The path to being a DJ seems really straightforward for the most part; you master the technical elements, develop your taste In music selection, and then you go on to develop and cultivate your own signature style that will make you stand out from the rest.
When it comes to music production, the path is more or less similar, but the sheer number of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) out there provides such a variety of options in terms of technique and methods that it becomes a whole lot easier to fall into the many possible pitfalls out there. This is especially true for beginner producers who are just starting out on their journey of musical creation. This doesn’t just apply to hip-hop – it doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re looking to get into; the challenges are all the same. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more common beginner mistakes and how best to steer clear of them.
· Understanding the Core Basics
Too many aspiring producers start out trying to duplicate the sound of a particular artist or track they like. You shouldn’t confuse learning how to duplicate a sound with learning how to create a sound.
You need to learn the systems of production, not how to replicate a specific product. While there’s nothing wrong with having a favorite style that inspires you to produce music, learning with the goal of duplicating that particular style might actually prevent you from developing into a full, well-rounded producer who’s able to handle all different types of sounds.
The way to go is to spend your time and efforts learning, practicing, and reading up on the general techniques of equalizing, compression, mix mastering, and sound design. The results of such a training regimen will be a much more in-depth knowledge base that will allow you to apply your skills to a much vaster range of production styles and musical tastes.
· Don’t Overdo It
For most people just starting out, there is a strong instinct to go out and get your hands on every piece of tech and extra plug-in they can. It seems to make sense to do so, right? Don’t more tools equal more chances to create something good and original?
The truth is, there is a whole galaxy of tools and plug-ins out there that can help you make magic when used properly. The thing is; as a beginner, you might not really know what you’re working with well enough to get the best out of it, and trying to use a bunch of them at this stage on your tracks might not do anything but give you processing complexities that you won’t be able to handle, possibly killing a good idea before you get it out of your head clearly.
The way to avoid this is, rather than straining to use a dozen different tools to achieve your effects, try and get yourself to master a few of them at a time. Becoming an expert in the functions of one compressor and one synth can do a whole more to improve your workflow than working with a whole gallery of tools you barely understand.
· Presets are your Friends
The world of music production seems to be divided into two distinct camps when it comes to the question of presets, samples, and sample packs; those who regard them as legitimate production tools, and those who consider them the ultimate cheat, unworthy of the art of music production. It is probably more likely that the truth will lie somewhere between these two extremes, but it’s important to maintain a sensible approach to the use of these resources, which is what brings about the most disapproval from the music production community.
As a beginner producer, you shouldn’t completely shy away from these tools, as they can drastically improve your sound and workflow efficiency. The thing to keep in mind is the fact that you are creating music to satisfy your artistic motivations and bring good music to your audience, and you don’t need to make any apologies regarding how you go about achieving that.
That said, you will likely want to achieve your objectives utilizing samples and presets while maintaining some basic level of track integrity and a way to do this is by inter-mixing genres of music in ways you don’t usually come across; for example, sampling hip-hop synths on a techno track to create something new and exciting without ruffling any feathers too much.