BECOMING A MUSIC PRODUCER
So you are interested in becoming a music producer? Be prepared to wear many hats! The producer of today may be asked to fill many roles that in the past were traditionally specialized jobs. Here is a list of many of the roles you may be responsible for:
Maintain a recording budget
Collaborate with an artist/songwriter
Create a vision for the song/artist
Adapt the lyrics and melody of a song
Change the chord structure or arrangement
Hire musicians or programmers
Make a demo
Manage the musicians' performances and ideas
Negotiate recording studio rates
Edit and pitch correct performances
Panicked yet? Well don't be, no one person can master all of these skills. You can specialize in any one or several of these roles and still make great music. But, becoming a music producer requires that you understand the big picture of the whole production process and where you fit in. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess what roles you can fill and where you will need support.
Assess Your Skills
What are you good at? Are you proficient with a musical instrument? Do you have engineering skills? Do you have great people skills? Are you good with computers and technology? Do you understand music theory? Are you a songwriter or artist? Do you already produce your own music? Do you need additional education and schooling?
You are here because you obviously have a passion for music. If you are not proficient in any of these skills, do not be alarmed. Look at these questions. Do any of these skills excite or interest you? If you are truly interested in becoming a music producer, you must study at least one of these skills and know a bit about how the others work.
If you do have some of these skills, can you find a way to bring those skills into a recording situation? If you are studying an instrument, can you bring those skills into a recording studio? If you are good with people how can you make that fit in to a music production situation? If you are good with computers and technology can you use those skills to produce music?
The Answer Is: Yes! Absolutely Yes!
Regardless of level of skills you have now, your passion for producing music is already there. If you are developing those skills, then becoming a music producer will come naturally because it is what you are most excited about.
I came into music production by studying guitar. I was a horrible guitar player! But the passion I had for playing my guitar and understanding it as completely as I possibly could led me to a career in engineering audio. When I started the study of audio engineering and music production, it came naturally to me. I realized, many years later, that my fascination with how records sounded and the attention to detail I paid when listening fit perfectly into the role of being an engineer and music producer.
Every skill has a place in the music production process. If you are passionate about your skills, people will want to hire for them. Whatever skills you have, bring them into a recording studio situation, no matter how small. The more skills you bring to the table, the more involved you will be in recording, and the more you will learn about how the whole production process works. If becoming a music producer is your goal, nothing teaches better than experience!
Getting The Gig
Whenever someone asks me how they can get production or engineering jobs, I always tell them the same thing. Get a job in a recording studio that records the style of music you want to produce. The reason for this is simple. Where else are you going to meet people that are making a living doing what you want to do? Those people are your future clients! If you put in the effort and hang around long enough, I guarantee that you will get a chance to show what you are capable of. If you have a full time job already, you can still work in a studio. Many recording studios need people to work nights and weekends.
These Are Some Of The Benefits Of Working In A Recording Studio:
Learn From Professionals
Where else are you going to get to watch professional producers, engineers, composers, arrangers, studio musicians, programmers and performers do their thing? A recording studio. Pay attention! You absolutely need to absorb as many ideas, problem solving skills and methods professionals use to produce music. You will see these producers and engineers do amazing things. You will also see then create catastrophic failures. Both are equally important! Either way, you will get valuable insights and ideas about what to do, and more importantly, what not to do.
The best way to make connections in the recording studio is to make yourself a valuable part of the recording session to the client. By showing extra effort and attention to each client, they will quickly grow used to your helpful ways. Learn to think like the people you are working for so that you are handing them what they want before they have a chance to ask. The path to becoming a music producer is learning to think like the people who make a living doing what you want to do. The attention to detail you pay in the recording session will result in work down the road. When a client calls a recording studio and asks specifically for you to assist the recording session, you will know you are on the right track.
Climb The Ladder Of Success
One of the biggest kept secrets to becoming a music producer is to be relaxed and confident, even if you are 'losing it' on the inside. Your good vibes and confidence in the studio will get you more work than your skills. If the people you are working with don't feel comfortable with you, they will not want to work with you. Who wants to work with someone they don't feel comfortable with. You must be composed, confident and aware of everything that is going on around you. By studying hard and watching the production process unfold, day in and day out, you will always know what to do and when to do it. Remember, the process should be fun and creative, so always keep that attitude in mind. This positive attitude will set you on the path toward becoming a music producer.
Gain Access To The Recording Studios
After you have built a bond of trust with the studio owner, you may be allowed to use the studios, nights or weekends if there are no paying clients. This is a great opportunity to try out many of the production techniques you have learned by being in professional recording situations day in and day out. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of these opportunities! You must practice the lessons you learn in the studio till they become second nature. As I always say, record your friends and make your mistakes with them. This way, you won't make the same mistakes with your paid clients.
Step by step, the path to becoming a music producer involves dedication and desire to understand of the art of music production. Work in a recording studio so you will meet and work with professionals. Remember, they are your teachers and your future clients. Record yourself and others as often as you can. There is no shortage of people who want to be a star! Every recording you make will teach you skills and fuel ideas that make the next productions better. They will also present you with problems that you must learn how to solve. The more music you produce, the more you will learn to streamline your production process. The more you practice the closer you will get to your goal of becoming a music producer FULL TIME!.
Establishing a Music Production Career
How to Become a Music Producer Part I
How to Become a Music Producer Part II
The Music Production Process
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