Anyone can be a musician. All you need is a room, some gear, and an idea. If musicians like Billie Eilish and Skrillex can make Emmy-award-winning hits in their bedroom, so can you. Here are eight essential music production tips to kickstart your music career.
Study Music Theory
Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. No one wants to learn music theory but it is essential for understanding chord progressions, melodies, bass lines, and basic music structure. Simply learning what chords and melodies are will take you a long way when producing music. There are hundreds of online courses and books that will give you all the information you need to go from zero to hero in no time.
Listen to other music for inspiration
We listen to music on a regular basis, whether it’s in a bar, a shop or even your car. Wherever you go there is usually music playing in the background without you even realising. But have you ever sat down and really listened to each instrument playing? By actively listening to music, you begin to notice how the song is structured and what the lyrics mean. Listen to various genres to help give you ideas on how to structure your own song. This is a great way to help you decide what instruments you want to use and the overall style of your own music.
Recording apps are your best friends
Have you ever been on the road and suddenly an idea for a song plays in your head? Stop the car, get your phone and start humming. Oftentimes, inspiration comes out of thin air, so it’s important that you are always prepared to take notes at a moment’s notice. Most phones today come pre-installed with voice recording apps that you can use to hum or sing to for notes and ideas. Sure, it sounds rough now but after full production, it’ll be a masterpiece.
If you plan to make your own home music studio, there are a few things you should know. You’ll need a room with plenty of space and comfort with no distractions. Once you have your room, you’ll need a decent setup and you can’t do that without a computer. You will need a computer that has a decent CPU, at least 8GB of RAM, and plenty of hard drive space for all your samples. iMacs are the most popular choice as they are easy to use, reliable, and already come with music software called Garageband.
Garageband is a free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that’s easy to use and comes with everything you need to create a song from scratch. This is only exclusive to Apple computers, which is bad news for Windows users. If you are using Windows, there are plenty of great alternatives out there such as Ableton Live and FL Studio. While not free, there are free trial versions that let you try before you buy.
In order to create music with DAWs, you will need a MIDI controller. A MIDI controller acts as your all-in-one instrument, so it’s crucial that you invest in one. The most common form of MIDI controllers are keyboard controllers, which look and feel like traditional piano keyboards.
If you plan to add lyrics to your song, then you will need a studio microphone. Microphones on webcams or headsets aren’t good enough for professional-sounding vocals and can make your song sound low-budget. While studio microphones are expensive, they more than make up for it with their impeccable sound quality. Here’s a list of some of the best studio microphones.
Just like microphones, you can’t use any old pair of headphones or speakers to listen to your own music. Standard speaker systems add artificial elements to audio, like bass boost, that can mask over the actual sound of your music during production, giving you a false perception of your own music. Studio-quality headphones and speakers give you the rawest form of sound, which is ideal for music production. Headphones are often better suited over speakers as headphones allow for the most direct sound to your ears. Sennheiser headphones are regarded as the go-to brand for sound design and music production. Check out their product range here.
To achieve the best possible quality from your instruments, you will require an audio interface. An audio interface converts analog signals from your instrument into digital signals, which allows you to record real guitars, drums, keyboards, and other instruments within your DAW software. Sound will then playback in real-time through your speakers or headphones without latency issues.
Last but not least, you’ll need a pretty sizable hard drive for all your samples. Having lots of samples can eat up your storage space quickly and it’s important to keep them organised.
Now that you’re better acquainted with your DAW, you can finally begin to write your first song. By taking what you learned from music theory, you can use your newfound knowledge to good use and produce some beats fairly quickly. Decide what style of music you want to make and choose the instruments that best utilise that style within your DAW. Start off with some rough chords and melodies so you get a feel of what your music will sound like. Making music is all about experimenting, so keep playing until you hear something you like and take it from there.
Learn how to mix
Once you’ve got a few tracks, it’s time to mix them all together. This can make or break your song as mixing determines how well your song strings together. The first thing you will need to do is volume balancing. This is the process of making sure that all your volume levels for each track are balanced and deciding which instrument will be the loudest and take center stage. Keep going through your tracks and adjust the volume levels accordingly by order of importance. Compression tools can be used to remove unwanted volume spikes within your track. EQ tools can also be used to fade tracks up or down. For example, if the vocal track is sounding too high-pitched, you can use EQ to lower the high frequency to achieve a more balanced sound.
By now you would have a decent mix, but it doesn’t have to stop there. You can use other effects like reverb, delay, and bass boosting to add additional elements to your tracks to give your song a bit more zing. It’s all up to you on how you want your song to sound and oftentimes, if you can think it, you can do it.
With most creative projects like music, films, photography, and art, it doesn’t hurt to get some feedback from your fans. The beauty of OnlyFans is that it allows you to interact with your audience directly, which can open up many opportunities. You can use OnlyFans to send your subscribers a sneak peek preview of your latest song, allowing you to get some constructive criticism from those who love your music. If a fan mentions something they don’t like, you can use their feedback to your advantage and adjust your music accordingly before distribution. OnlyFans are full of many inspiring musicians like you that can offer great feedback by just simply asking them. Talk to them and get to know each other. If you really get on well, you can even collaborate with each other. OnlyFans give you the tools to do something wonderful and it’s down to you to decide what you want to do with that.
You’re nearly there! Now that you got some criticism from your fans, you can implement their feedback into your finished project. If the bass is too much on one track, then kick it down a notch. Make sure that all the tracks string together nicely and keep listening to your song at different volumes as it’ll help pick out some minor flaws within your song. If you think you are done, finish up and listen to it again the next day, as this will give you a fresh pair of ears that’ll help you spot things you didn’t notice the first time around.
If you are happy with the end result, you are ready to release your masterpiece. You can use OnlyFans to upload your album first before releasing it to other platforms. This allows for even more feedback from your fans that can give you more insight on what to do with your next album.
These are our top tips for music production. It takes a lot of research and practice but as they say, good things happen to those who are patient.
Are you a music producer? Did you find this guide useful? Let us know in the comments section below.