PUSH 101: A beginner’s guide to music production

The world of music is a confusing place. Especially when you’re first entering it. You might want to give it a go but not have a clue where to start. There’s so many guides and videos out there but not all of them break it down and make it simple. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Including some ideas on where to find your samples.

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What tools do you need to start producing music?

Whether you want to make electronic music, pop or rap, you can use equipment you probably already have. Of course, as you move forward you might want to upgrade, but starting out you can absolutely use the tools you have. You’ll need a computer or possibly even a tablet. These days tablets can do most of the things a desktop or laptop can. However, this might be a bit tricker, and it won’t have as much space. But, if it’s what you have right now, then go with it. Cut costs wherever you can because we all know music creation can be expensive.

Next a big one you’ll need is a DAW. What is a DAW? Well, it’s a Digital Audio Workstation. That’s where you’ll throw in all of your raw sounds and edit them to make them sound better. It’s where your mixes will go, and you’ll create your tracks. If you’re on a Mac of any kind, you can use Garage Band, which comes installed and is free. Believe it or not, this is one of the best DAWs you can find. It’s been around for years, and it’s still performing well. So, again, no need to spend money where you don’t have to.

Another piece of equipment you’ll need (which again as a music lover, you’re bound to have) is a pair of headphones or speakers. This is so you can listen to your music as you create it. You can let it play through your computer speakers, but they might not show it in the best light. If anything, investing in a good pair of headphones or speakers might be where you should start. A good pair of headphones really can make all the difference because you’ll hear minute details you might not have heard with a normal pair.

Where can I find a DAW?

This isn’t something you’ll need to invest in to begin with. There are so many free ones to choose from and even some of the better ones don’t have to cost. You’ll want to find one that suits you. Look into the interface and see which one you’ll be able to pick up the easiest. Maybe even try a few different ones out. If they’re free then it doesn’t have to be something you stick with. You can try out as many as you’d like to find the right one.

When it comes to finding samples for adding into your DAW, check out our partners over at Mixxed. They have some incredible samples on their site and their prices are some of the best around. They’re completely affordable, and their friendly team will be able to assist you in case you’re unsure with what you’re looking for. It’s really great for independent artists and people just starting out, because it’s a platform you can grow with.

What tools do you need to record vocals or instruments?

It’s highly likely you’ll want to add some vocals or instrumental bits into your tracks. To do this, again we’re stressing, don’t go out and buy all the best equipment. Not only is there a chance you might not need it, but also things change all the time, don’t they? What’s the best on the market today, might not be by the time you’re confident enough to branch out into using this type of equipment. Maybe you want to add in some guitar samples of your own or maybe you’ve got a friend you want to team up with on a collaboration piece?

Laptops will contain a microphone, so you can certainly start out using this. It’s a great place to start if you just want to understand how to fit it all together and make things work. You can try things and gain experience. However, if you’re wanting to start releasing this music, you’re probably going to need to buy an external mic. This is simply because the built-in ones aren’t really of great quality. It’s understandable because they aren’t created for music purposes. They’re there for video calls and chatting to your friends online. Start out with a cheaper microphone that’s a fairly decent quality. When you’re ready to upgrade, you can always pass this down to a beginner artist.

Start practising your song writing

We don’t mean you have to sit down and throw out lyrics constantly before you can get started. However, it is important you think about your music before you leap in. Maybe further down the line you’ll be able to just wing it, but at the start you need to think things through. This will avoid the stress when it comes to the creation stages. Think through your structure and what steps you’re going to take.

Start from the beginning, if you’re thinking about lyrics then spend as much time as you can. Make sure they fit how you want them to. What do they mean to you? How do you want them to make your audience feel? Get the lyrics right first and the rest can follow after. However, if lyrics aren’t your thing, then focus on what is. Think about what is the most important part of your sound and move from there. It’s obvious when a song has been made with passion. Learn the different features within your chosen DAW so when you come to making a song for real, you’ve had enough practise to know what you’re doing.

Mix, mix, mix

So, you’ve got all the other bits out of the way. You’ve created some sound and found some samples. Now, you need to throw it all together. Not literally of course, you’ll want to put all your time and energy into it. However, make sure it’s still fun. If it becomes a chore then take a step back and come back to it at another stage. By this point, you should know what sound you’re looking for and have all of your pieces ready to be mixed together.

You’ll have learnt how to use your DAW, so you should be able to mix your sounds together. Try learning all about mixing before giving it a go for yourself. There are so many platforms out there that can show you how it all works. It will of course depend on your genre of music, but you can find tutorials that will help for any style of music. Try YouTube, that could very well be your best friend when you’re starting out as an artist.

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