If you are a music producer, do you ever wish you could go back in time and prevent yourself from making a huge mistake? Do you wish you could give your new, young music producer-self valuable advice that points you in the right direction? While you shouldn’t live life with regrets, there are many tips I wish I knew before I became a professional musician and found my sound. We want you to learn what we wish we knew. In this article, you’ll get and learn 10 music production tips I would want to tell my young, aspiring EDM producer self.
I know these pieces of advice would have saved me a huge amount of time and effort. These would have especially came in handy when I was trying to learn what my sound is. Not only that, but I feel like these music production tips would have definitely prepared me more in my professional music career. I hope these music production tips will help you skip the hurdles I went through and set you up for winning at music production.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a ‘how to music production / music production how to’ or ‘what is producing music’ article. These tips are for producers who are already creating and have a basic understanding of production terminology. While you don’t have to know everything there is to understand, these are tips on music production that will help you set yourself up for success down the line. You get what you put in. You have to put in work, but keep these things in mind when you learn where you want to go. We hope you take something away from here and use some of these new tips to help improve your sound.
10 Music Production Tips
Consider What Key You Write Your Music In Carefully
For pure freedom in musical expression, do not heed this advice. You don’t need to take this advice, especially if you’re just starting music production and experimenting with what you like and don’t like. In that case, just focus on what sounds good and learn what you need to work on. When you’re starting to make music, experimentation is everything and make music that you like. Listen to your heart and produce what you want.
However, for touring artists or anyone trying to build a live set with 100% original tunes, especially ones that seamlessly blend together, you may quickly realize not all your music fits together. This is at our top of the list. Especially when you don’t pay any attention to the keys you are writing in. Hear me out, the more often you write music in the same key, the easier and more fluid your sets become and the better your transitions will be. Not to mention all your kicks will be tuned correctly, and reusing certain elements is a breeze. Writing in complimentary keys will give you musical diversity but will still flow nicely. Once you start to play at shows and festivals, keep this in mind when you are making music. There is some more information on this here.
Speaking of Which, Tune Your Kicks/Snares
As an instrument enthusiast, it took me a long time to learn how important it’s to tune your drums. The difference between a beat that sounds integrated and part of a track and a beat that sounds like a dying camel is actually very subtle. The Kick/Snare has a lot to do with it. Sometimes, it’s not even about tuning the drums to the exact root note of your track but spending some time finding drum samples that harmonize with your music. Here’s a great tutorial on four ways to do this.
Faster BPMs Keep the Energy Up
After my band’s first two shows, we quickly realized our music was mainly too slow. We only had one track that felt that it had the energy we wanted to bring to a live performance. After that, we spent the next year writing new music in the higher BPM range and EVERYTHING changed. While slower, more emotional music is always great, it’s not always optimal to use for a live performance.
Sub Tends to Sound Best in Keys E-G
I can’t tell you how many times I wondered why certain songs hit harder. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I realized how weak the Sub-bass can be when writing in keys D and lower. For optimal sub punching you in the face, use E-G for the best results. This aids in the first point discussed in this post.
Make Sure Your Sub Has Only One Voice
I wish I always knew this. I made this mistake early on with my main sub preset and didn’t catch it until several songs were released. It was a real bummer because going back to a previous track is a major pain. That being said, only use one voice.
High Pass Sounds That Are Not Sub Basses or Kicks
There are always exceptions, and you should use your ears, but in general, I wish I had gotten into the habit early on of cutting out all the deep low end from any sound that wasn’t a bass or a kick. You don’t have to chop the balls off of everything, but there are just certain frequencies below 100z that hi-hats have NO business occupying. My mixes would have been better for it off the bat. Keep you frequency in check.
Consolidate Your Project Files
I think this is self-explanatory, but going back into older projects is a nightmare when you can’t find a sample, especially if you’ve transferred onto a new computer. I like to get in the habit of collecting all and saving, freezing and flattening complex plugin tracks during the production process. You’ll be thankful later. I use Ableton Live, but whatever DAW you use, make sure your projects can be loaded from a backup hard drive with no problem. Use this for all of your new tracks.
The value of organization is probably not news to you, but many people do not take this into account when producing a track. You don’t need fancy gear or a big studio to create quality music or killer vocals. However, making music can lead you down a path of disorganization. Don’t fall down this tunnel and find a way to hold yourself accountable. It only gets more tedious the longer your writing session goes on if you aren’t actively organizing, titling, and grouping your tracks. Staying organized is something you need to discipline yourself to do, music production isn’t a walk in the park. But you’ll save so much time in the long run. Everyone has a different way on how they stay organized, but try your best on this.
