When singers and bands want to create a professional sound, one that go on records, albums and in music videos, they come to music producers. Music producers help artists achieve the full recording potential and deliver a master mix that sounds great, polished, and ready to be consumed by the masses. Big international names like Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Rick Rubin, George Martin and more have left an enduring mark on the music industry with their signature styles, and have elevated the careers of some of the biggest global music icons of the 21st century.
But what exactly do they do? What is the answer to the question every young music hopeful in this digital age has – the eternal question of how to produce music?
That’s what this article is here to tell you.
What is a music producer?
A music producer is the manager of a football team or the foreman of a construction site. He is the master of the console, the sultan of the studio, the individual that oversees every single part of the process involved in music making, right from the lyrics to coming up with the music to recording sessions, post production, album art – and everything in between. The music producer provides insight and advice to his artist (like whether or not the song is catchy or the music conveys the right emotion, or the lyrics could be fine-tuned) and looks at all the many details that go into making a record successful. Hired by vocalists, instrumentalists, bands, DJs and even record labels, the music producer is that one person who turns a collection of songs into a hit album.
In order to be a music producer, awareness and understanding of the entire process of music making is an absolute prerequisite.
- You need to have an ear for music, the innate ability to connect emotionally with a verse or a tune.
- You need to be able to look at the raw materials of a song or an artist and decide how to turn that into a package that will connect with the people out there.
- An understanding of the technical process of recording – from actual recording sessions to mixing and mastering the songs in post-production – is also a must.
- You should also be able to clearly convey to the sound engineers what technical changes are required in pitch or time or sound levels – to have an idea in your head what the music should end up sounding like, and have the level of skill and knowledge to make that idea come alive.
That isn’t all though, because you also need to be able to have that artistic bent of mind, that soul of a poet and grasp the emotion, the drama, the poignancy of a tune or a lyric, and show it in its most beautiful form.
Now that we have an idea what a music producer does, let’s address the next big question – how to become one. Well, there are music production courses available all over the world to help achieve this goal. Any competent course typically includes basics of music, training in music arrangement software, sound engineering, electronic music production, music business, studio acoustics and more. These courses will certainly teach how to produce music, and lay the groundwork for your career in the music business, but that is just the beginning. They say experience is the best teacher, and that holds true in this line of work as well. So the next step is to gain some experience, either by assisting a music producer or by starting to produce music on your own and experimenting with sound.
You also need to change your approach in terms of how you listen to a song, and understand the techniques and approaches used in them and learn from them. Limited budgets, lack of access to the top industry talents, and a lack of studio time are all challenges that music producers face, particularly at the beginning of their careers, but facing and surmounting those very challenges will help you become more accomplished in your work. If you get the right education, build experience, and work with energy and passion, then the music industry can be very rewarding.