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"Top 5 Lessons Every New Music Producer Should Learn"

Updated: Apr 22

Here I sit at the age of 47 having been a record producer for 30 years now. I am not talking about being an actual producer from the very beginning, but one who came up the hard way and one who had to learn everything himself way before we had online tutorials.

I sat for about 2 years with only a Fostex four track tape recorder and a Casio SK Sampler and spent endless nights pulling samples from records and weaving together whatever I could in an attempt to try and make something fit. It took years and the logical progression from Tape to Midi Computer and then onto PC before I hit the jackpot.

I have completed a music degree , I have had hit records in the charts and I have worked in two of the most prestigious recording studios in the world. Abbey Road and Olympic studios in London. But I always feel most at ease when sat at home in my studio producing at my own leisure without pressure.

So with the places I have worked in and how I have come up from the bottom, I wished I had access to tutorials back in the early 90's when I begun as I would have made more progress at the time. Instead I spent most of my early years creating music rather than finishing and mixing those songs. Which for the record now it was the best way for me, which was to learn the art of arranging and then go into the deeper stuff. So here I sit 3 decades later and still with plenty to learn, written below are my top tips for you no matter where you might be on your musical journey, you can always take something from this list.


Most producers will have a keyboard or a launch pad of some sort. Depending what kind of music you make, it is a good idea to learn some basic theory. So for example learn how to memorize chords and understand how to work them out. There are so many tutorials online which help you to do this.

You will be surprised how much your playing improves when you know off the top of your head how to play a GM7 chord for example.

Also it is a good idea to learn to read some basic level of sheet music too. This can help your right hand play melodies which are crucial in many genres. You can never know enough theory so give it a try. You can find easy to read lessons online and as basic and child like as they seem at first, you will soon grasp the concept and try other music you prefer.



EQ is a nightmare. We all have spent hours trying to get the perfect mix, but the minefield that this can cause delays in your music being released. We often give up when we feel that the mix is not going well or that the bass is too muddy etc. The best way to get around this dilemma is to simply arrange some drums and learn how to mix your simple drums such as kick, snare, hi hat and claps for starters. Then with these in place, learn how to pan and mix these to get them tight.

Use a reference track if you want to sound like a specific song, and also practice subtractive EQ which is removing lower frequencies from individual drum parts like the hi hats where very little to no bottom end is required in a mix. This then allows the bottom end of the kick drum to punch through more. So basic EQ skills can be achieved if you learn to mix only part of song, and build your way up from there.



I can honestly say I have owned so many synths, drum machines and other hardware devices over the years and I also can say I wasted so much time on many of them. Why? Because I was sucked into the flex of it, the things that look cool are probably of no real use to you and your studio set up.

I have toyed with expensive synths which were used regularly but I never dived deep into them enough to make them a worthwhile purchase, when in recent years a VST does just the same job if not better and easier in many cases. So if you are going to have hardware in your studio, make sure you have a good use for it or it will simply gather dust and you will waste money on stuff that didn't really suit your needs. I have done this many times and it is hard to resist a shiny new object but really think about if it will enhance or hinder your production time.



We as humans tend to spend a lot of time concerning ourselves about what others think of us more than we think of ourselves. It is a really sad and strange thing to do as we should be the number one purpose for living out our live as best as we can and if other people dont like that then it is their problem.

This is not a very common thing unfortunately as our art is important to us we don't want anyone to hate it. But hate it they will at times and you cant do anything about that. But why should you? I am sure you hate certain musical genres or songs and have aired that at times, so why should your work be any different?

I have feared what people think of my music sure but in the end nobody really cares that much, it is only music after all and not a world changing event. So just get comfortable with the idea of releasing music to the world no matter what feedback you receive. It doesn't matter and you will be dead one day and nobody will remember in years to come anyway so let that fear go.

Also people more often than not only think these things in their head and not to your face and if it is to your face then they also more often than not hide behind a fake social media profile anyway, so let it go and release without fear. What harm will it really do?



There is a saying that goes "Art is like a fart, if you have to force it, then its probably shit" I firmly believe that as in all forms of creativity, when it comes to forcing something amazing or magical, it often turns out wrong. You see we cant force magic, it just happens out of the blue. Like notes in the air that we somehow catch and if we miss them they will then float on to the next creator nearby.

You can be inspired by someone else's work sure , but if it doesn't come rushing out of you then why try? You should never put yourself under any pressure to make music, it wont work believe me. I was once signed to a major record label and the pressure was immense to come up with a hit song.

I failed miserably as you cant create a hit song on demand. So the lesson I learned here was to walk away when making music feels like a chore. I used to think that if I wasn't creating,, I was betraying myself and starving myself from success. Which is completely false and it took me years to realise that walking away after an hour of trying is the best medicine and the fastest way to recovering any creative juices.


Instead go and do something completely opposite to music. Try and read or go out and away from the studio. Do the other things you like and forget music for a while.

So there you go , there are my top tips for things you need to know now if you are starting out or if you are a seasoned vetern, we can always learn something new no matter where we are on our journey. Good luck and enjoy your music production.


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