Scout Martin Eriksson: How To Improve Your Music Production, Part I
You just finished writing that new killer song and you’re ready to let it loose upon the world. What’s the next step? Recording and production!
This blog series will contain a number of steps that serve as guidelines to improve your music production.
Arrangement and songwriting is everything
Many writers and aspiring producers start working too heavily on songs that simply aren’t finished. The writing and structure of a song is crucial when you are building your production around it. A timeless hit song with a lot of production will still work really well when performed only with vocals and acoustic guitar. The songwriting is enough to carry it, the production simply wraps it in a nice package, brings out the best of the song and transforms it from a good song to a finished record. Record your song in a very simple way, the built in mic on a laptop will work just fine, and listen back to it with an open mind. Are the melodies catchy? What about the lyrics? Is the tempo all-right? Are the chord progressions supporting the melodies in the best possible way? Is the length of the song okay? Do you have a fluent transition between the different parts of the song? Do the lyrics and melody complement each other? Will it make the listener connect with you and the song itself? If you are planning to have big production on it, this is also a good time to try adding new elements and to listen critically. Are they serving their intended purpose? Do they clash with the melodies or the instrumentation of the song?
Learning the tools available to you when you start working at production is a crucial step to improving. The DAW, plugins and software instruments you use do not matter as much as the skill to use each tool to its fullest extent. Many beginners are tempted to use presets for EQ and compression and other effects. The problem is not wether you’re using presets, they’re often a great starting point for people with less experience. The most important thing is to learn exactly what each parameter on any given effect does, listen to how it affects the sound and character on different instruments. This can seem like a very daunting task at first. Limit your focus to a few effects at one time and you’ll soon improve. This will give you the experience and knowledge you need to make productions that have punch, depth and a good balance of frequencies.
Stay tuned for part II, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!