LEARNING ELECTRONIC MUSIC PRODUCTION
What doest it take to become an established music producer today?
Do you love creating your own melodies?
Does working with various artists and constructing amazing tracks peak your interest?
Becoming a music producer doesn’t happen overnight, but it can make for a great career if it’s your passion and you master it. These days, it seems like everyone wants to become a Music Producer. To learn what it’s really to work with artists in the studio, we have articulated this blog for all those who are interested in taking up a Music Production Course and the requirements and what is the outcome of becoming one.
To become a successful music producer, you need passion and drive, great work ethics, a sense of responsibility, strong business smarts, and, last but not least, musical skills, knowledge, and abilities. Here’s how these skill sets play out in the real world of a music producer. Back in the days, a music producer was defined as the person who managed the recording and production of an artist’s or a band’s music. This also involved being the liaison between the artist and the recording studio during sessions, often suggesting inputs on which studio and engineer to use, guiding the recording process and overall sound, and even hiring studio musicians as needed.
Today, the internet, the ever-booming world of digital technology, and new genres of music have dimmed the lines, erased the standard definition, and requires the music producer to wear more hats than ever before. At this current period in time music producers are known to write, arrange, re-arrange, produce and record songs and beats—sometimes for their own projects, other times for another artist. These days, music producers are as likely to be the audio engineer, the studio manager, and even the marketing professional.
Before we dig deep into the world of Music Production, let’s talk about what are the critical aspects of becoming a Music Producer.
What skills does a music producer need?
- Playing an instrument
- Writing music
- Studio engineering
- Time management
- People skills
- Familiarise yourself with Technology
- Train your ears
Playing an instrument: Artists aren’t the only ones in the studio that should be able to play an instrument. However, learning an instrument doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be an expert at a particular musical instrument and know how to play every chord possible. If that were the case, you’d be spending all of your time mastering instruments rather than producing music. With that being said, learning an instrument would surely enhance your music making skills. Developing this musical knowledge is essential and will help you become a better music producer. You’ll be able to better communicate with musicians, produce more well-rounded music, and have a smoother production process. As a result, you can gain more opportunities as a producer in the music industry.Several talented music producers create amazing music without knowing how to play an instrument. Although, knowing how to play an instrument is beneficial for several reasons.
Some instruments that we recommend choosing from would be:
- Piano / Keyboard
At most electronic production schools, the curriculum emphasises on students having basic knowledge of keys (piano, keyboard, etc.). Piano / Keyboard is the best instrument for learning music theory, motor skills, ear training, melodic and harmonic development, and more. Music producers also use MIDI keyboards and the piano roll in their DAW to develop musical ideas.
The piano / keyboard is also the simplest instrument when it comes to generating ideas. You don’t need advanced knowledge to mess around and come up with new ideas for a song. All 88 keys are before you like the letters on a computer keyboard. With two hands, someone can play melody, harmony, and countermelody at the same time.
Writing music: To write is “to express or communicate in writing; to give a written account of”. Writing can be used to express what is going on in one’s life. It is a way of communication, where an individual can share their deepest emotions on paper. Music is also a way in which an individual can express their deepest emotions as well. It is another way to express one’s self through the use of a song. Music seems to exist on another plane, ripping into the soul through melody, harmony, and rhythm. And this is perhaps the one reason that any musician should write music.
Studio Engineering: Studio engineers lay the sounds that make up your favourite songs and movies scores. From choosing the right recording equipment to mixing final tracks, studio engineers, also known as recording engineers or sound engineering technicians, oversee the entire recording process. Knowing the basic skills of a studio engineer is an essential part of the journey.
Arranging: Arranging can broadly be defined as the process of transforming a collection of musical ideas into a complete track. It can involve everything from writing harmonies, re-arranging parts, adding parts, removing parts, planning the structure of a song or even adding effects from time to time.
Time management: One of the best ways to navigate this situation is by managing your time. Doing this forces you mentally compartmentalise your personal life and your musical one. It allows you to create boundaries, consider the needs of others, and carve out time to focus on music.
People skills: No doubt you have spent countless hours practicing your music, honing your skills as a musician. But music skills alone are usually not enough to make you a successful musician. Many other factors contribute to success, including people skills and the ability to remain healthy, clear-minded and thoroughly professional when dealing with difficult people.
Familiarise yourself with technology: A Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is what you will be working in when recording or producing music. Some of the most popular DAWs include Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro X.Learning the ins and outs of your preferred DAW and what each button does is only going to help you in the long run when producing.
Train your ears: Training your ears can be something that you “work on” for years. We put “work on” in quotes because it is something that you acquire over time from listening and being fully immersed in music.Become a student of Pro Sonic and listen to different styles of music every day.See what makes different genres unique and what qualities they possess. Listen for unique details in songs that the normal, everyday listener may not notice in the production.
Create: The next greatest step in producing is to practice creating. Remember when we told you to play around with your DAW? If you haven’t already tooled with creating some music, now is the time. You have gotten familiar with your technology and learned an instrument, so now it’s time to put that creativity to use.
What are the responsibilities of a music producer?
Specific responsibilities vary depending on the artist, recording studio, radio station, label, or organisation that you works for. In general, your tasks will include:
- listening to an artist’s demo tapes and working with artists to produce the sound they require
- deciding on an appropriate studio for an artist’s music and equipment
- advising on album songs
- operating technical equipment including mixing desks
- technical work including audio editing, sound design and ghost production
- helping artists to achieve the sounds they’re striving for
- working with organisations, venues and artists involved in live events
- finding and booking suitable venues
- planning event schedules, timings and performances
- making logistical arrangements for artists
- ensuring the arrangement of other facilities, such as catering, toilets, entertainment, and insurance
- working with marketing teams to prepare printed material.
By its nature, the role of music producer requires you to be flexible and adaptable. You’ll need to turn your hand to a number of tasks, and acquire new skills quickly.
You’ll need to be highly creative, driven, resilient and a great communicator to make it in the exciting and competitive world of music production. A music producer assists artists and groups in the studio to create recorded music, for an album, a film, advert or any other kind of creative output. Music producers are responsible for developing and making creative content. You could work in a studio, as a live events producer or as producer/sound engineer. The term ‘music producer’ covers a number of careers in music production, and there are several different routes you can follow.
Music producers working on live music events are responsible for running creative spectacles like concerts, festivals or live shows. This involves coordinating technical staff, performers and other stakeholders to ensure events run smoothly. Live events may be one-offs or regular annual events, and can be held at indoor and outdoor music venues of all sizes.
Producers can work in the publicly funded or commercial sector, and many work on a freelance basis – crossing over into other disciplines such as theatre production, composition and direction.