We like to use colors, at the very least. If you use colors, it is one of the best ways to distinguish any sound that goes together. It makes the process of finishing songs several months after your initial creative burst much more enjoyable.
Put Download Gates On Your Free Songs
When you are starting out, you never know when a track might hit some momentum. Whenever you release a track, you want to always make sure you capitalize on capturing an email list, get reposts and likes, etc. While there are rarely one hit wonders anymore and you can’t expect to get big from one song, you never know if one song may gain traction. While you should never host your songs exclusively within download-gates, make sure to get a free download option, even if you’re not popular. You can plug that download gate in your SoundCloud description or social media posts. Even if only one or two people download your song, every piece you have will help you build your empire brick by brick. Free services like The Artist Union, and ToneDen.io are great for this.
If you haven’t used download gates for previous songs, it’s never too late! Even if a track is not new or you don’t think it’s your best, get a download gate doe the track now anyways. We find that emails from interested listeners are a better thing to get above followers, likes, streams, etc. While this may never happen for many years, if Instagram or Facebook ever goes obsolete or the algorithm mysteriously changes, you have emails that will never go away. Get those emails! And make sure you get rights reserved on your music!
Final Music Production Tip: Have Patience
Perhaps the most important technique of all of these music production tips is stay patient. That’s one of the most important traits to have an entertainment career. While this piece of advice is not new and we learn patience in elementary school, I’m serious when we really want to emphasize it. Practice makes perfect, and only time will get you to your goals. You can have a killer work ethic, but you can’t stop there.
Producing music is tough and know that it requires time and energy. You’ll get frustrated and not always produce the result you want. Staying patient is one of the only ways to not feel discouraged and retain your passion for creating. If you don’t stay patient, it’s possible you get burnt out, encounter more creative blocks, and lose your love for music. Having patience is the only way to thrive in music and not let these lows effect your inspiration.
We get it. Sometimes it can be frustrating to not achieve the sound you want or make the ideal track you have in your mind. We don’t always stay patient 100% of the time. There are some days that get the best of us and are tougher than others. Know that it’s just part of being human and don’t let it ruin all of the work you have put in thus far. Rest assured you will eventually reach your goals if you want to work towards them.
Find a way to acknowledge your feelings, while not letting it take your motivation and passion away. Learn to be okay with imperfection and frustration. Once you learn to be okay with it, it will be evident in your work and sound as time goes on. It’s okay to even be equally dissatisfied and look onward to your next target instead of dwelling on past work.
Some More Notable Music Production Tips
Here is a list on some notable mentions that I want you to keep your eyes on.
- Understand how analyzers work, like SPAN or Ableton Native. Use them for referencing tunes to understand levels in each track.
- Learn about phasing issues and keep things in mono in sub/bass frequencies.
- Learn about different ways to side chaining and when to use it. Compressing versus volume ducking and using multi-band side chaining.
- Use markers in Ableton to study different song structure layouts.
- Learn how to set up a proper template to streamline your production efficiency.
- Make sure the audio is the best it can be before putting it out. At the very least, do self-mastering on your songs before you officially put them out.
Electronic Music Production Coaching with Gravitas Create
If you’re an electronic music producer and still find it difficult to complete a song and conjure up ideas for your music, book a coaching session with us at Gravitas Create. From Sidecar Tommy from Beats Antique, Wolf-e-Wolf, David Starfire, Hulabalo0, etc., our coaches are touring musicians, successful entrepreneurs, and professional educators. They will work to help stimulate your unique sound and furnish the tools needed to make a living from your music. Whether you’re a complete beginner with no software purchased or a skilled producer who just needs some direction, our coaches have your back.
Other Music Production Resources
Don’t just read these tips, learn from it. At the end of the day, you do not need to take each piece of advice here. However, we believe these are a great way to create your best sound. As we mentioned above, you need to want to work for your sound. These tips will not automatically make a hit track, it merely gives the stepping stones to create that ideal track.
We hope these music production tips provided some value to take away. Even if only one tip resonated with you, we hope we have given you a good building block to achieve your biggest dreams and goals. If you’re running into issues with procrastination and finishing a track, read our blog post here on how to finish your music. We have loads of other tips on production and how to make a killer sound.
Production Tools and Assets
If you’re looking for free resources and downloads, check out our website at Gravitas Create. We have an abundance of free stems, presets, samples, etc. to help you get that perfect mix.
If you’re looking to invest some money, we sell packs for those who want to level up. From MIDI loops, reverb synths, reverse FX, effects, and more, Gravitas Create has a pack for every genre and occasion. We carry Black Octopus, Production Master, and Trap Life products, as well.
If you’re looking to learn more about developing your sound and growing your artist project: