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🎬 Getting Started
Music production can be thought about like Legos. You start with a basic foundation of the pieces and build upon that foundation to create something unique. To get started in music production, you'll need a few basics:
1. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
This is the software where you will be creating your compositions. Popular DAWs include Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, and FL Studio.
2. MIDI Controller (Optional)
This is a tool used to control your DAW. You'll need one of these to make changes to the sound, create a programmed beat pattern, and record your chords and piano rolls. Popular units include Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series, M-Audio Keystation 49 or 88, or Novation Launchkey Mini.
3. Audio Interface (Optional)
This device allows you to plug your instruments and microphones into your computer. It also helps take a load off your computer's latency and memory. It allows you to plug-in studio monitors and gets a more realistic sound than your computer's internal audio card. Popular models include Focusrite Scarlett Solo or 2i2, PreSonus Studio 68c, and Universal Audio Apollo Twin X.
4. Headphones/Studio Monitors
You don't need an expensive headphone set when you're starting out. Eventually, as you get more serious and gain some experience, you should invest in good headphones and studio monitors.
Headphones are essential for monitoring your mix. Popular models include Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, AKG K240 MKII, and Behringer DT 900 ProX. Studio monitors are also important if you're planning to make professional mixes, as they give a more accurate representation of the sound than headphones. Popular models include KRK Rokit 5 G2, Yamaha HS5, Mackie MR624, and Genelec 8010A.
5. Microphone (Optional)
You'll need at least one microphone to record your instruments or vocals. Popular models include Rode NT1-A and Shure SM7B.
6. VSTs and Sample Libraries
Start small. Stretch out the use of your stock sounds and plugins first. Learn the basics, and reward yourself once you start progressing with a sample pack here and there or a Splice membership.
🎼 Becoming a Music Producer
1. Learn the Basics
Get to know the basics of music production. Learn as much as you can about your DAW. Understand structure and arrangement. Music theory will help but not necessary. Learn to finish your projects. Learn about levels, panning, and other common effects used in music production.
2. Put in the Time and Practice
Practice makes perfect. Start by producing simple tracks and gradually work your way up to more complex productions. Focus on learning the different techniques used in production, such as mixing and mastering. Take it step-by-step.
Experiment with different sounds and effects. Try to think outside the box – you never know what you might come up with. Use a variety of sample libraries, VSTs, and plugins to create unique sounds.
Get out there and network with other musicians, producers, and industry professionals in the scene. Join music production forums, attend conferences and look for internships or apprenticeships where you can gain hands-on experience. Help others out, and you will gain invaluable knowledge in return.
5. Market Yourself
You need to market yourself if you want to be successful in the music industry. Develop an online presence and make sure that your profile is up to date with your latest work. Sign up for Soundcloud, YouTube, Reverbnation, or any other streaming platform, and start promoting yourself.