Steps to Become a Music Producer
The music industry is a difficult profession to break into, but with some planning and training, it is possible to fashion a successful career as a producer in the field. Preparation for this particular job may require everything from learning a musical instrument to completing a degree in music production and even introducing yourself to the right people. What follows are some basic steps and instructions for how to become a music producer.
Learn to Play an Instrument
The best and most successful music producers are also musicians themselves. Learning to play one or more musical instruments will provide aspiring producers with a better ear for music and a better understanding of music theory. It is essential, for example, that producers not only be able to read music, but that they can also grasp the subtle differences in tempo, crescendo and rhythm, to name only a few key aspects of musicianship. Also note that the earlier a person starts to learn an instrument, the easier it will be.
Practice Sound Engineering
In addition to being able to play an instrument, a music producer should also know the ins and outs of sound engineering. In fact, many music producers begin their careers as sound engineers, and then work their way up in the business. Those looking to become a music producer, therefore, should start their training by mixing music with the latest programs, such as Cubase, which is good for beginners, and Pro Tools. It is best to first experiment at home and then reach out to local artists or friends and offer to record and engineer their music.
Go to School
There are a number of different degree programs that can provide the training, guidance and skills necessary to the music production profession. Those looking to become a music producer can enroll directly in a music production degree program at schools such as NYU, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Georgia State and the University of Miami, among others. They can also opt for degrees in audio or communications departments. All of these programs also generally offer opportunities for internships, which provide invaluable experience to the aspiring producer.
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Network, Network, Network
The importance of networking is probably the most important takeaway point for anyone who wants to become a music producer.While a degree and some self-instruction can be great ways to get started, the best way to move ahead is to meet other people in the industry. Start up a website with samples of your work, create business cards, and post ads on Craigslist offering sound mixing and production services to local area musicians. Carry business cards with contact information and CDs or samples of production work to give away as needed.
Not all music production jobs require an advanced degree, but they do require experience. If a degree is out of the question for financial reasons, make sure to follow the rest of the above suggestions for how to become a music producer. Networking and practice are key tools for success, and since the industry is always changing and growing, it is also important to stay abreast of the latest music technology.