How to Make Music: The Complete Guide To Getting Started

Starting music is how you move forward with your creativity.

But beginning a new creative discipline can be terrifying. It’s intimidating, lonely and there’s so much to learn.

Even so, the payoff is huge. Music is one of the richest ways to be creative and express yourself artistically.

Feeling ready to start is about having the confidence and the right tools to embark.

In this guide I’ll show you everything a modern musician needs to start creating right away.

First steps: the lifecycle of a song

 A lot has to happen for a song to develop from idea to finished release.
 

In this guide I’ll go through each step in detail and link to resources that will help you master each phase.

Each stage in the process is laid out in order, but you can use the menu bar on the left to navigate to any section right away.

1. Songwriting

The first spark of an idea can become a finished track that rules the airwaves. But it has to turn into a song first.

Songwriting is the basic material of music creation. The term might sound old-fashioned, but it’s broader than you might think.

Songwriting encompasses everything from music theory to production. In the modern music era every music creator is a songwriter.

That means every musician and producer can benefit from learning the tools and techniques of songwriting—especially when you’re just getting started.

Whether you’re searching for a new source of inspiration or you just want to write your first song, LANDR’s songwriting resources will get you started creating music as fast as possible.

2. Music theory

You don’t need to know music theory to create good music. But it does help!

Music theory is the structure that explains how the songs you love work. That’s invaluable information that can bring you closer to realizing your creative vision.

Once you dive in you might be surprised by how much you already know.

Your basic musical intuition as a music listener is worth a lot.

Notes, chords, scales and rhythm are all rudiments of music theory that you can feel in any song.

Developing your knowledge of music theory is how you build on that intuition and turn it into your own unique style.

Taking the fundamentals of songwriting and using them to understand music theory concepts brings the process full circle.

There’s no better antidote to writer’s block than learning new techniques.

All that makes music theory an essential part of any musician’s development.

LANDR’s no-nonsense tutorials take you through music theory essentials in simple, logical steps.

Learn the basics and build on them—while staying focused on creativity and making music fast.

3. Home Studio

Creating your own home studio is one of the most exciting parts of being a musician.

It’s the place where your inspiration and your workflow meet and your tracks take shape.

Making music with digital tools has never been easier or more accessible.

That means it’s not expensive or complicated to set up the equipment that will let you create your musical vision.

Home studios come in all shapes and sizes—they can be as luxurious or minimal as you want.

There’s so much room for individual expression when it comes to your setup too.

Whether you prefer to write your songs in a DAW, improvise on your instrument or create patterns in a sequencer

The software, instruments and hardware you choose say a lot about your personal workflow as a musician.

There’s so many paths you can explore—just don’t be afraid to experiment.

To help you make sense of it all we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to every important piece of gear you could think of adding to your home studio.

From the core essentials to the inspiring gear that gives your tracks a personal touch, our roundups can help you get the right gear.

4. Music Production

Music production is what turns song ideas into satisfying recordings you can stream on a digital distribution platform.

It’s such a broad stage in the development of a track that it covers many almost every part of creating a song.

I’m talking about fundamentals like recording, sound design, synthesis and beat making. If your workflow includes any of these—you’re a music producer.

Your individual producer style will depend on how you like to work and the type of music you want to make.

But there are few common elements that everyone who wants to start making music should know.

Our comprehensive overview of the most popular ways to produce music digitally will help you get a feel for which direction to take as your music takes shape.

Whether you’re a budding singer songwriter, a hip-hop MPC whisperer, or an indie shoegazer—there’s important information worth discovering in these resources.

5. Mixing Music

Mixing music is how you take each element in your track and blend them together to create a satisfying tapestry of sound.

Mixing is practically its own art form. It’s the part of the process that many producers are the most excited about.

In the past mixing was reserved for skilled professionals surrounded by enormous racks of gear.

Not anymore. With today’s tools you can get great results from mixing your own music.

There’s a lot to learn. Becoming a great mixing engineer can take time. 

But creating a compelling mix that presents your song in a great light is an attainable goal for everyone.

Learning mixing is one of the most worthwhile skills you can acquire in music.

A good mix makes a huge difference to your listeners. The polished, balanced sound of a pro recording is how your track can hold its own against other songs in your listeners’ libraries.

In in-depth material on mixing takes on every technique you need to know to mix your own song well.

From the fundamentals to the finer points, there’s a wealth of information here to get you started with one of the most enjoyable phases in the life cycle of a song.

6. Mastering

Mastering is where everything you’ve done so far comes together.

It’s the step in the process where your song gets the final finish it needs to fit in alongside other competing tracks in your listeners’ libraries.

Mastering is the most technical and complicated part of making music.

That’s why we invented the first ever mastering AI—to make mastering easy, instant and great-sounding for any material.

With LANDR mastering is as simple as it’s ever been. But there’s still a handful of important things to learn about this sometimes mysterious part of music production.

If you understand the basics of mastering you can get a better final product by applying key techniques during your mix.

Our mastering guide takes you through everything you need to know to do that.

We demystify this complicated topic and keep the focus locked on how it helps you and your music.

7. Distribution

With your master in hand, your song needs a way to make it out into the world.

Now more than ever, music is digital.

It lives on streaming platforms and gets heard on every kind of device you can imagine—from phones to home assistants.

To get your music on a streaming platform like Spotify, Deezer or Apple Music, you need digital distribution.

Distribution takes care of all the technical details of hosting your music in the marketplace. That includes getting you paid for streams and plays.

We put together the complete guide to distributing your music online.

From album artwork to metadata, here’s all the most important information.

8. Music Promotion

Making your music available on streaming services is only half the battle.

Once it’s online you have to spread the word and get people listening.

That’s where music promotion comes in.

Promoting your music is how you raise awareness and grow your following as a musician. It’s an essential part of the life cycle of a song.

Music promotion isn’t easy but the basics are accessible even for those who are just getting started.

The sooner you start thinking about promotion the better. Many musicians start their music promotion until the last second—and by then it may already be too late.

Even if it sounds tough, the payoff to starting your promotion early is huge. Connecting with bigger audiences and gaining exposure is how you move forward as an artist.

LANDR’s music promotion knowledge base can give you the tools and confidence to promote your music effectively online and in the real world.

From building a release calendar to reaching out for music press here are our best music promotion tips.

Start making sense

Getting started is the hardest part of any new venture.

It’s especially true if you’re diving into a completely new art form.

But music is one of the most accessible ways to be creative and express yourself artistically.

Use these resources to get started making the music you dream of creating.

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