A passion like mine for music drives you to get up everyday to create music and can only be expressed through creating music. My passion has lead me to pursue a career in music production, starting out as just a hobby. I scoured the net and watched YouTube tutorials since there was no cheat sheet to follow. Consider this my cheat sheet for those of you interested in making beats and producing music. Before just jumping straight into producing and composing music, you may want to know a few things in advance.
There are endless possibilities of what you can create with music using different methods. All the possibilities and methods used by producers and musicians are known as music theory. Knowing some music theory, which is the study of all possibilities of music and how people compose or make music, something about scales and chords, and how to properly mix your tracks will always be useful when making beats and producing music. You can teach yourself some notes on a piano too. Knowing how to play an instrument, especially the piano will come in handy for composing music, however knowing music theory and knowing an instrument is not a necessity to start producing. Many of the music industries producers know how to play at least one instrument. All you need is a computer or laptop, a DAW (digital audio workstation), and a creative mind.
A DAW is a computer software that allows you to record, edit and produce music. Finding the right DAW software out of all the options for you is an essential part in starting producing music even if you use a free DAW like Garageband, Audacity or Studio One 3 Prime. Luckily finding the right software for you isn’t the hardest part with most companies offering free trial versions of these DAW’s. There are many DAW programs available for Windows and Mac OS. Some popular programs are FL Studio, Logic, Pro Tools, Reason, Ableton, MPC, and Cubase. You should choose your program wisely based on your personal preferences and your workflow. You may find that the stock plugins and virtual instruments or audio units (VST/AU’s) may not be enough for you. That’s when you should look into purchasing new virtual instruments and effect plugins or downloading free plugins and VST’s for different sounds and instruments. VST stands for virtual studio technology and is a software interface for synthesizer sounds and instruments and effect plugin. Some very common VST’s are Nexus, Omnisphere, Kontakt, Purity, Exhale, and ElectraX, all of which have very different and unique instruments. Many of these VST’s are on the more expensive side though. You can also get plugins that manipulate sounds in your own image such as Gross Beat, MRhythmizer and Glitch. These are effect plugins used for time manipulation, repetition, scratching and gating effects. But you should also know how to manipulate sounds within the VST’s without external manipulation plugins. You’ll need to remember to not to get carried away with the technical things. Use the technology to enhance what you hear in your head.
If this article got you interested in music production or you were already interested, be on the lookout for more articles going further in depth with details about costs to get started and the importance of versatility and how to build your skill set.