You like electronic music. That’s great.
You want to learn to make it. That’s also great.
This will eventually consume your life. You will build a career out of it. But you will waste a lot of time along the way.
That is, unless you take my advice.
So here it is…
#1 – Don’t waste time seeking validation
Look, you’ve been doing this for a few months. Your music isn’t good. It simply isn’t.
Everybody’s music sucks after the first few months. Why should you be any different? And more importantly, why should people care about your music?
There is no reason why they should care, unless they’re an extremely close friend or family member. Even then, they’ll probably recognize that it doesn’t sound that good, yet.
Don’t spend time posting random clips and WIPs on Soundcloud. Don’t share them via private Facebook message to producers you’ve added who don’t even know you.
It’s not fruitful, and more importantly, it’s opportunity cost. You should spend that time working on music instead.
#2 – Develop resilience and creative discipline
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.
Producing is easy, right?
You get home from school and can’t wait to get started. You can sit there for hours making music with the same degree of interest and intensity you have while playing Runescape.
But that won’t last forever. In fact, it won’t last very long. Because you’ll get discouraged. You’ll start to realize that learning anything is hard work, and learning music production is exceptionally difficult because it has so many facets.
And you’re going to need a lot more than fleeting motivation.
So, develop a habit. Produce for 90 minutes a day. Every day. Print out this quote from Roosevelt and stick it on your wall…
“Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort”
Also, realize that there will be days where the last thing you want to do is produce. Do it anyway. You’ll feel better afterwards.
#3 – Learn music theory. NOW.
Just because you’ve been playing guitar and drums for a few years, it doesn’t mean you can skip music theory.
Just because there are more than 3 professional producers who make great music and do not know theory, they are professional in spite of not knowing theory, not because they don’t know it.
If you don’t learn theory, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. It will make life a lot easier.
#4 – Remake more music
Remember that whole validation thing?
You’ll have a strong desire to spend most of your time making original music. This may be an ineffective use of time.
You do learn through making original music, but you do not learn as much as you do when remaking other music.
I recommend for the first 6 months at least that you spend half your time (or more) remaking other music. Note-for-note, bar-by-bar.
Very few producers do this, because it’s hard. Embrace the difficulty. You’ll be glad you did.
#5 – Figure out ways to actually practice
You’re going to ask people stupid questions.
“How do I write good melodies?”
“How do I craft good build-ups?”
Yes, these are stupid questions. And the reason they’re stupid questions is that they can easily be solved through practice.
And learning how to practice is paramount, because it may be the difference between 3 years to making good music or 13 years.
Want to write good melodies? Do this: Remake 5 melodies every day using your ear, and compose 5 original melodies every day.
After a few months, you’ll be writing good melodies.
Come up with similar practice routines for other areas you struggle with.
Are you a new producer?
On January 10th, I’m opening up enrolment for the second run of EDM Foundations.
It’s a 4-week online course that teaches the fundamentals of electronic music production through action and practice.
If you’re looking to develop actual skills, finish a bunch of projects, and learn at a rapid rate, then click here to join the waiting list.
Note: it is not an easy course. There are no shortcuts. I don’t want you to sign up if you’re not ready for a bit of hard work.