Do you wonder how to become a music producer? Everyone loves music. It’s in our genes.
When we hear a good beat, we start dancing or nodding our heads.
Music excites us, helps us grieve, and can take us on sonic journeys transcending space and time – alone or dancing with others.
The creative brain behind today’s modern electronic music is the music producer. If you want to create music for a living, this article will answer many of your questions.
Let’s start with a brief explanation of what a music producer is before continuing with how you can start a music production career.
What Is A Music Producer?
A music producer is the person behind a piece of music. They have a lot of responsibilities, including arrangement, sound design, and often mixing. As a music producer, you can also be in charge of collaborations and projects.
The definition of a music producer is quite a bit different today compared to back in the day. First of all, you don’t need an expensive studio with hardware gear anymore. Today, all you need is an average laptop and a DAW, and you're good to go.
You also have the advantage of living when almost every hardware synth and effect is available as a digital plugin. That means you can work completely ‘in the box’ – a choice many leading producers and mixing engineers have taken.
A music producer today often works alone from the comfort of their home. But if you want to pursue music production as a career, you can sometimes get access to studios with companies and sometimes labels.
How Do I Start A Music Production Career?
Most music producers are self-taught. That means taking courses, watching YouTube, reading articles, and working with other producers.
But just because you don’t need a music bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue one. Education is always great. But if you plan to invest in tuition, it’s best to think ahead and ensure that music production is something you want to do for life.
The best and fastest way to start your music production career is by taking music production courses online. You can also do music theory courses to learn about melodies, chord creation, chord progressions, the circle of fifth, sound design, and more.
Online courses are a lot cheaper than colleges or private schools and are a great starting point to see if music production is right for you.
What Skills Does A Music Producer Need?
A great music producer needs many skills. And depending on your music production career choice, for yourself or in a professional studio, the skills you need can differ.
Six important skills help music producers. Let’s start with the most obvious skill a music producer needs.
Music Producer Skill #1: Musical Knowledge
The first and most obvious skill a music producer needs is musical knowledge. Without it, it becomes very difficult to make music people want to listen to. You need the ability to know what sounds good and have an understanding of music and audio theory.
Many say it helps if you have played a musical instrument before. It’s helpful because it gives you a basic understanding of how to build music.
As a music producer, you need to know about frequencies, notes, chords, arrangement, mixing, and what sounds work together to form a complete track.
Luckily, you can learn music theory in only five hours.
Music Producer Skill #2: Tech Experience
Producing music is a technological process. You either make music with your laptop filled with different plugins, effects, and sounds or combine it with hardware.
Things can get quite nerdy in the world of audio synthesis, so it helps if you like to deep-dive into cool topics.
Experience in technology is necessary for many reasons. Firstly, it makes you work faster. Working fast is a very desirable skill in music production as you can create music a lot faster.
Secondly, things can go wrong or need tuning up. Experience with computers and technology is great because it allows you to fix things quickly.
Music Producer Skill #3: Creative Thirst
If you’re a creative person who loves to express yourself artistically, you have one of the most vital skills to become a music producer.
Music producers need some amount of creative thirst to continue doing what they do. Without creativity and the ability to find inspiration, you will find it difficult to make music.
And no, you don’t have to be a creative genius or be inspired around the clock to become a music producer. Instead, you can train your creative and inspirational muscles by continually making new music.
Music Producer Skill #4: Patience
Music creation is not always a linear process. Every piece of music you create gets different results, and you do it in variations.
Even though music producers often create music in steps, you’ll find that you sometimes need to go back and forth between sounds, adding, removing, and customizing.
That’s why patience is key.
Music production also takes a long time to master. And sometimes, you get frustrated in the studio. But, patience always motivates you to power through and come out stronger on the other end. And when you create a great track – you’ll experience one of the best feelings in the world.
Music Producer Skill #5: Trained Ears
Having trained ears is essential because it allows music producers to recognize different pitches, frequency errors, and possibilities to create better music.
But no one is born with perfectly trained ears. Some are better than others, but everyone still needs to learn music and audio theory.
That’s great news because it means you can train your ears yourself. Listening to music often, learning to recognize chords, notes and playing around with equalizers and effects are great starters.
Learning music theory is a great way to start training your ears.
Music Producer Skill #6: People Skills
Leadership, negotiation, delegation
A music producer is great with people. Whether collaborating with other artists on projects, negotiating streaming fees with their label, or delegating work to audio engineers, a music producer can agree with other people.
This fact is especially true in the long run if you want to become a truly successful artist. Your responsibilities get greater. With more gigs, deals, and connections, your ability to build great relationships is crucial for your success.
Can Anyone Be A Music Producer?
Yes! Kids create absolute bangers. Beethoven composed deaf. If you want to become a music producer, you can be a music producer.
But to become a producer, you must prepare to put in a lot of time, hard work, and dedication. Those are the essential ingredients for success.
Is It Hard To Become A Music Producer?
Becoming a music producer can be hard, but it can also be easy. It all comes down to what you define as 'hard.' If you love learning about music theory and spending time producing, it will never be hard.
A better question to answer is ‘how long does it take to become a music producer?’ Of course, how long it takes depends on your way of learning.
You can learn faster or slower. However, trying to learn everything on your own without help from others takes a lot of time. Then it’s a matter of trial and error and testing things out.
If you want to learn fast, taking online music production courses is the cheapest and fastest way.
Is 30 Too Old To Be A Music Producer?
No way! Thirty is not too old to be a music producer. Some electronic music producers are 80 years old or more and still play weekly gigs, like Raja Ram in the above video.
You can never be too old to learn a new skill, and 30 is still very young.
Stop the excuses and start learning music today.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Music Producer?
You don’t need any official qualifications to become a music producer. If you make incredible music, no one cares if you attended a university or studied at home.
For some music producer jobs, qualifications like a college degree can help. But if you can show results, it shouldn’t matter.
Nonetheless – qualifications are a good investment if you have the time and resources to attain them. And those qualifications can include becoming a certified instructor for your DAW.
Our history of music goes way back. Archeologists found a flute carved from a cave bear femur in Slovenia, dating back over 40 000 years. So we have listened to and enjoyed music for thousands of years, and it's safe to say that it's in our DNA.
If you want to become a music producer, I applaud you. You’re about to embark upon an incredibly exciting journey and will get a truly honorable career.
But even though becoming a globally successful music producer takes work, time, and dedication, you now know the ways to fast-track your learning by taking music production courses online. You also know what qualifications you need to be a music producer and if thirty is too old to become one (thirty is not too old.)
Start learning music today and become a music producer! You can do it.
A Day In The Life Of A Music Producer...
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Your tracks get millions of listens every month, and you can’t believe you’re doing what you love the most for a living – every single day.
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Thanks for reading, and see you in the next article.
About the author
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and writer, active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psytrance. When he's not producing, he surfs, skates, and chugs coffee.