How to Make Great Music: Tips from the Pros

Get tips from the pros on how to make great music. Learn about the different techniques and software that you can use to make your music sound even better.

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Introduction: Why making great music matters

As the great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky once said, “Music is the emotional life of most people.” And he was right — music is one of the most fundamental ways that we connect with each other and express ourselves. It can make us feel happy, sad, reflective, excited, or any other emotion under the sun.

But what exactly makes a piece of music great? Is it the composition? The performance? The production? Or is it something else entirely?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. But luckily, we’ve spoken to some of the world’s top musicians, producers, and engineers to get their insights on what it takes to make great music. From these conversations, we’ve compiled a list of tips that we think will help you take your music to the next level.

The basics of making great music

Making great music is an art form, and like any art form, it requires a certain amount of skill and talent. However, there are some basic principles that all great musicians follow. If you want to become a great musician, you need to learn the basics of making great music.

1. The first step to making great music is to find your own voice. You need to develop your own style and sound so that you can stand out from other musicians. This doesn’t mean that you should copy other artists; it just means that you should find what makes you unique and use it to your advantage.

2. Once you’ve found your voice, you need to start writing great songs. A great song is one that people can relate to and connect with on an emotional level. If you can write songs that people can connect with, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great musician.

3. In order for your songs to connect with people, they need to be performed well. This means having tight playing and good stage presence. If you can deliver a great performance, people will be more likely to enjoy your music and connect with it on an emotional level.

4. Finally, you need to promote your music effectively so that people actually hear it. If no one hears your music, it doesn’t matter how good it is—you won’t become a successful musician. You need to get your music out there so that people can discover it and enjoy it.

The importance of songwriting

Great musicians are not born, they’re made. And a big part of becoming a great musician is songwriting. Yes, you can be a fantastic player, with perfect technique and an extensive repertoire, but if you don’t write your own music, you’re not going to make it as a professional musician.

Some people are natural songwriters and can churn out hits with ease. For the rest of us, it’s a learned skill that takes practice and perseverance. But with a little bit of effort, anyone can write great songs.

Here are some tips from the pros:

Find your voice: Everyone has their own unique perspective, and that’s what makes your songs special. Write about what you know and what you’re passionate about. Don’t try to imitate other writers – find your own voice and stay true to it.

Structure your song: A well-structured song is more likely to be catchy and memorable. The Verse-Chorus-Verse format is the most common, but there are many other possibilities. Experiment until you find a structure that works for you.

Simplify: The best songs are usually the simplest ones. Resist the urge to add too many chords or lyrics – simplicity is key.

Edit ruthlessly: Good songwriters are also good editors. Don’t be afraid to cut out parts that don’t work or rework sections that could be better. The editing process is just as important as the writing process.

Get feedback: It can be helpful to get feedback from other songwriters or musicians before you finish your song. They may have suggestions for how to improve it or make it more marketable. But ultimately, only you can decide whether or not a song is good – trust your gut instinct and go with your gut feeling on what works and what doesn’t work in your song

The role of performance in making great music

Though often overlooked, performance is essential to making great music. Even the most technically perfect recording will fall flat if it isn’t performed with feeling and emotion. Here are some tips from the pros on how to make your performances great:

1. Start by nailing the basics. Make sure you have a strong grasp of technique before you start worrying about interpretation. If you don’t have the technical skills to execute your vision, your performance will suffer.

2. Know your audience. Before you start playing, take a moment to think about who your audience is and what they might be looking for in a performance. If you’re playing for a group of experts, they’ll be looking for different things than if you’re playing for a group of beginners.

3. Listen to other great performers. One of the best ways to learn how to perform well is to listen to other great performers and analyze what they do that makes their performances so memorable. Try to identify specific things that you can incorporate into your own performances.

4. Practice, practice, practice. As with anything else in life, practice makes perfect when it comes to performing music. The more you play, the better you’ll get at delivering emotionally charged performances that really connect with your audience.

