Hello everyone! My name is George Hammond. You might know me as one of the writers for the DM Bugle, or from just seeing my name around on Discord. This week I thought I would take a crack at the Learning With section of the blog, and so I decided I would talk about how to start producing music. In this article, we will be going over the main stuff you will need, and some great resources as well.
The first thing you need to produce music digitally is a digital audio workstation, or DAW for short. There are many great ones out there for example, Cubase, FL Studio, Ableton, Logic etc. I personally use Ableton Live 10 Suite. For this article I am going to suggest you go pick up a free copy of Ableton Live 10 Lite from Splice.com: https://splice.com/daws/38929163-live-10-lite-vst-by-ableton All you have to do is register the serial you receive with a free ableton account then you can start downloading it. A key thing to note, this LITE version of Ableton is limited to a maximum of 8 midi/audio channels, but this shall be perfect if you are just beginning. Another thing to note, this deal from splice expires on December 31st, so be sure to pick up your free lifetime copy before it expires.
At first, once you have ableton installed, you will probably be quite confused unless you are previously aquatinted with music software. So the first thing I recommend you do is watch this very helpful 30 minute video from loopop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NfnRShtIFE This will cover the very basics so you can get associated with the daw.
After checking that out, you are probably going to want to start working on your first song. For this, I first recommend you download some amazing free plugins. Here are my favourite free ones, which you just HAVE to download, whether or not you are experienced in music production or not:
Native Instruments Komplete Start: https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/bundles/komplete-start/
Surrealistic MG-1 Plus Synthesizer Synth by Cherry Audio: https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/4-Synth/7117-Surrealistic-MG-1-Plus-Synthesizer
Voltage Modular Nucleus 2 by Cherry Audio: https://www.pluginboutique.com/product/1-Instruments/4-Synth/5594-Voltage-Modular-Nucleus-2
TDR Nova EQ: https://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-nova/
TDR Molotok Compressor: https://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-molotok/
Most these sites should include instructions to how to install plugins, but if you are unfamiliar and do not know how to get them to work in ableton, I would recommend you check out this article from abletons help: https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/articles/209071729-Using-VST-plug-ins-on-Windows
Now you have everything set up! The first thing I recommend you do is explore creating some drum patterns. To do this, go to the ableton browser and click on the drums channel. Now find a drum kit you like the sound of and just start experimenting writing something in session view or arrangement view. I would also recommend you go check out some videos on youtube of people creating certain genres, because they are one of the best ways to learn music production.
Now Christmas is coming up soon, and if you are really dedicated about wanting to produce music, I would recommend you get yourself a midi controller if you can afford it. There are some pretty decent controllers out there for cheap like this one: https://www.gak.co.uk/en/m-audio-keystation-mini-32-mk3/920931?gclid=Cj0KCQiAwf39BRCCARIsALXWETy91p7x_F0FtSODHQdxqm8qN5wfBih7Rp0VcHg8FYmQsHKHCMU5faIaAu70EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
What is a midi controller? Well it is a controller that does not produce a sound on its own, but instead controls your daw, allowing you to play different instruments inside of it, or control mixer faders etc.
Music production can seem very easy, but it isn’t. A lot of people think it is 1 button and then it is done, but I can certainly tell you, it takes a lot of hard work to get anywhere. I have been producing music for just over 5 years, and this is the first years any of my songs have actually gained me any traction on Spotify at all. But never forget, if you truly want to do something and you believe in yourself, you can do it!
I didn’t have too much time to write this, so I focussed on getting some of the best resources I know and compiling them, but if anyone wants any other tips or needs help with anything, leave a comment below or message me on discord: GeorgeHammond#8785
It has been a pleasure to do this for Ben!
Look forward to seeing you all tomorrow in my blog post about a new competition, so stay tuned!