I want to produce my own music. But how do I start?
Skodex
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#1
10th July 2011
Old 10th July 2011
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I want to produce my own music. But how do I start?

From a young age I have wanted to be a DJ. I originally started messing around with the program VirtualDJ when I was 9. But I was only messing around with already made songs, and I couldn't find anyone to help me work with the program so I eventually lost interest in it.
But, now that I am 15, my interest in it has come back. And instead of poorly remixing already made songs like I used to as a kid, I want to make my own tracks. The only problem is, I don't know where to start and the programs that I have come across - FL Studio and Ableton - are very technical, and I cannot find any decent tutorials on how to use them. So I made an account here hoping that someone could point me in the right direction. So, if anybody could help me, I would be very thankful.
Also, I don't know what program I should continue to use. I like FL Studio, but it feels really messy and there are too many screens open at the same time. Ableton on the other hand feels cleaner and simpler. But I don't know which one I should buy in the end.
#2
10th July 2011
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Hi Skodex

Welcome to the club

Here is a good place to start regarding Ableton:

YouTube - ‪Ableton Live 8 - Tutorial 1‬‏

(check out the other videos on the right)

I personally recommend you get into ableton and learn it as it is a superior DAW to FL and I think you like abletons interface already

Learn the basics and the rest will follow but make sure you use the search function here at GS as there is loads of info and advice for people just starting out.

Good luck and keep us posted

Anthony
Skodex
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10th July 2011
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Thanks for welcoming me .

Thanks for the link, I'm watching it already . I cannot wait to start making my music .

You are correct. I definitely like Abletons interface. It feels more friendly compared to FL Studio.

Once again, thaaaaaaank you
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10th July 2011
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My tip is to listen to as much music of the style of music you want to make. try and pick out the individual sounds. try and listen to the rhythm and how the timing is around the kick. find out about chord progressions if thats the type of music you want to make (ie; house music).

Experiment. surround yourself with optimistic supportive people. remember, you can't do anything wrong. Don't let someone tell you what you've done is wrong.
#5
10th July 2011
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First, you take two osc and detune them...

I couldn't resist

Tom Cosm has a lot of free Ableton Live tutorials. But don't be afraid to try the demos of whatever you can find, just to be sure. Reason, Live, Studio One, REAPER, Renoise, and some others I can't think of off the top of my head have demos.

Live has the benefit of a version called Live Lite that comes with most Akai (and some other brands) MIDI products (like, say, if you wanted a keyboard MIDI controller or an APC), and Ableton often has nice deals to upgrade to the real deal. Sometimes people on KVR give away/sell on the cheap their Lite licenses because they don't use Live, or already have a main-line version. Sometimes you can find Reason Adapted, too, which is Propellerheads' Reason Lite.

But anyway, even if you like Live a lot already, I'd suggest at looking into as many DAWs as you can just to be sure.
#6
10th July 2011
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Any other piece of software is going to be just as technical. It's production software - Photoshop and Final Cut are also harder to use than watching an image or a movie.

Lots of people of your age manage to use it so you'll probably end up all right.
Skodex
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10th July 2011
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Originally Posted by hmmm View Post
My tip is to listen to as much music of the style of music you want to make. try and pick out the individual sounds. try and listen to the rhythm and how the timing is around the kick. find out about chord progressions if thats the type of music you want to make (ie; house music).

Experiment. surround yourself with optimistic supportive people. remember, you can't do anything wrong. Don't let someone tell you what you've done is wrong.
I did that last night. I listened to the whole of Deadmau5 4x4=12 album. And instead of listening to the song as a whole, I listened to it as if it were split into seperate sections. So, in a way I was dissecting it in my head.

And thanks for that last bit of advice. That was very kind and encouraging .

KyroShift, I have no idea about what you are talking about...

Also, will I need to get a MIDI Keyboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Lots of people of your age manage to use it so you'll probably end up all right.
I will end up all right. I have always wanted to do this, but due to the lack of support and encouragement I got when I was 9, I left it and decided I wanted to do Animation when I was older.

So, no way will I give this up. I will stick at this! Nobody can discourage me.
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10th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skodex View Post
So, no way will I give this up. I will stick at this! Nobody can discourage me.


Also, as important as the tech side of things is, I recommend that you also learn a bit of music theory. A few years of piano lessons can go a long way...
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10th July 2011
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PROTIP:

1. buy synthesizer
2. take two oscillators
3. detune them
4. sidechain
5. ????
6. profit
Skodex
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10th July 2011
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Originally Posted by CfNorENa View Post
Also, as important as the tech side of things is, I recommend that you also learn a bit of music theory. A few years of piano lessons can go a long way...
Well, my father bought me a keyboard when I was 12 because I wanted one, and I can play it rather well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
PROTIP:

1. buy synthesizer
2. take two oscillators
3. detune them
4. sidechain
5. ????
6. profit
I understood the "????" and the "profit" parts. But the rest of them... I don't know. I'm new to this. I've really only just started, so you have to explain things a bit more than that...

