Best place to learn music production?
RTFM, they say. Just use your ears, they say.
But, is it just me or you constantly find yourself in a rabbit hole of YouTube tutorials at 3 in the morning. 😅 With dozens of music hacks articles ("10 ways to improve your chords!!") in the background, a playlist of Rick Beato videos next up in the queue, and emails from Berklee about that Art of Mixing course you meant to join months ago waiting in an inbox.
For those who are not drowned in the endless stream of self-improvement content promising to make you a better, more productive and efficient musician, what's your best place to learn music production?
Any recommended websites, blogs, YouTube/Twitch channels, books, films, podcasts (you name it) to learn music production are welcome!
For guidance on doing your own mastering, the free content on iZotope is excellent.
Jonathan Wyner is as skilled as they come, and explains things very clearly.2
I swear Nightjar is not sponsored by iZotope and this was not planned. 😬
But yes that series is gold. Our colleagues at iZo put a lot of work into it.2
Nico_NI Administrator Posts: 1,137 admin
Oscar from Underdog is doing a pretty good job at covering music theory and essential tips and tricks for electronic music production through his Youtube videos. You can also attend the school courses for more in-depth lessons.
Thomann is also producing really great content, more focused on the hardware side of things alongside artist features, studio tours...etc.
A lot of learning/teaching platforms emerged during the pandemic, with masterclasses from renowned producers available to buy. One on top of my head is Home of Sound, but I know there are many others.
Finally, Reddit is a good place for discussing music production of all styles. There's probably a sub for you out there dedicated to the genre you're producing. Let's not forget to mention Discord as well.4
My best place to learn music production? Simple: my home studio.
The main problem with tutorials in general today, IMO, is that the focus is nearly always on self promotion rather than education. "Please don't forget to leave a like and...", dude; why would I bother with any of that considering that you haven't even taught me one. single. thing. yet because the video just started?
Not to mention that it has become my experience so far that many "tutorials" only teach you to perform tricks, they don't necessarily explain the basics to you so that you can invent your own tricks.
Now... sure, maybe I've become a bit (too?) skeptic after being active within this amazing world for over 10 years now. I cannot rule out personal bias here, fair enough. But still... if there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that "the Props" aka Propellerheads were darn right with their message when Reason 6 got released: "When it comes to self expression, there are no rules; no right or wrong. We're artists first: creators that follow instinct and inspiration."
Be YOU. But most of all: don't be afraid to make mistakes and get rejections, which I think is one of the real underlying issues here. Sure, no one likes booing (unless you're a heel wrestler I suppose... 😁) but still.. some confidence in yourself doesn't hurt either. Sometimes you just don't know until you've tried.7
I agree with ShellLuser, to a certain extent. Most YouTube guys are wanting those likes and subscribes but that is for them to survive. If one really wants to learn then my personal opinion is you must invest in yourself. That is if you can afford to..... I went to Full Sail University in 2019. I graduated last year, October 2021. For me I had to learn in this way in order to make real progress in my pursuit of music knowledge. Understanding chords, chord progression, major, minor chords..... the list goes on just from a theory perspective. Understanding why music hits the soul and lasts for a lifetime. Why is the Beatles music still relevant today.....what is really necessary when you mix music in terms of plug-ins or real audio equipment. We are bombarded every day with the latest and greatest plug-in but what does one really need to make music. So I feel like if one can invest in their pursuit, do so with formal education. What I did learn is you must learn the rules so you know what rules to break. Just my personal opinion. Lastly some people are more naturally talented and may pick up things easier and quicker, I needed more formal training.3
Sounds reasonable, I guess you could go your own way if you wanted to learn about music theory but I agree that formal education might speed the process a lot. What course did you take at uni?1
Sunborn Member Posts: 246 Saw
As other members noted: best place to learn music production is your home, your studio, with constant practice and experiment. You can learn, theoretically, a lot of things from a teacher, from books, or online, but this is just information, not knowledge.
Many of the top musicians worldwide, from all kinds of music, were self-taught, and it was exactly those kind of artists who brought revolution to music, from jazz to rock, from ethnic to trance, always was the self-taught artists who created the most authentic sound and pushed the boundaries forward, never forget that!3
While I definitely agree with the self-taught aspect playing a big part, we can't forget that tons of artists had mentors along the way. These mentors offer a lot more than just theoretical information imo.3
Nico_NI Administrator Posts: 1,137 admin
I get and I agree with the point of the inevitable step of self-teaching and experimentation.
However, I find interesting comparing a teacher speaking in a class and a youtube tutorial. One could say "there's a human in front of you, you can ask questions and interact with him directly, that's way better", but that's also true for most of online platforms where you can find learning content. Sure the interaction happens digitally, but the value can still be the same.
Having this ton of free resources directly accessible from your home studio is an incredible time and effort saver, I believe. But, it will for sure never replace the practice and exploration step you have to do on your own to find out what you're really doing.1
I guess we will find that everyones's journey is different. I took Music Production as my undergraduate degree when I studied at Full Sail University. I had to understand from projects we created and listening lessons to understand how compression, EQ, all play a part in music creation. I wanted to be able to listen to music and find the correct key, figure out the chord progression. I learned all these things and a ton more in my personal journey. This path worked for me. In doing this I now have a method of music production that is fast and efficient to get ideas in place.4
I feel privileged to have learned most of this stuff before the internet was around. Heck, anyone can fall victim to analysis paralysis by researching things too much online.
I have always tried to stick with the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) mindset. It's like going to the gym, sure you can read all about how to train and eat and whatnot, but unless you are actually TRAINING, that stuff will not help you very much.
Just switch everything into Airplane mode, lock yourself in with the machines, and "throw down on the box". Only research that music making stuff when you cannot actually make music.3
I feel privileged to have learned most of this stuff before the internet was around.
What were your resources back then? 😀0
There was three of us and we just figured it all out amongst ourselves (Not talking about "mixing" - back in the nineties only the Pros bothered with such things, or even had equipment capable of mixing in a more contemporary sense)0
So your saying you figured out how chords were formed using triads. You learned how to position and play 7th, 9th, 11th chords. You learned what a blues chord riff progression basically consists of in terms of tonic, four chord, five chord turn around........ I'm really impressed, I went to school to learn this stuff and for me I'm glad I did. I feel like now I could have a real conversation about music theory and how to write better music.0
Don’t forget Groove3, Ask Audio, ProducerTech, Born to Produce and ADSR, if you want paid classes. Many producers like Rachel K Collier and Andrew Huang have produced their own classes. There’s a lot out there in terms of formally laid out tutorials that take you through every aspect of the software or producing a track. Also, a lot of producers will take you through the process of mixing or constructing a track. Computer Music Magazine and Future Music Magazine do this every month. It’s more of a masterclass approach, in which it is assumed you already know how the software works, but there are plenty “tips and tricks” tutorials too.2
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