewhere.
You can pursue beat-making, full production, or mixing and mastering. But first, you need to learn the steps necessary to prepare for this journey into music production. Let’s get started.
10 Tips For Music Production Beginners
Your career will likely be more unpredictable the younger you are. It’s possible to miss something very important or wish you could change it later. But now it’s too late.
Although this may have been true in the past, it is not now. To help us make tracks, we now have access to the most advanced AI production tools.
This article will focus on key points that can help you build a career as a music producer/technician. You could also generate regular income streams through music production!
We have compiled ten essential music production tips for beginners to give you an idea of where to begin your career in music.
1. Basic but important gear
You will likely need some gear to start producing and music production. Everyone will tell you that more expensive gear is better, but when you’re just starting, it doesn’t matter.
Higher quality gear will require more expensive gadgets to accompany it. This can increase your overall costs. You may still be learning the game, and it might be difficult to decide where to take your musical passion. Don’t spend too much on gear if you are still considering your options.
It’s best to get some basic gear at this stage. Start with a good computer. You should first focus on the CPU, RAM, and the hard drive that will hold your work. Dual monitors are a great option if you have the chance. It will make your workflow more efficient and save you money.
Two in/out audio interfaces will suffice. Also, a 25-key MIDI keyboard and headphones are essential for any home recording studio. These can be upgraded to a higher quality option if you have the money, or you can opt for a more affordable model if not. You must switch between the two monitoring systems to hear the differences in your music.
A good microphone for vocal recording is essential. A large-diaphragm microphone will work well for recording great vocals at the beginning stages of your career.
Now you have your basic equipment. Let’s move on to the most important.
2. Room acoustic treatment
New producers often overlook this step, but getting on the right track is crucial. You will struggle to produce and mix properly if your room isn’t well-treated, no matter how expensive the gear is.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. You can set up basic acoustic treatment and make a great sound even with little money.
It is important to eliminate the reverberation from the room, deal with the room modes, and reduce the bass in corners. You will need acoustic panels and cloud panels above your head. The back wall can also have sound diffusers to disperse sound waves.
Get panels made with Rockwool and fiberglass wool instead of acoustic foam.
You should also avoid “overtreating” your room to kill high-frequency frequencies. You are probably overtreating your room if it sounds too dry or quiet.
This is the most important point because the final sound depends on the room’s treatment. According to a professional acoustician, the room determines 60% of the sound. Even though the numbers may not be exact, it shows room treatment’s importance.
3. Pick your DAW
You can now do all your work digitally. You can now do the entire process digitally and even go back to fix things you don’t like. You will also save a lot of time and money.
You will need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to do this. This software can create, record, mix, master, and remix your music from one platform. You can use various free software to get started with digital music production.
We will not recommend that you use a particular DAW in this guide. You will have to choose your own. Some are better for production than others, while some are better for beat-making and mixing.
See our list of top free DAWs in 2022 to help you choose the right DAW for music making.
One thing is certain: it’s not the weapon that matters. It’s the warrior who uses it. You can master any DAW and create great music on any platform if you are good at what you’re doing.
4. First, use your ears.
Now that we have finished with the physical aspect of music production, we will share some tips to help you prepare for the action.
We noticed that most engineers who are new to the field rely too heavily on the interface once they have discovered the visual aids in their DAWs or VST plugins. A spectrum analyzer, for example, is a wonderful tool. The analyzer should always be checked before any project is started or completed.
We can’t just focus on the visuals, as that would lead to losing the essence of music-making. Music is a process that relies on our ears. The visual aids are just that, helpers. These visual helpers can be helpful in guiding us to do the right things, but they cannot guide us blindly.
Try closing your eyes and listening to music with 100% focus on your hearing. You will make better decisions if your brain pays more attention to the only active sense, the hearing.
5. Reference industry-standard music
You should have a favorite genre to start your career in the music industry. You need to be familiar with the music and the style it is if you want to work in the same genre (which is 99% of the time).
