Make music, your own music
Making music is a fascinating experience. You will be creating these songs that will bring emotions to all the people listening to them. You can touch people all over the world.
I believe that music is a wonderful way to bring people together, whatever the differences.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated or to spend years studying music theory. You can start to make music quickly, without much knowledge, thanks to all the tools you have access to, often for free.
That’s why I have written this page. To provide you with resources, guidance to get started in music making.
I want to enpower you with the tools and knowledge that will help you make music. Your own music.
It will be an amazing journey and I am really excited to be there to guide you through it.
Where to start to make music?
The good news is that you can start with almost nothing.
I mean that. You can start making music with something you may have in your hand right now to read this page, your phone!
Of course, you will experience some limitations and quickly depending on what you want to do.
Let’s see what equipment you may need soon.
It will be difficult to make a full list of hardware since it will depend a lot on the kind of music you want to make.
But, there are some pieces of equipment that will be useful if not essential to create your home studio:
- Computer or device (phone, tablet): the core of your home studio, absolutely essential at least to record.
- Headphones: any kind of headphones will do it to get started, even if there are models oriented for studio use.
- MIDI-keyboard: Not necessary but so useful that every home studio has one. Many models exist for all budgets and degrees of sophistication.
- Microphone: Quickly essential to have better quality recordings of your voice, instruments. You can start with your phone microphone though.
- Studio monitors: You can do without if you have headphones, but there are very important to mix properly your songs. And there are cool looking 😉
- Other instruments: it is up to you and your music genre. Don’t forget that the MIDI keyboard is already an instrument (well many instruments in a way), as well as your voice.
The main software you will use is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). This is the modern version of multitrack recorders, with much much more options.
There are many other softwares you can use, for adding effects, sounds, virtual instruments… But you can get started with a free DAW to learn the basics and already make some music.
Here are the best free DAW:
- GarageBand: only on Apple devices, but a very solid DAW, good enough for professional quality production.
- BandLab: new software, web-based. Simple and limited but easy to get started. With a great collaboration option.
- Cakewalk: related to BandLab, a more serious option with years of experience.
- Studio One Prime 5: the free version of one of the very best DAW on the market. I like the user-friendly interface.
- Ableton Live Lite: as the name says, it is more dedicated to live performances and beatmakers. An industry-standard you can try for free.
Foundations of music-making
There are many things to learn to make music. Here are a non-exhaustive list, focused on the essentials, to guide you in your journey.
OK, maybe you want to make beats and not “songs”. But songwriting is partly about structuring music to express a message, an emotion. Thus I believe that every musician should learn the foundations of songwriting.
Learn an instrument
I believe that knowing at least the basics of playing an instrument can help a lot. One of the most accessible instrument, which is also very good to learn music theory, is the piano.
Good news, you can find here all you need to get started on the piano!
But any instrument would be useful, including your voice. At least if you work on it as an instrument, not only by singing in the shower! (No judgment, I like to sing in the shower).
Learn how to record MIDI and audio
To make music, you will likely use both audio and MIDI tracks. Of course, you can do a whole song with loops or manual editing MIDI tracks. But you will probably want to record either real instrument or virtual instruments to add more personality in your creations.
Also, you may want to enrich your production by collaborating with a musician playing an acoustic (or electric) instrument.
Even if you simply want to add some voice recordings to your music, you will need to learn the basics of audio recording.
Learn to use a DAW
Software is at the core of any music production nowadays. The central piece of your home studio will be a DAW or Digital Audio Workstation, as I mentioned earlier.
The complexity of DAWs is quite variable, but even the simplest need some time to learn and master. You can see it as an instrument you need to learn to make music if you wish.
Learn how to mix and master
Lastly, when you have all your recordings, loops, tracks in place in your DAW, you will need to balance the volume, frequencies of each of them to produce something pleasant to listen to.
This step, called mixing, is essential and will make a huge difference in the final result.
Mastering is often confused with mixing. Indeed, if the mixing is well done, mastering is rather simple. It can be just adding a bit of compression to give a bit more energy to the mix and some reverb to make it sound more natural, less “dry”.
It is an art in itself, but learning the basics will allow you to improve the quality of your music production a lot, even if you just want a clean demo before hiring a professional to polish your song.
All the articles to learn how to make music
Here are articles that will help you to learn how to make music. It is a growing list thus bookmark this page and come back regurlarly to get the updates.
Foundations of composition