Music production – it’s the heart that keeps the music industry alive, the engine that drives the melodies we hear and love. As someone who’s been deeply involved with music for over two decades, I can attest to the transformative power that music production holds.

But can you learn music production on your own? The short answer is a resounding yes!

With the wealth of resources available today, self-learning music production is not only possible but also increasingly common. However, like any other field, it requires dedication, patience, and a lot of practice. In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of learning music production independently.

Comparing Self-Learning and Formal Education

When it comes to learning music production, both self-learning and formal education are viable options today. None of them is the clear winner and both of them have their pros and cons.

Learning MethodProsCons
Self-LearningFlexibility, affordability, freedom to follow interestsRequires self-discipline, lacks structure and support
Formal EducationStructured learning environment, professional guidance, networking opportunitiesCan be costly and time-consuming
Self-Learning vs Formal Education: Weighing Flexibility against Structure.

Understanding Your Learning Style

Before you dive into learning music production, it’s important to understand your learning style. Are you a visual learner who benefits from watching videos and demonstrations? Or do you prefer reading and writing, making books and articles your go-to resources? Maybe you’re a hands-on learner who needs to dive in and experiment.

Understanding your learning style can help you choose the most effective resources and strategies for your self-learning journey. And even more than that, you might know that you learn best when not having to look for the next topic to tackle and having a straightforward plan in front of you. Or you are the opposite and you thrive when being thrown into the deep end and having to figure things out by yourself. Then you might already have a clue which parts of the journey to learn music production on your own might become harder than others.

The Advantages of Learning by Yourself

In the digital age, learning music production on your own has become more accessible than ever. Online tutorials, video courses, forums, and blogs provide a wealth of information at your fingertips. The advantages of self-learning are numerous. You can:

  • Learn at your own pace
  • Follow your interests
  • Choose from a wide variety of resources
  • Save money compared to formal education
Woman with studio headphones on using her laptop on top of her kitchen island for music production.

From my personal experience, self-learning music production has been an exciting and rewarding journey. It allowed me to explore different genres, experiment with various techniques, and develop my unique sound. And most importantly, it enabled me to express myself and my emotions through music.

Of course, it wasn’t always easy and there were challenges and roadblocks along the way. I can’t say I’ve always been able to just shrug them off. Even though, most of them have turned out to be incredible ways to hone my craft and grow as a music producer. And the ones that haven’t … well let’s just say, they still haven’t deterred me from producing more music! The key is to stay motivated, be patient with yourself, and enjoy the process.

The Benefits and Challenges of Self-Learning

Learning music production on your own does come with quite a few benefits. Aside from the ones mentioned before, you can always focus on the topics that interest you the most at that moment and skip the ones that don’t. You can spend as much or as little time as you need on any one concept, or speed through other ones to revisit later.

One thing to remember is that self-learning requires a good deal of self-motivation and discipline. Without a teacher to guide you or a structured curriculum to follow, it’s up to you to set your learning goals, create a study schedule, and stick to it. It can (and will) be challenging at times, but it also allows you to take charge of your learning and progress at your own pace.

A man sitting at his dining table with a laptop, a midi controller and studio headphones, producing music.

Self-learning comes with its own set of challenges though. Without having a full plan laid out in front of you, it can be hard to know where to start or what to learn next. And without a teacher or classmates, you might miss out on valuable feedback and support. It might also be tempting to keep skipping on certain topics. I may or may not have done that when it comes to mixing and particularly mastering in the past.

But don’t worry, these challenges can be overcome with the right strategies and resources.

Formal Education: The Benefits and Limitations

While self-learning is a great option, let’s not forget about formal education. Attending a music production school of some kind does offer a structured learning environment, access to professional equipment, and guidance and mentoring from experienced professionals. It also provides opportunities for collaboration and networking, which can be absolutely invaluable in the music industry. Plus, having a degree or certificate can add credibility to your skills and open up more opportunities.

A classroom of young people being taught how to learn music production on your own

However, formal education is not without its limitations. It can be quite expensive, and not everyone has the time or resources to attend a full-time program. The curriculum may not always align with your specific interests or goals. And while having access to high-end equipment and professional studios is a big plus, it’s not a necessity for learning music production. Many successful producers started with a simple home setup.

