How To Become A Music Producer - Complete Roadmap
When you decide to become a music producer, you have two journeys or approaches (but I like the word journey a lot more) that you can choose from. The first one is a self-taught music producer journey and the second one is a professional college degree journey. Both the paths are a little different and have different offerings, but in the end, it is all about music.
Let us look at both of these options and understand the steps to become a music producer.
Step 1: Get Familiarised With Music Production
Before you begin or spend any money. First, explore research and study about the music production field.
I am sure this is why you are here - to research and learn. Congratulations, you are doing great.
First things to understand when getting started are:
- what is music production?
- what is the scope in the music production field?
- how the music industry is growing?
- what career choices you can make?
Check out my other getting started with music production articles here. I have shared all the getting started information you need to know about music production and audio engineering.
Step 2: Go for a trial run
If you are willing to become a music producer, surely you like music. If you have experience playing any instrument and working with DAWs great. Just skip this step, you already are on your path to music production. If not, you will need to get your first-hand experience.
Music production is a big commitment that will require, time, money, and effort. So before you spend any of these, give it a try.
Go to Ableton.com and download the Ableton trial version. You get to try Ableton free for 30-days.
Ableton is a music production software, also known as DAW(Digital Audio Workstation).
Download it and just explore with it. At first, it will be daunting, give it time. You can check out the beginner Ableton lessons. Try to make a very simple beat.
I understand you might know nothing about music and DAW as of now, but that is ok. Everyone starts at zero. I feel you.
The purpose of this exercise is to observe how you feel. Do you love the challenge? How do you feel? Are you feeling eager to learn and get started?
If yes, great. You love challenges and that is what it will take to become a music producer.
If not, give it another try and a try for a few more days. Spending time with a DAW is what most music producers do for most of their day.
Even after a few days, if you feel you do not wish to learn, you might need to reconsider music production as a career choice.
Step 3: Setup A Small Home Recording Studio
Now that you have experienced what it is like to start producing music and working with a DAW, it is time to get real.
The first thing you should consider is to set up a small workspace. To set up your first studio space, again you will need to do some research and learn.
Constant learning is the most important aspect to become a music producer.
Minimum Equipment Required To Start Producing Music
- Performance Laptop, Tablet Or Computer - 8Gb+ Ram, Core i5 or above, minimum 250Gb SSD. You can start on an Ipad pro as well but after a few months, it will be limiting.
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) — Like Ableton, FL Studio, Studio One, Pro Tools etc. Start with a Free Version.
Studio Headphone or Monitors - Some of the Best beginner studio monitors are Kali Audio, Presonus Eris, JBL MKII, KRK Rokit, Adam Audio T Line. Some of the best professional headphones are Beyerdynamic 880 PRO, Audio Technica M20x, AKG K Series, Yamaha MT5.
- A Desk - Use any desk and use it as your workspace for now.
This is the minimum equipment that you will require to get started with music production. You will need more equipment to produce efficiently, but you can always add more. You can always add equipment as you learn and grow.
Equipment Required For Setting Up A Small Home Studio
As you learn and grow, your equipment needs will also grow. You will need the following equipment to efficiently produce music from your home:
- High-Performance Computer
- Audio Interface
- Studio Monitors
- Studio Headphones
- MIDI Keyboard
We will study all about music studio equipment in-depth in later lessons and modules.
Once you have a basic studio setup, focus all your energy on learning and growth.
Step 4: Choose Your Path and Learn
It is time to start learning and devote yourself. There are two major career paths you can choose as a music producer:
- Self-Taught Music Producer
- Music Producer With A College Degree
Self-Taught Music Producer Journey
On this path, you will be on a journey of your own and make your way. You will be self-learning through this website(self-promotion is also required), video tutorials, friends, forums and books. You will be spending a lot of time tracking, composing, producing and doing all the fun stuff on your own.
For lessons related to music production and audio engineering, make sure you stick around to LMP. We are working our way to a completely free music production and audio engineering online course, and the article you are reading is a part of it.
Who Should Choose To Be a Self Taught Home Studio Music Producer
Nearly everyone in 2022 can choose to start as a home studio producer. Those who are on a budget and cannot afford to join a music production college should take this approach as it is budget-friendly. Later down the road, you can always join a commercial studio once you have the experience.
