Getting Started

It doesn’t matter if you are musically challenged, have no musical background or just don’t know where to start. I will cover everything you need to know about about getting started in the music production industry. I constantly see questions like “Anyone Know Where I Can Make Beats Online Or On MY Own Personal Computer?”. So I have decided to help you all out. Here are the 5 key elements to getting started with making beats on your PC.

1. Picking Your Genre
This will probably be quite obvious to yourself already. Do you want to produce Hip Hip, Rap, Dubstep, Electro House, Classical, Jazz or Trance? These are only a few of the musical styles that are out there, but with the information I am providing you, you will be able to interpret the information and software I have reviewed so that it will work for your genre. Music making software and music theory are the basis for all music production no matter what genre you want to work with. I myself produce Dubstep, but all of the music programs that are available today will allow you to produce any genre you like because they are all very versatile.

2. Music Production (Beat Making Software)
Now that you have decided on what genre you will be producing tracks in, it’s time to start looking for some appropriate software. Now this is where you don’t want to make a mistake. The most popular software as it stands today is Dubturbo 2.0, Sonic Producer, Reason 5, FL Studio 10, Cubase 6 and Logic Studio. All of these programs are very similar and have much of the same features so when deciding on a beat maker keep that in mind and don’t be fooled into thinking that you are paying for extra features when there is a similar package for half the price or less.

Now it is always a hard choice when choosing the software that will be right for you, especially when you have just come from “How can I make Dubstep?” or “How can I make my own Hip Hop and Rap Beats?” It’s all very confusing at first and that is why I am writing this article. I have tested most of the beat production software and I can tell you now that when it comes to value for money you cannot go past Sonic Producer and Dubturbo 2.0. These programs are feature rich and allow you to make a beat in half the time the others do. Don’t waste the money and test all of them like I did, it’s really not worth it. I know what’s it’s like, I was once in your position too.

Again the KEY thing to look out for when look online for beat making software is DON’T BE FOOLED BY PRICE. Almost all of the paid software contains the same features but they just go about laying it out in a different way in their interface. Don’t think you aren’t going to get enough features in a cheap music production package, because it is more than likely that you will get what you need! The biggest mistakes most people make are buying overpriced software packages that are too complicated and don’t deliver much more than their more affordable competitors.

If you are getting started in music production you aren’t going to go and rent a building and turn it into your own studio are you? No, because of the simple fact that there is no need to do that. I see a lot of big club bangers coming from bedroom producers, and this is because of the way the music production software world has evolved. So much more is now possible with software, and hardware is becoming slowly obsolete. Hardware will never be completely abolished because there are a lot of producers that like the old-school way of doing things but it is happening, software is taking over. This is because everything hardware can do, software can do just as efficiently and at a fraction of the price.

3. Music Theory
Once you have chosen a beat making system for producing you music, I suggest you brush up on your music theory. This is NOT necessary but I highly recommend it as it will make your life much easier by reducing confusion. Music Theory will assist you with the application of the ideas in your head. Once you have a bit of musical knowledge you will find that you are able to get your little melody ideas straight down into your home studio application.

Piano courses are a great way to increase your musical theory knowledge. The saying “If you can play the piano, you play anything.” loosely applies to music production as well due to the fact that the reason behind that saying is that piano teaches in-depth musical theory knowledge that can be easily translated onto many other instruments and platforms.

4. Marketing your music
This may be an optional step for you as you may not want to turn this hobby into a full time profession like I do. Marketing my own music was a real struggle for me. I searched around the internet for months trying to find good information about how I could sell my music and start to monetize my passion. Finally I found a guide that took me to the success state that I am at today, making a living from my music.

The Music Marketing Manifesto series allowed me to monetize my music in ways that I had never even thought of. Things to look for in a paid guide like this are videos, informative written guides and helpful diagrams. You will want to pick up a guide that is backed by music industry professionals so you know that they have also taken their beats from their beat maker and into the market place successfully. The best way to go about music marketing is finding a marketplace that will be right for you.

You have sites like Beatport which will be hard for an independent artist to get on in the first place but then you also have sites such as Bandcamp and Juno that are completely open to independents. So I would suggest signing up for those two sites and seeing what they have to offer because I mean you can never go wrong with a free service right?

