Share advice you'd give to your newbie self



  • J-Fly
    J-Fly Member Posts: 3 Member
    1. Turn your rig on every day for at least 30 minutes.
    2. If you're not actively making music, then get out of the game.
    3. Don't be afraid to leave where you're at (MPC) and return to where you started (NI Maschine).
  • tokenboomer
    tokenboomer Member Posts: 24 Member


    1. Start by realizing that you're unlikely to be a big success in the music business. We all love the stories of little known musicians to get discovered and make it big. This happens but very infrequently, so you should be doing this because you love it and not because you expect to be heavily compensated for what you're doing.
    2. Because it's unlikely you will be heavily compensated, be very careful how much money you spend pursuing what is likely to be a hobby. When I was much younger in the 1970s I played guitar in a rock group. At the time one could make anywhere from $75-$200 a night playing music. Now 40+ years later, that level of compensation hasn't gone up much but the cost of equipment certainly has.
    3. I currently have Komplete 13 with few additional Kontakt libraries. I don't use much more than a 1/3 of what comes with that package, so the idea I should upgrade either of the two "Ultimate" packages is ridiculous. But I'm still tempted whenever those wonderful Native Instrument sales come along. I resist and you should too, unless you've got a gig composing music for movie or television soundtrack. Get the gig first, then buy the instruments you need. Even if it seems like a really good deal.
    4. About every five years the computer your using will become obsolete, especially if you're in the habit of upgrading your software on a continuous basis. The lesson I've learned is to not upgrade or purchase any software that requires a better computer than the perfectly-functional computer I already own. I have a 2015 Macbook Pro. Over the six years I've owned it, I've watched my track count come down every year. The trick I've learned is that using older less-cpu-and-ram-hungry plugins prolongs the life of my computer.
    5. Capitalism is the reality. Most artists I know don't like thinking of themselves as capitalists. But if you have to sell your creations, you'll have to participate in that system. And when you really think about it, most of the artists you love have done a damn good job of selling their work. If they hadn't, you probably would never have heard of them. Of course there are situations where artists are just "discovered" and then go on to success. But almost always they are discovered by a raging capitalist that knows how to market them. And often how to exploit them. The best idea is to acquire as much business acumen as you can.
  • Wabi Sabi
    Wabi Sabi Member Posts: 2 Member

    Don't listen to your mother.

    I could have been a contender!

  • Joe Patterson
    Joe Patterson Member Posts: 9 Member

    About three years ago I started to compose with a computer and plug-ins, I learned with paper and pencil 40 years ago.

    First off I would agree with many of the other comments, don't go and buy a bunch of stuff, learn what you have and learn everything it can do. I'm still figuring things out on the computer because they are not acoustic so take the time to watch those videos about your instruments and programs, that time you spend watching is less than the time you will screw around.

    Mostly I would tell myself to go at the virtual music world with the same attitude I had when I first staring playing the violin in 1972. Practice and persistence everyday.

  • Polygala
    Polygala Member Posts: 3 Member

    This is easy because it’s been on my mind for the last week. I’m stuck right now and I know why. The answer is— too many options to knock you off course.

    There is too much you can do! Most of it can wait.

    I am enrolled in a great course that teaches so much about everything from mixing to sound design and more. A couple weeks ago we were asked to turn in a song a day.

    A song? What? But I have been studying modulating baselines and MPE and how to add width to your music. I am not at the point of making a song.

    I would, if I could go back in time, tell myself to make a song on day one. I would say make it as simple as possible. I would tell myself choose sounds that go together without any audio effects. Just a simple drum pattern, a bass line and a synth or piano. Rely only on the volume of each instrument and their sounds.

    Then plug in a mic 🎙 and Sing something to it or even just talk over it— you could just keep repeating, This is what I made today!

    Next, get feedback on it and expect some insults like you really shouldn’t be trying to make songs right now, maybe even—music is not your field. You will be ignored, too, and that’s okay. Some people never get the guts to share their music and you shared your very first song.

    Realize despite the mean response you are unharmed physically. You want to say, It’s my first song, jerk. But don’t! Realize if you become famous you will receive a lot more hatred than this. You have learned on day one to get over yourself and not to rely on the validation from others to continue making music.