Getting Started: How to Learn Music Production on your own

Knowing that it is possible, let’s now dive into how to learn music production on your own!

Music production is a process. It involves several steps, from the initial idea to the final master:

  1. Sound Design: Creating the sounds, samples, and presets to write your beats
  2. Composition: Writing melody, chords, loops, lyrics, and all the other parts that go into the full track
  3. Arrangement: Structuring the track, layering instruments, and building anticipation
  4. Production: Adding effects, ear candy, and refining the sound
  5. Mixing and Mastering: Balancing the elements and instruments and finalizing the track for distribution

Each of these steps requires different skills and knowledge. Understanding the process can help you plan your learning journey. It is also the reason why I already told you that skipping entire topics for too long might not be the best idea.

For example, you might start by learning about sound design and composition, then move on to arrangement and production, and finally learn about mixing and mastering. Remember, it’s a process, and it’s okay to take it one step at a time. As I said, I personally skipped learning to master for way too long. I am still not very good at it, but I know the basics and can finish off a track.

Choosing the Right Equipment and Software

The first step is setting up your “studio”. This doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It doesn’t even have to be anything special. What you need are just some essential pieces of gear and software. You can literally start self learning music production from your kitchen table. To start, all you need is:

  • A computer, laptop, or in a pinch even a tablet
  • A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to make your music in
  • A pair of decent-quality headphones or speakers

If you already own a laptop, chances are you are already good to go. If you are a gamer, perfect! Gaming PCs generally work pretty well as music production stations as well. There are even free and fully featured DAWs out there (hey there Reaper!). The only thing you might want to invest in sooner rather than later is a pair of decent headphones. Being able to properly hear what you are doing is incredibly important.

As you progress, you can invest in additional equipment like a MIDI keyboard, a microphone, and an audio interface and finally go down the rabbit hole of shiny new things to spend your money on. But the key is to start with what you have and upgrade as you go. It’s about getting started.

A laptop and music production headphones on a bed.

Experimentation is Everything

In the early stages of self taught music production, and even after years of being in the game, experimentation is key. Don’t be afraid to try different things. Make mistakes, and learn from them. And the faster you make those mistakes, the faster you will learn, and improve.

Experiment with different sounds, genres, and production techniques. Whenever you find something that piques your interest, try it out! This will help you improve your skills and find your unique sound.

Music Theory

While not strictly necessary, a basic understanding of music theory can be very helpful when learning music production. It can help you write better melodies and chords, understand the structure of songs, and even when communicating with other musicians.

However, don’t let a lack of music theory knowledge stop you from starting. Many successful producers started with little to no music theory knowledge and learned it along the way. And a lot of great songwriters and producers don’t let a lack of music theory knowledge get in the way of their music.

I personally have a background in classical music, so I already knew the absolute basics. But only in the last five years or so have I really started to get into music theory. But it was by no means necessary to know when I started to learn music production on my own. And it never hindered me from getting some beats out of my system.

Musical notes on a sheet of music paper.

Challenges and how to overcome them

Learning music production is a journey, and like any journey, it has its stages. As with every skill initially, it is hard to grasp the basics. When I opened a DAW for the first time, it was complete and unadulterated information overload and I took several days to watch tutorials on the basics of my DAW of choice.

Then you start to progress very rapidly. You learn a lot of new skills really fast. You’ll create your first synth presets, shuffle together some loops and you’ll create your first beats that might even sound pretty good.

But inevitably, you will plateau. It’s just part of the game. Everybody who has learned a skill has experienced this. Don’t be discouraged once this happens. Yes, it will be hard to stay motivated and it will suck. But once you’ve polished off the kinks in your foundations and keep at it, you will progress again. It does need some determination for sure, you might even drop music for a few weeks. But eventually, you will improve again!

A young man being overwhelmed.

Beyond this plateau lies proficiency and mastery! With time, all the things that were so incredibly hard when you just started out, will just work. You’ll be able to quickly design sounds you don’t have any presets for, you’ll write parts that work, and you’ll stitch loops together without much effort. It may take some time to get here, but it sure as hell is worth it!

Understanding that this is just part of the journey will make it a lot easier on you to actually get there in the end.


