What To Do When My Son Wants To Be a Music Producer?

My Child Wants To Become A Music Producer What Should I Do? | integraudio.com

If you’re here, it’s because your son has said the words many parents dread to hear: “I want to be a music producer”. Fortunately, we live in one of the best times to be a music producer.

With immediate access to an almost infinite amount of information at any time, being a musician is no longer synonymous with a career only suitable for true prodigies or people sponsored by a multimillion-dollar record label.

Depending on your child’s age, you can take different paths. For the youngest, starting with music theory classes is recommended to learn the basics of music before getting into production with a DAW. On the other hand, if your child is a teenager, they may start producing directly, without leaving aside the musical training. 

We’re not going to lie. Being a music producer is a commitment that takes time. Generally, it takes most music producers about 3-5 years to get their productions up to par with the music consumed by the market on the major platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc.).

However, the exciting thing about being a music producer is continuous learning, being able to be a gratifying and long-lived career. That is why the earlier you can start, the better.

However, where to start? This guide might help you and your child understand better the basics of music production. Please note that it is mainly focused on electronic music producers rather than rock, r&b or other music genres, but in the end, all producers share some points in common.

My son wants to be a music producer – what should I do?

First of all, if you want your son to become a music producer, he should learn about music theory. While it’s true that thanks to today’s technology, you can produce a track without the need to know music, knowing the theory will always take you further.

I always like to make analogies between music and cooking. We can all learn to make a dish by trial and error, and I would even venture to say that perhaps most people have never taken cooking classes.

However, there is no doubt that a cooking course will help us understand why you must cook certain foods at a specific temperature, or which foods go well together because of their composition, for example.

The same goes for music theory. Music lessons will help your child learn about notes, scales, progressions, melodies, chords, cadences, and many other terms that will undoubtedly take their productions to a higher level and allow them to develop a musical idea faster and more efficiently.

You’ll often find these terms on your DAW, so it’s essential to understand what they mean.

ableton midi effects
Here, you can see Ableton Live’s browser – showing MIDI effects. 

Let’s imagine the case that your child wants to compose a song that expresses fear. Without knowledge, they can spend hours (or even days) playing random notes until they finally come up with a composition with scary-sounding melodies and chords.

A music producer who knows theory will quickly decide to use dissonant intervals, chromatic scales or look to atonal music for inspiration. 

How can your child learn about music theory? While I strongly recommend getting him into music theory classes, what’s great about today’s world is that you can access all the information you want from the comfort of your home.

There are a lot of tutorials online that will help your child learn anything he needs to become a music producer with a solid base on music theory. You only need to know where to find the right tutorials.

Where can I find tutorials on music production for my child?

Nowadays, the internet allows us to learn about any subject for free. Music production is no exception. Only on Youtube alone, you may find hundreds of excellent tutorials about any music production topic, from theory, and the very use of the DAW, to mixing and mastering. 

It will take a lot of videos (and hours). Still, I promise you that your son will be able to use the DAW of his choice without any problem, besides learning about different topics like synthesizers, rhythms, harmony, how to produce music that sounds like his favorite artists, etc. Your child can find everything you can think of on YouTube without problems.

One of the most famous music production YouTube channels is In The Mix. Its creator, Michael Wynne, is an audio engineer who uses FL Studios, but your child can translate everything he explains to the DAW of her choice.

In this channel, you’ll be able to find extensive content that goes from production, mixing, and mastering up to acoustics topics in general, such as recommendations for your home studio. In The Mix is undoubtedly a great choice to start producing and keep learning regularly.

How To Turn Your Loop Into A Song #2- Arrangement and Production

Here’s a list of other channels that your child needs to check if he wants to become a music producer:

  • Underdog Electronic Music School

Underdog Electronic Music School is one of my preferred channels if you like underground electronic music. In my opinion, Oscar has outstanding tutoring skills and can explain any topic in a simple way. On his Youtube channel, you’ll find hundreds of videos about different topics related to music production, while he keeps putting new content every week.

  • Julien Earle

What’s excellent about Julien is that connecting with him is very easy. His primary approach is to recreate the style of several different electronic music genres, such as acid technohouse, and nu-disco, to name a few. Also, on most of his videos, he uses Ableton entirely without needing third-party plugins, so it’s a great way to learn how to produce without spending any extra bucks on additional software or hardware.

