We live in an era ruled by the internet and technology – a time when almost every aspect of our lives has become digital. Be it business, education, or retail, our interactions with the world have become increasingly mediated by computers. In many ways, this has been a good thing – we can now work and communicate more efficiently than ever before.
This is especially true when it comes to music. In the past, making music was a physical process – you had to play an instrument or sing into a microphone. But nowadays, thanks to computer music production, anyone with a laptop can make professional-grade music without ever picking up an instrument.
What is Computer Music Production?
Computer music production is the process of creating music using only a computer and nothing else. This can be done either by recording live instruments and vocals or by composing music using MIDI software.
MIDI is a protocol that allows electronic musical instruments to communicate with each other. Using MIDI, you can create realistic-sounding simulated versions of almost any instrument, from guitars and drums to pianos and strings.
The benefits of producing music on a computer are numerous. For one, it’s much cheaper than traditional recording methods – all you need is a laptop and some basic software. Additionally, it’s much more flexible – you can easily experiment with different sounds and arrangements without having to invest money or book time in a studio.
How to Start Computer Music Production
Selecting the Right Software
The first and perhaps the most crucial step is to select software that fits your requirements. Today we have multiple options available, each with different features designed for specific tasks. For beginners, we recommend starting with a basic Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). A DAW is an all-in-one software that allows you to record, edit and mix audio. Some popular DAWs for beginners are Garageband, Logic Pro X, and Ableton Live.
Choosing the Right Computer
The second step is to choose a computer that can run your selected software smoothly. Ideally, you should go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and a solid-state drive (SSD) to ensure the software doesn’t lag and runs smoothly.
Recording audio can be done either by singing or playing an instrument into a microphone or by recording a pre-existing audio track.
When recording live instruments or vocals, it’s important to use a good quality condenser microphone such as the Rode NT1A or the Blue Yeti. If you’re on a tight budget, any decent-quality USB microphone will do the job.
Once you’ve recorded your audio, it’s time to start editing it using the built-in editing tools in your DAW. If you require any assistance, there are plenty of tutorials available online.
Adding MIDI Tracks
In addition to audio tracks, you can also add MIDI tracks to your project. These are virtual versions of instruments that you can control using a MIDI controller. To add a MIDI track, create a new track in your DAW and select “MIDI” as the input. You’ll then be asked to select an instrument of your choice. Most DAWs come with a wide selection of virtual instruments, so take some time to experiment with different sounds.
Once you’ve selected an instrument, it’s time to start playing. If you don’t have a MIDI controller, you can use your computer keyboard as a makeshift one. Simply hold down the “Shift” key and press the corresponding letter on your keyboard to play a note.
Mixing and Mastering
The final step is to mix and master your track. Mixing is the process of adjusting the levels of each individual track so that they all sound good together. This can be a complex task, but there are plenty of tutorials available online to help you get started.
Mastering is the process of finalizing your track and preparing it for release. This involves adjusting the overall volume and EQ, as well as adding any final touches such as reverb or compression.
Although brief, the above-mentioned guide can help you start off your journey as a computer music producer. Initially, it may feel quite daunting, but with time you’ll get the hang of it and produce music you’re proud of.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships.Along with his work at MuzicSwipe, he also conducts in-depth interviews with prominent entrepreneurs on his weekly podcast “FULLSPEED.” Eric also dedicates himself to educational initiatives through the “Eric Dalius Foundation,” which provides four scholarships to US-based students. Keep track of Eric’s endeavors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,YouTube, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.