As I said, learning any skill comes with its challenges. You will struggle with difficult concepts, face a creative block, or feel overwhelmed by the number of things you could or should learn. But remember, every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. Take it one step at a time, one problem per day, and progress will come to you! It is inevitable.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, take a break when you need it, and celebrate your progress. With patience, persistence, and a mindset that embraces mistakes, you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.

Learning music production is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It takes time to develop your skills and knowledge, and progress will slow down at times. But remember, every little step counts!

Even if you can only dedicate a few minutes a day to learning, do it consistently! Over time, you will be able to do things you don’t even think of dreaming today.

A person holding up their guitar in success, having overcome challanges.

Resources for Self-Learning Music Production

This website is a great resource for self-learning music production. We offer a wide range of free articles and guides covering various topics, from the basics of music production to advanced techniques. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer looking to expand your knowledge, you’re sure to find something useful here.

Online Courses and Tutorials

Online courses and tutorials are a great way to learn music production. The internet has made learning any subject, including music production, more accessible than ever.

Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and MasterClass offer comprehensive courses taught by industry professionals. Similarly, platforms like Skillshare have a wealth of short tutorials that focus on specific aspects of music production.

Books and Blogs

Books and blogs offer in-depth information and insights on music production. They can be a great resource for learning new concepts, techniques, and industry trends. Plus, they allow you to learn at your own pace, revisit the material as often as you need, and take notes in the margins.

Some excellent books on music production are “Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio” by Mike Senior and “The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook” by Bobby Owsinski. Blogs like Sound on Sound and MusicTech also provide a wealth of information on a wide range of music production topics.

YouTube and Other Content

YouTube is a treasure trove of music production tutorials, gear reviews, and behind-the-scenes videos from professional producers. Channels like Andrew Huang, In The Mix, Rick Beato, and Venus Theory provide in-depth tutorials and insights into music production that are both entertaining and very educational.

Podcasts and webinars can also be valuable resources. They offer a more casual way to learn, and you can consume them while doing other tasks, like commuting or doing chores.

Communities and Forums

Online communities and forums are great places to connect with other music producers, ask questions, and share your work. They offer a sense of community and support that can be very motivating, especially when self learning music production. Plus, they can be a great source of feedback and inspiration. Who knows? You might even stumble upon your very own mentor.

Paid vs Free Resources

When it comes to learning resources, both paid and free options have their pros and cons. Paid resources, like online courses, books, and webinars often offer more structured learning and in-depth information. Free resources, like blogs and YouTube videos, offer flexibility and a wide range of topics at your fingertips at all times. The key is to choose the resources that best fit your learning style, interests, and budget.

But remember! No matter how many resources you use, the key to mastering music production is practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Try to apply what you learn in new projects, experiment with techniques you’ve just learned about, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Hoarding hundreds of useful videos is not going to make you a good music producer. Making music is!

Practical Tips for Self-Learning Music Production

Now you might be asking yourself what you can actually do to progress when self learning music production. Aside from watching tutorials and just making more music. Here are a few things that will help you get started.

jasmin schreiber W3iCaxXtZZk unsplash

Finish Your Tracks

This one might sound obvious. But one very common mistake beginners make is not finishing their tracks. It’s easy to start a new project when you’re inspired, but finishing it is where real learning happens. It forces you to solve problems, make decisions, and see a project through to the end. There is no need to finish every single track. If you don’t feel a particular beat, that’s fine! Move on and finish something different. Plus, it’s a great feeling to listen to a completed track and know that you made it all the way from start to finish.

Experiment with Different Genres

Don’t limit yourself to one genre. It might be tempting to only create lo-fi beats or club bangers. Only writing in one genre might also burn you out, so be careful. But experimenting with different genres will help you learn new techniques, expand your musical vocabulary, and keep your creativity flowing. You might even discover your new favorite genre, or bring a fresh perspective to genres you already love. This is also where you’ll find your unique sound!

Remake Other Artists’ Music

Remaking other artists’ music is a great way to learn music production. This works with any style or genre. It allows you to study their techniques, understand their creative decisions, and learn how to recreate different sounds. Just remember, the goal is not to blindly copy, but to learn and eventually apply the techniques in your own music. Also, please never sell or make money off any remakes you’ve created without permission!