Talking about free services, if you aren’t already uploading your finished tracks to Soundcloud and Youtube, GET ONTO IT! This places are prime for web presence in the music world and trust me you will get exposure from both of them. Another thing to consider, that links in with Soundcloud and YouTube is to be active on forums that are specific to your genre and music production. This way you will be able to show other like minded users your music and you will already be TARGETING a specific audience that will more than likely take a liking to your tunes..

5. Perseverance
This is the key ingredient to success in everything. If you persevere with Music Production, you will make it! There is no doubt in my mind that I could guide someone with no musical ability to self-train themselves into becoming a top notch producer, if they wanted it bad enough.

I hope this information was helpful and good luck getting started in my world!


Setting Goals

When the topic of goal setting comes up, most Indies’ run for the hills. In fact, I’ll bet that right now you’re seriously thinking about skipping this article so you can wait for one that is more interesting. I understand, but I encourage you to ignore those feeling temporarily and stick with this article.

And while you’re at it, just calm down. Planning for your future doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, you’ll find that getting on good terms with the goal setting process will move you toward your Indie Music Career dreams quicker – while also giving you more direction with which to pursue them.

Now I know that you may be one of those people who says, “Planning never gets me anywhere. I run into to many problems and end up angry and frustrated. No, I would rather just let things happen and let nature take its course.” NOT!!

Control Yourself

While there’s nothing wrong with letting your instincts guide you toward your true passion in life, taking the “let things happen” approach too far often leads to stagnation.

How else can you explain the gang of negative, goalless musicians who populate most of the Indie Music scenes? They stumble through gig after gig, waiting for nature to take its course, and then suddenly wake up one day and wonder why they’re no better off today than they were 10 years ago.

The unpleasant truth: If you read nothing else in the Ralph Sutton’s Music Production Blog, at least contemplate this: When you just “let things happen” with your Indie Music Career, you take the control of success out of your hands. You’ll always be at the mercy of someone or something else. In essence, you lose control over where you really want to take your career and talent.

People who have successful Indie Music Careers use goal setting to take control of there Indie Music Career and achieve great success, and this will be you!

The good news is that you already possess the skills to set goals effectively. Have you ever written a song? Have you ever gone into a studio to record your music? If so, you’ve been setting goals already.

Example: When you showed up at the studio for your first recording session, what did you do? Did you look at your fellow band members and say, “Dam, I wonder what we should do? Anybody got any good ideas?”

Well, some musicians do this (I’m a engineer and studio owner I know), and hopefully you realize that not being prepared is senseless. You’ve got money invested in the session, you’ve had a dream to put out your own music for years, plus you’ve got fans who are ready and waiting for the recording you’d be nuts to go into the studio unprepared! You didn’t do this, did you?

Of course not. You went into the studio with a game plan, a list of songs, knowing who’s playing what parts, when the vocal, backgrounds and harmonies come in, you may even have a title for the project. That’s all that goal setting is, knowing what you want to do before you set out to do it.

So in the same way you’d be wasting your time and money not being prepared to go into that studio, so too are you wasting your precious resources by being unprepared when it comes to your overall career. Does that make sense to you?

Flexible and Focused

Goal setting is not a inflexible science. The plans you come up with are fluid – you can expect them to evolve and change over time. This is yet another concept you should be familiar with, especially if you’re a songwriter. Many songwriters write using just a guitar or keyboard and voice.

However, when these artists create a new composition, they often hear much more than that sparse arrangement in their heads. The drums, the bass part, maybe an entire string section… all of it is there in the mind’s ear. Maybe you create in the same way.

Then you take this skeleton of a song and share it with your band members, or co-creators explaining each of the parts you hear in your head. But the song the band ends up playing and recording is usually quite different from the version you originally heard in your head. And typically, the newer version is almost always better.

Bottom line: The plans you come up with when goal setting will change as you work toward them. But the mere act of coming up with an idea, visualizing it in your mind, and acting on it will drive you to take those first important steps. While the end result isn’t always the one you expected, it’s usually one you can learn and grow from and hopefully be proud of.

By pushing yourself, through advance planning, to head off in a specific direction -whatever direction that is – you create the opportunities from which real success can be realized. By waiting for things to happen, though, you set the stage for inaction and apathy. That’s why setting goals for yourself and your Indie Music Career is so important.

