Sitting down to produce music is a long process, but a rewarding one when there are no hiccups. Unfortunately, roadblocks do crop up and when they do, in order to finish a project you have to understand how to overcome them. One method is to avoid making mistakes in the first place and this guide focuses on the top mistakes to avoid at all costs when producing music.
Don’t Have an Incomplete Setup
You could not paint a masterpiece without paint. Well, the same logic applies to music production. To produce the perfect track, or any sound worth working on, you have to find the right equipment. Typical bits of kit that most music producers tend to have in their inventory are:
- Digital Audio Workstation
- Studio Grade Headphones (preferably noise canceling)
- Studio Monitors
- Studio Grade Microphone
- Access to Sampling
But, don’t break the bank. The important part is the music making. If you are a beginner, this is especially relevant, do not buy all this stuff new until you know you’re going to use it enough to merit the price tag. The one thing that is most likely to get used on a regular basis is the computer, so for some specific music production options take a look at Lenovo Desktop for Music Production. It is very easy to spend thousands. Check out second-hand options or rent/borrow the other kit until you feel a) confident using it and b) will use it for the foreseeable future.
Brush up on Basic Music Knowledge
A lot of music is innate, but there are skills to be learned alongside natural talent. Putting together a song or instrument is made easier by learning the basic concept behind the screen. Names, time signatures, chords and progressions, key signatures, and how to manipulate harmonies are all top content to acquire when dabbling in music production. It will make life that much easier and ensure there is a certain quality to the finished result that wouldn’t be possible without it. If you choose to wing it, expect a depleted quality in the output.
As a place to start try exploring the seven key elements of all music.
- Harmony – how the notes work together.
- Dynamics – how loud the music is played.
- Melody – what it sounds like.
- Rhythm – the beat, the tempo.
- Form – sections of music.
- Texture – how every component sits together.
- Timbre – the individual aspects that dictate instrumental individuality.
Stay on Track with Mistakes
Different work styles are expected across any project. However, when it comes to producing music it is normal to anticipate mistakes along the journey. When this happens, don’t ignore it. A mistake is far easier to rectify in real-time as opposed to retrospectively when a whole piece has come together.
Mistake fixing, however, is a different concept entirely from editing. Editing is the perfecting part that happens at the end of a track or a recorded section. Why does it have to happen at the end? Because then you get the bigger picture. How every component works together is integral to the track running smoothly from start to finish – so if one section has been heavily edited, EQ messed around with, etc, maybe some vocal compression, it will undoubtedly stand out as odd. If you are tempted to edit a section before the whole ensemble is complete, save it as a separate file and have two mixes on the go for continuity’s sake.
Avoid the Hyperfocus
Sometimes, a bit of hyperfocus can be a good thing – if it gets the task done. However, too much can lead to burnout and overproduction, which then leads to uncompleted projects dotted around. Obsession is a part of perfectionism, the two go hand in hand. However, there is a balance to be struck. Instead of fixating on one song for months on end, take time to explore other projects too. A fresh pair of eyes is a useful tool at your disposal, and you can only get that by stepping away.
Music production is a lot of fun, and the equipment alone can be a major part of the action. Finding the right PC and DAW is essential and don’t avoid that music theory.