The skills that are needed to be good music producers differ. Every genre of producer would need different types of skills to excel in their craft. It’s not that easy to point out and say “this is what you need”. There are some basic skills that a music producer needs to be excellent in their craft and be phenomenal in doing music production.
In this article, I will go through some basic skills and some essential ones as well. You will be able to analyze where you should put your efforts more to get your music production journey up and running and more productive.
Sometimes it’s hard to see with our own eyes how we are performing as a music producer. Sometimes we need someone to look at our work and say “yo you are missing something here”. I hope that this article will give you an understanding of where you should be working on In your music production skills
Top 7 skills music producer needs are,
- Hard work
- Ear training
- Drum programming
- Music theory
Let’s go through one by one shall we,
Some people think that music production is such an easy job where these music producers click sum buttons on the computers sitting in an air-conditioned room and paid millions. In reality that’s not the case at all. The music producer’s nowadays to have decent pay has to put in double the time as a regular job employee to make a living. There are no shortcuts to that at all.
If you don’t work hard, then I would say that even if you love making music don’t choose this as a career. You should have a heart of steel to navigate through everything that you will be facing in this spectrum of work. There is so much competition in the music production industry nowadays that people will fight to get their songs placed to get a gig for producing music.
If you are not strong-willed and have a heart to work then please stay away from choosing music production as a career. You might get lucky but as they say “luck is a result of hard work”.
This is another important aspect of producing music. If you want to win in music production then you should be able to network with people and talk to people and attend meetings as well. The connections you create will go a long way when it comes to music production.
People will prefer people they know rather than anyone else. They would want people they know to work with them rather than someone from a street in the middle of nowhere. Three things I would want you to do would be to attend all the conferences in all genres in the music industry and have your contact card with you. Talk to at least 20 people at the conference and follow up for 3 months.
Let me tell you this, one prospect is all you need to get your foot in the right door.
Oh, man! I can’t rant on this enough. People think they are good producers after making 200 beats. They never work on their ear training at all to tweak their ears to find the problems in a mix or even to work on their ability to figure out mistakes in a mixed song.
They just throw the song to the audio engineer and sit back and relax. If you don’t have a trained ear then you would never be able to address critical mistakes in a song. Sometimes you won’t be able to even make things to shine in a song. It will be impossible for you to see the low hanging fruits in the song.
Train your ears people.
This is the next part where I sucked so much. I had zero drum programming background and I was really bad at putting rhythms together. The result was all my songs had beautiful melodies but the drums were trash.
A good song will have perfect snappy and crisp drum progression even when hearing it you will know that is a banger. Once I found out my drums are trash I started to learn patterns and they work along with time signature and how different genres work in time signatures. It made all the difference in my music production.
This is for all the producers. Please learn music theory, you will be amazed at what you can do when you know music theory. It’s like having a superpower to know where to put the chords and which chords to go for. It’s an amazing experience that you will ever have when it comes to music production.
Music theory will open your mind to new ideas that you have never thought about ever in your life. It will change the way you look at things as well. it is incredible how music theory will speed up your time messing with chords and putting the song together.
The one music producer that every artist love is the one who can mix songs immediately and help them listen to at least 80% of how the song will sound in the end. That’s someone a music artist would want to work with.
If you don’t know basic mixing techniques then please do learn them and put it into practice.
Some steps that I would suggest are to have a reference track for each genre that you produce and compare your mix with it. Today we have so many plugins that we can use to compare one track with the other. Mixing is a noteworthy skill of a producer
You can check the track width and the overall eq curve to see where things are slacking as well. Today things have become super easy to do with a button click.
If you are a music producer you should know basic mastering skills as well. When you are sending a beat send two versions of the mastered beat as well as mixed -6db beat. You have no idea how much artists appreciate that. They love when they can listen to how the music would sound in the end and also have a version where they have enough space to do a demo.
Learning mastering it’s an important skill that a music producer needs
No matter where you are on your journey there is always room to improve and even now I am learning different genres in EDM as well. the production techniques and the differences.
Learning never stops when it comes to music production.
If you are interested check my article on motivation tips for music producers as well.