Writing vs Producing: Can you really do both?

Thanks to the advent of the internet age, the barrier for entry in the realm of music production has dropped significantly.

An army of bedroom creators from all around the world are now stepping up to the task of the producing their own music. However, despite the technology and the education being readily available to so many, this does not guarantee success in the realms of music production. Although eager millennials might believe that any skill can be easily mastered with a few days spent on YouTube, the truth is that music production (much like songwriting) is an art that takes years to properly master.

Although it might be tempting to buy all the requisite equipment and start producing your tunes from scratch, fledgling producers and artists may find that progress hampered if they attempt to master both arts of music production and writing. That’s not to say that it’s impossible though! Given the right mindset it’s perfectly possible to hone both crafts simultaneously, but there are few ideas that you might want to take on board before you attempt to do so:

Start simple

This is a lesson that can be applied to all walks of life. If you’re just starting to get to grips with writing songs, it’s best to keep your production ideas simple so that you can easily lay down your tracks with the minimum of fuss. Most DAWs come with a dizzying array of plugins and audio effects to play with, but even if you might have an inkling of how these things work, it’s best not to get distracted with them whilst you’re in the writing process. Keep your ideas simple to start with so that you can complete projects and move forward.

Get ready to make some mistakes!

If you’re really set on tackling both writing and producing your own music then you should get read to make a few mistakes along the way. As you’re taking on dual responsibilities, you’re likely to be too close to the music to know when you’re making an error, either in the songwriting or they way that you are producing the tune. There are so many facets to putting together a track that you’re unlikely to truly master both arts for years to come, so it’s best to get used to the fact that your tracks might sound a little ‘unfinished’ for a while.

Try writing and then recording

DAWs such as Pro Tools and Ableton Live are such intuitive tools that it can be tempting to bash together a track through pure improvisation. If your setup is small you could easily swap between instruments and vocals, and have a song written in no time, but by attacking the process so quickly you may make a hash of a certain creative decision that mars the track forever. Before you dive headfirst into producing a track, it might be a good idea to have at the least the basic structure of the song written down first.

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