  • Doctor Mix

This guy is an excellent musician, as you can see on his covers of classic pop songs like Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Although he mainly focuses on using hardware for music production, you’ll also find a lot of content about plugins that will take your child’s music to another level, as well as tips for mixing.

  • Production Music Live

An alternative to Underdog Electronic Music School, these guys also have a very didactic approach, while keeping it interesting enough to spend your time watching their videos. They also offer personalized courses as well.

  • Sonic Academy

Another academic channel that offers a vast quantity of videos to start learning about music production. They even offer subscription plans that include sample packs your child can use for his music.

  • TAETRO

TAETRO is a music producer who focuses on reviewing the best MIDI controllers and home studio gear, so it’s a great option after your child learns the basics.

  • LANDR

On LANDR YouTube channel you’ll find great content about music theory, such as chord progressions, scales and rhythm.

  • Ableton Tutorials and Music Habits

As the name clearly states, this channel focuses on using Ableton Live, so your child will learn many tips and tricks to produce faster and better.

  • Servida Music

If your child chooses FL Studio as his main DAWServida Music is one of the best options to learn how to produce beats.

As you’ve already seen, there are many choices online to start learning about music production, and these are just some of them, to name a few. What’s important is that your child connects with the person in the video to keep him interested in learning more.

My child wants to be a music producer – should he learn an instrument?

Playing an instrument will help your child put into practice everything he has learned about music theory. Even though you can be a music producer with just a computer, knowing how to play an instrument will give you a perspective that is often difficult to convey if you compose everything directly in a DAW. 

The piano is a perfect instrument to start with, as it is easy to learn the notes and will help you compose with a MIDI keyboard, one of the most typical instruments in any music production studio for recording notes on any DAW. In addition, the piano will give your child the ability for his brain to keep a different rhythm with his hands and feet.

c major scale piano roll ableton
If you know the notes on the piano, you’ll understand how to write the C major scale in Ableton Live.

However, the piano is not the only instrument recommended for beginners. Many musicians start with the guitar, bass, drums, or wind instruments. The important thing is that your child gets an instrument they enjoy playing, motivating them to practice daily and get better and better.

Besides, who says you can only play one instrument? Most music producers have spent years trying out different instruments to apply what they have learned to their productions.

In my case, I started with keyboard lessons at the age of 5 before switching to the guitar, which was my main instrument until I started electronic music. Later I started playing the drums (which I can say is the instrument for which I have the most talent, despite having started late), and this year, at 31, I decided to start playing the saxophone.

Each instrument has helped me make the next one easier to learn, and the earlier your child can start their training, the faster they will grow as a musician.

bass fingers emulator plugin
Although you’ll find an extensive quantity of instrument emulators, the feeling of a real instrument will always be better.

If my child wants to become a music producer, should he learn how to DJ?

If your child is into electronic music in general (like house/techno/DnB/EDM,etc.), becoming a DJ might be as important as becoming a music producer. Both paths complement each other, and being a DJ will open a door for your child, allowing them to play their music in front of people.

Many people believe that being a DJ is just about making a playlist and playing one track after another, but there’s so much more behind it. First, DJing gives you a skill that most people don’t think about: how to read a crowd.

We all have been “the DJ” at some home party, creating a playlist to listen to while speaking to our friends and family. But it’s another thing to have a crowd’s attention for more than one hour. Becoming a DJ will help your child understand the effect of a specific track on people, as well as where and when it is a good moment to play a song. 

A DJ also understands how a track’s structure should be very well. After spending hours and hours listening to and mixing music, the DJ sees patterns in the different music genres: how long an intro should be, where’s the break, where’s the drop, how many bars should a loop play before becoming repetitive, and so on.

Moreover, understanding the arrangement of a track will undoubtedly help your child finish their own music.

Your child can learn how to DJ while still learning to produce music; as I said, they complement each other. You can learn how to DJ using other producers’ music until you finally start finishing your own tracks.

What’s so special about being a music producer that also DJs is that later on, your child will be able to mix their music with music from other artists they love, creating a universe of possibilities during their performances.

mix house 2022 liamC beatport 2022

 

What music should my child listen to if my child wants to become a music producer?

Try making your child listen to different styles of music than the ones they are used to. You can start with the music you listen to or the music you listened to when you were their age, and explain what you look for when you listen to a track.

There is nothing worse for a musician than to be closed-minded. Indeed, we don’t all have the same musical tastes; ultimately, music is an expression of ourselves. The world would be boring if we all listened to the same songs.

