In the past, it would take collaborations of individuals with specific talents for music to come together in order to create music with different instruments and vocals. But in today’s digital era – the era of the YouTube Wonder Kids and the Bedroom DJs – it’s possible to make quality music on your own using digital techniques and by training yourself to be a multi-talented musician. If you’ve got a passion and a talent for music, then this post should help you hone your skills in the comfort of your room-cum-studio, helping you make music all on your own.
Get the Gear
Naturally, you’re going to need some gear to get yourself started in your musical career. You’ll need, at the very least, a laptop on which to record your music and a music production suite synthesize the sounds you create. The best laptops for music-making are usually high-end and requiring some investment – but once you have your hands on a quality piece of computing gear, a whole world of music will open up to you.
As well as the basic technology you’ll need, there’s a lot besides that you should consider if you’re looking to make full-bodied and exciting music all on your own. This might include:
- Microphones – in order to make your vocals – whether backing or main – pop, you should shop for a high-quality microphone. The MXL Series 770 comes recommended as a high-quality and best-value option in this regard.
- Keyboards– many of the most wonderful sounds, melodies, and chords you hear in your day-to-day listening originate on a piano or keyboard, from where they’re manipulated into the songs you love. A wonderfully flexible addition to your production kit.
- Drums – for anyone who likes to experiment with tempo, a set of drums, even if merely the sit-on box drum, will help you establish new ways to run a beat through your tracks.
- Bass Guitar – plenty of genres of music really ride off the bass that’s produced through them. If you’re someone who always finds themselves hooked on a bass line, then you should certainly invite a bass, amp, and converter into the mix to help you construct further rhythm.
- Loop Pedal– finally, the wonderful loop pedal is something that all aspiring solo musicians should get used to sooner rather than later. It’ll help you perform your tracks live without being a hopeless one-man-band.
Understand Musical Theory
This tip doesn’t necessarily require of you a sound grasp of musical theory – it merely suggests that you familiarize yourself with the methods and trends in the world of music that have developed since the early classical music era, forever evolving and taking on new significance as new genres and modes of music-making have evolved.
For instance, understand the circle of fifths should help you in finding complementary sounds and in adding a jazzy sound to your chords and your melodies. Jazz theory, in and of itself, is a separate art and one that – if you like the genre – you should concentrate your energy on familiarizing yourself with.
A good understanding of sheet music will never go amiss as you go about making your sounds – but it’s also not completely necessary, as you’ll find that your production suite doesn’t require you to input sounds as dictated from the world of musical theory. Simply understanding how different notes and rhythms interact will help you in your compositions, and should help you communicate your music with anyone you interact or collaborate with musically in the future.
Experiment with Sounds
As well as understanding the combining of sounds, you should also do the complete opposite: experiment, have fun and go with your gut instinct. Sometimes musical theory should be cast out of the window in favor of a more intuitive and natural flow that only you will be able to source from your own wells of creativity.
Happily, production programs are incredibly helpful in shaping your sounds into all manner of wacky and wonderful audio experience. You’ll be able to apply layers of effects, for instance, on a recording of your voice for it to become completely unrecognizable as your voice – just a deep swelling noise that you can overlay a track on top of.
Outside of your production program, try recording the sounds made by everyday objects, and again tampering with them when they’re uploaded onto your computer. Anything will do here – a smashing bottle; some clashed spoons; a footstep on a tiled floor; a ripping of fabric. All of these sounds can be added to your library to give a wonderful sense of texture to the music that you eventually create.
Share and Post
Feedback on your music is always welcome and should direct you towards better productions in the future. Sharing your music is also a chance to get noticed, appreciated and – who knows – signed to create your very own record, with investment from professionals who appreciate your talent, skill, and creativity.
So, you should perform the following steps at the very least, when you’ve produced a few tracks or mixes that you’re proud of:
- Share your music on SoundCloud
- Post videos of your production process, and your track, on YouTube
- Create social media pages to gain fans, followers and likes
- Host a webpage for your musical alias, with regular updates about your music
- See if you can host a local or digital radio station, playing your own music
- Get your tracks on a USB stick to give to friends in the music industry, or those who play music in clubs, bars and events
The music business is very much a networking game and, even if you’re just in it for the joy of creating, it can never hurt to get a little more exposure and attention. Who knows – you might eventually cease to be a solo music maker, instead of finding yourself surrounded by a band awaiting your musical genius to come to the fore.
The above tips should help any budding solo music producer to make sensational tracks from the idyllic comfort of their own room and – who knows – eventually get noticed for their own special brand of creativity and talent.