What follows next week on the Ralph Sutton’s Music Production Blog, are 11 helpful tips for getting the most out of goal setting. See you then and Take Care


Hip Hop Drum Beats

Hip hop is a cultural movement characterized by five key stylistic elements that include rapping, disc-jockeying, sampling, scratching and beat boxing. It originated from South of Bronx, New York, in the early 70’s and was pioneered by Keith Cowboy. The use of drum machines in modern rap gave birth to Hip-Hop drum beats, which are today the core of producing Hip-Hop.

Rap Drum beats have been on the airwaves for a long time, since the 1970’s. Drum-beating is deeply rooted in African-American and African music. It is also heavily connected to groups of people called Griots who are travelling singers and poets who have long been a part of this oral tradition. HipHop became increasingly popular in New York during block parties. These parties allowed DJs to incorporate popular genres of music, specifically funk and soul music. The DJs then isolate percussion breaks of selected popular songs in order to create this hiphop drum-beat style. This technique known as percussion isolation is very common in Jamaican Dub mixes, and the main proponent of this technique is none other than DJ Kool Herc. Dub mixes have become popular with Jamaicans due to the influence of American Sailors and rhythm and blues.

Another technique called turn table includes drum-beat mixing or matching, scratching and beat juggling eventually developed along with the breaks have created a base that can be rapped over. This technique popularized song remixes.

One hallmark of hip-hop beats is looping another artists’ music or remixing one song into another. Looping basically means the repetition of a certain section of music or sound used throughout the entire length of the song or remix. Looping hiphop drum. beats does not necessarily need any consent of the artist when it’s used in clubs or block parties.

To create rap beat music, you need certain instruments, or better yet, you need to use something of your own, something like your voice. Some of the instruments you could use to create beats are turntables, samplers and synthesizers, which are used in modern rap for disc jockeys and the likes, drum machines, guitars and pianos and most importantly a human to do the vocals, beat boxing and rapping.

Some famous artists like LL Cool J, Lil’ Kim, DMX, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and even P. Diddy became popular for their hip-hop drum beat style. Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes and Memphis have their own beat drum style too that made them known within the music industry.

Hip hop drum-beats are just one of the basic elements one should know about Hip-Hop music production. And since now you know where hiphop came from, maybe you can get to your feet and dance to the beat – feel that heat!


Your Own Music Production Studio

If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in audio mixing and music production software like I am.

Over the years, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on digital music production equipment — keyboards, DAW’s, synthesizers — you name it. So when a friend of mine told me recently that some of the new music production software products now available online can give professional audio production results and is inexpensive and easy to learn, I just didn’t believe it.

But I got a chance to check some of this software out. And I was wrong. Just goes to show how far music technology has come.

So I thought I’d tell you a little about it.

Some of it is very inexpensive (at least for now) and will help you make good quality, sophisticated music. Now I can guess what you’re probably thinking. I was thinking the same thing only a few days ago. Finding good music production software is one thing. Finding something you can learn easily, that can really take you somewhere, without some kind of a degree or certification in audio production… well, that’s another thing altogether.

If you think that, you are of course quite right. It is another thing altogether.

Sure, we all know there are some fun programs around that are easy enough to play around with, but not the kind of audio production software for the seriously aspiring. You’d need to hand over a lot of money for a recording studio and learn how to use gobs of fancy equipment for that.

Or would you?

The truth of it is you may find some of this new music production software as surprising as I did, not to mention inspiring.

Okay, let me pretend to read your mind again. Maybe you’re thinking you’ve heard this promise, or something like it, before. And maybe you’re thinking if this music production software is inexpensive like I said and doesn’t require extensive music production knowledge to get results, anything you would be able to create with it would be destined to sound amateurish.

Fair enough.

A lot of the quality music production software solutions out there are rather expensive just to get started. And they do require extensive music production knowledge as well as special and costly studio recording equipment — and, let’s face it, a lot of the other stuff just isn’t worth having.

Well, if amateurish is what you’re thinking, get ready to be as wrong as I was. No, everything out there right now is not all good, but some of it has got everything you need for your sounds to sound awesome — cool, clean, professional sounding beats that can and will transport you and your listeners into an auditory rapture.

Watch a few tutorials and you may find yourself making your own full throttle beats in about 15 minutes like I did. You can pick from different styles of music and from professionally mastered samples, in some cases more than you are likely to ever need. The possibilities are nearly endless. I’m telling you, some of the software currently on the market is easy to learn and very inexpensive.

Don’t believe me? Fair enough. As I said at the start, I didn’t believe it at first either. Fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can go research it and evaluate it for yourself.

Peace out.