I often receive emails from creators or "Yet-To-Be" creators asking for advice or lessons on how to start producing music. I thought my reply would be helpful to more than just this young high school student, so I'd like to share it here. I hope you find it useful.
To the high school student, I wrote:
It’s really great that you want to help out your mom through music. Not something people tend to talk about all that often. If you have her in mind as you go through this industry, you’ll find a lot of the hard work doesn’t seem so hard.
I actually teach a course on music production through a school down in L.A., and I’d be happy to introduce you to them. It’s a pretty expensive program, though, so in the mean time I thought I’d give you some resources to look into.
#1 - Learn to Play an instrument
If you don’t already have a music background, learning the piano is one of the most valuable skills a producer can have and is a clear dividing line between the average home producer and the BIG TIME producers. You don’t have to be an amazing player, but knowing the piano is more helpful that you can possibly imagine.
#2 - Learn the Basics of the Software
If you don’t already have software that you’re playing with, there are two beginner producer software options that keep things simple and get you creating music right away. Knowing the basics of the software is SUPER important because there’s so much to know.
If you’re on Mac Garageband is amazingly powerful and likely already on your computer. Many people dismiss it because it’s free but the creative potential is off the charts. It’s also simple to use but professionally designed, which makes it a GREAT starter producer software.
If you’re on PC or Mac, MPC Beats, by Akai is one of the best starter producer softwares out there to get started with. It is so simple to use that you can’t help but start creating right away. You may outgrow it quickly, but you’ll always come back to it because it sounds great and it’s so easy to use.
#3 - Find some Free Online Tutorials
Nothing helps you get started like good free courses. Here are some free starters you can consider…
This one is a crash course on getting set up at home… So many free resources are included within.
Skillshare has so many REALLY GOOD courses and you get a free month with this link. It might be the right fit.
Another really great crash course into music production that can help make sense of the whole process. It’s a great place to start for the beginner.
#4 - Start making music
It’s reasonable to keep your expectations low as you’re figuring this stuff out. You might make something really cool really quick, or maybe it takes a couple years before you feel like you’re creating something good. The most important thing is to always be making music. That’s the only way to get good at it.