If you want to learn how to make music but don’t know where to start, keep reading.
We are here to take you through the first steps of your music creation journey.
First of all, we will help you understand the basics of songwriting and music production.
And we will tell you how to take things to the next level if you ever consider starting a career in music.
How to Make Music – 7 Steps
Learning how to create good music takes a lot of time and practice, and music production, in general, requires a special set of skills.
On the other hand, all of these skills can be easily acquired – you just need to be ready to put the work in.
If you’ve been taking music lessons or learning about audio technology, you’ll pick up things more quickly.
But if you’ve never studied music, don’t worry – with the right approach, you can learn the basics sooner than you think.
After all, with a variety of beginner-friendly music-making tools and software programs, making music has actually never been easier.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the basics of how to make music.
1. Learn the basics of songwriting
First and foremost, you need to learn how to write songs.
And this process usually includes:
- Determining the form of the song
- Creating a riff and developing a melody
- Writing lyrics that fit the melody
- Editing and finalizing the song
Of course, every songwriter has their own songwriting process, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing songs.
However, there are certain techniques and rules you can learn to get things started.
If you want to write your own songs from scratch, you should learn the fundamentals of song composition and explore common song structures.
Song structure refers to how a song is organized, and a typical song structure includes a verse, chorus, and bridge, in the following arrangement: intro, verse – chorus – verse- chorus – bridge – chorus – outro.
You can always mix it up or choose a less common song structure, but if you’re just starting out with music production, this typical arrangement will help you build a foundation.
Regardless of what type of song you want to create, you should think about the hook of your song – a hook can be anything from a chord progression to a catchy beat or a short line – anything that will grab your listener’s attention.
And when it comes to the lyrics, you can start with what you want to say or a general idea or a concept you want to explore.
But it’s not enough to write emotional or cool lyrics – they also need to sound musical, and they need to fit well with the music.
And that’s why you should learn more about prosody, the way music and lyrics work together.
As you can see, there are many things to think about when writing a song, so if you’re wondering how beginners start songwriting, we can summarize the answer through the following tips:
- Listen to music and pay attention to details
- Read (books, articles, and poetry…) and expand your vocabulary
- Learn more about different melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic concepts
- Start with a common song structure
- Create a basic rhythm and a riff and build your song around it
- Keep it simple
2. Learn basic music theory
Even though many successful musicians have a strong musical background, you don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of music theory in order to make music.
However, learning fundamental music theory will help you understand how music works and, therefore, how to create your own music.
If you want to acquire basic theoretical knowledge you should familiarize yourself with:
- Music notation
- Time and key signatures
As a songwriter and music maker, you should also understand the difference between pitch and note – pitch is associated with the frequency of a sound, while note refers to a named range of pitches.
You should also learn more about timbre (what makes your voice unique) and tone, as well as other fundamental singing-related terms that will help you approach songwriting and singing in a more serious way.
Finally, you should learn how to read sheet music or at least learn basic sheet music symbols, terms, and concepts.
You can learn this quite easily – you can choose from online music courses, learning apps, YouTube tutorials…
You don’t need to invest a lot of time (and money) into this – in the beginning, scratching the surface will be enough.
But if you learn how to read notes, you’ll be able to write down your melodies and chords more easily.
Plus, you’ll be able to collaborate with other musicians, artists, and band members in a more effective way.
After all, knowing how to read notes is like being able to speak the universal language of music.
So, put some time and effort into learning basic music theory – you’ll see it will be worthwhile in the end.
3. Get the right equipment
If you want to learn how to create music, you should learn basic music theory, perhaps take music lessons, and work on your musicality.
Making music is a creative journey for sure, but it’s also a quite technical one.
If you want to produce a song from start to finish, you’ll also have to familiarize yourself with digital tools, recording equipment, DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), and so on.
Now, if you’re generally interested in music technology, this will be a fun part.
But you can also learn the basics and find a program that will allow you to create music in a very simple way.
In any case, you need to get the right equipment.
Essential pieces of beginner recording equipment include:
- Computer or laptop
- Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
- Audio interface
Extra gear you might need in your music-making process includes plugins, monitor speakers, virtual instrument software, and so on.
Check out my guide on the best monitor speakers.
Although you’ll need to invest some money in your equipment, it’s actually possible to assemble an affordable home recording studio – and we’re not talking about the cheapest entry-level equipment.
As a beginner, you don’t have to buy high-end gear anyway.
But in this day and age, it’s possible to make music with nothing but a laptop.
It all depends on what kind of music you want to create.
If you don’t want to record live instruments and vocals right away (that can indeed be tricky for beginners), you can make music digitally.
And that’s why it’s important to find a good DAW.
A DAW is a piece of software that producers use to create, record, and edit audio files.
So, a DAW is where the music production actually takes place.
That said, you’ll need to find a good DAW regardless of what type of music you want to make and whether you want to work with real instruments or not.
Some of the popular beginner-friendly DAWs you can check out are:
- Apple GarageBand
- Ableton Live
- Logic Pro
- FL Studio
Regardless of what you opt for, take your time to become comfortable with your DAW.
