If you’re a singer, instrumentalist or songwriter, learning how to produce your own music can be an absolute game changer for your artist journey! In this post, Xylo Aria, founder of the online music production learning platform, Music Production for Women (MPW), breaks it down and gives you everything you need to know…
How To Get Into Music Production As A Beginner
I started as a singer songwriter who was always reliant on other producers to make music and I remember feeling quite frustrated as my ideas often got lost in translation. Learning to produce opened up a whole new world of possibilities that allowed me to bring my musical vision to life exactly as I heard it. To help you out on this journey, here’s everything you need to know about taking your first steps into the world of music production.
First, start with what you have.
It can be very tempting to go to a music store, ask for recommendations, and spend lots of money on new gear. Unfortunately, I made this mistake starting out, and 10 years later sold a few things that I ended up never using! There are very few things that you actually need to produce music. These include a laptop, headphones and some sort of production software.
Start with the laptop that you have if it’s powerful enough to produce. You can get a decent quality pair of headphones for around $100, and oftentimes production software companies will offer free trials of their software for you to get started with. If you want to build from there, you can add an audio interface and microphone to record audio and then a pair of studio monitors to listen back on something other than your headphones.
- If you need some more recommendations on building a home studio without spending too much on things you don’t need yet, check out my Getting Started Checklist right here.
Find a teacher.
This is a point that I wish I realized the importance of earlier! Many people decide to learn on their own from YouTube, and although this can be an accessible place to start, it can easily take five times as long to learn. In addition, not knowing what you don’t know makes it difficult to know what to search for. Getting some lessons or finding a short course, even if it’s just to learn the fundamentals, can drastically cut down the learning curve.
📚 Pro Tip: MPW runs a free Intro to Music Production class you can register for which is an excellent place to start for someone taking their first steps.
Allow yourself to make bad music.
I often see students who are very new to production feel discouraged, because they listen to pop music on the radio and feel their creations don’t sound as good. This is like comparing a toddler taking their first steps to Usain Bolt in a 100 meter sprint. They are two completely incomparable things!
So as you’re learning, set your main goal to enjoy the process rather than to create high quality music. Understand that what you make when you start will likely not sound good, and that’s all part of the process. As you spend more time with it, you will get better!
Be consistent in your learning.
Setting aside an hour twice a week is much better than setting aside a whole day once a month. Producing music involves muscle memory and understanding your tools. Building consistency in your learning will slowly bring you the familiarity you need with the software over time.
Find a community.
Learning to produce on your own can be a lonely journey, especially as a bedroom producer. When the going gets tough, doing it all on your own might even cause you to give up. Finding a community that understands what you’re going through can be a really useful resource. There are great producer communities around the world, for example Ableton has various User Groups in different parts of the world that can be a good place to start. There are otherwise also many other communities online that meet regularly who you can connect with.
Starting your production journey is the hardest part, so just take that first step! Whether that’s downloading a free trial of a software or enrolling into a free class to start. I completely understand the frustration of not knowing how things works and wanting to give up, but as you chip away at it one session at a time, you will see your skills develop and evolve. When you get to the point where you’ve created something you love and can pump it up in your car during a summer’s day drive, trust me… it will all be worth it.
👀 Want to learn even more?