Learn Music Production
Tips, tricks and tools for beat makers and music producers.
Last Updated: December 2023
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Interested in Music Production? This is a good place to start.
Deviant Noise has one mission – we want to help you make the best music possible.
On this page you’ll find links to all our major guides, tools and resources for creating and producing your own music.
Whether you’re an aspiring beat making or want to be a professional all-around music producer, the stuff on this page will help you move forward to reach your goals.
Make sure you bookmark this page so you’ve got easy access whenever you need.
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Our How-To Music Production Guides
How to Make Beats
Learn how to make beats using your laptop/computer.
Build a Home Studio
Learn what you’ll need to set up your own home studio
How to Record Vocals
Learn the tools and processes to recording professional vocals
How to Sample Music
What sampling is, how it’s done and how to do it better
How to Arrange Beats and Songs
Find out how to escape the boring 8-bar loop
How to Mix and Master Music
Uncover the often confusing world of audio engineering
Sound Selection Tips
Learn how to approach choosing better sounds for your songs
How to Design Sounds
A complete beginner’s guide to the principles of sound design
Our Music Production Buyers Guides
Best Beat Making Software
Learn what the best beat making software is for you
Best Studio Headphones
Find the best pair of headphones for your specific needs
Music Production Product Reviews
Check out some of our latest music production product and software reviews
Music Production Blog Posts
Read the latest blog posts on producing music and making beats
Other Resources for Music Producers
Here are some of our favorite resources for anyone who produces music (affiliate links)
Lessons and Learning Aides
Our Favorite Books Related to Music Production
Our Favorite Tools for Producers and Beat Makers
Why Learn Music Production?
Even if you don’t plan on making beats or becoming an all-out music producer, it may be a good idea to learn the fundamentals.
If you’re a singer or rapper, an engineer or musician, knowing the music production process, and how to create your own loops and beats will help you write more music – and you’ll save time and money.
Frequently Asked Music Production Questions
Some of the most common things to know about making music.
Music production can be thought of in a few different ways, but it’s all about the creation of music and songs. Music producers can be part of the creative process or just oversee a creative project and bring a specific “musical” vision into reality. So whether you’re making beats or coming up with creative ideas for the vocals parts or overseeing session musicians in the studio, you are in some sense producing music. Traditionally though, the producer is the person who oversees a project and brings it from concept to reality. They may play some of the musical parts or compose the music itself, but that isn’t always the case.
Absolutely. In fact a majority of music producers in the world are likely self-taught to some degree. There are so many resources (both paid and free) available online that can take you from complete beginner to expert as long as you are willing to put in the work. But be careful because some people work better with structured teaching with an actual instructor. If you want to teach yourself to produce music, then the best thing to do is grab some music software and start trying things out – break the software and experiment. Then start watching YouTube tutorials and reading sites like this one. It’s all possible.
It depends on the course itself – some are ridiculously over-priced for what you’re getting. But some are really worth it. Especially if you’re the type that learns better with a structured, hand-held approach. If you’re resourceful, though, and good at experimenting and learning while doing then the internet has all the information you’ll ever need for free.
But the benefits of traditional music production courses are things like guided teaching, networking and collaboration opportunities. A good middle-ground, though, are the less expensive online courses offered from companies like Soundfly or Hyperbits. Courses from Berklee are also great but very expensive. Just don’t drop $20k on a course expecting to get a job because of it. Becoming a good music producer is more about MAKING music lots, not necessarily learning about it lots.
It can be. But it’s not a traditional “career” most times. It’s more of an entrepreneurial endeavor, meaning you usually have to make your own way in this business. Very rarely will you take a traditional “career” route in the music business – i.e. go to school, get a job, rise in rank, etc. In music production, you might have to intern or start making your own music or producing your own artists. If you ARE successful, it can be very lucrative. But it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, sacrifice and sometimes a little luck. It’s not a good career for everyone, though.
Music production techniques cover a lot of areas of making music. Because music production is bringing an idea into reality, it can be anything from skills related to recording or arranging sessions musicians, arranging, figuring out and recording vocal parts, to music composition techniques and mixing/mastering techniques.
Music production programs are pieces of digital software that help you create, polish and finish music. They can be complete digital audio workstations like Pro Tools or beat making software like FL Studio or Maschine. They can usually handle tasks like composing music, recording audio and mixing multi-tracked recordings.
You absolutely can. All the information you need to get started (and get good) and making music is all available on the internet. Free resources like Deviant Noise and YouTube videos are a great place to get the skills you need. You have to be resourceful, though and just start creating and learning as you go. If you want a more structured, hand-held approach there are courses available on the internet, as well. They range from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
Yes, you absolutely can. Most laptops nowadays are powerful enough to run most music making software. You can use both Mac and Windows laptops to produce music, as most software will run on both platforms. At minimum you want an i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD drive. If you can afford it though, an i7 processor with 16 GB of RAM and a 1 or 2 TB SSD will let you use more instruments and effects in your music projects. But if you can’t spring for that, don’t worry there are ways to get your music vision out on pretty much any modern laptop computer.
