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How Do I Start Producing Music at Home?

Woman sitting at home in front of her computer producing music.

For decades, the only way to create music that sounded professional was in a physical studio that’s equipped with all the industry-standard technology. Luckily for amateurs who don’t have access to a professional studio or who simply can’t afford to book the number of sessions it would take to make any significant progress on their musical projects, the need for a professional studio is no longer necessary. Now it’s possible for anyone to start producing and creating their own music without ever leaving their home.

A Passion for Sound: Where the Journey Begins

What makes someone wake up one day and decide that they want to produce music professionally? For most, it’s a gradual process that starts with a love and passion for music and all things audio related. Hardly anyone who breaks into the competitive field of audio production gets there without first falling in love with music and diving deep into its history and technical nuances.

Some people discover their dream of being a music producer through a love of music itself, listening to their favorite artists. While many with a passion for music want to be the performer on stage who sings and plays their heart out, others are more taken by the way the music sounds on the record. In many cases, aspiring music producers discover their interest by picking out the nuances in a mix, taking note of all the layers of effects that create definitive sounds on their favorite tracks.

Anyone with the desire to produce audio professionally also must have a naturally creative mind. Creativity is a skill that anyone can cultivate, and it takes a certain inner drive to keep building on that skill every day. As with any other career that’s related to the arts, you must have the ability to put out fresh, original ideas that reflect and engage with the project that you’re working on, whether it’s collaborative or solo.

Produce From Home Like a Pro – What You’ll Need

Depending on the type of music you’re going to produce, you will have different needs for your home studio. Assessing your studio requirements ahead of time will help you keep your purchases limited to only what’s necessary, allowing you to purchase everything on a lean budget.

Computer

Whether it’s a laptop or a desktop PC, one thing that all music producers need is a quality computer. It must have storage space and processing capability to handle the level of complexity required for your recording projects. Up-to-date technology also gives you ease of use with things like touch screens, seamless pairing, and compatibility between devices.

Additionally, you’ll need enough monitors to visually see everything you’re working on all at once. Without at least dual monitors of adequate size, it’s too easy for things to get buried, and you’ll spend half your time clicking and scrolling, trying to find a track or effect.

Speakers

You can’t know whether the mix you’ve just created is any good without the ability to play it back over a quality sound system. Hearing and feeling your music, the way it was intended to be experienced, is a critical part of the production process. Compact desktop speakers are perfect for their economy of space and sound quality, however home producers with the room and the budget eventually upgrade to a full PA system. This is a practical choice for music producers who want to also transition into running live shows.

Headphones

For the times when roommates or neighbors wouldn’t appreciate you blasting your latest mix, there are headphones. Reviewing your work in this way isn’t just for late nights or avoiding waking a sleeping baby, either. It’s also an important medium to experience the full complexity of your mix, in a different way. If your music is distributed and listened to by people all over the world, they’re going to hear it through different types of speakers, headphones, and earbuds. It’s the music producer’s job to listen to every track in many ways to optimize the playback for all devices in the mastering process, and that includes headphones.

Software

All music producers use various programs to do the complex and nuanced work that they do. With the help of a DAW, digital audio workstation, music producers can streamline almost every aspect of their mixing and editing process in a way that can completely eliminate the need for a physical recording studio. It all depends on the genre and complexity of the music you choose to produce from home, but all music producers need the right software to get the job done. In most cases, Pro Tools is an excellent choice that’s still the industry standard for mixing and editing.

Sound Treatment

If your producing process is going to involve recording real instruments, you’ll need to treat the space that you’re transforming into a home studio. Sound treatment means strategically placing things in a room, usually on the walls, to absorb sound waves and create cleaner, fuller recording conditions. Depending on the amount of ambient noise coming from outside your home, you might need to invest in some sound dampening panels. In other cases, it’s enough to just create a small booth to catch the vibrations of the voice or instrument you’re recording, rather than spreading out freely around the room and bounce sound off hard surfaces.

Education: The Path to Produce Success

Once you have all the tools you need, it’s much easier to start making music. The only way to learn the many elements of music production is by doing it yourself, making countless musical experiments and figuring out what sounds good to your ear. As with any artistically creative job, it takes discovering your own voice and personal preferences to find out what kind of music producer you want to be.

Once tinkering around has taken you as far as it can, you’ll find a formal education can help you in leaps and bounds. Attending an audio production program will give you the base knowledge to build on and find success in the industry. This is the best way to become acquainted with all the hardware and software that you’ll need to use every day. You’ll also gain the exact type of hands-on experience that you need to build yourself up as a music producer, with educators and mentors right there with you to point you in the right direction.

The experience of an audio production course at a creative arts college also gives you peers who are looking for the same thing you are. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals that have similar interests will help push you farther, and help you stay motivated while elevating your passion to even greater heights. You’ll have countless unique and creative individuals to bounce ideas off, and you’ll be forming a network that will stick with you the rest of your professional life.

When you walk out of an audio production course, you’ll also have opportunities in the music industry that you never would have had otherwise. In this highly competitive business, the only way to get your foot in the door is to take advantage of these types of opportunities. Teachers, mentors, and counselors will be there to guide you through this unique and rewarding field and transition you straight into your future career.

What Does Someone Learn in an Audio Production Program?

The coursework in an audio production program ranges as widely as the actual work itself. You’ll learn everything about editing, mixing, and mastering. You’ll also learn what it’s like to work in a real studio, producing alongside other members of a team. This is a critical part of working in the real world because it’s very rare that music producers will work entirely on their own. Having clear communication and knowing how to ask for help, and who to delegate to, is essential for a successful career in music production.

Final Thoughts

If you are just starting out and want to build a foundation for your music career, it may be time to learn more about the Institute of Production and Recording. We offer a complete audio production degree program that will prepare you for your first day in the industry and give you the confidence and knowledge to create new music. Bring your home studio to life and start learning everything you need to succeed as a music producer.

Audio Production Program

Ready to get into audio production and start creating music at home? The Audio Production and Engineering Program  at the Institute of Production and Recording is an occupational degree program designed to train producer engineers who are entrepreneurs, musically and technically creative, and proficient in modern recording technology and technique. Throughout the program, you are involved in hands-on exercises and real-world studio projects that enable you to apply your knowledge and refine your skills.

At the end of the audio production and engineering program, you will present a portfolio, a selection of your best work to date. This serves as a demo reel for potential employers and clients, an audio resume with professional content that highlights your talent and skill.

Contact us today to learn more about the audio production programs and starting a rewarding career.