In this list of 83 Music Production Tips you will find shortcuts to better songs or beats, better mixes, smoother workflow, faster skill development and a better production mindset. You can start using all of them right away.
However, don’t try to integrate all 83 tips into your music production at once. Instead pick two or three and start putting them to work until they become a habit. Then come back to this list and pick the next two or three tips, make these a habit and so on.
I should also mention that I did not arrange the music production tips in any particular order. I wrote them down randomly as they came into my mind and I didn’t change the order afterwards.
Okay, enough explanations…
Let’s dive in.
- Listen to a lot of different music.
- “Steal” from unrelated genres.
- Create a template session, so you can immediately start producing when an idea hits you.
- Learn and use the plugins you have.
- Stick with a setup that is working for you, regardless of what others use.
- It’s always about the music, not the tools.
- The tools must serve the music, not vice versa.
- Focus on making music.
- You don’t need the newest tools, to sound great.
- Toys are great…only when you use them.
- Listen to a lot of music on your monitors in your mixing position, because…
- …knowing how your monitors’ sound in your listening environcment is a lot more important than owning high end monitors.
- Get a decent pair of headphones as an additional monitoring device. I recommend these.
- Do some basic room acoustic treatment.
- Get some good sample packs. They make producing easier and help you save a lot of time. I proudly and self servingly recommend my drum sample packs.
If you prefer not to buy from me, I recommend these sample packs.
- Get a decent mic as soon as possible, so you can record in high quality. There’s no way to turn a bad recording into a good one afterwards. Røde Mics have a great price performance ratio.
- Get a decent audio interface as soon as possible, so you can record through good preamps and converters. There’s no way to turn a bad recording into a good one afterwards. I recommend these.
- Mic placement is crucial for a good recording. Experiment with it.
- Get a Midi Controller Keyboard for increased production fun, even if you’re not a keyboarder.
- Back up your hard disk at least once a week, preferably every day.
- Build your network online and offline.
- Borrow equipment from peers and return the favor.
- Bring back the equipment as soon as possible! You may want to borrow something again.
- Invest in a new quality sample pack from time to time for fresh inspiration.
- Invest in a new instrument or effect plugin from time for fresh inspiration.
- Get inspired by other artists.
- Don’t try to sound like other artists.
- Follow your heart.
- Study the structure of your favorite songs.
- Learn some basic music theory.
- Don’t be afraid of using no or very little processing.
- Don’t be afraid of using a lot of processing.
- Get the song structure right before working on details. Do the rough work before you polish.
- Spark your inspiration with whatever it is that inspires you (concerts, clubbing, movies, magazines, books, youtube, tv, going for a walk, workout, having a coffee, beer…)
- Learn from your peers.
- Let your peers learn from you.
- Also learn from the best whenever possible.
- Making music is fun.
- From time to time making music sucks.
- When you feel stuck, take long break. Then come back and keep pushing.
- In uncreative phases learn and do some music marketing, network, clean your harddisk … do something productive and music related.
- Save many versions of your project (save as –> project name – number). So you can experiment and go back to a previous version when you screw up.
- Be wild.
- Be free.
- Rules? Which rules?
- Throw in some weird sounds to make your music stand out and stick with the listener.
- Producing every day is key to develop your skill fast.
- Produce at least 15 minutes a day. Most of the time you will find yourself producing for hours once you start. If it’s only 15 minutes it’s still good.
- Quality is king, not quantity.
- Listen at different levels. Your mix should sound good on any level.
- Listen on different systems. Your mix should sound good on any system.
- Keep the levels in your channels at -10dB. They will add up in the master bus. A trim plugin in each channel can help.
- Don’t get involved in analog versus digital debates. Useless waste of time.
- Don’t get involved in PC versus Mac debates. Total waste of time and energy.
- Not owning a certain device is no excuse for not moving forward.
- Get feedback for your music as often as possible. Open up to what others say…and draw your own conclusions.
- Be honest to yourself.
- Be patient. Skills don’t develop over night.
- Be persistent. Skills don’t develop over night.
- Get ready for frustration.
- Sometimes you’ll feel like giving up. Keep moving forward. Fun awaits you just a few steps from here.
- If you are a DJ, play your songs in your sets. The people’s reactions will tell you a lot about your song.
- Learn to monetize your music.
- Make decisions fast.
- If you can hardly hear the difference while AB-ing a setting, no one else will.
- Get rid of distractions. Turn off your phone. No emails. No Facebook, No Twitter…. This is your time and no one has the right to interrupt you. (Except for emergency.)
- Trained humans can laser focus no longer than 50 minutes straight. Have a break at least every hour. I personally prefer every 25 minutes. Use your smart phones timer or the Pomodoro App.
- Use subtractive EQing for transparent mixes.
- Get your levels right before you apply any processing.
- Get your panning right before you apply any processing.
- Cut low frequencies whenever they do NOT add to a fat and punchy low end.
- NEVER cut low frequencies that DO add to a fat and punchy low end.
- Tricks and SFXs can pimp your song and attract attention. Have plenty of them.
- No trick or SFX can transform a bad song into a good song.
- Read at least one book about mixing. I recommend this one and that one.
- Use predelay on reverbs. You’ll be able to use less reverb for the same percieved amount of reverb. Which will result in more transparent mixes.
- It’s just a game.
- Screw up.
- Make it a habit to finish your songs/beats.
- Set a deadline for you songs/beats and stick to that deadline.
- Your finished song will never be perfect. Regardless how long you fuck around with it.
- Be exciting.
- Be yourself.
I hope that you could find at least a handful of music production tips that are useful to you.
If that’s the case, please leave a comment and click the social share buttons below so others can also benefit from this list.
Thanks and stay creative:-)