Music production can be a rewarding career for those who are passionate about music and find composing to be their avenue for creativity. It is often said that music is the food for the soul, and for many musicians, it’s not just a career—it’s a way of life. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary for a music producer was $62,940 per year. Furthermore, the number of people employed in the music production industry in the US increased 6.8% on average over the five years between 2018 and 2023. These statistics show that music production can indeed be a lucrative and growing field.
If you’ve ever felt the pull towards music production, either as a hobby or as a potential career, but felt like it might be too late to start, let me assure you—it’s not. Yes, music production involves learning a multitude of skills and concepts, but it’s far from impossible. In fact, there are several ways to expedite your learning process. This guide aims to provide you with the five best ways to learn music production, detailing each method to help you achieve the best possible results.
Top 5 Methods to Learn Music Production Fast
Whether you’re a budding producer or an established musician looking to broaden your skills, understanding music production is essential. Here are the top five methods for studying and becoming an expert in music production.
1. Online Courses
Online platforms have revolutionized how we learn, and music production is no exception. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Berklee Online offer comprehensive courses in music production. Here are some tips for maximizing these resources:
Choose the right course
Determine your learning goals first. Do you want to learn how to produce music but are a beginner? Or are you more seasoned and seeking to improve a particular skill, such as mixing or mastering? Once you’ve identified your learning goals, search for a course that matches them. Look at the course syllabus, read reviews, and check the instructor’s credentials.
Engage with the course
Don’t just passively watch the videos—take notes, complete the assignments, and engage with other learners in the discussion forums. This will help you remember what you have learned and provide you with the chance to absorb other people’s experiences.
Apply what you’ve learned
After each lesson, try to apply what you’ve learned to your own music production. This could be as simple as experimenting with a new plugin you’ve learned about, or as complex as recreating a mix from scratch using the techniques you’ve learned.
For instance, if you’ve enrolled in Berklee’s mixing and mastering course, after each lesson, try to apply the techniques taught in the course to your own project. If the lesson was about equalization, spend some time tweaking the EQ settings on your mix. The key is to immediately put into practice what you’ve learned.
Remember, the goal isn’t to rush through the course, but to fully understand and apply the concepts taught. With consistent effort and practice, you’ll see your skills improve over time.
2. Video Tutorials
Platforms like YouTube are a treasure trove of music production knowledge. Channels like “Produce Like A Pro” by Warren Huart or “You Suck at Producing” offer in-depth tutorials covering various aspects of music production.
Search for specific topics
Instead of watching random videos, search for tutorials on specific topics you want to learn about. For instance, if you’re struggling with compression, search for “compression tutorial” or “how to use a compressor”.
Follow along with the tutorial
Follow along with the tutorial instead of just watching it. If the tutorial is about creating a certain sound or effect, try to recreate it in your DAW as you watch.
Experiment on your own
After watching a tutorial, spend some time experimenting with what you’ve learned. Try to apply the technique to different sounds or songs, and see what works and what doesn’t.
For example, if you’ve watched a tutorial about sidechain compression, try applying it to a track you’re working on. Experiment with different settings and listen to how it affects the sound.
3. Books and eBooks
Books can provide a deep dive into specific areas of music production. Titles like “Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio” by Mike Senior and “The Art of Mixing” by David Gibson are highly recommended by professionals.
Choose the right book
Find books that align with your learning objectives and current level of expertise. To determine whether the book is right for you, read reviews.
Make notes as you read about key concepts, methods, or ideas. This will help reinforce what you’re learning.
Apply what you’ve learned
Just like with online courses and video tutorials, the key to learning from books is to apply what you’ve learned. After reading a chapter, try out the techniques or ideas in your own music production.
For example, if you’ve just read a chapter about EQ in “Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio”, spend some time playing with the EQ in your DAW. Try out the methods outlined in the book and pay attention to how they impact your mix.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
The most effective way to learn music production is by doing it. Better results will come as you practice more.
Set aside dedicated time for practice
Make a schedule and stick to it. Consistent practice—even if it only lasts an hour a day—will result in advancement.
Work on real projects
Whether it’s remixing a favorite song, producing a track from scratch, or collaborating with other musicians, working on real projects will give you practical experience and help you apply what you’ve learned.
Never be afraid to try new things and fail. Experimentation is a crucial part of learning. Try out different techniques, play with different sounds, and see what works and what doesn’t. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.
5. Find a Mentor
Your learning process will go much more quickly if you have a mentor. They can provide personalized feedback, help you avoid common mistakes, and guide you through the learning process.
Look for a mentor
This could be a local music producer, a teacher at a local music school, or even an online mentor. Websites like SoundBetter let you connect with professional music producers who offer mentoring services.
Learn from your mentor
Ask them questions, look for their feedback on your work, and take in what they have learned. A good mentor can provide valuable insights that you won’t find in any book or course.
Music Production: A Passion-Driven Skill
Music production is not just about understanding technical aspects like sound design, mixing, or mastering. It’s a creative process that requires passion, dedication, and an inherent love for music. The beauty of music production lies in the ability to transform a simple melody into a full-fledged song that can evoke emotions and tell a story.
The learning process becomes enjoyable rather than a chore when you are passionate about what you do. You will discover that you are eager to learn new skills, try out new sounds, and stretch your creative abilities. This passion fuels your motivation, allowing you to overcome obstacles and continue learning even when times are difficult.
Moreover, passion leads to curiosity—an essential trait for any music producer. The music industry is constantly evolving, with new production techniques and technologies appearing on a regular basis. A passionate music producer stays updated with these trends, continuously learning and adapting their skills to stay relevant in the ever-changing landscape of music production.
Therefore, while technical knowledge is crucial in music production, it’s your passion that will truly set you apart. It’s what drives you to create unique music that resonates with listeners, continually pushing you to grow as a producer. So, pick up those headphones, fire up your DAW, and let the world dance to your beats. Happy producing!