Top 10 Tips for New Producers

Since I uploaded my first Youtube beat making tutorial years before my professional production career began, I have received a steady stream of emails, Tweets, and comments from new producers asking for help.  I have kept the most common of these questions in mind and compiled a list addressing the questions and concerns so many new producers have.

My top ten list of tips for new and aspiring producers, from last to first, is as follows:

10.  Learn how to listen to music in an analytical way-- listen to how your favorite producers pan their tracks or play their bass lines.  You may pick up a technique or two.

9.  When mixing down your beats, compare your sound to the sound of the professionals.  Of course, engineering is a science and many engineers are formally education, but you'll hear the basics-- panning, relative volume of snares and kicks, eq'ing-- in your favorite songs.

8.  Listen to what's out there and then try something different.  Pushing musical boundaries will help you develop a signature sound, something that will make your production career more viable.  Making a bunch of "Metro Boomin type beats" can help you learn production techniques, but Metro is successful because he has a distinct sound, a sound many are trying to duplicate.

7.  Amass a catalog of beats.  There are plenty of talented producers with 5, 10, 20 good beats.  Chances are, only a small portion of those 20 beats will go anywhere.  Every beat you produce is a chance.  Increase your chances.  
6.  Collaborate with other new producers and musicians.  Creative exchanges of ideas with like-minded people enhances the product and leads to valuable learning experiences.

5.  Work with artists directly.  True producers do more than just make beats; they help craft full songs.  Work with talent in your area to sharpen your blade and build confidence in your own musical sensibilities and instincts.

4.  Release your own projects-- mixtapes full of songs you produced, instrumental albums, etc-- to build a buzz for your name and showcase your talents.  Make money off these- publishing royalties, licensing, direct sales, Youtube monetization, touring and performance revenue.

3.  Educate yourself.  There are lots of online resources-- from my Youtube page to to with production tutorials, free sounds, product reviews and more.

2.  Have patience.  If you're not a super producer in the first year or two, don't get discouraged.  Musical development takes time and building a fan base takes even more time.  If you love it, keep at it.

1.  If you want to make beats, make beats.  Some people worry about their equipment not being good enough or their samples not being cleared so much that it stops them from even starting to make beats.  In all likelihood, your first beats are going to sound terrible.  You will have our beats rejected or stolen.  Production will frustrate you.  But experience is the best teacher and focusing on your fears will prevent you from success-- I can guarantee it.

The common theme in all ten tips is that experience and education lead to growth and success.  Have fun making music, take pride in gaining new knowledge and seek out challenging experiences as you hone your production and composing talents.  Much success to you all.