You want to get into music production, but how long does it take to become a good music producer?
It’s important to keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed, but in most cases, it will take around five years to become good at music production; however, “good” is a broad term.
Stay tuned as we dive deep into the timeline and what you need to focus on in your journey to become a good music producer.
Lets’ get to it!
How Long Does It Take To Become A Good Music Producer?
It would be nice to master music production in a few months, but that’s not a realistic timeline.
Instead, you go through stages of learning, starting the moment you decide to pursue the career but never really ending.
|0 to 3 months
|You decide to pursue music production and start looking into the basics.
|3 to 6 months
|You set yourself up with the right software and start experimenting.
|6 to 18 months
|You understand how to use your software and are now building the skills and techniques needed for production.
|Digging in Roots
|18 months to 3 years
|You are developing your unique sound, and your music is finally in clubs and on the radio. Usually, when imposter syndrome creeps up.
|3 to 5 years.
|You have a firm foundation and are learning to adapt your personal style to trends and stay on top of new technology.
|5 years +
|You are happy with your success. Many measures this success by their ability to live off revenue from sales, streams, and shows.
As you can see, the path to becoming a successful music producer is full of different periods of growth.
You won’t be great when you start, and you may not even like your music until you find your stride a few years in.
It’s important to create a solid foundation and framework in those early stages.
By focusing on the right skills and balancing your knowledge, you strengthen yourself with a well-rounded skill set needed to sit among the best.
Skills You Need to Become a Good Music Producer
A good music producer will not rely on talent alone.
While that may play a part in your path to success, you must also develop skills regarding
- Music theory
- Sound design
These skills prevent you from getting stuck early on, and they make it easier to plow through creative blockages later in your career.
You often start out learning the theory behind these skills, but you must put them into repeated practice to unlock your full potential.
For tips and tricks on how to get better at music production, check out this video:
Many will tell you that music theory is not essential for digital music production, and they’re not necessarily wrong.
You can get pretty far with a good ear and a creative mind, but having this basic knowledge makes it easier to clean up tracks and diagnose issues in your sound.
Beginner theory helps you understand what notes and chords work well together, as well as basic melodies and rhythms that are a staple for music.
You don’t need to get a degree in theory, but it prevents you from mindlessly clicking in DAW until everything falls into place.
While there’s nothing wrong with using presets or samples, relying on them prevents you from building your own brand and creating unique, breakthrough sounds.
Developing skills regarding sound design helps you create your musical identity.
By investing in this knowledge early on, you broaden the boundaries of your production career.
You are no longer limited to scrolling through presets and hoping to find one that sparks your interest and can instead build on the tiny bits of inspiration you find in daily life.
After a while, 8-bar loops and 4-chord progressions start to sound dull.
While these are staples for music production, many significant sounds break from these rigid arrangements.
As you learn more, your ability to shape the emotion and tone of a track improves.
The theory has a bit to do with this, but an easy way to practice involves copying an inspiration track into your DAW and mimicking the arrangement.
By emulating how the most powerful songs build tension, smooth transitions, and utilize breaks, you can master one of the more difficult aspects of music production.
Have you ever heard a track with a good beat that then ran it into the ground? Good mixing skills will do wonders to prevent this issue.
Mixing is often the hardest part of music production, and it involves many sub-skills such as
- Gain staging
You must have a trained ear to fill a mix with life, and it’s a skill that you’re constantly improving.
If you want to become a good music producer, marketing is an important skill you need in your toolkit.
In the time of social media, you have plenty of opportunities to get known in public without an agency/label behind you.
You can eventually outsource this task, but understand that it’s not enough to simply post and pray you to get recognized.
Creating your brand and learning how to leverage different platforms is essential to get your music into the ears of others.
Hurdles When Learning Music Production
There are two major hurdles that can affect how long it takes for you to find success in music production: time management and effectively balancing your skills.
It is key that you learn how you can dedicate the time needed that is required to improve your craft by learning skills and putting them into practice.
If you dedicate a fixed amount of time each day or week, you’re more likely to follow through on the practice needed to become a good music producer.
Make sure you set yourself up for success by minimizing distractions during this time.
Let friends be aware of and respect your dedication, and you can use lockdown apps on your computer or phone to stay focused.
An inability to manage time properly is a killer to a music production career.
If you just ignore a certain area, you will end up with tracks that lack that finishing touch, so make sure you use your time to cultivate a balanced set of skills.
The best way to do this is by finishing each project you start; however, it is tempting to start new projects all the time.
If you have a firm knowledge-based foundation, you need to hone each skill for every track you make because this helps you identify the areas you struggle in, and it forces better music out of you.
You may groan when you enter certain stages, but this effort strengthens your sound.
There is no “advance to go” card in music production that lands you exactly where you want to be.
Instead, you must dedicate years to gathering knowledge and honing your craft.
By building your foundation first and understanding that learning never stops, you put yourself on the fastest route to success.
A good music producer may build their career in a few years, but they spend the rest of their life maintaining it.
Learn more about what makes a good music producer here.
How far are you in your music production journey? Let us know in the comments.