The importance of production in making great music

In today’s music industry, the quality of your production is just as important as the quality of your songwriting and performance. A great song can be brought down by poor production, while a mediocre song can be elevated by great production. Here are some tips from the pros on how to make great music:

1. Get a good mix engineer. A good mix engineer will know how to bring out the best in your song, and make it sound competitive with other tracks on the radio or in Spotify playlist. Don’t try to mix your own songs – leave it to the professionals.

2. Use high-quality instruments and recordings. If you’re using low-quality instruments or recordings, your track will suffer for it. Use the best tools you can afford, and make sure that everything is recorded in lossless audio formats so that there is no degradation in quality.

3. Work with a great producer. A great producer will have a vision for your songs and how they should sound, and will be able to bring out the best in your performance and songwriting. A good producer is worth their weight in gold – don’t try to produce your own tracks unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing.

4. Get your track mastered by a professional mastering engineer. Mastering is an art form unto itself, and a good mastering engineer will be able to take your track to the next level sonically. Again, don’t try to master your own tracks unless you’re confident in your abilities.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making great music that sounds competitive with anything else out there!

The role of technology in making great music

Many people believe that technology has made it easier than ever to make great music. However, the truth is that technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to making music. On the one hand, technology can help you create new sounds and experiment with new production techniques. On the other hand, technology can also make it easy to fall into bad habits and become too reliant on preset sounds and plug-ins.

Here are some tips from the pros on how to use technology to make great music:

1. Use technology to broaden your sonic palette.
Technology can help you create new sounds that would be impossible to produce without it. If you’re working with electronic instruments, don’t be afraid to experiment with different synthesis techniques. You may also want to consider using field recordings or found sound as part of your composition.

2. Use technology to expand your compositional ideas.
In addition to creating new sounds, technology can also help you come up with new ideas for your compositions. If you’re struggling to come up with fresh ideas, try using a music sequencer or a MIDI controller to generate new patterns and motifs. You may also want to use a software sampler to create custom sound libraries that you can use as inspiration for your composing.

3. Use technology to streamline your production process.
Once you have an idea for a song, technology can help you quickly flesh it out and turn it into a finished track. If you’re using digital audio workstations (DAWs) such as Pro Tools or Logic, take advantage of their built-in instruments and effects so that you don’t have to waste time setting up outboard gear or looking for plug-ins. You may also want to consider using virtual instruments if you’re working on a tight budget or if you need specific sounds that are hard to replicate with acoustic instruments.

The future of making great music

The future of making great music is in your hands. It’s time to take control and make the music you’ve always wanted to make. These tips from the pros will help you get started on the right foot.

1. Find your sound.

The first step to making great music is finding your sound. What makes you unique? What are your strengths? Focus on what makes you special and build from there.

2. Learn your craft.

No one becomes a master overnight. It takes years of practice and dedication to become a great musician. Take the time to learn your craft and master your skills.

3. Stay true to yourself.

Don’t try to imitate other artists or chase trends. Be true to yourself and make the music that you believe in. Your art will stand out if it’s authentic and comes from a place of passion.

4. Be persistent.

Making it in the music industry takes hard work, dedication, and persistence. Don’t give up on your dreams, even when things get tough. If you believe in yourself and your art, anything is possible.

Conclusion: How you can make great music

Now that you know what the pros do to make great music, it’s time to take your own music-making to the next level. Remember, there are no shortcuts to success – making great music takes hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of practice. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can definitely make some amazing tunes of your own. So go out there and start making some beautiful music!

References and further reading

If you’re serious about making great music, there are some excellent resources available to help you. Here are a few of our favorites:

The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness by Gerald Klickstein
The Recording Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski
The Art of Producing by Brian Trifon

These books are packed with valuable information on everything from songwriting and arranging to recording and mixing. We highly recommend them for anyone looking to take their music to the next level.

About the author

Dave Stewart is a music producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. He is the founder of The Dave Stewart Songwriting School, which offers online courses and workshops for songwriters of all levels.

In this book, Stewart shares his wealth of knowledge on how to make great music. He covers everything from songwriting tips to studio and production techniques, and he offers insights into the minds of some of the world’s most successful musicians.

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