How To Self Learn Music Production
To self learn as a home studio music producer, a good starting place is learning about sound fundamentals and music equipment. Here is a complete list of music production modules that you should study and learn over time:
- Setting Up A Recording Studio
- Sound Fundamentals
- Digital Audio Basics
- DAW Essentials
- Audio Mixer Fundamentals
- Music theory For Music Producers
- Songwriting and Composition
- Recording And Tracking
- Arrangement and Editing Audio
- Audio Effects
- Mixing Music
- MIDI Fundamentals
- Beat Making
- Ear Training For Music Producers
- Mastering Music
- Synthesis and Sound Design
- Studio Acoustics and Design
- Produce Tracks
As you can see, there is a lot to learn. Time for self-learning how to produce music will be somewhere from 6 months to 2 Years. It all depends on how much time you dedicate. You will need to follow a step-by-step approach and stay dedicated.
Over time, I will be covering all these modules in Music Production and Audio Engineering Blog. So stay tuned.
Here are the Top 5 Books For Home Studio Music Producer to get you started for now.
Cost Estimates For Learning Music Production On Your Own
You will need to spend on studio equipment and books. You can always buy used products and save on the cost. The minimum expenditure to set up a small home studio and buy essential books will be around USD1800-USD2000.
To set up a decent small recording studio with basic acoustic treatment and all essentials equipment for a better workflow will cost you around USD3500,-USD4000
Music Producer With A College Degree
If you intend to become a music producer for a commercial studio in Hollywood or Bollywood or any other music industry, you will be better off with getting a degree or diploma and certifications in Music production and AE.
The cost for bachelors in Music Production & Audio Engineering from a reputed college in the USA costs somewhere between USD25,000 up to USD75,000. In India, the cost for Bachelors in Music Production and Audio Engineering is between INR 400000 up to INR 3500000.
You can join after you high school and most MP and AE bachelors degree complete in 3 Years
Who Should Choose To Go To College
If you are someone who wishes to work with big industry names and fast track your career path. This path will help you jumpstart your career as a music producer or engineer for a commercial studio.
Advantages Of Going To A Music School Or College
Joining a music school comes at a cost, but it has its advantages.
- You get a degree which makes you eligible to apply for jobs in big studios/organisations straight away, without having a strong portfolio.
- You get exposure and experience of working with a team and other professionals.
- You get the experience of working in a professional studio environment.
- Earning potential is more in the beginner career days.
Cost Estimates For Learning Music Production In A College
When you join a music school, you still need a small home studio setup to practice and work. You will also be paying the tuition fee. The minimum Cost to get a Music Production college degree in the USA will be upwards of USD 27000. In India, The Cost would come to a minimum of INR 600000.
Step 5: — Create Music and Build Your Career
Once you have the knowledge and experience to work as a music producer. Build your portfolio and start creating music. This is your time, and you should go all in. Create music and live your dream.
Career Choices For Music Producers
Once you successfully learn music production and build a portfolio, you can pursue the following career choices:
- Become a freelancer music producer
- Release your independent music.
- Sign up with a record label
- Make music for films and commercial projects
- Work with professional studio
- Perform live music
- Teach Music Production
- Work with other artists
- Form your record label
- Work with corporates like ad agencies, game studios, radio stations
- Work with equipment manufacturers and sellers
Possibilities are endless. It all depends on what you love and wish to achieve as a music producer.
Things You Should Know About Being A Music Producer
Here are some tips for those starting with music production:
- Music Production Takes Time: — Music production is a high skill job. You will need to devote time and learn the craft.
- Music Production Takes Discipline — It will take discipline and focus to become a successful music producer.
- It Takes Courage — Music production is a field not pursued by many. It is an art and a craft that requires creativity and courage to pursue.
- Music Production Is Competitive — Becoming and average in any field is easy. To rise above, you will need to face the competition and work for it.
What You Get In Return
- Fulfilment and Satisfaction: — Producing music is the most satisfying and fulfilling experience. You are doing what you love and nothing beats that.
- Stories and Experiences: — Every day as a music producer is new and enriching. You are in a creative field. Your life will be filled with fun experiences and stories.
- Money: — You can easily make a living as a music producer and the potential to earn is limitless.
- A Legacy: — All your work will stay here forever.
- Freedom: — this is not a 9-5 job. You can work at your own will and liking.
If you wish to become a music producer, live the journey and enjoy it.
Life is beautiful when filled with music.
In the next article, we will learn in-depth about career options for music producers.
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