    You will get some responses from nice people. They will be supporting, seeing you value their opinion. They may say your drums are too loud or try playing the bass notes between the kicks on the upbeats. You may have to ask what they mean but chances are they will be able to explain.

    Now go back and turn the drums down and change the bass notes to play between the 4x4 kicks on you simple little song.

    Compare the new version yo the first. Yes! It is better. It’s still day one and you have done a lot.

    You made a song, shared it, got feedback and revised the song

    A good first day!

  • Valis
    Valis Member Posts: 1 Member
    1. Learn the basics before worrying about the vision and dream
    2. Focus on theory not just in terms of music itself, but aspects related to sound design all the way up to the physical properties of sound and digital signal processing (DSP). This will help down the line, even if you don't absorb all of it immediately
    3. You can make music with just a tablet now (truthfully, even a harmonica and a tabla will suffice), so focus on the tools that inspire you to explore & create rather than cost or reputation.
    4. Make sure you learn not just about music production and technology, but also learn in other arenas as well! Inspiration comes from all directions, and if you want to do something that isn't derivative you will have to go into the unknown and bring it back with you.
    5. Make sure you take breaks, focus on workflow as well as health, and above all keep yourself engaged in a way that isn't too challenging or too boring, so that you get the most out of your time!
  • IanTrader
    IanTrader Member Posts: 5 Member
    edited February 2022

    If Eric Burdon or Brian May asks you to join his bandm don't say No.

    Stop gigging before it gets boring.

    Buy shared in Apple. Sell everything and buy more shares.

  • Uwe303
    Uwe303 Moderator Posts: 2,900 mod

    Ohh yeah Brian May is my favorite guitar player, one of my favorite singers and songwriters too especially in choir with Freddy and Roger. I would definitely not say no, i would b happy to bring him the water or whatever he needs.


  • Soerensega
    Soerensega Member Posts: 1 Member

    Everything on this list + 7. Better tunes have come out of less gear than you have right now.

  • Nico_NI
    Nico_NI Administrator Posts: 1,125 admin

    Good to point out!

    This also makes me think about the time spent on a track.

    The best tracks are usually created in a short time, out of a genuine inspiration sparkle. Spending too much time overproducing on a project is hardly ever a good thing.

  • portthames
    portthames Member Posts: 44 Member

    Many have said it here, but I'll add to the chorus that your progress shouldn't be held hostage in your pursuit of perfection.

    Be vulnerable and get stuff out there, others can celebrate your growth with you. 💪

  • Jens Porath
    Jens Porath Member Posts: 1 Member

    i'm pretty sure it would be something like: "don't buy that maschine and especially not that jam, i know it's tempting but you'll regret it - many times. spend that money ableton live and then buy a push 2 when it comes out! alright? thank me later."


  • Jon Nelson
    Jon Nelson Member Posts: 1 Member

    I will echo several others' comments, and give myself the following advice:

    1. Practice timing more often. Even if there is a grid and quantize and all that, learn to get your own rhythm into the DAW. Don't let the tail wag the dog here. Practice being on timing and your rhythm will show up. Seriously practice. A lot. It will be worth it.
    2. RTFM - you will always learn something you didn't know, and that stuff can really inspire.
    3. The only real failure is the failure to learn from mistakes. So make the mistakes and learn from them. You will be so much wiser after learning from those mistakes.
    4. Laugh at yourself more often. Seriously. Laugh. Out. Loud.
    5. I'd tell you not to buy so much gear, but you're gonna do it anyway, so I'll say this: learn from this experience, and focus in on what inspires you. There are so many examples, you will find the right ones, and you'll also find that you really only want to use a small number of them.
    6. Practice being comfortable with discomfort. Do not be afraid to be a bit vulnerable, and you will become comfortable in your own skin.
    7. Make the music you want to hear. Do not settle for less.
  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI Administrator Posts: 2,525 admin
    edited February 2022

    @tribepop said:

    Learn to finish songs! I already mentioned this but I had a really bad habit of being like “oh I’ll come back later and add some cool instruments or effects there to make it better”. 

    Not easy to achieve if you're a perfectionist 🥲

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