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Beginner's guide to becoming a music producer


Written by Donna M

Published Dec 07, 2023

Music producers are the unsung heroes of the modern music scene, the ones who hold the power to turn a song into a masterpiece through their unique perspectives and knowledge. Many people don’t know what exactly a music producer does or what the difference is between a good and a great one.

The music producer’s career is unique, and if this is your calling, then know that you’re up for an exciting journey. To get from your music studio to the world stage, you’ll need to educate yourself, learn how to multitask constantly, and, most of all, cultivate your deep understanding of music. Let’s take a look at the skills you’ll need to develop and all the other tips you should keep in mind as you train to become a music producer.


  1. What does a music producer do?
  2. What skills should a music producer have?
    • Foundations in education
    • Technical skills are a must
  3. Build your reputation

What does a music producer do?

If you want to become a music producer, the first thing you should know is that you’ll need to wear many different hats. Your primary goal is to help an artist turn their “raw” songs into a work of art, something that millions of people will love and sing for decades to come. It’s your job to have a good grasp of the artist’s vision and bring it to reality in a way that sounds good and makes the artist happy. But that’s only a part of the job.

Image by Anna Pou

You will also need to have an excellent understanding of the technical aspects of recording a song – everything from how to build a DAW (a digital audio workstation) to working on every piece of studio equipment you lay your hands on. Operating within tight deadlines and even tighter budgets is another must, along with knowing how to manage people within those frames.

Music producers are to modern artists what conductors are to orchestras. They have the big picture in mind at all times and try to manage the expectations of both record labels and artists while being intrinsically involved in every part of the creative process, from ideation to mastering.

What skills should a music producer have?

As you can see, a music producer is a jack of all trades – someone who’s deeply connected to their creative side while keeping a finger on the pulse of everything else that’s happening in the studio. Sometimes, their work isn’t easily visible or quantifiable, but it is what could make or break a song. As a music producer, you could be in charge of:

  • Every step of the creative process, from music arrangement to sound engineering
  • Creating direction for the project in sync with the artist’s affinities and desires
  • Running recording sessions and helping the artist make the most of them
  • Keeping the project on time and within the given budget
  • Mixing, mastering, and taking care of post-production.

For this, you need a particular skill set, which you should constantly hone and improve.

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Foundations in education

One of the biggest assets of a music producer is a great ear, feeling, and understanding of the music, its layering, and its impact. While a lot of it is talent, quality education is absolutely indispensable to taking that talent to the next level.

Learning about music theory and composition is a great start, as is attending sound engineering courses and music business programs. You can choose to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in music production and technology, which is a good jumping board to get into the industry and eventually become a music producer.

Image by Armin Rimoldi

Another option is to be self-taught – hand-pick the courses and classes you’d like to attend and get certifications after completing them. Getting an internship with a well-established producer willing to impart their wisdom could also make all the difference. Not only will this provide you with invaluable hands-on experience, but it will also open the door to the music industry for you to step in and make it on your own.

Technical skills are a must

We already mentioned that knowing your way around DAW is a must because everything you learn will be put into practice there. Software like Logic Pro, Cubase, and Logic Pro should be your second home, and the better you know how to work your DAW, the more your skills will improve.

Sound engineering is a big part of the producer’s job because, in order to mould the sound to your will, you need to understand how it works.

Sound design, arrangement, editing, mixing, and mastering all fall under your scope, and each has a specific role in the production process to make the track sound incredible.

Another important piece of the puzzle is knowing exactly how to handle different music production equipment. The most common pieces of equipment you’ll use are:

  • A computer to support your production software
  • An audio interface and a DAW of your choice
  • Microphones and headphones
  • Studio monitors
  • MIDI controllers (or pads)
  • Audio software plugins
  • Instruments, amplifiers, stands, and necessary cables

If you’re just starting to navigate what it means to be a music producer, accept that you don’t have to know everything about every point on this list because that will get overwhelming fast. Focus on building and figuring out your DAW, as well as using all your music knowledge to make something you’ll be proud of.

Image by Andreas Forsberg

Build your reputation

The calling of a music producer is multifaceted, but at its very foundation, you’re an artist who helps other artists bring their music to the next level. In order to have clients, you’re going to need to make a name for yourself, and this will take time and effort. The results will be worth it, though!

Once you've started to get yourself out there, you can create a professional portfolio showcasing your best work. This could include a website, SoundCloud page, or a portfolio on music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Use social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with musicians, producers, and industry influencers. Then, try to build some connections within the industry and seek out opportunities to collaborate. , such as producing music that vloggers use or collaborating with independent artists directly.

Building a reputation takes time. Be patient, stay persistent, and keep honing your craft as you embark on your journey to becoming a music producer.

Discover recording studios in London

Choose from 1000+ spaces and locations on Tutti and deal directly with space hosts for a quick, hassle-free booking process.

Donna Maurer is an experienced musician, educator, and a passionate arts enthusiast. She has a multifaceted background in music and a growing interest in the vibrant world of art and theatre, which has shaped her perspective on the arts and storytelling.

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