Some college’s do have music production programs – like Berklee – but they’re quite expensive. A lot of the same information is available online for free (or paid courses). But there is something intangible about being in a classroom setting with other students. It allows for better networking and collaboration. Just don’t think you can “go to college” for music production then “get a job.” Unfortunately the music business doesn’t work that way most of the time. It’s more entrepreneurial, and even if you do learn music production in college, you’ll likely have to make your own way rather than getting “hired” right out of school.
The role of a music producer has changed in the modern era. In the past a producer wasn’t necessarily the person composing the song or recording the singer/instrumentalist. They were essentially the person that was in charge of taking an idea that was in an artist’s head and bringing it into reality one way or another. They were the project manager, so-to-speak. They brought cohesion and over-all vision to a music project. Nowadays, a music producer is often the one that composes the song, helps with writing, records the artists and even sometimes mixes the finished record. Even just making the beat of a song is referred to as music production by some.
Music production is the process of bringing a musical idea into a finished reality. It can start with a song (lyrics and melody) or with a backing track (instrumental) or even just an idea/concept. From there a song is fleshed out, parts (both instrumental and vocal) are written and re-written. If necessary, outside people are brought in to help create the various parts of the song. Then the parts are arranged and recorded using professional techniques. Then the song is polished so it sounds as if you’re actually listening to the artist or band in real life – the mixing and mastering process. Finally, if the project is an album it’s sequenced to be most effective.
This used to be a much more important question a couple decades ago. Nowadays a lot of the pro music software out there can do everything you’ll ever need it to. It’s more a question of workflow and UI (user interface). Each software can do a particular music production task, but how you do it may differ from software to software. The best option for beginner’s looking to make beats is something like Ableton or FL Studio, while someone more focused on recording and mixing might want to look at Pro Tools or the like. If you’re prefer making music through touch, instead of mouse clicks, something like Maschine might be better for you. Or maybe a combination of software is best for your needs.
Most professional music producers like Finneas and Kanye West use a variety of music production tools. The industry standard software is Pro Tools. But with the rise of bedroom producers software like Ableton Live and FL Studio have become standards as well. Other producers may use Logic if they’re on a MacBook or something like an Akai MPC if they prefer to work on hardware.
If you’re not sure you want to pursue music seriously and just want to dabble, a great affordable option is Magix Music Maker. If you’re interested in something a little more powerful and want to use something that a TON of other producers do, we recommend FL Studio. It’s a great option if you are willing to go through a steeper learning curve at first.
The best place to start is right here at Deviant Noise. We’ve got a ton of great articles about making your own music above. Start with our full guide on how to make beats using your computer and then move on to some of our basic music theory guides. Then you’ll be ready to handle some of the more advanced topics. All our guides are completely free, so sign up to our newsletter to stay updated on the latest content. Once you’ve got the basics down from our guides you’ll find that YouTube has a TON of great tutorials for you to learn from.
100% yes you can. In fact most producers are self-taught to some degree, or they start out that way. There’s no real blueprint or path you can follow. It’s a lot of interest and passion mixed with trial and error and experimentation. All the knowledge you need is available for you to learn online, for free oftentimes. But you need dedicated and work, and you need to be resourceful. If you don’t need a traditional structured learning approach you can do well teaching yourself.
Processor speed is important when it comes to making music with a computer. You want to have at least an Intel i5 processor to handle your audio tasks. The important thing to remember about CPU speed and music production is that the SINGLE THREAD speed matters most. Audio production doesn’t use multiple processor threads, so if you’re looking at benchmarking sites like Passmark, pay attention to single thread scores. The higher the better. An i7 or i9 processor is ideal.
A music production company is exactly what it sounds like – a company that specialized in making music. That can mean a team of producers who freelance for other artists, or it can mean a company that develops artist talent by making their music and releasing it. It can also have to do with making or placing music in film and tv. A music production company is a loose term that can encompass many different areas of the music creation and marketing process.
Both work very well for making music – neither is better than the other in terms of what you can do. Having said that, MacBooks can sometimes be more stable because they’re a closed ecosystem. Windows machines are often sourced from various manufacturers and that can cause compatibility and latency issues with audio drivers – especially on branded laptops like the HP Spectre or Dell XPS. Mac’s core audio engine is solid. But software updates to iOS can often make your software and plugins stop working until they get updated. That’s happened numerous times with Mac. So both platforms work well but have their issues. Oh and Mac is much more expensive.
Yes, more RAM in your laptop or computer can help your music production by allowing you to load more things. Some virtual instruments and effects are memory heavy and so when you start layering things and loading up several instances, it can stress the system. Having more RAM helps you load more and more instruments without running into playback issues. You can pass with 8 GB of RAM but 16 GB of RAM is becoming the baseline. 32 GB of RAM is better, of course.
Sort of. When you think of instruments, you automatically think of a piano, guitar, saxophone or drum set. But you need to expand your understanding of what an instrument is. An instrument is anything that can make a sound – whether it’s a bucket, a violin, a synthesizer or even a voice. Early DJs turned their turntables into instruments. And now computers and laptops are fast becoming instruments too, because you can use software to generate sounds and compose a song. There are entire libraries of virtual instruments you can load into your music making software and play around with. Today the most common thing to do is use a computer and software to make some of your favorite music.