Music Producer in studio looking at a screen with a fresh session of Pro Tools Open

How to get started with music production

So you’re thinking about getting into music production.  But how do you get started when everything is so expensive?

A cursory glance online tells you that you’ll need to purchase a DAW (Digital Audio Workspace) like Ableton Live, Logic or Pro Tools. All of them great programs, but all of them costly.  So there’s a few hundred dollars down the drain.

Then you learn about all the plugins with different instruments and effects.  So say goodbye to another big chunk of change!

Then you notice the DAW runs slowly on your computer, so I guess you need a new computer right?  And you can’t produce on laptop speakers!  You must need studio monitors!  Maybe you’ll want an analogue synthesizer too?

Before you know it, you’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and you don’t even know if you enjoy producing music

Well I’m here to tell you to forget all of that!

You don’t need fancy software and expensive gear to start your music production journey.  And you don’t even really need it to produce pro level music.

Learning to produce music is all about honing your listening skills, building your knowledge set and mastering the tools you have available.  That’s true no matter what level you’re at.  And you can do this all for next to nothing!

More so than ever before, free resources are widely abundant online.  There are free plugins, free learning resources, free ways to listen to music and even free DAWs. Take advantage of it!

Get Started Producing With Free Software!

Want to get your hands on a DAW?  Try Bandlab!  It’s completely free!  And it runs on just about everything: PC, Mac, ios, Android and more.  And it has some great features in its own right!

Another great option for a DAW is Garageband, which has plenty of great features, but is only for Mac and ios.

Or maybe you want some great plugins?  Checkout ValhallaDSP!  They’re plugins have become standard for the pros in the industry, and three of them are completely free!

Want to learn about synthesizers?  Checkout!  They have two free fully featured browser based synthesizers to explore, with all the bells and whistles.

And as for the studio Monitors you were thinking of buying, try headphones instead.  Though honestly, if you’re just starting out, just use your laptop speakers!  Pro audio gear is great, and can be essential, but when starting out, you may not need to hear all the details that it provides.

But you know what, forget all that too.  A great producer needs great ears, so hop on YouTube and listen to all your favourite music for free!  Think critically about the music you listen to and try to understand it.  Do you know which part is the verse and which is the chorus?  Can you hear every texture and layer? Are you able to clap all the rhythms?  Can you identify the genre?  What are the elements that encompass that genre?

Feeling overwhelmed? 

Feeling Overwhelmed trying to start producing music?

That’s okay.  If music production wasn’t so complicated, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun.  Learning music production is an endless journey, no matter what level you’re at as a producer.  And hey, if you want some guidance, consider getting some music production lessons. It’s always better to invest in your knowledge than in gear!

All this is to say, forget about the gear!  It’s really not that important.  Use what’s available to you now, and make the most out of it.  Focus on yourself as the producer.  Listen more attentively to music, and produce with what you’ve got.  If you take this to heart, then you’ve already taken one big step towards being a great music producer.