The Booms and Baps of Music Production: Getting Started
Now that you have chosen a DAW to create music in (If not, refer to The Booms and Baps of Music Production: DAWs), it’s time to get started creating your own track. However, staring at your computer screen with a new project can be daunting, especially if you are still learning it. Fear not! These guides are meant to help you gather your footing in music production by sharing my own experiences and tips I’ve learned from the pros (aka YouTube). Whenever I look at a new project, I typically already have a genre that has inspired me. It is a good idea to start learning different genres of music and determine which one you would be most interested in. That way, you can learn the key characteristics of the genre and jumpstart your next project.
First, I start with the chord progression or the drums. You can start with either one and many people prefer one way or another, however it is all up to you on where you would like to start. Now, some may believe that suddenly a lightbulb enters your head and then you begin creating your track as if someone inserted the instructions into your brain, but that is not really true. Most inspiration comes from experimentation. In order to create a chord progression, I have to search for the right sound and come up with an exciting pattern that I enjoy. Honestly, sometimes I am just tapping on my MIDI keyboard and playing something randomly while I’m scrolling through synth presets and end up using that. It’s even more exciting that way because it feels like it is your subconscious creation. You can do the same thing with the drums too, create a drum kit to your liking and play around with beats and rhythms that you like and remember there are no limits. Add two snares here and add four kicks here, as long as it has rhythm you have drums.
If you’re like me though, inspiration can still be tough to find and even then, creating professional sounding music can be tough. So, services such as Splice or Loopcloud could help give you that extra edge. I personally use Splice and have found much inspiration in their catalog. Splice or Loopcloud are services that for a monthly fee (Splice is $8/month), you can peruse a collection of samples, loops, and individual notes or drum hits and download them or drag it into your DAW directly. It is very helpful for producers looking to add extra elements to their music. If you’re thinking that you’re unoriginal for using samples, then trust me, I understand. However, it is what you do with the sample that makes it yours. Plus, professionals sample audio all the time.
I would also recommend googling free sample packs and see what comes up. People are always giving away free sounds which may be part of your new hit. I hope these tips help new producers learn more about the world of music and remember, create the music that makes you happy.