Become a music producer

Edited by Ephraim, Charmed, Eng, Alma and 9 others

In this article, we will discuss how to become a music producer, working with any genre of music you desire. A lot of people watch music videos and listen to music, and a lot of people have opinions on how to improve the music. There is no better way to do this, than by becoming a music producer. This puts you in a position to influence the music industry by bringing your ideas to fruition. You will affect music, guide musicians and be part of a creative and exciting life.

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  1. 1
    Know how to play an instrument before pursuing your dream of becoming a music producer.
    Being an expert is not required, but knowing at least one instrument and improving on it will help you on your way to becoming a producer. By learning an instrument, you will be training your ears and also learning music at the same time. You need to understand music from a practical point of view as well as a creative one. While learning your instrument, you will need to create your own songs and learn sheet music. All these things are required of a music producer. Most producers play instruments. Below is a list of the top three instruments that producers play: These instruments are the basics that producers learn and also the more versatile instruments that can add some flavor to the music being produced.
    1. Piano
    2. Guitar
    3. Bass Guitar
    4. Saxophone
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  2. 2
    The most important tool a music producer will use is the soundboard.
    It has many channels, 24, or 48 that records each instrument separately, including voices, on a different 'track'. Here is where the producer controls tempo and pitch and most importantly levels. If the producer listens to the music they've just recorded, and he feels the saxophone, which is recorded on track 7, is too loud, the producer simply turns the volume down on that channel on the master. You will need to learn all about the soundboard, and what it can do, before you become a music producer, so if you're serious about this, get busy learning all about this tool. In this age of technology, you can download soundboard software to learn the basics, either on your phone, tablet or computer. It won't actually be a soundboard, but it's the easiest way to learn beyond buying one. The genre of music you are looking to produce will also factor into which type of soundboard you'll find most useful to download. Do a little research. Find out what professionals who produce music in the genre you are interested in use.
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  3. 3
    Learning DJ techniques will also be useful, if you are plan to become a producer of certain kinds of music.
    You will be mixing sounds and samples on your soundboard, as your artists' vocals as well. Develop a DJ technique. There are also programs you can download to get experience on DJ mixing equipment. DJs use two different styles of mixing which are called 'in the box' (to mix your music for your artist by using only your computer), and 'out of the box' (mixing on your soundboard). 'Out of the box' is the most common method with music producers. A lot of DJs stick to 'in the box', because it's easier to mix content that is already made, and less sophisticated equipment is required. This is unlike the majority of what a music producer does, in the studio, creating custom tracks using a soundboard. When you have mastered the art of mixing, you will be able to incorporate custom sounds and custom instruments into your musical track. Learning to mix music is essential to the career of the music producer.
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  4. 4
    Study all styles of music, from classical to jazz, to modern.
    Regardless of what genre you want to work with, having an understanding of all music is important for producers. If you are a true music lover, you will notice that a lot of new music has its roots in more traditional genres of music. That doesn't mean you can't be original, but knowing all kinds of music is the best foundation for success. By studying all types of music, you will be able to create an amazing array of musical sounds and lyrics.
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  5. 5
    Explore the different sounds of all musical instruments.
    There are hundreds of instruments producing an infinite number of sounds. Study instruments and sounds from all eras, and different cultures. Producers without this knowledge keep creating the same sounds in everything they produce, and it gets boring. You will have a head start by arming yourself with all this musical wisdom. Keep up to date on new sounds and gadgets. Explore new sounds like the "auto tune feature" that was recently introduced, and its affects boomed over the airways. Be unique and creative. Don't emulate anyone else's style, but make your own.
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  6. 6
    Create your own tracks and sample of beats to get a feel of creating your music.
    Put whatever beats and sounds you feel inclined to, and put them into a collective rhythm to try out your track creations. What genre you choose doesn't matter, as long as you create a musical beat or track that expresses your ideas in a unique way. There are programs you can download to practice creating musical tracks with the sounds that you personally drawn to. Also, by creating tracks, you will be able to listen to how your ideas come together and what needs improvement. It's also a great way to showcase your talent by having other people in the industry listen. You might try adding lyrics to the music, so you get the full effect of what you are creating.
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  7. 7
    Remix an older song, just to see what you can bring to the table.
    Mixing an old song may sound lazy, but it also gives people the idea of how you can make an already good track better or a bad track better, either way, the goal is to discover what your skills are in the art of creating music.
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  8. 8
    Connect with other producers and combine your ideas on specific projects.
    This is referred to as, a collaboration, something that's common in the music industry. A collaboration can be an exciting exercise, and often amazing things come out of it. Reach out to other producers in an effort to work with different people, make more connections, learn new skills, and show off your skills. Be prepared to discover your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
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  9. 9
    Create a brand for yourself, and promote your brand to everyone you know in the business.
    Invite other producers and musicians to engage with you, to collaborate, to make music together. You might have to do a few projects without expectation of getting paid, but if you must charge a fee at the onset, remember your reputation at this point, is your brand. Produce some start-up tracks, and release them through your brand. Get them out there so people can hear your music. It may take awhile, but keep at it.
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Can I become a music producer without playing any instrument?