If you’re tired of listening to music all day but still have some time, listen to your favorite songs and analyze them. This step is where you listen to what you’re listening to and make notes.
Notate what you hear, what makes it unique, the BPM range that this genre uses, technical and creative points from mixing perspectives, and the balance of elements.
This will allow you to stay in tune with your favorite genre and create music that is similar to songs that are currently on the charts. This is a simple way to learn more about your particular genre.
6. Be original
We want to remind you not to cite tracks you have heard, and we also warn you not too much about being original. You may be tempted to rewrite the same notes as the original track by referencing it.
Avoid this trap and discover your own path to the music you love. The genre reference notes can be used as a guideline, but you should try to add your own style and sound. This applies even when you use AI tools to inspire. While it’s great to get inspired and give them your own spin, you should not copy someone else’s sounds.
You can combine the best of both genres and your own style to create something truly unique that will become your long-term signature and set you apart from other artists in the same genre. This is one of the main goals that you should have when you enter the music-making industry and in a particular genre.
Nobody was hurt by being unique, but everyone was praised for the work they did. This applies to all music workers – producers, arrangers, and mix/master engineers. You will be able to go far with your originality.
This is a common saying you’ll hear throughout your career as a music producer. We are all aware that less is better. However, the most important thing is to not overdo something. This term is very useful.
Music Production – Too many tracks with elements to fill in the “empty spaces” in a song.
Excessive Layering – Adding multiple tracks of the same hit (kicks or snares, for example)
Arrangements – Too many transitions, fills, and variations can lead to a variety of arrangements. Just enough is enough.
Recording – Even if you have enough, recording can take some time. You don’t need 20 tracks of ad-libs. A maximum of 2 tracks will be played simultaneously.
Mixing and mastering – Too many plugins are added to a single track. If your signal requires this much processing, it is likely that something is wrong, and you need to go back into the production process and fix it.
It’s more effective to sound empty and clear than to sound overloaded and messy.
8. See others doing their magic.
You have the chance to learn from established producers and intern at a company. We didn’t have that option, so we had to learn from other sources.
It’s easier than ever to learn, so don’t stress. Everything is an excellent learning resource, from YouTube tutorials to paid masterclasses and written material and books. We believe that watching the greats do their work is what will be most helpful for beginners.
It doesn’t matter if you have a YouTube tutorial from your favorite producer, or you can go to a local studio and get advice from your producer. This will make your life easier.
As we said, it is best to be in the studio. If you have any questions about the process, you can ask the producer. If you’re lucky enough, a producer who doesn’t have ego issues will be able to transfer all their knowledge to you and make you a loyal assistant and independent producer.
9. Get feedback
Music is a team sport. You will need to share your progress with others and get their opinions.
You will learn from the average listener how your music impacts them. They will often be able to give you insight into how the larger population reacts to your music. Even if they don’t say anything, even if your song isn’t that great, you can draw conclusions from what they are saying while you listen to it.
You will get constructive feedback from experienced producers and listeners. This will help you to improve your skills as a mixer or music producer. If they are open and honest with their comments, you will gain a lot from them.
Both cases are different. You should be cautious about taking the advice. Sometimes, you may receive advice that is not very helpful, but that could be detrimental to your music. Be careful with what feedback you receive, and only take the best.
10. Take frequent breaks
This tip is too important to miss. Breaks should not be taken lightly and should not be treated as a joke. It is impossible to sit in a studio for more than 7-8 hours without taking a break to produce or mix. Even if your ears and mind aren’t aware, you may be feeling tired.
Another thing to avoid after a party is coming home late and getting into production or mixing. Your ears will ring, and you won’t be able to make the right decisions.
We recommend taking breaks every 10 minutes and not working for more than 3 hours at a time.
Tired ears will make you regret making decisions in the morning. You’ll see the benefits of frequent breaks.
While there are many tips to help new engineers and producers, these ten will set you up for a career in music production.
These are some of the things I wish someone had told me when I first entered the world of mixing. Don’t ignore any of these tips. It is crucial to make the right decisions early in your career to reap the benefits later.