Ever since the days of pioneering producers such as George Martin and Phil Spector, behind the mixing desk of a recording studio has been the place to.
Producing music is a dream job for many people, and, if you love music, you may have considered a career in music production.
But what exactly does producing music entail?
In this article, we’ll look at how to become a music producer.
What Does a Music Producer Do?
A music producer holds the vision for the overall feel and sound of a song or album. They are responsible for imagining and visualizing the final result. To achieve this, they must be able to listen to, explore, and experiment with all aspects of the music.
Since music producers have such a wide variety of skills, there are several hats they can wear within the studio. Some of these include:
- Recording engineer – overseeing all of the technical aspects of the recording process including mixing the tracks
- Arranger – working alongside the artist(s) to hone their music
- Composer– writing the score to any music used in the recording
- Manager – as a producer you’ll need a certain degree of management skills as you’ll be managing anything that goes on in the studio during the recording process
A music producer is responsible for much more than the technical aspects of the recording. In many circumstances, the producer will act as a mentor for the band or artist.
Learn to Play an Instrument
Musicians aren’t the only people in the studio that should be able to play a musical instrument. Producers should too.
Nobody is suggesting that you need to be a virtuoso on any specific instrument, however, it is useful to have a good grounding at playing one or more musical instruments.
Being able to play a musical instrument will benefit your career. You’ll be able to relate better to your artists and you’ll understand what is going on in the music.
So where do you start? Some of the instruments that it would be useful to learn include piano, guitar, bass, and drums.
Playing the piano or keyboard can be particularly useful. This is because if you can play the piano, most other instruments will make sense. Playing the piano will give you a visual of the chords. It will also help you hear each note with great clarity.
If you feel confident playing an instrument, this will also help you to record an idea. There would be nothing worse as a producer than not being able to get your ideas down when the inspiration strikes.
There may be times when you’ll need to help an artist hone their sonic vision. Being able to pick up an instrument and play will help you to do this.
Listen to Music
To be a great music producer, you need to live music. This means that you need to constantly be listening to a wide variety of artists and genres.
While you should love what you do, it is important that you listen to and understand music from outside of your regular tastes. You may be called upon to produce something that requires you to utilize influences from a broad musical church.
The more diverse your listening is, the more you’ll have to draw upon.
Invest In Your Knowledge of the Technology
As a producer, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the equipment used in the recording process. This means knowing the answer to such questions as ‘what is the best computer for music production?’
You’ll need to know your way around popular pieces of software such as Ableton, Pro Tools, and Logic. Knowing what every button press does on each of these pieces of software will help you to craft some of the best music possible.
Once you intuitively know your way around the software, you’ll be able to better focus your attention on the creative act of making and recording music.
Create Create Create!
Once you have mastered your craft both musically and technically, the next step on your journey as a music producer is to start producing as much music as possible. Just like with anything else, practice makes perfect.
While you may have a preferred style of music, it is good to diversify and gain as much experience making as many different types of music as you can. Every new style of music you can work with will be another string to your bow.
The more versatile and experienced you are, the more in demand you will be. Be as prolific as you possibly can and it will no doubt pay dividends in the long run.
Finding Music Producer Jobs
Once you have started to gain experience in producing records, you will no doubt be itching to get behind the desk for some professional gigs.
There are several ways that you could get work as a music producer. You could approach record labels and ask if they will take on you as an intern. This will give you plenty of professional experience at the cutting edge of music-making.
Aside from the traditional avenues of popular music production, you could also look to find work making advertising jingles, producing TV and film scores, and recording video game soundtracks.
Network as much as you can with musicians, record label bosses, and the managers of bands and artists. Eventually, you will make some in-roads and start to find work as a music producer.
Perseverance Is the Name of the Game
If you want to succeed as a music producer you will need to persevere. Keep focusing your attention on learning new skills and developing your existing skills. Network and keep your ears open for new and exciting sounds that you can work with.
One day you’ll achieve your dream of becoming a music producer.
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