4 Essential Ways to Become A Better Music Producer

4 Essential Ways to Become A Better Music Producer

These 4 choices brought my music to the next level, and I hope they’ll help you too.

By Nick Voorhees

1) Attending Icon Collective Production School

I know what you’re thinking– is it worth the money?

Yes, it is! And i’ll tell you why…

Once you join, not only are you emerged with all the music theory, production, and business knowledge you can handle, but you are surrounded by like-minded individuals that all are hungry for success. You become engulfed by a hustle that’s contagious, and this mentality helps to give you drive in your work.

Each classroom is filled with ecstatic students tapping into their creativity and bouncing their ideas off their fellow students. Mentors are there to help guide each producer’s journey, and the sense of a collective makes you feel at home. You learn something new everyday, and it’s hard not to feel empowered when the overall purpose of this school is to help you create a successful music career.

I could list all of the classes and why each one is beneficial, but i’ll stick with my favorite 3: 

Keyboard Techniques I, II, III, IV
– In these courses, you’ll learn music theory and how to apply this skill in song writing. For those that don’t know much about chords, scales, notes, or have never even touched a piano, it will be extremely helpful. However, prepare yourself to study hard because Keyboard Techniques progresses very quickly. 

Studio Techniques I, II, III, IV
– These classes teach the fundamentals of mixing, recording, mastering, signal flow, and more. These 4 courses are extremely important for those wanting to enter the professional space of studio work, and to learn the skills of advanced digital music production.

Art of Flow (my favorite class) –
This class consists of philosophical discussions of an artist’s journey, and what to expect. In Art of Flow, you’ll learn concepts from Joseph Campbell’s classic idea “The Hero’s Journey” from his book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” The theories found in Campbell’s work and other practices in Art of Flow will help prepare you for what’s to come, and what you’re experiencing as a music producer right now. You may not think philosophy and self-reflection is important as a music producer, but this is incorrect because:

There are no better musicians than those who are comfortable within their own skin.

Check out Icon Collective to see what they have to offer here.

2) Listening to EDMProd

To help stimulate my mind during my old 9-5 job, I listened to Sam Matla’s podcast interviews with individuals that are working in the music industry. Every lunch break, i’d sit in my car while listening to these articulate discussions and formulating my strategy of how to quit my job and pursue music full time.  

He interviews music professionals ranging from Lucas James (Seeking Blue & Mr.SuicideSheep), well-known music producers like Said The Sky and WRLD, to Nik Cherwink (Icon Collective’s music industry advisor). These interviews are free to listen to, and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in really paving their way in the music industry.

These are my 5 favorite interviews:
1) #45: Lucas James — Genuine Relationships, Transparent Communication & Reaching Major Outlets
2) #24: Steven Cymatics On Making A Living In Music & Viral Marketing
3) #49: Making Unique Pop Music & Producing Full Time with Fabian Mazur
4) #26: Nik Cherwink On Channeling Creativity & When To Market Your Music
5) #66: How to Make Your Artistic Vision a Reality — Lessons From Au5

If you’re also looking to increase your knowledge in music production, Sam Matla offers a 4-week online course that teaches electronic music production called EDM Foundations. Taking this course will help you learn the fundamentals of music production, and it’s a great resource for those looking to get started. 

(Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher)

3) Practicing Self-Discipline

The stoics advocated that self-discipline starts with finding your purpose. It’s only once you realize what it is that you’re mean’t to do, that you’ll find meaning in your daily tasks. 

Here’s a question for you…

Is the amount of work you’re putting in right now, all you’ve got?

If it is, then congratulations! You accept yourself and your current skill level.

If it’s not, you’re one step closer to realizing that your dreams take more than you dreaming about the end goal. “Overnight-success” manifests due to HARD WORK.

Put in the hours. Ask the right questions. Dream BIG.

If you’re looking for a book to help you gain more mental clarity in your work flow, I recommend Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius. One of his theories in Meditations is that in order to harness a high level of self-discipline and great human potential, you must live in accordance with nature (in other words– birds, ants, deer, and other animals in this world don’t question their tasks, they just fulfill their purpose without hesitation or second thought… why should you be any different?).

So, is music production your purpose? If it is, open up that DAW and get back to it.

4) Realizing you don't need to make "bangers"

Will this play out in a club? Are people going to lose their minds when they hear this track? Does this growl sound enough like Seven Lions?

The faster you stop comparing your work to others, when you stop worrying about what others think, and when you STOP asking yourself ridiculous questions like these, the more you’ll enjoy the process of writing music, which will help you produce better music.

A consistent theme of many artists seems to be, “write the music you’d want to listen to.” Putting this into practice will bring about many things, but the 2 big outcomes can be: originality and authenticity.

Originality, aka– You’ve got something special.

Authenticity, aka– “oh, is this song by ____?  Sound a lot like his/her music.”

These two concepts will happen naturally as you perfect your craft, and you cannot force either of them… But if you work hard enough, you’ll find the sound that you’re looking for.

Conclusion

  • Focus on the mastery of your skill, and you’ll surprise yourself with the outcome
  • Write the music you’d want to hear, and you’ll engage with your audience on a stronger level
  • Listen to the advice of people you admire, and you’ll grow exponentially
  • Make the commitment with other ambitious people, and you’ll grow together

About me

My name is Nick Voorhees, and i’m an Icon Collective graduate, music producer, and owner of Melody Nest. I am in no way an expert in music production (or in any field), but I just wanted to share some insight on what helped me along the way. 

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