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How To

How to Become a Music Producer – Our Guide

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter

16.8.2022

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Music changes how you feel and how you move. It can be a real lifesaver sometimes and the genius behind each song is the way that it has been produced. 

Have you said to yourself, I want to be a music producer but don’t really know how to do it? What are the skills you need to become a music producer and what exactly does this entail? 

Keep reading for more handy tips to start you on your way to become a music producer.   

What Is A Music Producer? 

If you want to become a song producer, you will assist an artist in recording their music, and enhance it to match their vision, guiding them in this process.  

A music producer will be the technical and creative lead in the process, so you need to be able to communicate very well and have a knowledge of the hardware you use.

The significant difference between making music 10 years ago and today is that you really can just make music from home and you don’t have to physically be in a studio

You will be using a Digital Audio Workstation – DAW, which can be built into your laptop and make sure you do your research into the best DAW for you, since this will be vital for you to produce the best music. Hardware synths can be used as well, as well as soft synths but nowadays all you really need is an efficient DAW and a laptop and you are ready to go. 

What Skills Do I Need To Become A Music Producer?

Knowledge of music theory – a musical theory background will ground you in producing music, as you will have a prior knowledge of tones, how to mix, chords etc. In short, even a basic understanding of music is essential as you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Music theory can sometimes be laborious, but if you want to be a producer, you need this skill every minute you work on music. Maybe you played an instrument as a child? Use this and embrace this skill to produce music. 

Knowledge but also a passion for technology – working just on your laptop at home, using built in plugins or using a hardware synth or soft synths – or both at the same time you need to have a wealth of experience in how they work. The technological side of producing music is quite evident, so you really need to dig deep and invest your time in understanding all the best tricks to use to create the best music. The more efficient you are, then you will be able to collaborate with others more, and learn from them, build your career if it is a path you really want to go down. There is definitely more of a mix of the creative and the technical in producing your own music than ever before.

Passion for the industry – you may be working alone from your laptop, but also if you work on collaborations, you really want to make sure the music is good enough for the artist. If you are an artist, a musician yourself, to be able to produce your own music and release it is a huge advantage. More people can create music by themselves and become solo music producers, so it will help you to learn as much as you can. 

Resilience – it can be a tough game to produce your own music, and the more you practice, the better you will become. I think of course that is the same with any career, but producing music is a technical game, so the more patient you are, the more you will learn. Make music all the time, try things out, even if you are not happy with them, and try again. Constantly work away at it and ask people around you to listen, and give you feedback too. You will only get better this way. You will be editing tracks, finding the right sound, so just play and see what you find. 

Excellent Communicator – As I have mentioned before, communication is essential to this career, since if you want to become a record producer, you need to be able to understand what the client wants to portray through their music and move towards the same end goal.  

It has been said that you will be constantly talking with others in this job, whether that be audio technicians, artists, musicians, A&R executives or other studio staff. You need to be a natural leader and have great negotiating skills to create the best music. Clarity in what you are trying to communicate with others is only going to propel you further in your career. 

How To Become A Music Producer

Prepare to spend quite a bit of time on your own, as you need to try new sounds and experiment. A lot of music producers will have taught themselves, so if this is the career for you, really invest your time and in the music systems available out there to you and plug away.  

Work alongside other producers if you can and look for apprenticeships & work experience placements in the industry. Additionally, are there people you already know in the music industry that could help you and give you advice? Lean on them and maybe they can become mentors over time. 

In person music courses can be expensive, and even though they are incredibly beneficial for you if you want to be a music producer, there are many other ways to educate yourself. For example, you could take an online music production course and still gain the knowledge you need but for a fraction of the price if you took on a BA degree. You will be able to understand all about mixing, mastering and producing without setting foot outside your house. 

The more connections you make and the more projects you work on will of course lead to having more responsibility and then importantly gaining the trust of those within the industry. Once you make a name for yourself, people will want to work with you. It is as simple as that. So build on those tech skills and reach out to other musicians who may be in a similar boat as you, and see where it leads you. If you already have the drive for producing music, then go for it!

Best DAWs For Producing Music

Now if you want to become a producer in music, then investing your money in DAWs as a beginner is the way to go. 

You will more than likely have the physical audio set-up in the shape of microphones, speakers, headphones and a MIDI keyboard, but to fully enhance your music, a really top-notch DAW will help the sound. You need to be able to easily use the DAW and so you can continue to make music. Here are a few options you can try;

  • Apple GarageBand
  • Acoustica Mixcraft
  • Cockos Reaper
  • Apple Logic Pro 
  • Imagine Lines FL Studio 
  • Ableton Live 
  • Steinberg Cubase
  • PreSonus Studio One
  • Reason Studios Reason 
  • Bitwig Studio  

There are many more and there is an article written specifically about DAWs on our blog if you want to research further, and any of these ones above will do your music justice. 

As we know there are less female producers out there in the music industry – in other industries in fact – but if you are a woman reading this and you have passion for music and you think this sounds like it could be the career for you, then I would implore you to just go for it. You can always distribute your work on social media sites as that is one way to get seen and make more connections. Networking is crucial in this industry, so the more people can listen to the music you produce, the better chances of working alongside other really great artists. Stay motivated and remember to enjoy what you do. As a music producer or record producer you will constantly be making music and you have to enjoy it to continue. 

Famous Music Producers

So for all you budding music producers out there and want to know of some famous ones, then here you go. They started out just like you and made their way to the top by working very hard and putting in a lot of their time. 

  • David Foster 
  • Rick Rubin
  • Linda Perry
  • Sir George Martin
  • Nile Rodgers
  • Quincy Jones
  • Ian Kirkpatrick
  • Martin Hannet
  • John Leckie
  • Ester Dean 
  • TOKiMONSTA
  • Sylvia Massy 

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it, you have all the info you need to start your career of becoming a music producer and what an extremely exciting and varied career you have chosen! Determination, creative and technical talent, leadership skills and continuing to educate yourself are what you need for this job and surround yourself with like-minded people.  A basic understanding of the musical technical processes regarding producing music is going to be the best thing you can do to begin this career. 

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