How to Make and Produce Music

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Making music is a blend of creativity, ability, and tech know-how. It starts with a simple idea. This idea grows by learning about music theory and how melody, harmony, and rhythm work together.

Now that all seems complicated and intimidating, but we’re here to make it as easy as we can.

By the end of this article you’ll have an understanding of how to make and produce music through a variety of means.

To make music, all you really need is your voice. You can start singing or rapping today without the need for any special equipment, just a little bit of training. But you can also choose to learn how to make music with an instrument – be it guitar, piano, synths or something else.

In the world of music production, learning to use digital audio workstations and recording gear is key. This lets you turn your ideas into real music.

Now, more people can make music thanks to easier access to tech. But, to make a song sound professional, you need to work hard and listen carefully to great music.

Basic Music Theory

Before we dive further into the different ways of making and producing music, let’s get our heads wrapped around why you should learn the basic music theory concepts covered in this guide first.

Basic music theory is key to knowing how music works. And knowing how music works is key to the creation of it.

“Theory” covers the study of scales, chords, and rhythms. These basics become a set of tools that help musicians, composers and producers make music with a clear idea and focused execution.

It is the combination of rhythm with harmony and melody that completes the musical picture.

Through analysis, people can break down and understand how chords, melodies and grooves work together to make your favorite songs impactful.

This leads to making your own music that is more purposeful and full of feeling.

Music theory isn’t just a bunch of rules. It’s a living language that keeps changing. It lays down the basics so that people can be more creative with music on the whole.

Knowing music theory really well helps musicians try new things and create fresh, exciting music.

Musical Performance

This is the most organic way of learning how to make own music – it is obviously intertwined with music production, but it’s more fundamental than that.

Here are some of the most common ways to start.

Vocal Performance – Singing, Rapping, etc.

To get really good at singing or rapping, you need a mix of good techniques, showing real feelings, and practicing a lot.

It’s very important to know how to use your voice well. This means being clear and strong when you sing or rap.

Having good technique and strong breath control is VERY important. It’s the entire foundation of how well you can use your voice.

Good technique helps your voice stay powerful and keeps you going, so you can sing in different ways, keep it up for a long time and truly captivate an audience or listener.

Learning a Musical Instrument – Piano, Guitar, etc.

Starting to learn a musical instrument like the piano or guitar means getting to know how to play it and also how to express yourself through music.

Obviously understanding notes, chords, and rhythms are key to playing any instrument well.

But playing an instrument also requires skillful hands and control to make the right sounds. Practicing a lot is really the only way this kind of mastery can be achieved.

Then, as you keep learning, you start to develop your own style. This comes from how you personally feel and think about the music you’re playing.

This journey not only involves learning how to play an instrument but also how to bring music to life in your own, unique way.

Music Production

Learning how to produce music is when you take organic performances and turn them into a finished, professional piece that can be consumed (i.e. listened to) by others.

It’s an important part of the process of making music and covers the following areas.


Learning how to write songs is like going on a journey. It’s about mixing together melody and lyric to tell a story.

Writing songs isn’t always a straight path. Sometimes, you suddenly get an idea for the words of your song. Then, you might spend a lot of time making those words perfect.

But the melody (or tune) of the song is very important as well. It’s what makes the song memorable and guides the feelings it shares.

The chords and changes of energy levels in the song give a structure that unfolds in a logical way. The different song sections add to the song’s overall message/feel and make it complete.

All these parts—writing words, making melodies on top of chords and structuring the flow of energy—are the main skills in songwriting.

Beat Making and Composition

Making your own beats or composing a piece of music can require many skills.

That’s because you’re responsible for creating several aspects of an overall piece of music – the rhythm, the harmony, keeping a listener’s attention and more.

Knowing how to make beats is vital for producers. It requires learning hardware or software tools in addition to the ability to play (or “draw”) different music parts – chords, drums, etc.

There are so many sub-paths one could go down when they venture into making beats. One of those is sound synthesis and sound design.

And those areas of learning also bleed into the next area of music creation you could learn.

Recording and Audio Engineering

Making music like a pro and being able to express and share it with others (without having to perform it live), requires you to know about audio recording and how sound works on a technical level.

This means getting good with tech, programs, and the different ways to manipulate sounds (both digitally and electronically).

You’ll likely start in your home studio with an audio interface, microphone and some software on a laptop.

Here, you learn to use recording, editing and mixing/mastering tools and concepts to make your recordings sound professional.

Mixing helps make sure every part of your song fits well together in the sound. Mastering, on the other hand polishes your song into it’s final version. It makes sure it sounds great no matter where it’s played.

This is the last step in making your own music.

Basic Equipment for Making Your Own Music

Whether you’re a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, beat maker, or music producer, the equipment you use can significantly influence your creative output.

That doesn’t mean something is “better” than something else – it’s more about workflow (how a particular task gets done).

Each piece of potential music making equipment will lend itself to a specific workflow – especially gear related to producing music.

With instruments, the specific instrument model and make you choose will impact the tone of the sound it produces. That goes for microphones for singers, as well.

Just keep all that in mind, when making your choices.

Here’s a rundown of the basic equipment you might need across different facets of music creation:


To capture your vocal performance with clarity and depth, consider investing in:

  • A condenser microphone which is sensitive and ideal for capturing the nuances of your voice.
  • A pop filter to minimize plosives (hard ‘P’, ‘B’ sounds) that can cause unwanted spikes in your audio.
  • Headphones for monitoring your performance without any latency or echo.
  • An audio interface to connect your microphone to your computer, ensuring high-quality audio transmission.


