The way I look at it, for the first few months, there are three things you should focus on….
A DAW is a software application used for producing, editing, and recording music. For more explanation as to why we recommend Ableton, check out this article on the best DAW for beginners. The best advice I can give you is to just pick one and start working with it. Just download one and get started. The question a lot of people ask during the initiation stage is whether they need to buy anything more than a DAW.
The true answer is that all you really need is a DAW and a pair of headphones.
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The common answer is that you need at least a decent pair of headphones and maybe a MIDI keyboard. A decent pair of headphones should invariably be the next item on your list if you find that making electronic music is something you want to keep doing. Having downloaded a DAW or trial version of one , you may feel tempted to get stuck in straight away and start making a song.
Your number one priority after downloading a DAW is to learn how to use it.
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Using Ableton Live? The only objective here is to have fun. Sure, watch a few YouTube tutorials, learn a few things, but above all, experiment. Learn how to put down a basic drum beat.
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Try recreating the melody from whatever song is stuck in your head. The final step in the initiation stage is to make a song , from start to finish. This is an essential step. You must get into the habit of finishing music as early on as you can. Otherwise, you run the risk of not being able to finish music later on down the track.
You may feel the urge to show everybody your creation. If you want to speed up the learning process and follow a proven framework, check out EDM Foundations. Stage 2 is where the real fun begins. You start getting the hang of things, and every track you make sounds better than the last. This stage takes a while, typically years. For some people, it may be shorter, especially if they have the freedom to put many hours in.
For others, it may take longer than two years. You acquire knowledge, develop skills, and improve as a producer at exponential speed. Your eyes are opened to the limitless freedom that electronic music production presents. In stage 1, you probably watched a few tutorials and read some articles. You might know a thing or two about music theory, and you might have an idea of what an EQ does. Not learning music theory earlier is one of my biggest mistakes. Our course, Songwriting For Producers , is the most comprehensive resource for learning theory and songwriting as an electronic music producer.
Learning structure and arrangement will teach you how to take a short musical idea and expand it to create a full-length song. The best way to learn structure and arrangement is to drag songs into your DAW and study them. Pull them apart. Steal the basic structure from an existing track and use it for your own. Additionally, we recommend investing in EDM Foundations to learn the basics of structure and start applying it quickly.
Remember, no amount of theoretical learning can replace real practice, so be wary of the balance between the two. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work.
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One trap that a lot of producers fall into in stage 2 is the perfection or masterpiece trap. They think that they must create amazing work—that they must focus on creating masterpieces. Having a perfectionist attitude in stage 2 is not only an inhibition to learning and progression, it also destroys your self-esteem.
What you should focus on instead is finishing. Not just finishing, but finishing tracks as often as you can. During stage 2, it can be tempting to pigeon-hole yourself into one genre or style of music. I started out making dubstep and picked up some valuable skills such as drum programming and sound design while doing so. For a while, I made techno and house, which taught me a lot about groove. Nowadays, I mostly make trance and progressive house, but the skills I gained from experimenting with other genres still come in handy. At this stage, many producers start thinking about how they should brand and market themselves, how to gain more Soundcloud followers, and so forth.
The first thing you should be doing — having finished a few tracks — is gathering feedback from people. The second thing you should be doing is building relationships with other producers and people in the industry. You should do this irrespective of whether you want to build a career in music, mainly because the opportunities that come from simply knowing people are invaluable. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation as much as possible.
Production starts to become difficult and seems more time-consuming. But you probably will go through it. Most people do. The unfortunate reality is that most people give up when they reach stage 3. Whatever you feel overwhelmed by, you need to reverse that feeling and get on top of it.
First, focus on only the melody. This is how you deal with overwhelm.
Passion keeps us going. But at times, it can be hard to feel it or notice it. Your objective might be that you want to release an EP. But an objective alone is not enough, you need an overarching reason or reasons for making music. My reason for making music is twofold: first, I make music because I love it, and second, I make music because it helps me teach other people to make it. Once you have an overarching reason, working through dry periods where you lack inspiration and creativity become much easier.
Need help with this?
Check out this post where I show you how to set goals as as producer. This is why I took the class, not to learn perspective and draw shaded boxes. What a waste.
#2 Use Your Body
Without taking the time to learn the fundamentals, I would never be able to draw a figure, architecture or a landscape. I only know this now looking back. Before you can create any environment, any level or any game you need to know editor fundamentals and know how environments are constructed in UE4. You need to build a strong foundation for navigating around the editor and its viewports, using BSP brush geometry, working with Static Meshes, lighting, project management, volumes and much more. If I knew what I know now it would have taken me just a few days to tell myself what to focus on and what to avoid.
I could have learned UE4 much sooner. This doesn't sound as exciting as creating a full game, custom environment or arch viz walkthrough BUT it's what will make that possible. Here are 21 things you should focus on learning UE4 as a complete beginner and all are covered in "UE4 Fundamentals" course:. These are just some of the things you MUST learn as an absolute beginner. It seems like a lot and it is. Learning these can take a long time if you decide to do this on your own with Google, YouTube, UE4 documentation, forums, blogs etc.
That's how I did it and I wasted a lot of time. As a beginner you need to be shown exactly what to do and what to follow in a methodical and sequential manner. You need to be very selective on what you watch and each tutorial has to get you closer to learning to use UE4. Before you can create any environment, any level or any game you have to know editor fundamentals and know how environments are constructed in UE4.
You need to build a strong foundation with BSP brush creation, working with Static Meshes, lighting, project management, volumes, navigating around the viewports and much more.