Having been a teacher of Music Production for over a decade now, it's fascinating to me how the biggest mistakes new producers make hasn't really changed in that time.
In fact, they were the same mistakes I made when I first started to learn how to make music...back in the dark ages...before YouTube even existed...(bloody hell, I'm old!)
If you're right at the start of your journey into Music Production, I'm sure you'll have made at least one of these mistakes...and recently too!
Here's my top 5, and what to do about them!
Picture the scene: you're in the studio, looking to make FYAH BEATZ (this is what the kids call it now, right?), and you want to make the amazing sounds that are rattling around in your head.
So you open a synth plugin, and you flick through endless presets, and start randomly wiggling knobs and pushing faders, because you have no idea where to begin - the synth is scary, you don't know how it works, and you're praying for a happy accident
Solution: You need to learn the basics of synthesis and sound design, so you can start to make progress, slowly but surely, toward making your own signature sounds...but you need a basis of knowledge to let you do that...
A lot of new and beginning producers are impatient - they just want to capitalise on their passion and make the best music as possible, as quickly as possible, so they can get famous and become more attractive to their potential mating partners 😍
So, they skip steps. They try to sprint with Usain Bolt, when they've never ran a race in their lives.
Like everything else in life, there are no shortcuts. But, there are ways of learning more efficiently, and there's no more efficient, or effective, way to start making the music you want than learning the basic rules and fundamental principles of Music Production, and how your DAW works.
This cuts the learning curve more than anything else!
Most people try to learn a new skill suffer in silence. Mostly because of shame an embarrassment of asking a supposedly 'stupid question' or being seen actively sucking at the new skill they're looking to learn.
The number one rule of learning any skill, is that you have to be prepared to be really, really bad at it for a while, in order to get really really good at it in the future.
This can be a long, and not to mention, lonely road.
That's where putting your bruised ego to one side, not being afraid to feel a bit silly (it's not as bad as you think), and asking for help from people who have already gone through the process can really help you.
The simple process of knowing where the sounds you are working with originate from, and what steps they go through before they leave the speakers and head for your ears, is utterly game changing for any producer, especially the less experienced ones.
Think in terms of Output to Input, and you're already well on your way. Simple as that.
Are you a 'plugin junkie?' Do you find yourself spending more time trawling Splice for sounds and presets than you do actually creating music? Seem to have acquired the hacking skills of Neo from The Matrix, so you can get that 'must have' synth that will miraculously lead you to the promised land of your own inspiration?
I've got news for you...not only are you wasting your time (and your computer is probably riddled with some digital version of 'the clap'👏) you are something far worse...
You're a 'Crack Head'
What's the cure to this most acute of illnesses?
The tools you have within your DAW as standard are incredibly powerful, and you can get so much more out of them than you currently are. You don't need every all singing, all dancing plugin to make great music...
For example, Martin Garrix (love him or...otherwise) made an international smash hit record on a very simple DAW using a pair of Apple Earpods for monitors!
It's all doable...you just need a starting point...and that's what we're giving you, with the Getting Started in Ableton Live online course.
It covers everything we've mentioned above, and more:
1. Fundamentals of Synthesis, Sampling and Effects Processing
2. Learn how Ableton works in great detail
3. Understand Signal Flow, and how to write great music with the stock instruments and effects within Ableton Live
We'll also give you feedback on your tracks as you develop, and answer every single question you could ever have about learning to produce music.