Most of these music-making software programs are relatively easy to use, but it will take you some time and practice to figure out how everything works.
4. Learn how to make a beat
Whether you want to learn how to make beats or record complete songs and albums, gaining beat-making skills will certainly benefit you.
And once you find a good DAW and learn how it works, you can start making beats.
Generally, beat-making is a form of music production that uses digital tools to create a final piece of music.
And the beat-making process usually includes:
- Defining the vibe of the song
- Creating a bassline
- Adding drums (rhythm)
- Adding melodic elements
- Polishing the track
- Mixing and mastering
You need to familiarize yourself with each phase and practice regularly.
The more you practice, the easier it gets.
Plus, the best way to learn how to make beats is to just start making them
So, familiarize yourself with your DAW and different production techniques and start creating – eventually, you’ll learn how to make a well-structured and carefully crafted beat.
But until that happens, keep exploring different genres and techniques and try to stay organized and consistent.
Finishing the project is just as important as starting it.
5. Acquire music production skills
While learning how to make beats, you’ll probably learn a lot about music production.
But music production is much more than making beats on your laptop.
It’s a multi-stage process that includes the process of creating a song from start to finish.
The essential stages in the music production process include:
Music producers guide and oversee the whole production process, so they also have a managerial role.
They also often advise musicians artistically and generally help them bring their vision to life (see more on what music producers do).
So if you want to start making your own music, you’ll have to gain music production skills.
Some of the essential skills for a music producer you’ll find useful in your music-making journey include:
- Technical knowledge of music and recording
- Basic music theory knowledge
- Patience, focus, and creativity
More importantly, you need to learn what each production phase entails.
5.1. Songwriting and arranging
We already talked about the basics of songwriting.
It’s a creative process that requires the knowledge of common song structures, fundamental music theory (notes, melodies, rhythm, and harmonies), and writing lyrics.
But how deep you’re going to delve into composition and songwriting depends on your goals and interests.
Nevertheless, writing a good song also requires arrangement.
In production, arranging songs means taking the core elements of the song and breaking them down into building blocks.
In this stage, producers add melodies, vocal tracks, instruments, or various details to their tracks.
And they make sure all the sections work well, including the song’s intro, verse, buildup, chorus, breakdown, and outro.
To make this step easier for you, you can explore more about the genre of your song and see how the songs you like are arranged and structured.
So, listen to these tracks carefully and think about what it is in the arrangements (and the songs in general) that makes them work.
You should also pay attention to your song’s duration and rhythm.
Either way, before you record your song, you need to make sure everything in the song fits well and has a nice flow from start to finish.
5.2. Recording music
When your track is ready for recording, you’ll have to think about the way you want to record your music.
If you have essential gear, including a microphone and headphones, you can set up the recording equipment at home and start recording.
Check out my guide on the best vocal microphones.
If you familiarize yourself with your DAW and your equipment, you shouldn’t have any problems with this part.
The most important thing in this step is to create a plan (decide what to record and how) and do everything one step at a time.
You can set a rhythmic base to your song with a downloaded metronome or a pre-recorded drum loop.
And you can then proceed with recording:
- Harmonies – this part consists of one or many instruments, usually recorded separately
- Melodies – this part usually contains lead vocals or lead guitars
With multi-track technology, you don’t have to record everything all at once.
Alternatively, you can make music digitally by using plugins, effects, and samples – samples are audio snippets that can include anything from short melodies to individual instruments, rhythmic loops, and various tracks.
All in all, how you’re going to approach this stage depends on your goals, budget, and abilities.
You should learn how to record songs nevertheless as this is an essential part of every music-making process.
Another essential production phase you should familiarize yourself with is mixing.
In music production, mixing usually involves combining multi-track recordings, balancing sounds, and using different processors.
So in this stage, you basically have to blend everything together and make your track coherent and fluid.
Some of the tools producers use in this phase include:
- EQ – manipulates the frequency and shapes the sound
- Compressor – helps you even out dynamic spikes and adjust the volume
- Reverb – provides a sense of space and natural depth
When you’re done with mixing, listen to your track on different sound levels – try to use different speakers like earbuds, car stereos, speakers on your phone, and so on.
Listening to your mix will allow you to notice potential mistakes or weak spots you can fix.
After songwriting, recording, and mixing, you need to polish your track – and in music production, that’s called mastering.
Mastering is the final step of post-production which usually prepares tracks for distribution.
Mastering music usually includes:
- Setting levels and panning
- Shaping and balancing the sound
- Providing a sense of space and depth
With mastering, you’ll enhance the overall sound and optimize the sound quality so it’s coherent, fluid, and ready for export.
In this phase, you can use tools such as equalization, compression, limiting, and stereo enhancement.
And you can seek advice from audio engineers or producers that can give you an objective opinion and help you add the final touches.
Mastering can be challenging for beginners because it takes some time to become familiar with all the options you have to polish your recorded audio.
But your DAW will make things easier for you.
You can also search for online mastering services that can help you out in this step.
