Where can I learn how to record music?
Technology moves fast, so does the music production world and especially the digital audio world. What was cool last year, maybe cliche this year…vocoders for instance were cool at first, but now everyone and their brother is overusing autotune.
You have hardware and software that may be confusing or tough to learn. Reading the book or manual can be like pulling teeth. I do recommend keeping manuals around for technical specs and quick answers to questions but there are quicker ways to get the information you seek.
When you are just getting started recording and producting music in your home studio it can seem like a big scary world. You may feel like you are not doing things right, but don’t fret…no pun intended, there is help.
Look to the web
There are tons of message boards, forums and blogs that focus on recording music. As equipment gets cheaper, more and more people are recording music at home. Many of these people love to offer help and share advice. Find these people, and ask questions.
Youtube is also an excellent place to find tutorials on setting up mics, eq, mastering, using software, etc. You can spend hours on Youtube watching music production tutorials. Be careful, as there are millions of “watch me play” videos, try and stick with the tutorials and videos that actually teach you something, rather than just some kid in his bedroom stroking his ego.
Google can be your best friend. For instance, when I Google “recording guitar” I get 36,500,000 results. There are articles, discussions, and videos that will point you in the right direction. Google each technique that you need help with, you’d be amazed how much great information is out ther for you. You can even get very specific with your search terms such as “recording distorted electric guitar with Pro Tools and AKG c100s.”
Don’t forget about social networks. Facebook and Twitter may seem like time wasters, they can be, but they are both great tools to meet people. You can meet people using the same equipment as you, people who have experience that you can tap into. Spend some time building up a strong support network of people you can go to when you have questions, and Facebook and Twitter are both great places to do this.
When you do find a good source of information on the web make sure you bookmark it. Take notes of any good music production tips and tricks that you find useful. Build a list of resources that you can use when you get stuck or have questions.
The real world
Visit studios in person. If you have friends that are recording music, go and hang out with them and find out how they do it. Better yet, try and find an intern position at a local studio. The best way to learn something is by watching others do it.
There are a ton of books and magazines that cover recording music. You can certainly buy these if you want, but I think you can find just as much good information on the web…for free.
Check tech support. If you are having a problem or have questions about a particular piece of software, give them a call. Spend some time talking to the people who are experts on your software, pick their brains, get the info directly from the horses mouth.
There are also music schools that offer programs in the recording industry. If you are planning on a career in the music business this may be worth looking into. But for the person with a project studio this may be overkill. But don’t rule this out if you are serious about learning as much as possible and becoming an expert.
Practice, practice, practice
The more you do something, the more it becomes second nature. Practice, explore, experiment and get creative in the studio. You may find ways of doing things that might not be the norm, but may yield great results with your equipment or setup.
It’s a good idea to keep a notebook handy and jot down anything that you find useful. Don’t be afraid to take notes. Make sure you document what you’ve done. For instance, if you’ve created a killer guitar sound, take notes of what instrument, amp, eq setting, mic, placement, etc. you used to get that sound. This will save you time in the future, and you will not have to try and do things from memory.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Recording great sounding music can be challenging, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find the best resources you can and meet others who are using the same equipment as you, and get advice. The more people you have to go to for help, the better support system you will have. Eventually, you will be the one answering questions.
For more tips, tricks and recording resources check out http://www.homestudiotips.com.