Okay, I took a look on amazon. A synthesizer is like a miniature keyboard, right? Which one do you recommend I should get? I only have £100 to spend.
The only points I don't know, are "oscillators", "detuning them" and "sidechain".
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10th July 2011
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lol Skodex, I worried that might happen. Allow me to sum up:

Try demos of the major DAWs you can find. Though if you really know you want to stick with Ableton Live, more power to you. I love Live.

Whether you need a keyboard is up to you. I personally like having one, and some MIDI controllers come with lite versions of various DAWs/sequencers.

FWIW, though, I find that for a lot of things, Live's built-in "computer keyboard" can work pretty well if you don't mind going in and doing some MIDI editing to fine tune the loop.
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10th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KryoShift View Post
lol Skodex, I worried that might happen. Allow me to sum up:

Try demos of the major DAWs you can find. Though if you really know you want to stick with Ableton Live, more power to you. I love Live.

Whether you need a keyboard is up to you. I personally like having one, and some MIDI controllers come with lite versions of various DAWs/sequencers.

FWIW, though, I find that for a lot of things, Live's built-in "computer keyboard" can work pretty well if you don't mind going in and doing some MIDI editing to fine tune the loop.
I think I will stick to live to be honest. I like the feel of it, and it feels simpler and less complicated compared to FL Studio.

As for the keyboard, I think I will wait. I'll try playing around with Live without one, and then I'll decide.

Also, is the stuff that ohmicide said - "oscillators", "detune them" and "sidechain" - of any importance? Do I need to know about them? If so, can you explain them for me please?
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I want to produce my own music. But how do I start?

Don't worry about the oscillators detuning and sidechaining... It's more of an inside joke than anything helpful.

It's all things you'll probably learn if you keep at it!
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10th July 2011
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Something seems fishy here.

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10th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohmicide View Post
PROTIP:

1. buy synthesizer
2. take two oscillators
3. detune them
4. sidechain
5. ????
6. profit
You missed beat repeat and drowning the whole track in reverb,

FL and Ableton are probably the two simplest (but worthwhile) DAWs about, yeah they might seem complex now but they won't in time.

I can't stand fruity loops, the interface makes me want to hurt things, but a lot of people love it and I guess it's great to learn on.
Skodex
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10th July 2011
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Originally Posted by sftd View Post
Something seems fishy here.

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What?


Quote:
Originally Posted by offki View Post
FL and Ableton are probably the two simplest (but worthwhile) DAWs about, yeah they might seem complex now but they won't in time.

I can't stand fruity loops, the interface makes me want to hurt things, but a lot of people love it and I guess it's great to learn on.
Yeah, I've watched a few tutorials and messed around on FL Studio and Ableton. And you're right, they're not as complex as I first thought.

I don't like FL either. I've been using it for 2 days now, and I'm already starting to hate it. It's messy and unorganised.
#17
10th July 2011
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You are putting the cart WAAAAY before the horse.

A program won't write music for you.

What is your level of musicianship, music theory, or just music experience?

-a
Skodex
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10th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
You are putting the cart WAAAAY before the horse.

A program won't write music for you.

What is your level of musicianship, music theory, or just music experience?

-a
Well, I self taught myself to play keyboard when I was 12. And in highschool I studied music for two years. That two year course involved a theory and practical section. For the practical I played acoustic guitar and keyboard.
#19
11th July 2011
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Not sure what genre of music you're interested in, but this is a good starting point for production for electronic music at least!
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11th July 2011
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Originally Posted by loveless View Post
Not sure what genre of music you're interested in, but this is a good starting point for production for electronic music at least!
I'm interested in electronic, dance, house, dubstep and drum and bass. I do listen to other genres, but those are my favourite, and the ones I wish to work with.
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11th July 2011
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if you have keyboard skills i'd suggest a MIDI controller. it will get your ideas from your head into the computer a lot quicker.

ableton is a good choice.
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11th July 2011
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Here are my few tips for someone just starting out.

* No. 1 piece of advice: For the overwhelming majority of people who get good at music: It is a greatly time consuming process. For non-geniuses, skill and ability is directly related to the time that has been invested in it. But don't worry, it's ok - music is fun (and a long-term commitment is very satisfying).

* Do you need musical training? Yes. BUT!!! Does it need to be institutional? Nah. There's very many different ways to become good at music, you can just learn by yourself. The point is you need to take it seriously.

* I second the advice about listening to others' music - this is probably the best thing you can do. Listen to music which you love, but also try some which you find interesting, ie. challenging.

