How to Become a Music Producer Without School: The Ultimate Guide

So you want to be a music producer? It's a great career choice, but what if you don't have the time or money to go to school for it? Don't worry – we've got you covered.

In this article, we will discuss how you can become a music producer without any formal training. We'll give you a step-by-step guide on what you need to do, and provide some helpful resources along the way. Let's get started!

How to Become a Music Producer Without School: The Ultimate Guide

What Does It Take to Become a Music Producer without School?

First and foremost, you need to have some basic skills in music theory and production. If you don't have any experience, we recommend starting by learning how to create music on your own.

There are plenty of online resources that can help you get started;

  • Youtube,
  • Udemy Courses,
  • Lynda.com

Are all great places to start.

Once you have a basic understanding of how to create music, you can start working on your mixing and mastering skills.

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Mixing and mastering is another essential skill for producers. This involves taking the individual tracks of a song and blending them together into a cohesive whole. It also includes adding effects, EQing and balancing the levels of each track.

Again, there are plenty of online resources that can help you learn this skill.

Listen To Various Genres Of Music

You probably have a specific genre of music you want to make and focus on. It is a great technique to master a single genre as a beginner but always remain a student by keeping your ears versatile.

Listen to a variety of different music genres, not just the one you want to produce. This will help you learn about the various elements that make up a good song, and how to create tracks that sound good in any genre.

Not only that, but you will learn different instruments and sounds that you can incorporate into the genre you are going to focus on. Think about how a classical instrument such as a violin has been used in modern pop or rap music

I am still waiting to hear a dope drill beat with some heavy violin strings in it…if you make that, defo send that over!

Get Well Versed In A Single Genre

Once you have a basic understanding of music theory and production, and you've mastered mixing and mastering, it's time to start working on your genre of choice.

Each genre of music has its own unique set of production techniques and sounds. If you want to produce country music, for example, you'll need to learn how to use banjos and mandolins in your tracks.

Start by listening to a lot of music in your chosen genre, and try to dissect how the producers create those sounds. Then start experimenting with different instruments and production techniques until you find something that works for you.

Join A Recording Session & Shadow A Good Producer

How to Become a Music Producer Without School

This is my favorite one, as one of the best ways to learn about production is by observing a professional recording session. This will give you an insight into how a producer works and how they manage a recording session.

If you do not know any producers personally, you can find recording sessions on online forums, social media, and websites like Craigslist.

Just be sure to do your research beforehand, and make sure the producer is reputable. Contact them and ask them if you can shadow them; most producers would be happy to teach you a few things.

If you cannot find a local producer, what about learning from, I don't know…. Timbaland!?

ready-to-learn-music-production-from-the-best

What Equipment Do Music Producers Need?

What Equipment Do Music Producers Need?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the equipment that music producers need will vary depending on their particular style and genre of music. However, some basic equipment that most producers will need includes;

This is the bare minimum as it allows you to mix and master your tracks, as well as create music. However, there are many other pieces of equipment that you may find useful depending on your style of music.

You might notice some advanced music producers have more equipment than what is listed here, such as drum machines, synthesizers and samplers etc.

But you can slowly add to your collection of equipment over time as your production skills improve (and as you start to make money as a music producer)

Are There Any Benefits of Becoming a Music Producer without School

Honestly, most of the music producers I know, never studied music production formally. They learned everything they know by experimenting and tinkering with their music software.

For some of them, once they had the experience and wanted to expand their knowledge and network, they went back to school to get a formal degree in music production.

But for others, the lack of a degree didn't hold them back at all. In fact, they were able to build successful careers without any formal training.

Some benefits of skipping the school process altogether:

  • You'll save money on tuition fees.
  • You'll have more time to hone your skills.
  • You'll might find you learn the practical elements faster as you are not bogged down by theory.
  • You'll be able to network with other professionals in a similar fashion if you spend a lot of time in the forums and making connections.

How Does A Degree In Music Help Me As A Producer?

Now, I am not discounting getting a degree altogether, it has it's benefits, too.

A degree in music can help you as a producer in a number of ways. For starters, it can give you a strong foundation in theory and history, which can help you better understand the musical style you're working with and the context in which it was created.

It can also give you training in performance and recording techniques, which can come in handy when working with artists or session musicians. And finally, a degree in music can also provide you with contacts and networking opportunities that can be useful for finding work as a producer.

If You Venture Down The Route Of Becoming A Music Producer Without School…

I highly recommend you get very serious about these 5 key things:

Study Producers You Admire

Study Producers You Admire

Studying good producers and watching over the shoulder videos on Youtube. Many producers show their beat-making process from start to finish. Subscribe to these channels, watch what they do, learn the software they are using and learn it well.


Practice Daily

practice daily

Creating a lot of music and honing your production skills as much as possible. There is no substitute for experience. Practice every single day.

Collaborate

collaborate

Try to collab with other musicians. Singers, rappers, other producers etc. This will help challenge you and help you to network in your field.

The more you collaborate the more access you have to new fanbases and it can supercharge your following in a short space of time.

You can find other musicians to collaborate with on TikTok, Instagram, Youtube etc., and reach out to them with your proposal. You can also reach out to DJs using this method.


Show Your Work!

It doesn't matter how good you are when you start, just start. In a year, two years, ten years, you will be glad you documented it – so will your fans!

Start a blog or Youtube channel or podcast documenting your journey. Do this and join an online community of producers and share your beats, progress and learnings along the way. This will help you build a following and get feedback from experienced producers. It will also help you with accountability.


Remain A Student (…Even Without Schooling)

Take courses, whether free or paid. If you are serious about this art, you need to invest your time and money into it. There are plenty of free courses online, or you could invest in a more comprehensive course.

Additionally, most music production software companies have put together their own free tutorials to use their software. The rest is up to you to put that into action and explore your creativity.

Final Thoughts on How to Become a Music Producer without School

You would certainly not be the first person to achieve success without a degree in music production. In fact, some of the most successful producers never even completed high school.

With that said, getting a formal education in music production can give you an edge and help speed up the process of becoming a successful producer. It all depends on your goals and what you want to get out of this career.

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