Music is one of the richest ways to be creative and express yourself artistically.
It has never been easier or more accessible to start producing music. The exponential growth of computational power has lowered the barrier of entry to the point where almost anyone with a laptop can be a professional producer of music.
Tash Sultana covers MGMT 'Electric Feel' for Like a Version [8 minutes, 43 seconds]
What is music production?
Music production is the process of developing, creating and refining recorded music for public presentation. Music production can refer to the entire lifecycle of a piece of music—from songwriting and composition to recording and sound design to mixing and mastering.
Despite the broad definition, every workflow in modern music production has one thing in common—digital tools.
What does a music producer do?
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.
Think about fundamentals like recording, sound design, synthesis and beat making. If your workflow includes any of these—you’re a music producer. Today more and more artists are opting to self-produce, even within traditional genres like rock, indie or singer-songwriter.
Not everyone has the innate talent, or past experience, to be capable singers or instrumentalists. Feeling ready to start is more about having the confidence and the right tools to embark.
Music making resources
Use these free resources to get started making the music you dream of right in your browser:
Digital music making
- My noise – This free web based service allows you to create calming background music and ambience soundscapes, to block out sound when you need to focus or just for relaxing at home. There are heaps of settings for different moods, all you have to do is adjust the sliders to create your preferred ambience. This option is perfect for getting started in exploring generative music.
- io808 – write beats in your browser with the 808 drum machine, one of the most famous electronic instruments ever created.
- Patatap – A portable animation and sound kit.
- DotPiano – a visual musical instrument that lives on the web. Use your computer keys or MIDI keyboard to record a song, then share it simply by sending a link!
- Tonecraft – let’s you build music in 3D. Create tunes by placing different coloured blocks on the grid and hitting spacebar to start the song. Go crazy!
- Chrome Music Lab – a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments. Explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more. Make and share your own songs with the Song Maker experiment or see what drawings sound like thanks to Kadinsky.
- WolframTones – choose the style, instrumentation, scale and some other attributes and out comes a computationally generated piece of music.
- Groove Pizza – a circular rhythm app for creative music making and learning. Start working with one of the "specials" pizza presets and add/remove "toppings" to adjust the groove, or click on the "Shapes" tab and drag various shapes onto the big circle to play and explore math-inspired grooves.
- Ableton Live – Learning Music Learn the basics of making music online with this interactive site from Ableton. Play and experiment with beats, melody, song structures, bass and more — all from your browser. And you can export it all to Ableton!
- Virtual drumming – If you want to learn, but can’t really afford drums, try out this site.
- Virtual Musical Instruments – Play a musical instrument online from piano, bongos, pan flute or guitar.
- Theremin – try this online synth instrument that makes many sounds.
- Super Looper – Cool and fun music making app, shaped by the sounds of the '80s with super cool synths and bouncy disco drums!
Online music games
- Plink is a super intuitive multiplayer music experience. All you need to do is choose a nickname that other players will see and then instantly start collaborating using only your mouse and a colour palette for different sounds.
- Building Beats Toolbox - Try out some of the free online music tools that we use to make beats!
- Incredibox is a music app for creating your own music with the help of a merry crew of beatboxers. Part game, part tool, Incredibox is above all an audio and visual experience that introduces kids and adults to notions of rhythm and melody - in double-quick time.
- Check out these great science activities from Exploratorium. Take your pick from the bunch.
- Try out a sound sandwich, make a head harp, secret bells or even palm pipes.
- Try your hand at some music projects from Code Club Australia.
- Music notes – Find and play sheet music from hundreds of popular songs and pieces for free.
- Chordify – Turns a music video on YouTube into tabs so you can practise and play them.
Top things to borrow
- The complete beginner's guide to guitar by Sona Books
- The secrets of dance music production by David Felton
- How to play guitar: essential skills by Tony Skinner
- Music 4.1: a survival guide for making music in the internet age by Bobby Owsinki
- Learning a musical instrument by Richard Crozier
- The keyboard for beginners on DVD
- Behind the song by K.M. Walton
- First 50 Songs You Should Play on Acoustic Guitar by Hal Leonard Corp
- Can't Stand Up For Falling Down: Rock'n'Roll War Stories by Allan Frewin Jones
- The Ukulele 4 Chord Songbook by Hal Leonard Corp
To get started using free eMagazines download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.
On the web
- Pick up your guitar game – Join Sunshine Coast Local Pete Townson and learn some step-by-step guitar basics and start playing the songs you love.
- Courses available on Lynda.com:
- Play piano and keyboards - if you have ever wanted to pick up the piano or keyboard as an instrument, this is the path for you
- Beginner acoustic guitar music lessons - Learn how to play guitar at your own pace with these easy-to-follow videos
- Drum set lessons - Learn how to play the drums using popular drum beats and fills played by some of the best drummers on some of the world's most famous songs.
- Vocal lessons - Learn how to sing with one-on-one vocal lessons from one of the world's top voice coaches.
- GarageBand essential training – learn everything this powerful audio recording, editing, and mixing tool for Mac has to offer.
First time customers must create a Lynda.com profile and select 'Sunshine Coast Regional Council'. App available.
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