When it comes to becoming a proficient music producer, there are two main areas to focus on:
Quantity: Increasing your music-production skill set.
Quality: Polishing your current music-production skill set.
At the start of your music-production journey, it makes more sense to focus on quantity since there are a number of skills you need to develop.
However, once you have established the fundamentals and become a proficient music producer, you may still want to keep adding more skills to your armory but, at the same time, also sharpen your existing skills. At this point, the quality of the skills becomes equally important as their quantity.
So, which are the most essential skills for a music producer? Let us find out.
The Most Important Skills Every Artist Needs to Have to Produce Music
1) Music and Production Tools
It all begins with your music studio. The music production hardware and software tools you use come with a specific set of skills that must be mastered. As you can imagine, these skills are a crucial part of your overall producer skill-stack, and include:
- Music studio software: Plug-ins and digital audio workstations.
- Music studio equipment: MIDI controllers, audio-interfaces, DI boxes and pre-amps, microphones, outboard gear, and monitors.
- Musical Instruments (these are optional, but highly recommended): drums, keyboard, and guitar.
2) Music and Production Theory
A basic music vocabulary is enough (but essential) to get started with production. This know-how will catalyze your transition from a competent to a proficient music producer.
Contrary to popular belief, you can produce most types of music even without an advanced understanding of music theory. That said, the more theory you know, the better it is. Below are a few pieces of basic music vocabulary that a music producer will require:
Fundamentals of arrangement theory: melody, lyrics, sections, and song structure.
Fundamentals of arrangement theory: MIDI, audio, synth programming, reverb, equalization, phasing, delay, gating, compression, mixing, programming, editing, and distortion.
3) Music and Production Practice
The production process comprises the following steps:
The only way to master these steps is to keep trying (and failing at) them enough times. Once you attain the competency level, you need to continue to produce, produce, and then produce some more. The more you work on the music process, the better you will get at the music process (including finishing and shipping the tracks, in case you were wondering).
One of the most essential but underappreciated skills for any producer, is the ability to listen to music. You can improve this skill by engaging in ear training and performing mix and song analysis.
So, there you have it – the 101 on the most important skills required to produce music. As you probably expected, each skill consists of smaller ‘sub-skills’.
To read more about music and its production, please feel free to check out some of the other blogs on our website.
To become a proficient music producer, you must focus on both the quantity and quality of your skills. The essential music-production skills include a mastery of music production tools, an understanding of basic music theory, and hands-on practice of the entire music process.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships. Beyond his work at MuzicSwipe, he hosts the insightful weekly podcast “FULLSPEED,” engaging with entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. Eric also contributes to education through the “Eric Dalius Foundation,” offering four scholarships for US students. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.