27 Golden Music Production Tips That Are Actually Useful

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Written by Ramsey Brown.

If you are someone who produces music, you probably know that as gratifying as it is, it can also be a real struggle sometimes too. It’s not always easy to find inspiration, make the time, finish a song, or achieve notoriety for all of your hard work. Music production is without a doubt a hard grind, but if you love what you do the process is beautiful and rewarding.

We’ve all heard the saying, great things take time. This could not be more true when it comes to music production. Most of the production greats have taken years upon years to master their skills. Luckily, there are tricks you can implement and advice you can take in order to become a better music producer sooner.

We’ve compiled a list of the most beneficial tips that we’ve gathered from music professionals with years of production knowledge and schooling, plus overall industry experience. These tips on music production aren’t your average run-of-the-mill advice from Reddit. We are letting you in on 27 ways to become a better music producer so you can take your sound design to the next level.

#1 Learn & grow at your own pace

When you create music, you have to not only be passionate about it  but also patient with it. Keep your head down and pay attention to your craft only. Don’t make the mistake of comparing yourself or your work to others because this is a waste of time and energy. Music production is individualistic and no creative should compare themselves to another creative.

#2 Listen to as much music as possible

By listening to different music and genres, you learn more about music production and can also find inspiration in music you least expected to find it in. This is one of the most important pop music production tips that some of the best music producers share with both aspiring music producers and recording artists. Dive into sounds and styles that aren’t something you would normally listen to.  

#3 Be open to feedback and constructive criticism

Getting not only consistent but also trustworthy feedback on your projects is the best way to check if what you’re doing is going well. If you are open to constructive criticism and feedback on your music, you will be able to learn from some of your mistakes and try some new things. After all, without the combination of implementation and feedback, progress is very hard to come by.

#4 Be your authentic self

This one may sound cliché, but if you are your authentic self and stay true to who you are, you can achieve absolutely anything, regardless if it’s associated with music or not. This quality is very important, especially in the music industry and the show business. Copying someone’s style is easy, but what will make you stand out is your own rare and unique talent.

#5 Spend money on knowledge, not equipment

One of the most common mistakes that new and aspiring music producers do is spending loads of money on equipment. Instead of using your money to buy the newest or trendiest production gear, spend it on education, classes, or anything else that’s going to increase your knowledge and skill set. For example, instead of spending $500 on expensive/luxurious plugs and other gadgets, use that money to learn how to use compression and get books about music production.

#6 Create friendships in the music industry

Making friends and connections with artists, producers, and other music-related people is very important for every person that wants to succeed in the industry. Connections and collaborations can take you a long way in this field of work. If you are able to create a community or a group of friends in the music industry, you will most definitely achieve greatness sooner rather than later.

#7 Explore different revenue streams

One of the most common mistakes that new and aspiring music producers do is spending loads of money on equipment. Instead of using your money to buy the newest or trendiest production gear, spend it on education, classes, or anything else that’s going to increase your knowledge and skill set. For example, instead of spending $500 on expensive/luxurious plugs and other gadgets, use that money to learn how to use compression and get books about music production.

#8 Treat the music production like it’s a job

Don’t let other things distract you while you’re in the studio. Turn off your phone and/or internet, clear your schedule, and get off social media. Once you pay attention and treat music production as a real job, then your work will quickly start flourishing.

#9 Don’t forget about presets and re-amplification

The presets are made by sound designers and can be used, manipulated, and tweaked. As for the re-amplification, this is the process in which a signal is routed back to the editing environment, then ran through effective units, a guitar amplifier, and a reverb chamber.

#10 Incorporate real instruments

Besides the synths, using real instruments can add another layer of depth to your sound. You can record bass, guitar, drums, or anything else that you could think of. You can even record your voice or just some vocals. By implementing this into a project, it will only help make it stand out even more and be unique in comparison to other recordings.

#11 Perfect the layering

Perfecting the craft of layer is another golden music production tip. Avoid the masking conversion altogether by not picking the same sounds. Instead, pick different sounds with different timbers, and that way you can create something fresh, unique, and head-turning.

#12 Experiment and mix acoustic with analog sounds

Experimenting is a great way to create something rare. For example, you could mix acoustic with analog sounds, or you can use a subtle detuned saw synth as a top-end layer to a piano. Don’t be afraid to do something different and go completely out of your comfort zone.