Songwriting is an art that often requires simplicity but with the right tools, you can bring your ideas to life more efficiently:

  • A notebook or digital notepad for jotting down lyrics and ideas.
  • A digital audio workstation (DAW) or portable recorder for sketching out melodies.
  • A midi keyboard to input melodies into your DAW easily.
  • Reference books or apps on music theory and songwriting can be incredibly helpful.

Learning an Instrument:

Choosing an instrument is deeply personal, but here are some essentials across most instruments:

  • The instrument itself (guitar, keyboard, drums, etc.).
  • A tuner (for instruments that require tuning) to ensure your instrument sounds its best.
  • Lesson books or apps to guide your practice and development.
  • A metronome to keep your timing in check.

Beat Making:

For crafting beats that are both compelling and professional, you’ll need:

  • A digital audio workstation (DAW) or hardware sequencer which is the heart of your beat-making setup.
  • MIDI controllers or drum pads to input rhythms and melodies more naturally than with a mouse.
  • Virtual (or real) instruments and sample libraries or hardware synthesizers to expand your palette of sounds.
  • Studio monitors or headphones for accurate sound reproduction.

Music Production and Mixing & Mastering:

Producing, mixing, and mastering tracks require attention to detail and the right gear:

  • A powerful computer or hardware mixing console to handle the demands of high-quality audio processing.
  • High-quality studio monitors for an accurate representation of sound.
  • An audio interface with more inputs and outputs for recording multiple sources.
  • Mixing plugins or outboard gear for effects and dynamic processing.

General Essentials for All:

  • High-speed internet connection for accessing tutorials, uploading content, and collaborating online.
  • External hard drive for backing up projects and sessions.
  • Comfortable studio furniture to ensure long sessions aren’t physically taxing.

Tips for Learning How to Make Music

Starting your journey in music making is exciting.

To make your own songs, it’s important to learn some key skills. First, knowing music theory is a big step. It helps you make melodies and chords that sound good together.

Learning about scales, intervals, and keys is very important for making up music on the spot and for planned-out songs.

Being good at playing your instrument (including production equipment) is also key for making music that touches people’s hearts. Whether it’s getting better at using a compressor, piano chord movement, violin vibrato, drum timing, or guitar fingerpicking, practicing your instrument is a must.

Regular practice makes your muscle memory better and fine-tunes the sound of your instrument.

For those who sing and write songs, training your voice is just as important. Doing breathing exercises, working on singing in tune, and taking care of your voice all help make your singing stronger and your vocal range wider.

The act of singing itself often makes you a better singer, capable of more powerful and moving performances.

Knowing the basics of music production (whether or not you’re trying to “be” a music producer) can elevate your overall ability to make music.

It also helps you turn your music ideas into finished songs.

Using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to record, edit, and arrange your music is essential for anyone who wants to make music (both hobbyists and pros).

So don’t just stop your learning journey in a single area. Learn as much as you can about everything. It will only help.

How to Practice Making Music Effectively

To get better at making music and creating great songs, it’s important to practice in a structured way.

This means working on both your technical skills and your ability to come up with new, creative ideas.

Having a good balance between practicing hard and trying new things is key.

One of the first steps to effective practice is to set clear, doable goals. This could be learning more about music theory or getting better at using music software.

Make sure your goals are specific – i.e. “you want to master a particular scale or chord progression in every key.”

This way, every practice session helps you get closer to your bigger goal of “making great music.”

Also, doing creative exercises can help keep things interesting and spark new ideas. For example, try making a tune with a scale you’ve never used before to mix things up and learn something new.

Trying out new music styles, sounds, or song structures is also a big part of getting better. This helps you find your own unique sound and be more flexible in your music making.

Recording your practice sessions can be really helpful too. Listening back, you can hear what needs work and where you did really well, which helps you know what to focus on next time.

Just remember one thing…

Practice is only practice when you’re practicing something you don’t know fully or can’t do well.

As you get better, it’s important to keep updating your practice routine to include harder tasks and new challenges.

Getting feedback from other musicians and working together can also help a lot. It gives you new ideas and different ways of looking at music.

In the end, taking your practice seriously helps you work hard on your skills while also letting you explore and try new things.

And that is 100% the best way to become really good at making music.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a couple of questions new music makers often have:

Can I Make Professional-Sounding Music on a Very Limited Budget, and What Are the Most Cost-Effective Ways to Do So?

Yes, professional-sounding music can be achieved on a limited budget through home recording, using budget interfaces, free VSTs, mobile apps, and implementing DIY acoustics to optimize the recording environment.

How Important Is Music Theory if I Primarily Want to Create Electronic Music, and Are There Specific Areas I Should Focus on Learning?

Understanding music theory is beneficial for electronic music production, focusing on melody construction, beat programming, sound design, synthesis basics, and arrangement techniques to create dynamic and compelling compositions.

What to Do Next

Thanks for reading this complete guide on how to make music or produce it. Next up, choose an area you’d like to start learning with from the list below and read our guide on how to get started.

  • Learn How to Sing
  • Learn How to Write Songs
  • Learn How to Play Guitar
  • Learn How to Play Piano
  • Learn How to Make Beats
  • Learn Synthesis and Sound Design
  • Learn Audio Recording
  • Learn Mixing and Mastering