If you’re looking to improve your music production skills, then you’re going to want ways of improving that actually work. That means no fluff or generic information that’s straight-up not useful to you.
That’s why I created a list of 7 ways you can improve your music production that actually work.
How do I know they work?
Well, these same ways are what I used to improve my own music production skills, so I can personally vouch for them. These methods include quantity over quality, the “Mimic Method”, and more. Let’s jump straight into it.
1. Quantity over quality in the beginning
Creating a volume of work will help you improve your music production much faster than trying to make your initial songs perfect.
When we repeatedly do something, we unconsciously learn from our mistakes, refine our music production techniques and processes, and better understand our tools and equipment. Over time, and often without realizing it, we end up producing higher-quality work.
However, if we keep trying to aim for perfection, we end up getting caught up in overthinking and wasting time.
I unfortunately have been the person to try to make a song perfect and every single time without fail the song ended up being terrible.
There’s an important note to consider though.
The value of quantity over quality applies only at the beginning of your music production journey. As you progress to being an experienced music producer, quality will matter more than quantity.
2. Learn through replication using the “Mimic Method”
Another method that helped me improve my music production skills was something I like to call the “Mimic Method.” In music production, the Mimic Method means replicating existing professionally-sounding music tracks. Not for commercial use or passing off as one’s own, but for the sake of understanding, learning, and refining production skills.
Why is this a good practice?
- Understanding song composition: Every song, regardless of its genre, is built upon a specific structure and arrangement. By mimicking, you are forced to dissect this structure. This allows you to understand the intro, verse, chorus, bridge, and outro transitions, as well as the arrangement of instruments and vocals within these sections.
- Learn mixing and sound design: By trying to replicate the sonic quality of a song, you’ll come face-to-face with the intricacies of mixing – EQ settings, compression levels, reverb tails, and more. This exercise can be especially enlightening when trying to match specific sounds, leading you to learn about synthesis and sound design techniques you may not have encountered otherwise.
- Discover new production tips and techniques: Often, in the process of mimicking, you’ll stumble upon production techniques that are novel to you. It might be a unique drum pattern, an unusual vocal effect, or a synth modulation you’ve never heard before. The act of discovery through replication is a goldmine for acquiring new techniques.
3. Learn music theory
Learning music theory will naturally improve your music production skills. Sure, you can wing it and hope for the best, but understanding things like scales, melodies, and chords help you make tracks that just feel right.
Some say theory boxes you in, but in my experience, it’s actually the opposite. Knowing the “rules” means you can break them to make your unique sound.
4. Get feedback on your songs
Feedback on your songs is a great way to naturally improve your music production.
Well, sharing your beats with others gives you a fresh take. They’ll catch those little slip-ups or suggest a twist you hadn’t thought of. It’s all about seeing your track from a new angle and making it even better.
Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism either!
While it’s nice to have everyone tell you your music sounds amazing, constructive criticism will help you grow as a music producer.
Some of the best platforms to get feedback on your songs include:
- SoundCloud: Beyond being a music-sharing platform, SoundCloud has a thriving community of producers and enthusiasts who often provide feedback on tracks.
- Reddit: Subreddits like r/WeAreTheMusicMakers and r/edmproduction have weekly feedback threads where producers can share their work and receive comments.
- Discord Servers: Many music production communities and artist fanbases have dedicated servers where members discuss techniques and share their work for feedback.
- Local Music Groups: Sometimes, the best feedback comes from face-to-face interactions. Local music production or songwriting groups can be great places to share your work and get live reactions.
5. Listen to music in genres you don’t normally listen to
Listening to music in different genres is a great way to improve the creativity in your music production.
Just think about it; there’s a variety of rhythms, melodies, and harmonies you haven’t heard yet if you only listen to one or two genres all the time!
By exploring genres you don’t normally listen to, not only do you discover fresh sounds and inspiring techniques, but you also gain a broader perspective on music in general.
So, next time you’re queuing up songs, try some jazz, delve into classical, and groove to some afrobeat.
6. Invest in continued education
The music industry is constantly evolving, which means you should continue to invest either your time, money, or both in educational resources. Doing so will ensure you continue to learn new things and sharpen your music production skills.
- Online Courses: There are a handful of reputable sites that offer specialized courses in music production. Platforms such as Coursera and Udemy provide both foundational lessons for novices and advanced modules for experienced music producers. You might even find music producers who have their own online courses that they sell for a fee.
- Workshops and Seminars: Participating in workshops and seminars offers a dual benefit. Firstly, they provide hands-on experience and insights into the latest techniques and tools. Secondly, they present a valuable opportunity to engage directly with industry experts and peers, fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.
- Books and Resources: While digital resources are invaluable, traditional books remain a good source of knowledge. I wrote a guide on the best music production books for beginners if you want to find books that will actually help you learn.
7. Upgrade your equipment
If you’re using low-quality equipment, then upgrading it will improve your music production skills.
Why is this the case?
High-quality music production equipment provides a broader and more precise range of capabilities, allowing producers to capture or create sounds with greater fidelity and detail.
Additionally, investing in better equipment is a motivating factor. When you surround yourself with professional-grade tools, it will drive you to match the potential of your tools with enhanced skills and dedication.
While the heart of music production always lies in the talent and creativity of the producer, having the right equipment can elevate that talent, and improve your music production skills.