Why is Music Production So Hard?

Why is Music Production So Hard

A question I get asked a lot is ‘why is music production so hard?’. Well, I would challenge that question. Now granted I studied Audio Production at university, but I started learning by myself years prior. Back then YouTube was barely established, so I didn’t even have video tutorials to follow.

I learned the old-fashioned way. By ignoring the paper instruction manual and simply playing around. Trial and error. One of the best ways to learn in my opinion. Back then I used Pro Tools and an Avid Mbox audio interface.

Things have some a long way since then. Audio gear and software has advanced significantly, and there are more resources than ever before to learn music production.

In this article I’ll answer your question by explaining why music production is hard, but I’ll offer you solutions and tips to make it easier. I hope that by the end, you’ll be inspired to keep going, or start if you haven’t already.


Why is Music Production So Hard?

Most people find music production hard for several reasons. DAWs can be difficult to get to grips with, audio terminology can be confusing, technical problems can occur, there is an abundance of audio gear and software choose from, plus making music from scratch is hard. That being said, I would argue that it’s never been easier to learn music production, plus audio gear is more accessible and affordable than ever.


Mastering the Almighty DAW

DAW

DAWs, why are they so complicated? Well, they are exceptionally powerful pieces of software where you can notate, record, edit, mix, and master music, use MIDI, virtual instruments, and plugins. Just like any technical software, they take time to get used to.

What’s the Solution?

Firstly, don’t beat yourself up if you feel out of depth, it’s completely normal. I felt the same when I first opened one up. Everybody does, even those who are tech savvy. The trick is to be patient. Start with the basics and work your way up.

There are plenty of books, courses, forums, social media groups, and video tutorials to help you along the way. Seek people out, ask questions. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help. Know why? Because they were in the exact boat as you are in now.

Lastly, Experiment and have fun. As I said in the beginning, trial and error is one of the best ways to learn. Click buttons, move things around, chop audio regions up, record random sounds and change them. It’s an effective way to learn and get familiar with the layout.


Getting to Grips with the Terminology

Copy oMusic Production Jargon

The jargon in music production is staggering. Bus, side-chain, polar pattern, headroom, phantom power, bit depth, buffer size, sample rate, arghhhh, the list goes on. What does it all mean? It’s one of the most off-putting factors when starting out.

Music production blends with the world of audio engineering and computing, so some of the terms can be quite scientific and technical. To this day, I still forget certain terminology or have to re-read definitions that I’ve forgotten.

What’s the Solution?

There are plenty of books, videos, and websites like my own with commonly used audio terms defined in layman’s terms. But what’s even more important is to not get bogged down with it all. Learn only what you need to know.

For example, if you’re just getting to grips with recording, don’t start reading about acoustics or mastering. Take it slow, little by little. There’s no rush. It’ll be overwhelming if you try to digest and understand everything at once.


Technical Problems

Audio Technical Problems

Oh man, it’s best not to think about the number of hours and days I’ve spent trying to fix technical problems in the past. Crackling cables, plugins not working, my DAW crashing, latency issues etc. Sadly, in today’s world we can’t live without technology. It enhances our life greatly, but when things go wrong it can be a source of utter frustration.

What’s the Solution?

Expect problems to occur. I’m not saying that to be pessimistic, but it’s important just to accept that technical problems can happen. Audio gear can malfunction, plugins can become outdated, and a DAW with all its bells and whistles is exceptionally demanding of your computer.

Gear can be repaired or fixed, most software issues can be resolved, and you can upgrade your computer to handle the CPU usage. But in the meantime, patience is key. As some who has little patience, this took some getting used to.

You know what they say, patience is a virtue. Nothing has taught me more patience than working on guitars and learning to deal with technical issues for music production.


Equipment & Software Galore

Music Production Gear

Never before has there been so many audio companies manufacturing audio interfaces, microphones, headphones, studio monitors, cables, MIDI devices, plugins, amplifiers, and instruments. The choice you have these days of gear is mind boggling.

This is actually a brilliant thing though. With so many audio companies competing with each other, gear has become more advance and affordable. The downside is there is too much choice! It’s hard to actually difficult to decide of what to buy.

What’s the Solution?

Don’t overthink it and get caught in the gear trap! It’s easy to spend hours or several days looking into the perfect audio interface for you. But as long as you buy a reliable one suitable for you needs, you can’t really go wrong.

Gear helps you make music, but it doesn’t make great music, you do. There have been plenty of albums made with budget audio gear. Try to be more decisive and use websites like my own who give you gear recommendations.


How Do I start Making Music?

How Do I Start Making Music

Making music is not easy. Sometimes it flows, other times it doesn’t. Even the greatest musicians in the world get writer’s block. Bands or artists can even go year without writing an album. So, don’t feel bad if you’re struggling to come up with something. One of the most difficult things is actually knowing where and how to start.

What’s the Solution?

I actually have a dedicated post about this called Is Making Music Hard? There you can find my best tips on how to create music, even if you think you don’t have the natural gift for it. Feel free to give it a read.

To give you a quick answer though. Just start with something. A melody, riff, chord, sound, sample, drum beat, lyrics, it doesn’t matter. Just begin, without judgement or expectation, and see where it takes. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. If you don’t like it, put it aside, improve it, or start with something new. I believe in you!


Does Music Production Get Easier?

100% yes, it does get easier, but only if you work at it. It takes time, practice, patience, and dedication. But if you enjoy it, it won’t feel like work. The whole point of this article is to encourage and inspire you. I’ve been doing music production for over 15 years.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I started, but now it comes naturally. I went on to study to subject, but you don’t have to do that these days. There are just so many resources online to help you.

Creating music and working with audio is immensely fun. The time flies by and it’s incredibly therapeutic once you get into some kind of groove. You also never stop learning and improving. As they say ‘it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’. It may be cliché, but it’s true.

Did you find this article inspiration? Or are there other things you find difficult that I didn’t mention? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Chris

chrissoundlab.com

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