Getting Into Music Production? Here’s What You Should Know
Music production is pretty popular nowadays as technology has become more affordable. Your college roommate, your sister’s kid, your coworker even dabbles – everyone knows someone who produces music. But what exactly is music production? Is that whizkid nephew or niece of yours just pushing buttons to make the bleeps?
In this article, we’ll demystify the process by telling you all you need to know to get into music production. Do you need formal music training? Do you need the most expensive gear? Do you need to drink Redbull or rip fat blunts to be the best you can be?
Read below to find out.
What Equipment Do I Need?
Music production is a virtual hobby so you will need some equipment to get started. At the very least, you’ll need a cell phone. You can use an iPhone and Android phone to make music nowadays! If you’re looking to work on something a bit more comfortable then you just need a laptop.
Don’t know where to start? Check out our article on the best laptops for music production in 2020. Once you’re more comfortable and decide on one, you just need to choose a Digital Audio Workstation. We go over those below.
Next up, you’ll want either a good pair of headphones or a set of monitors. Check out our favorites in our round-up articles. If you decide to go with monitors then you will also want an Audio Interface to plug your speakers into. Once you have an audio interface you can also record microphones, guitars, and other instruments.
Finally, you may want a MIDI controller/keyboard. If you aren’t familiar with those terms, read our article on MIDI 2.0, the latest update to the technology.
Those are the essential pieces of hardware you’ll need to get started with music production.
What is a Digital Audio Workstation?
A Digital Audio Workstation is a software program that lets you record, manipulate, and arrange music digitally. We mentioned a few above – Garage Band/Logic Pro, FL Studio, and Ableton Live – but there are tons of others that may work for you the best. Each DAW has its own niche and approach to producing music, it’s simply a matter of learning the program first.
Once you choose a program and learn how to use its interface, you will be able to move between DAWs much easier. They all function in similar ways despite their unique appearances. The cost will be a deciding factor for a lot of people, and for others, it will be workflow. Prices of popular DAWs are listed below,
Garage Band: Free
Logic Pro: $200
FL Studio: $99 – $299
Ableton Live: $99 – $749
Pro Tools: $29 – $34 Monthly Subscriptions or $599 perpetual license
Studio One: $99
There are a lot more out there but the ones above are the most popular.
Do I Need Music Training?
Are you wondering about the necessity of music training when it comes to music production? Fear not, while music training will certainly help you perform the task better it is not necessary to produce music. Thanks to DAWs making music has never been easier. You can use loops, or samples (prerecorded pieces of music) to simply construct a song.
It’s like building a model. You already have the pieces, you just need to put them together. So while having taken piano lessons as a child or that one summer you picked up the guitar may help, you don’t really need to know music theory to produce music. As long as you have a discerning ear you can make music sound good.
That all being said, learning an instrument is a fun and creative endeavor. Perhaps you want to take up the piano or learn how to sing or dabble in synthesis. Whatever your interests may be, there are many tools that will aid you in your journey.
How Do I Remain Productive?
Music Production is a skill that requires practice like anything. Focusing on your skills will remain important throughout your journey. But besides the technical aspects, there are the lifestyle changes you will need to address.
It will be tough to stay creative and pursue your passion. It’s worth it! The battle is inherently part of the adventure. If you don’t know where to start then read our guide on how to remain productive.
Where Can I Learn More?
If you are new to production or want a crash-course in mastering then you should check out classes. Beat Lab Academy’s online production and in-person Ableton courses will give you the skills you need to become tomorrow’s super producer. You’re not alone, take advantage of that and meet people who want to learn just like you!