Today I will be teaching you how to make music on a computer. Simple as it sounds, there are gonna be a few things that you will need before you can start the process of making music. Below I have separated 3 different things you will need before you can start and an honorable mention that may make this journey more efficient for you along the way.
First things first, you are going to need a computer. It really doesn’t matter what kind of computer you have as long as it’s fairly modern and has access to the internet. You will also need a fair amount of space to download the music making program, which I will get into below. So as long as you have this, then there’s really nothing else you need besides a way to hear the music. That brings me to my next step.
Headphones or Speakers, it’s up to you!
To make music, you probably wanna hear how it sounds during the process. Since this is probably your first time, it is highly unlikely that you can compose a masterpiece without one of the two I have mentioned (Unless you’re Beethoven).
Creating great music requires a quality sound output, if you can’t hear the full range of what you’re creating then it it’s probable that it won’t sound too good.
I highly recommend investing in some great headphones (for closed audio production) and speakers for those who have a bit more room and don’t have to worry about their neighbor banging on the walls.
Since you’re just starting today, you can probably use any pair of headphones or earbuds since you’re not necessarily gonna be making platinum records right this moment.
If you’re looking for a pair of affordable headphones check out my post on “Best Headphones for Music Production On A Budget“.
As long as you have one of the two then you’re ready for the next step.
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
This is where it gets a bit tricky, so follow along.
A digital audio workstation or a DAW for short is a program that gives you a platform to put sounds together with the end result likely a song. There are a lot of good DAWs out there and finding one that fits you is important.
If you are not too familiar with what DAWs are out there, then I would highly recommend Fruity Loops, also known as FL Studio.
I have been using FL Studio for as long as I can remember and when I first started, having the demo version to try things out really benefited me in the long run. They have a plethora of plugins and packs all ready to use once installed. There are plenty of guides on YouTube to show you how to make music regardless of what genre you are interested in.
Within this DAW you will have access to a basic template of what your song will include, for example BPM will give you the option to change how fast you want your track to be played in.
It does take some time to get use to, so be patient and strive on. Patience is a necessity when trying something new, that goes for all things in life not just making music.
Once you have successfully installed your DAW of choice, you are now ready to start.
For more info on what exactly a DAW is you can visit my post on “What is a DAW?“.
Music Theory (not necessary, definitely recommended)
Making music is a fun and thrilling passion, but at times it can be hard.
Trying to figure out what notes sound good together and finding out what key you want your project in can be confusing if you don’t know where to start. Music Theory will teach you everything you need to know about Key Signatures, Chord Progressions, Timing, and everything in between.
If you want to make great sounding music I highly recommend investing your time in learning music theory as it will help you progress faster without having to do everything by ear. It will make this process loads easier on you and you are more likely to make better sounding tracks and projects with a little knowledge under your belt.
Regardless if it is your first time arranging notes or whether you’ve played an instrument in school, having music theory knowledge on the side will make everything in this process easier.
You’re all set!
Plug in your headphones or speakers and fire up your DAW, you are officially ready to start music production.
When I first started making beats, all the little things in my DAW had me confused. I remember one of the first things I did was create a wacky drum line with some pre installed drum packs, and that’s OK!
There’s gonna be trials and failures along the way and your music may not sound too good after working really hard on it and maybe you get the thought of “I should just stop”. I want you to know, as a producer who has been making music for years is that at times you will feel this way, you will feel like it is all pointless. I can guarantee you though, that’s it is not. Every second you put into this art, it will reward you down the line. Even if it takes years to truly be at the level you want (which it probably will), it will be hard work and experience put in to make you better.
Pace yourself and allow yourself to suck, because we all have too. My first beat was horrible but I still have it saved as a reminder of where I started and where I am now. Like all trades and all hobbies that’s just how things are and if you are not gonna allow yourself to fail then you won’t be able to progress down this path.
You really shouldn’t worry about becoming the next Diplo or Metroboomin right this moment. You should take the time to get familiar with the DAW you chose and how it works, as it will make things easier down the line.
Last of all, have fun with it. You’re an artist and this is your canvas. Your goals and dreams are your own to achieve.
Best of Luck,