However, we must learn to respect the tastes of others and understand that, technical criteria aside, there is no such thing as “bad music”. Appreciating music of different styles will help your child be more open and daring to use what he learns for his productions, thus forming a unique style. 

Never doubt it; all genres of music are connected in some way. Maybe your child’s favorite genre is EDM, which is influenced by House, which is influenced by Disco, which is influenced by Soul, which is influenced by Rhythm & Blues… You get the idea.

In the end, we invent musical genres to describe the music of a particular era under specific parameters defined by ourselves, so it is essential to be able to appreciate music globallyThere’s a very cool website that will help you and your child better understand every genre if you’re interested in history. 

Do you need expensive equipment to become a music producer?

After learning the basics of music theory and an instrument, your child will require a computer to train himself as a music producer. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on an overly powerful computer (at least during their early days as a music producer).

Technology advancements have made laptops or PCs available on the market at a very reasonable price. It doesn’t matter if the computer runs on Windows or Mac; that’s up to you. What’s important is that it has the minimum recommended settings for the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to be used and a good sound card. 

Additionally, it is vital to have a pair of speakers and good headphones for production. The KRK Rokit 5 speakers are an excellent option for a beginner’s studio, offering a decent monitoring sound quality for a reasonable price. As for the headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO  cost less than $200, and they offer professional quality for mixing and mastering.

My Beyerdynamic 990 pro headphones. excellent quality for an excellent price.

As for the DAW, the market offers many options, each with its pros and cons. However, for beginners, starting with FL Studio or Ableton Live is advisable, as they are the easiest to learn to use. Please make no mistake.

Although these two might be simpler to use, they can produce professional material as if you were using Pro Tools or Logic. In the end, the DAW is just a tool. Many top producers use Ableton or Logic for the entirety of their productions.

Others use FL Studio during the production phase and later export everything to Pro Tools when they start the mixing and mastering phase, and so on. What matters is how you use it and feel comfortable with it.

If you want more information about which DAW to use, check out this article about which are the ten best DAWS for music production.

Is it hard to become a music producer?

Being a producer is a process that takes years. When you start, it seems that you cannot develop the ideas you have in your head, and everything you produce is not up to par with the music you hear on major platforms. But as for everything, consistency is more important than talent.

One of the biggest challenges all producers have when we begin our careers is finishing projects. Starting a musical idea is easy, and the creative process is always fun. But, finishing it is another story, especially when the mixing begins. 

To be able to complete projects, your child must watch as many tutorials as possible. However, the most important thing is that they can put what they learn into practice. Going back to the analogies with cooking, you may be able to read all the books about cooking, but if you don’t put it into practice, that knowledge is useless. 

A mediocre but complete song will always be better than an unfinished idea; in the same way, a cake of regular quality will always be better than eating a good recipe by half. In addition, finishing a project will allow your child to practice the whole procedure and realize their weaknesses, so they can continually improve for each subsequent project.

How can my child finish a music project?

  • Your child should begin with short, simple projects

It’s easier to finish a 1-minute track with 9-10 instruments than a 5-minute track with more than 30 instruments. Your child could begin by producing music that could be used for Instagram or TikTok videos since, usually, this kind of content is no longer than 1 minute long.

When we begin as producers, our expectations might be very high, but your child should be patient and embrace the whole process. 

How a beginner's music project looks like
How a beginner’s music project looks like
How an advanced music project looks like
How an advanced music project looks like
  • Use reference tracks

If your child wants to understand how to finish a project, it might help to compare their project to the music that they listen to. Try putting some tracks that your child loves directly on the DAWS and analyze how it behaves.

Use markers to see where the track introduces new elements, where the breaks and drops are located, how long can you listen to a specific sound, and so on. Then your child might recreate what the original artist did in order to finish their track. You don’t want to make a copy of the original, of course, the reference track should only serve as a guide on where to go.

  • Find people to collaborate

Teamwork might help your child to finish their music productions, especially in the beginning. Other producers might help to see another perspective so that they can complete projects together. Collabs with the right people are always a fun way to learn different ways of producing, mixing and mastering music.

  • Encourage your child to ask for opinions

When you start as a producer, it might be hard to show your projects to other people, especially when you’re a child. You should always make them feel supported. Listen to their productions and give them constructive feedback.

You don’t have to be an expert in music to give your opinion. Most of the public that consumes music on the platforms is not either. When your child feels comfortable listening to your opinion, encourage them to do the same with other people. 