Remix Other Artists’ Music

Similar to the last point, remixing music can give you a lot of insight into other artists’ creative decisions. It is also a good way to dabble with the vocabulary of a different genre or style while staying in the comfort of your favorite one. You could turn a pop song into an EDM banger or remix your favorite game or movie soundtrack. The world is your oyster and there are no limits to what you can experiment with. And again, don’t try to make money off of those remixes without permission!

A word of caution

While self-learning offers a wealth of resources, it’s important to approach it with critical thinking. Not all resources are created equal, and it’s crucial to discern reliable information from the rest. Always cross-reference information, question what you learn, and don’t take everything at face value.

Finding Your Unique Sound

While it’s important to have a unique sound, don’t overly focus on it. Experiment with different sounds, techniques, and ideas. Go and remix your favorite songs. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and try something completely new. After all, music production is a creative field.

And before you know it, you’ll develop your unique voice. Your unique view of the world is your biggest asset. Nobody else hears the music the way that you do. And that will translate into your music.

Key takeaways

So, can you learn music production on your own? Absolutely!

With the right resources, self-discipline, and a bit of passion and determination, you can embark on a rewarding journey of self learning music production. It won’t always be easy, but the rewards are worth it. So why wait?

Grab your laptop or PC, download a free DAW and just start experimenting! Once you can navigate it, start with whatever you find most interesting. Sound design, songwriting and composition, or arranging a song structure. Pick whatever you feel like and experiment. Just be patient with yourself, be happy to make mistakes, and take the journey the way it comes.

Now go out there and make some noise!


Are you Interested in learning more about music production? Explore our website for more step-by-step guides and tutorials. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer, you’re sure to find something useful here.

We’d love to hear from you! Would you like more detailed guides on each step of the process? Would you be interested in sound packs or sample libraries? Let us know in the comments or contact us directly. Your feedback helps us create better content for you. And we’re always stoked to hear what you create!

Join the Community

Follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter, and stay tuned for more valuable content. And feel free to tag us when you create something new. And we’re always stoked to hear what you create! Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your skills, you’re always welcome.


FAQ

Absolutely! Many successful music producers started their journey in the comfort of their own homes, learning the ropes through online tutorials, forums, and a whole lot of trial and error. While formal education can provide a structured learning environment and access to experienced mentors, it’s not the only path to becoming a proficient music producer. With passion, dedication, and a willingness to learn, you can certainly teach yourself music production.

Starting your music production journey might feel like a daunting task, but it’s all about taking one step at a time. Here’s a simple roadmap to get you started:

  • Get the Basics: Start by learning the fundamentals of music theory and audio. There are plenty of online resources and courses available for this.
  • Choose Your DAW: A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is the software you’ll use to produce music. Some popular choices include Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so do some research to find out which one suits your needs best.
  • Start Creating: The best way to learn is by doing. Start creating simple beats and gradually work your way up to more complex compositions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they’re an essential part of the learning process.
  • Learn from Others: Join online communities, watch tutorials, read blogs, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Learning from others can accelerate your progress immensely.

Yes, anyone can learn to produce music! While it helps to have a background in music or a natural ear for sound, these are skills that can be developed over time. What’s most important is a passion for music and a willingness to put in the time and effort to learn.

The time it takes to learn music production varies greatly from person to person. It depends on factors like your prior experience with music, the amount of time you can dedicate to learning, and the complexity of the music you want to produce. For some, it might take a few months to get the basics down. For others, it might take years to reach a professional level. But remember, music production is a journey, not a destination. There’s always something new to learn and explore, no matter how experienced you are.

To start producing music, you’ll need a computer, Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software, and a decent pair of headphones or speakers. As you progress, you might want to invest in additional equipment like a MIDI keyboard, a microphone, an audio interface, and studio monitors.

While knowing how to play an instrument can be beneficial, it’s not a requirement for producing music. Many successful producers started without any formal musical training. With modern DAWs, you can create a wide range of sounds and melodies without ever touching an instrument.

The cost of music production can vary greatly depending on your needs and preferences. While professional studios invest thousands of dollars in high-end equipment, you can start producing music at home with just a computer and a DAW, which can be relatively inexpensive. There are also plenty of free or affordable resources available for learning music production.
Remember, the most important part of music production isn’t the gear you use, but the skills and creativity you bring to the table.

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