Do you want to know how you can improve the quality of your music compositions and productions? If you do, you are not alone, because I see this question a lot. Well in this post, I will share 3 things I strongly recommend you to focus on.
Hello fellow Composers!
Mike here, and I often see people online on Facebook Groups and Forums ask how to get their music to a commercial and professional sound. And then they ask about mastering, often in the same sentence.
But what many aspiring composers and producers have not realized yet, is that mastering is about polishing to add that extra sheen on an already great product. So, I’ve compiled a list of tips I want to share to improve the quality of your music before the mastering and polishing stage.
Tip 1 – Learn the Foundation of Music Theory
Let’s say you want to become a good storyteller and write amazing books that captivate people. Well, then it is essential to learn good grammar, semantics, increase your vocabulary.
It is the same with music, because music is a language, and in order to tell your music stories with more power, control and freedom as an artist…you should learn it well. I have a Music Theory for Beginners course here. And I have a course where you will Learn how to Master Chords in Your Music here.
“It all comes down to learning how music really works: Notes, Scales, Intervals, Harmonies, Chords. How it is all Connected.”
Tip 2 – Improve your Performance Skills
Even if you don’t record vocals or instruments as audio into your DAW…as a composer you will be using lots of sample libraries and instrument plugins. Music is more than just the notes…it is like the old saying “How you say something, is more important than what you say”.
So for your music compositions: HOW you perform all tracks and parts in your project is what will matter the most. So make sure to practice and master your MIDI Keyboard performance skills, as well as expression performance skills by using physical knobs, faders, sliders etc. to record the expression.
When you advance you can add the extra power of pedals for expression, sustain, perhaps even a MIDI breath controller (I have a Video showing a MIDI Breath Controller here).
Tip 3 – Master your DAW
Let’s face it. “Your main tool is not music sheets and a good feather pen like in the old days of Mozart and Beethoven”.
No…your tool for music composition and production in this modern age is your Computer and Music Production Software, also called DAW.
That is why you should focus on mastering the DAW you have chosen to work with, whether that is Logic Pro X, Cubase, Ableton Live or any other DAW. Your knowledge, experience and practical workflow in your DAW will make a huge difference.
Mastering your DAW will mean that you can unleash the true creative power you have within you, because you will not need to waste time and energy on solving and finding out “technical issues”. Learn the workflow on mixing, automation, insert and send effects etc. These are essential parts of modern music production, and you will need to master them to truly become successful as a composer and producer.
Mike’s Bonus Tip
I had a teacher once who always said: “Repetition is the Mother of Learning”. I did not really fully understand what she meant then. But now I do. To learn, advance and become a master in any field, it is all about consistent and purposeful action. Meaning: Practice your Craft every day, make it a habit, a daily routine. And purposefully means to focus on specific aspects of your craft to develop your strengths in all the different parts of the full picture.
For example: For Learning Piano, you might want to have one routine focusing on playing chords, another for arpeggios, another for scales, another for left hand and rhythm and so on. Science have shown that repeated action on a consistent basis is the best way to learn. Meaning that 30 min focused practice every day is better than only practicing on the weekend even if the total time is equal.
PS. I wish you Great Success on your Professional Journey in Music! =)
Mikael “Mike” Baggström
Music Composer | Sound Designer