* You have to listen to it in different "modes" too... 1) just listen and enjoy, 2) aural training - ie pull it apart in your head - maybe even do critical written analysis of it if you're super keen, 3) import it into your DAW and use it as a reference track (especially useful when starting out).

* If you use a reference track, make sure you bring the fader down on it, so that its level matches that of your mix. Remember that commercial tracks have been mastered, which means (amongst other things) their level has been pushed up to the max.

* On that note, when you eventually find that you can't get your track "as loud" as a commercial mix, don't panic. Come and read about it at this forum or post a question about it.

* No. 1 technical tip for starting out: Be aware that the room you listen to music in, and the speakers you use, possess a unique character. In fact they probably have particular flaws. You MUST learn how this affects your mixing. You can mostly do this by playing your completed tracks in different environments, like the car, or a friend's house. You will notice with well-produced music that it sounds good when played in many different environments... this is what you are aiming for (it's difficult though, you can get tips on internet forums).
Skodex
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11th July 2011
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Originally Posted by AJ Reynolds View Post
if you have keyboard skills i'd suggest a MIDI controller. it will get your ideas from your head into the computer a lot quicker.

ableton is a good choice.
Which MIDI controller do you recommend I should get?

Thanks for the advice Praxisaxis.
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11th July 2011
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+1 on the Tom Cosm stuff.

You might find magazines like Future Music and Music Tech usful they tend to have tutorials in most issues and are a good start.

Once you get the hang of the basics of how to use the program, what does what etc, then you need to start studying and analizing the music you like. Listening to see how they make the beat, how the hats are programed, what the bass is playing, etc.

A usefull way of doing this is sampling a 4 bar loop bringing it into Ableton and 'duplicating' it by programming/playing over it. You can slow it down if needed in Ableton to hear exactly how its made. I did this all the time I first started, also at the age of 15! Once you get the hang of that then you can move on to copying whole songs, that way you'll learn about arrangements also.

Its a long term thing, you know, you need to practice and get better with time, but if you love it and it inspires you you'll get there so don't lose faith if its hard in the beginning.

welcome to GS

ps. get a used 25 or 49 key Maudio or Akai or Alesis or EMU midi controller, no need to spend a fortune. €50-60 should do. they are €100-150 new

.
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11th July 2011
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Sidechain everything!
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11th July 2011
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naw this is going way too fast IMO.

if someone asks I want to make music, I'd ask first What kind of music?
next question: What is your budget, and how much time can you spare?
and then "What kind of person are you?" inquisitive, experimental, practical

the rest is just putting coloring in the numbers.
basic options what your setup might be:
workstation
DAW & controller
synths & sequencers (hardware)
modular
hybrid

basic things you MUST get to be able to work:
good speakers (the BEST your budget allows)
a room to do your thing in
something to play (moving notes with a mouse is shit)
something that makes a musical sound when you play it
something that records what you play, or the sound that you make
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What model is your current keyboard?

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11th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djshire View Post
Sidechain everything!
even the kick drum?! BUT YOU CAN'T SIDECHAIN THE KICK DRUM!@#%*1/

the results may be similar to dividing by zero... and you know what happens when you divide by zero.......................................
Skodex
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11th July 2011
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Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
naw this is going way too fast IMO.

if someone asks I want to make music, I'd ask first What kind of music?
next question: What is your budget, and how much time can you spare?
and then "What kind of person are you?" inquisitive, experimental, practical

the rest is just putting coloring in the numbers.
basic options what your setup might be:
workstation
DAW & controller
synths & sequencers (hardware)
modular
hybrid

basic things you MUST get to be able to work:
good speakers (the BEST your budget allows)
a room to do your thing in
something to play (moving notes with a mouse is shit)
something that makes a musical sound when you play it
something that records what you play, or the sound that you make
1. Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Techno, House, Electronic.
2. My budget is limited. But I am willing to do anything. That includes selling some of my stuff and getting a job (or jobs). I want this badly. I can spare a loooooot of time for this.
3. All three.

What is the "controller"? And what's this "modular" and "hybrid" thing?

And I agree with you, this is going way too fast. I'm getting new words thrown at me without knowing what they even are.
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11th July 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skodex View Post
1. Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Techno, House, Electronic.
2. My budget is limited. But I am willing to do anything. That includes selling some of my stuff and getting a job (or jobs). I want this badly.
3. All three.

What is the "controller"? And what's this "modular" and "hybrid" thing?

And I agree with you, this is going way too fast. I'm getting new words thrown at me without knowing what they even are.
You have the an entire message board devoted to this stuff, use the Search function.

But I'll help a little: a controller is a device that controls the programs you'll be using on your computer to make music. The range of control, type of controller, and how easy it is for the controller to understand what you want it to do varies by controller.

A very simple controller is the Korg Nanocontrol


A more complex controller, with a keyboard, pads, rotary encoders and sliders is the M-Audio Axiom Pro 49
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