Schools Training

The Very First Steps to Becoming a Music Producer

15 MAR 2013
Career Path : Audio Engineering

If you really love music to the point of obsession and possess the type of nature that makes you want to get inside the heads of your favourite musicians and create your own songs, then you might have what it takes to be a music producer. It can be a fulfilling career in many ways but before you start clearing shelf space for your first Grammy you should get an idea of the challenges ahead and know what it takes to stand out from the crowd.  There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself even before you take the next step of serious studies.

Is it right for you?

Most music producers or sound engineers have studied extensively to become masters of their craft. At audio engineering school you’ll find many aspiring rock stars or beat makers, and others who have figured out how to make decent recordings of their friends’ bands. To make a serious go of this it takes plenty of trial and error and the kind of analytical personality that would choose to spend spare time fiddling around with complex recording programs or making a beat sound just right. Do you have a good ear? Start really listening with good headphones to the songs on the radio and notice how various instruments are panned left or right in the speaker, higher or lower in the mix, with different depth or degree of reverb and delay effects. Even if you don’t like the pop station, try to understand the techniques in style and what makes them popular. Remember, there are plenty of terrible songs on commercial radio but no bad recordings. Try to imagine how your favourite songs were created. This certainly takes a lot of practice and will become clearer as you study specific recording techniques but once you begin to approach the listening experience with a scientist’s attitude the magic of music will only gain in fascination.

Your homework: go out to some concerts!

This analytical approach applies to the concert setting as well. Go and see lots of shows and take a look at the sound guy in the back and before sets, where the microphones are placed, where the wires are going, when the performers are satisfied with sound check, and what kinds of adjustments are typically made as the show is in progress. Talk with them when they’re not busy to get an idea of their typical workday. Not many people notice the sound guy – they tend to get all the blame and none of the praise – but it can be where you’ll find the most jobs in this field and it’s a great place to learn the basics of producing.

What next?

You will probably reach a point where you want access to top equipment and instruction and are curious as to what audio engineering school can teach you. These tend to be one or two year programs, the longer ones offering more opportunity for valuable hands-on experience in addition to the requisite music theory and audio courses. The more you know in advance of any sort of study, the better prepared you will be to achieve your dream!

Visit Trebas Institute for more information on music production or DJ school.