"Generally, you should know how to play an instrument before pursuing a career as a music producer." As discussed earlier, this is the first of the "requirements" to become a music producer.

After all, if you are going to invest your money in producing music, it's best if you are a musician yourself. It is hard to imagine someone dabbling in the music business without any knowledge of musical instruments. That being said, some well-known names have made it big in the industry, without actually knowing how to play an instrument.

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P. Diddy, for one, does not play any of the instruments used in the songs he produces. But this famous icon of the 1990's and the 2000's has produced many successful hits for a number of artists. Dr. Dre is another super-producer and serious force in hip-hop who successfully opened doors for other West Coast performers to flourish, without playing an instrument. There are many more like them, especially in the rock, instrumental electronica or instrumental hip-hop genres. The knowledge to manipulate software, edit audio and sequence MIDI, or simply to imagine where the song must go, by using savvy digital tools, is tantamount to good producing.

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Of course knowing how to play musical instruments has its advantages. This can help a music producer to communicate with the artists more effectively, and to attain the best possible performance during the recording sessions. It gives them a good idea of what the artists are doing so they can discuss how to improve the quality of their music by 'speaking their language'. But then again, a producer who lacks the skill of playing an instrument, can still manage to do all of the things necessary to make great music, provided they have good people working with them, and if they are passionate about what they are doing.

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It is also possible to produce music when you know the three ways to create music without using musical instruments:

  1. 1
    Loop-Based Music.
    This kind of music is created by fusing or looping together short recordings of music snippets to form a musical pattern. There was a time when these were pieces of magnetic tape cut and spliced at certain parts. This kind of stuff was popularized by Stockhausen and the Beatles. Today, this is still being done in producing popular music, hip-hop and Tecno. But this is done through the smart use of digital technology now.
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  2. 2
    MIDI Sequencing.
    This is not a new innovation, having started long before computers found their way into the music industry, but it is still as popular in creating and producing music. This is a useful way to record musical events rather than the audio itself. Playing the MIDI sequence needs a trigger somewhere that can be an external sequencer such as in software. Like looping, you can also cut and splice MIDI loops, using the Internet as a source.
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  3. 3
    Style-Based Music.
    This is a special form of MIDI sequencing, except that this one uses a savvy technology that is not commonly used or found in most MIDI sequencers. The technology only requires you to enter chord progression and choose a tempo and a musical style. Then and there, you have a quick arrangement that can be further enhanced by adding a melody line or some frills, or you can select the tones to add to the mix.
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Tips & Warnings

  • Although some get by without it, it's best to learn an instrument before pursuing a career as a music producer. You need to know the language of music, before you can manipulate it.
  • Learn how to use a soundboard, as it is the most important piece of equipment in the recording studio.
  • DJ techniques are important to your role as a producer. Learn as much as you can about the equipment.
  • Get a good working knowledge of all types of music.
  • Explore the different sounds of musical instruments, in order to get a good mixture of sounds.
  • Engage in collaborations. Aside from being exciting, it will help you hone your craft and teach you about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Start a brand and begin working with music as fast as you can to gain experience about the business
  • At the beginning of your career, focus on one genre before you branch out.

In very practical terms, music producers are like project managers for musical recordings and so much more. While the artists tinker on the musical side, the producers have the vision for where the music is headed, but they must also usher in perspectives that inspire and even provoke artists to perform their best. And most importantly, they must have the ability to see the bigger picture of what's at hand and what's to come.

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Questions and Answers

What instruments must a producer learn to play?

As a producer the most important instrument your must learn to play is the piano. Basic piano skills are vital for modern production. You may call in session players, but the keyboard remains one of the most proficient methods to record melodies and chords.

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Categories : Music

Recent edits by: Dougie-1, Dougie, Pia Marie Villamante

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