Either way, mastering is a crucial phase of producing music because it brings the best out of your recorded track.
6. Start recording songs at home
Now that you know how to create your own music, you can start recording songs.
But before setting up your recording equipment and taking the next steps, make sure your song is ready.
You should also practice and perform it until you feel comfortable and confident.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask for feedback – it’s easy to start feeling lost, overwhelmed, or very subjective while making music, so getting a fresh perspective might not be a bad idea.
Besides finished tracks, you can also make a demo track.
A demo track is a draft version of a song made to demonstrate your skills and showcase the highlights and the essence of your music.
Recording a demo allows artists and songwriters to pitch their songs to label companies and music publishers.
So the most important thing is to show your song’s hit potential – and that’s why you need to pick your best songs.
Either way, making music and recording songs can be challenging for beginners, but it’s also a very fun and rewarding experience.
That said, here are some of the tips on how to produce music and record songs by yourself:
- Set goals
- Practice the song before recording it
- Learn more about your DAW
- Explore new sounds, styles, and genres
- Improve your mixing and mastering skills
- Keep it simple
- Enjoy the process
7. Take the next step
If you believe in the quality and authenticity of your music, you can take the next step and get your music out so the world can hear it.
Making your music available for everyone to hear can be scary though.
But you never know what can happen unless you try.
Plus, there are many ways you can distribute and promote your music nowadays, and you should take advantage of all the tools and possibilities you have at your disposal.
For instance, you can contact a music distribution company that will release your music on all the large streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
You should also write a marketing plan and find new ways to grow your audience.
And eventually, you can try to contact a record label and see what happens.
Getting a record deal is not easy though, and there’s no single best way to do it; but if you think you have what it takes, you should definitely go ahead and try.
However, record labels want to invest in professional, well-rounded musicians who will earn them a profit.
That being said, you should think about the best ways of sharing your music and building a fanbase before contacting a big label.
And in order to do that successfully, you need to promote your music.
How to Release and Promote Your Music
Thankfully, distributing and promoting music has never been easier.
As an independent artist, you don’t have to wait around for a big label to notice you – you can release and promote your music by yourself.
But if you want to become a successful artist, you can’t just put your single out there and expect it to go viral.
You need to make a plan, develop effective release strategies, and find innovative ways to find new listeners and build a fanbase.
So, if you plan to release a single or distribute your music online, there are many things to think about.
For instance, you need to create a powerful online presence, and that includes creating a website, being active on social media, running paid promotions, and creating engaging content.
You should also create an electronic press kit (EPK) – this is a pre-packaged digital resume that helps music industry professionals (managers, booking agents, venues, journalists, and promoters) to access and review your work.
Your EPK should include your bio, photos, videos, contact information, any upcoming shows or tours, and press releases (if available), and you can include them on your website.
If you’re not ready to create a website and social media accounts yet, you can release your music on streaming platforms or pitch your song to a music publisher.
Music publishers can pitch your songs to record labels, which would ultimately give you more credibility as an artist.
You can also collaborate with other artists and musicians before taking the next step.
By the way, if you want to enter the music industry or find a way to make a living from your music, you should network and meet fellow artists, musicians, and producers.
Making connections can help you because it allows you to access new information, get advice and support, and look at things from a fresh perspective.
If you want to do something with your music, you need to get yourself noticed.
But at the end of the day, what you’re going to do next depends on your goals.
You need to find your own path and see what works for you.
Maybe you want to learn how to make music just for fun, and maybe you’re dreaming about becoming the next big star.
The important thing is to keep practicing, creating new music, and boosting your creativity.
And if you’re patient and persistent, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.
Is Making Music Easy?
Entering the music industry and getting yourself noticed is definitely not easy, although there are so many ways you can release and promote your music nowadays.
On the other hand, you can create music without trying to get a record deal and become a famous artist.
Some people enjoy the creative part of music production and decide to become songwriters.
And others try to get into music production.
In any case, making music requires a special set of skills – technical skills, knowledge of digital tools and DAWs, musicality, creativity, and an eye for detail.
So, if you want to make music, you need to develop musical and recording skills, and you need to become familiar with a variety of tools and techniques.
Therefore, making music is not an easy process – if you want to do it well, at least.
From the technical side, the music creation process can be relatively simple, even for newcomers.
There are many music-making programs and tools you can use to create music in a quick and easy way.
And you need no musical talent or skill to do it.
However, if you’re really passionate about music, you’ll probably want to explore different ways of creating your own music.
And there are many ways you can improve your skills and work on your musicality – you can learn how to play an instrument, take music theory classes, enroll in a music production course…
You can explore online music lessons and programs or you can even consider getting a music production degree.
It all depends on what you really want.
How to Make Music – Final Thoughts
As you can see, it’s possible to create music even if you have no musical background or experience.
But learning how to make music does take time and practice, especially if you’re thinking about entering the music industry.
You need to learn the basics of songwriting, mixing, and mastering and get the right equipment to start recording and editing.
Hopefully, this article helped you get things started and encouraged you to learn more about the exciting world of music-making.
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