My child already knows the basics of music production, what should I do now?

After learning the basics, I would recommend two things. First, to get a more profound knowledge of third-party audio plugins, and secondly, to produce music consistently no matter what. 

Generally, the audio processors that come with the DAW of your choice are of good quality. But there’s a problem: let’s say you use Ableton Live and only use Ableton compressors, distortions, instruments, etc.

Every processor has a specific “color,” so your music will, in a certain way, sound like the music of every other producer that sticks with Ableton processors. When I say color, I mean that every processor has a specific sound attached to it.

For example, there are many compressors on the market, but each has a specific sound after processing the audio through it, the same way that if you’re painting, there’s an extensive range of yellow color that you can use to represent the sun. 

On the other hand, usually, the best plugins will save you a lot of time. For example, the Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 is the best equalizer in the market, in my opinion, as it lets you find unwanted frequencies in seconds.

A standard EQ might do the same work, but it might take you more (valuable) time. Also, several professional plugins combine several processors; you might have a compressor that also saturates the signal with a special touch (or color).

Besides being beautiful to watch in action, the Pro-Q 3 gives you outstanding control for shaping your audio.

Nevertheless, as for the DAW, plugins are just a tool. What’s vital is that your child keeps producing and finishing music, with or without the aid of professional plugins. They must start producing music on a regular basis, even if they don’t feel “inspired.” For many producers, inspiration is just an excuse.

A professional producer keeps making music no matter what. He knows every project is a new opportunity to learn and that even if the final result is not his masterpiece, the process will keep increasing his knowledge.

Try to schedule your child’s production sessions as if they were practicing a sport. You can start with short, simple sessions, but always with a specific goal in mind. Maybe today they can practice how to write a melody, tomorrow how to write chords. After that, rhythms. Every session should be a new opportunity to improve.

Additional recommendations

  • Buy a MIDI keyboard

If you want your child to continue improving as a music producer, you can buy them a MIDI keyboard, with which you can record melodies and chords directly into the DAW and control specific parameters without the computer mouse and keyboard. On the market, you can get a lot of options for all tastes and budgets.

 Don’t get fooled by its size. For less than $100, the AKAI MPK Mini offers great control as a MIDI keyboard. Source
  • Buy a studio vocal microphone

You should consider investing in a microphone if your child is interested in recording vocals. As with MIDI keyboards, there are a lot of microphones on the market, although you can start with a low-priced one that is sure to give you better quality than the computer microphone.

Condenser mics are usually recommended for recording in the studio since they are very sensitive and might pick all the frequencies with great clarity. On the other hand, mixing vocals can be tricky, so your child must add vocal mixing videos to their YouTube playlist.

  • Buy some music-related books

Books continue to be a great source of knowledge for music production. If your child likes to read, there are some recommended books to start. Regarding music theory, Music Theory for Computer Musicians, by Michael Hewitt, will definitely help your child understand some topics better, as it comes with audio examples and exercises to put your knowledge into practice.

Later on, The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski is considered a bible for mixing, and it’s great to keep it around whenever you have a question about a certain topic. 

Music Theory Michael Hewitt and the Mixing Engineer's Handbook Bobbty Owsinski

  • Search for other producers

You can also try doing a quick search for music producers in your city. I’m sure more than one will be happy to chat with you and your child about tips and their experience as a producer. Also, many music producers offer tutors or consulting services, so they may be able to help your child as private tutors.

Conclusion

As you can see now, being a music producer is a career that requires time and dedication. We don’t instantly see results and that might be frustrating. It may take a couple of years before your child reaches enough experience to produce music at the level demanded by the industry.

However, music can be one of the most enriching professions if it is done from the heart and you have the support of those close to you. 

Music education will undoubtedly help your child progress faster as a producer. The sooner he starts studying music theory and playing an instrument, the easier it will be for him to produce quality music. First, of course, he must develop the habit of practicing and practicing. 

Like any producer, your child must have a computer with the DAW they choose to work with. It doesn’t have to be the most powerful computer on the market. It just needs to be able to cover the settings required by the DAW your child will be using.

Subsequently, your child can learn everything necessary by watching tutorials on each topic. The important thing is that they know what and where to look for.

Finally, please support your child’s productions and growth as a musician. Interest yourself in the music he listens to. Make him listen to the music you like.

Go to concerts of different styles, and listen to music-related podcasts. The important thing is that the journey is fun, both for your child and for you.

Don`t copy text!