#13 Pay attention and learn from your mistakes

Learning from your mistakes and also paying close attention is one of the things that could change your career trajectory. Whether it’s duplicating the wrong measure, playing, or using the wrong sample. Everyone makes mistakes but if you learn from them, you’re one step closer to becoming a better musician.

#14 Use silence to your advantage

A lot of producers forget about silence, which is also an instrument that tends to create tension. Silence is like it sounds, the removal of frequency space that makes the return to a full-frequency section so special. Sometimes referred to as ‘the drop’ in EDM music, it can be used to create a dynamic, energetic, and additional impact in the song.

#15 Keep things simple

When you start, you don’t have to create complex music from the get-go. Pop music, for example, is notoriously simple in composition and you don’t need much to make it sound great. If you start simple, you will eventually have more opportunities to create even more advanced variations from where you had first started.

#16 Use resources such as HookTheory

Hook Theory is a well-known resource that allows music producers to see how popular songs are broken down. Thanks to this application, you can not only download the MIDI files of the projects but also tweak them as well.

#17 Create longer loops

Instead of a 10 bar chord progression, make it 20 bars. Copy your 10 bar progression twice and then change two or three of the chords in the second 10 bars. By doing this for your bass, percussion, and other parts, your 10 bar song will become a more complex and evolving composition with a few small tweaks.

#18 It’s okay to steal

When it comes to music production, stealing is very common. If you hear chords, keys, or anything else in another song that you love or have just discovered, take them and recreate them in your own way by putting your personal flair to it.

#19 Try the Haas Effect

The Haas Effect is also known as the “precedence effect”. This psychoacoustic phenomenon tricks the brain to perceive a space and direction of a specific sound when there’s a slight delay between the stereo channels.

#20 Listen to your music in different places

Apart from the studio, try listening to your music in other places like the car, clubs, different headphones and on different types of monitors. When you get out of the studio environment and hear your music through various outputs, you can get a better idea of what the track will actually sound like and if you are truly satisfied with the outcome or not.

#21 Give your ears a break

It’s extremely important to take a break every hour for at least 5 to 15 minutes when you are mixing a track. If you don’t, you risk fatiguing your ears and messing up not only your work but your hearing abilities as well. This will help re-calibrate your ears and also stop you from getting lost or overanalyzing  your own mix.

#22 Take some time off

Taking some time off is very important when creating music. For you to be able to gain a new perspective on what you are working on, try taking a day or night off. Even if it's only for a few hours, a short break can help you come back with a more clear head and more productive than before. 

#23 Finish your tracks

It seems so obvious yet so many producers have trouble with it - finishing the track. This is by far the most important rule of thumb in music production. You can have created the best beat in the entire industry, but if it is not completely finished, it is essentially useless. Set deadlines for yourself and don’t move on to a new project until your goal is met. Shoot for finishing a song every week and at most every two weeks. It’s not always the easiest thing to do but it is the most essential.

#24 Back up, back up, & back up again

There is nothing worse to a producer or musician than to work on a track for hours on end and then losing everything because it wasn’t backed up or saved correctly. Freak accidents happen, so it’s recommended that you save at least 3 different copies of your data. Also, save your files on multiple different storage types such as an external drive, flash drive, cloud storage, etc. 

#25 Master your own tracks

Even though it would be great to have someone help you with mastering your tracks, especially when you are just starting out, there is nothing wrong with mastering them all by yourself. All it takes is learning some of the basics and you’re good to go. This will help you save money and it’s a great overall trait to have up your sleeve.

#26 Organization is key

Each time you finish a song, you need to take a few minutes to organize it in the proper folder so you know where to find it next time. These couple of minutes spent on organizing can end up saving you hours down the road. Color coordinate different files depending on the project, create a favorites folder, create a folder of songs that aren’t finished but your highest priority to finish, organize by date, time, and plugin. All of these things will end up making your life so much easier, guaranteed.

#27 Don’t stress too much

Another golden music production tip is to not stress too much and over think things. If there is too much loudness in your head, take a break and try to relax your mind. Stress can cause a lot of troubles so avoid that at all costs.

Wrapping Up

Music production may seem like an easy and laid-back gig to outsiders, but in reality we know that it's definitely hard work and a constant grind. However, the struggle in creating is what makes the outcome of the art so beautiful and ultimately well worth it. If you use any of these tips mentioned above, it can definitely help alleviate some of the common problems that many producers face on a regular bases. 

Feel free to share this article with any of your music producer friends and comment with any other production tips or tricks that are useful for you!


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