How do I get started with a DAW? 9 simple steps

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I was on this exact question a few years ago and at that time there weren’t any resources available to learn. It was mostly trial and error and sometimes it was really hard to even think about how to approach this giant task of learning complex new software.

It was a testing time when there were no tutorials available.

Today things have changed a lot there are far more tutorials available than in previous years. You can choose any digital audio workstation and learn it properly. There are far more options for different kinds of digital audio workstations as well.

I started with FL studio switched to Ableton and it has been a great journey since. One thing that hasn’t changed is continuous learning.

In this article, I will walk you through 9 steps by which you can get started with any DAW and master it.

9 steps to get started with a DAW are

  • Choose a DAW
  • Stick with it
  • Learn something daily
  • Learn navigation 
  • Learn making a simple beat
  • Read the manual
  • Join a community (discord)
  • Rinse and repeat 
  • Plot your progress

Having these steps in mind and going through one by one will help you to progress faster and get help along the way.

Choose a DAW

For some people, this is the hardest task to do when there would be a thousand other decisions that they have to take when starting a journey as a music producer.

The only advice that I would give to anyone who is looking for a digital audio workstation is

“Don’t overthink about this”

It doesn’t matter at all what you use. It’s all about what you can make with it that’s what matters.

If you are interested check my post on versions of FL Studio and Ableton Live.

Stick with it

This is the next thing that most people have a problem with. They always get attracted to other shiny objects that they see. They will start with a DAW and move to another. It’s really sad to see that happen.

I started with FL studio and moved to Ableton. In my case, the reason was that I wanted software that could perform in live sessions because all my life I was a keyboardist performing In stages.

At that time I thought it’s the worst decision that I’m taking but in the end, it was the best decision that I could have ever taken.

Learn something daily

When you start to learn a DAW you cannot expect everything to happen in one single day. You cannot learn everything in one single day as well.

If you look at my article on how long it will take to learn Ableton I have explained this very clearly.

Starting with a small portion of Ableton and slowly progressing will compound day by day and make learning much easier.

You don’t have to sweat too much to make a big difference in learning a digital audio workstation.

Learn Navigation

The first and foremost thing to do is to learn navigation through the Digital audio workstation. You should know the navigation around every button, knob, and slider that’s there in that digital audio workstation.

This is how you will learn to expand your work faster.

The navigation systems can be very simple sometimes, let’s take in terms of Ableton its arrangement view, session view, browser view.

Every digital audio workstation has its arrangement system, make it through. You should feel comfortable using the preferences and also the menu functions around the music production software.

Learn making a simple Beat

The first thing I started to do when I started to learn a DAW is to learn how to make beats.it has changed everything for me in terms of how I was even using the DAW.

Watch some tutorials on YouTube and try to follow them step by step. Doing this for 10 days will make you familiar with how to use the interface more effectively.

Making a beat will also get you started with song arrangement and structural components of music production.

Beats are also an effective way to have some fun when you feel like the digital audio workstation is trying to drain your energy.

Reading the manual

I don’t know how many of you will follow this; it’s a boring way to learn a digital audio workstation.

I read the manual and I figured out so many things while reading the Ableton manual which I wouldn’t be able to learn if I was relying on YouTube tutorials.

I would never advise you to start with the manual on day 1, start after one month of working with Ableton, and making beats with it.

Join a community

This is an important thing to do as you start your music production journey. You need to have a community of people who are on the same journey who can help you out with things that you might get stuck.

Join our discord group here.

Rinse and repeat

The journey to getting better at working with a digital audio workstation is to get good at learning daily and keeping the habits intact.

Habits will help you compound the results with time.

You have to take the time to repeat the steps you did to get here continuously to progress further.

Plot your progress

This is something that I struggled with that I didn’t plot my progress while learning a Digital audio workstation.

What plotting your progress does is that it allows you to get motivation from the improvement you have got in a particular period.

Conclusion

No matter where you start learning a digital audio workstation you will reach times where you will feel dry and nothing is flowing at all.

Don’t give up and never look down on yourself.

Everybody faces it one way or the other

Start with a digital audio workstation and stick to it.

If you are interested check my article on 21 music producer motivation tips.

Hustle harder folks.

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