Making music is a magical thing if you think about it. You’re literally combining your physical energy with your emotion and then turning it into harmonious noise. That harmonious noise then travels through the air in sound waves delivering physical energy and emotion to the listener. In fact, music can have a profound physical effect on practically anything that it’s subjected to. Humans, animals, plants, trees, water, and air are all physically affected by music and it doesn’t really take an expert to see that it plays a big role in our overall existence here on earth. Just like we as humans are constantly changing and evolving, music is constantly changing and evolving right along with us. It’s almost like it has been sewn into the fabric of human consciousness and is believed by many cultures to be the language of the soul. So how can you get started on making some music to alter our reality as well? Let’s get into some of our favorite tips we’d like to recommend beginner musicians.
Why do people make music?
At some point, when you’re learning how to make music, it might be helpful to ask why people started making music to begin with. Essentially, music is an artistic form of self expression but if you look throughout history you’ll find that, besides being used to provide entertainment, music has been made to fill many different roles within our society from the spiritual rhythmic drumming during ancient Pagan rituals to communication between opposing armies on the battlefield. Because of it’s powerful ability to manipulate emotion, music has been used as propaganda for extreme political agendas and proven itself to be a helpful marketing tool for the advertisement of commercial products on radio and television.
In today’s society, music is commonly used for enhancement. We use it to enhance the mood at social gatherings and to enhance the acting during performances on stage and in cinema. It enhances our comprehension while learning things like the alphabet, our stamina while working out at the gym and, given the right setting, it can even enhance our overall view on life itself.
Beginner tips for learning how to make music
First and foremost, one of the best things to keep in mind when learning how to make music is: everybody that makes music is still learning how to make music! This is an ongoing process for life. For some reason this was one of the most difficult concepts for me to understand which held me back for quite some time when even letting others listen to my music. I’d think, “it isn’t as good as it will be in the future, so i’m not ready.”
Although you’re always progressing and improving, I learned that there will never be an exact moment where I say, “OK, my music is ready for the world to hear!” Being critical just comes with being a musician, so that’s understandable. You have the right to want to wait to show others your tunes. But keep this particular tip in mind and do your best to come out of your shell and allow others into your creative world — it will only help you improve quicker.
A good tip here to provide first. You have to understand that learning how to make music is not an overnight process. Some people have spent their entire lives obtaining their expertise and it can take years to learn how to play a single instrument let alone write a critically acclaimed song. It’s a never-ending journey and whether you are just beginning or working at a professional level, you will always continue to expand your knowledge and implement new technique.
Learn how to play an instrument
Anybody can hit a few keys on a piano or keyboard without having to take lessons. It’s fun to make noise so by all means, dink around! But if you want to create music at a higher caliber you will need to learn the basics. No matter what instrument you choose to play there will be a series of fundamental chords that you will have to learn in order to play the instrument correctly. The better you get at playing your instrument, the better music you’ll make. It’s just that simple.
To be honest, I’ve been playing around with keys since I was young, but I never knew what a ‘chord’ was or understood the basics of music theory. At age 27 I finally took piano lessons (just an 8 week course at the local music shop) and it did wonders for me. I didn’t become Mozart and still can’t memorize symphonies, but being able to understand the essentials in regards to which keys sound best when they’re pressed at the same time has taken my music to the next level. I will most likely get some more lessons in the future as well — you’re never too young, trust me!
Everybody learns differently. Some people prefer having a teacher that can give them a step-by-step curriculum in person while others prefer to read instructions from a music production book at their own leisure. The internet is a perfect middle-ground for people learning to make music today. Between music forums and YouTube videos there is a lot of great information online for beginners as well as for professionals but no matter what skill level you’re at, there will always be something new that you can learn and apply to your musical tool belt.
Learn to play other people’s music
When you learn to play music written by other people, not only will you increase your ability to play an instrument but you will also start to see re-occurring patterns in the song structures. There are proven formulas used in song writing that shape how the music will flow from beginning to end. One example of these formulas is:
Recognizing and implementing these kinds of formulas will help you strengthen your song writing and the more you learn to play other people’s music the more you’ll learn the capabilities of your instrument which is the key ingredient to becoming an overall better musician.
Record yourself play
One of the best ways to gauge your progress while learning how to make music is to record yourself. Hearing a played back recording of your performance is a great way to identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you record yourself often enough, over an extended period of time, you will not only feel your progression but you’ll also have documented proof of it.
Learn about music gear
If you’re learning how to sing or just one particular instrument, this may not pertain to you. However, nowadays for those who do want to make full songs themselves, you’ll definitely need to learn about music equipment in general. Lucky for you, that’s literally what our website is about. But before you start looking into articles we’ve written or simply searching the internet for what all of these pieces of gear are, keep in mind that yes it can become overwhelming. Especially if you’re just starting out, we recommend reading our beginners music gear article, or even starting extremely small with downloading some free music software and tinkering around with some samples you can download for free online (a simple search will suffice).
Be open to critique
Don’t be afraid to share your music with people and ask for feedback. Just keep in mind that music is subjective so approach your feedback scientifically and try not to take anything personal. Being open to critique is a sure sign of professionalism and absolutely essential for receiving honest insight on how your work is being perceived.
Learn to have fun
Alot of people want to learn how to make music simply because it “looks fun” but have you ever heard the phrase “The best things in life don’t come easy”? When you’re learning how to make music, the work you have to put in during the very beginning can sometimes get frustrating but just try to remember that, after you’ve learned the basics, music gets really fun!
When you can get to the point where you’re strictly having fun, congratulations! You just graduated. Now let the good times roll!