One common misconception with music production is that people do not really know the amount of work it takes to finish one song. The common person just thinks that a music producer records someone playing some instruments and puts it all together. In a sense that is what some producers do but in today's electronic music world a producer has to do much more than that. Today I will talk about the 4 stages of making a full and complete track. The 4 stages are the writing stage, the production stage, the mixing stage, and finally the mastering stage.
Stage 1 : Writing
Every song has to start with an idea. That idea can be a melody, a vocal lyric, a chord progression of even a drum beat. The writing stage is where you can get the ideas from your head into your DAW. This is when you also do not have to worry about the technical aspects of this process and just let your ideas flow freely into your project. If for some reason you do come across a case of writers block then you can always just force 20 random ideas out and then pick your favorite out of the 20 because you will already be starting with an idea that was better than 19 other ideas.
Stage 2 : Production
This is the part where you will start to work on expanding and arranging the ideas that you had in the writing stage. Some tasks that you will have in this stage are things like sound design, arrangement, layering sounds, choosing samples and adding sound effects. This can also be the stage where you will record things like vocals or live instruments. During this process you will see all the elements of your ideas come together to form a full song.
Stage 3 : Mixing
For most people the mixing stage is the most dreaded part of the production process. In the first 2 stages of writing and production you can be as creative and as experimental as you want. In the mixing stage you loose a lot of the ability to be creative because there are certain tasks that you must perform in order to get your track to sound professional. There are a few cardinal rules of mixing electronic music. The number one rule is that you need to make room in the mix for your kick and bass. I will discuss basic mixing techniques in the next post. Some of the tasks in this stage will be compressing sounds, saturating sounds, panning, and EQing.
Stage 4 : Mastering
Mastering is the final stage of the production process. This is when the final touches are put on the overall sound of the track. Mastering is not going to be able to make a track sound good if it is not produced and mixed well. Some tasks of mastering is EQing to bring out some colors, compression to make the sounds less dynamic, and limiting to make the track louder. Also saturation and stereo imaging can take place in this stage. If you are going to master your own tracks please wait at least one day before you start mastering it. DO NOT start mastering as soon as you finish the mixing stage. Most new producers send their tracks out to get mastered. We do offer very affordable mastering on our site for only $10 per track. There are other great sites that offer mastering too.
There you have the four stages of producing a track. I hope this blog post was helpful to you. If you found this article useful please subscribe to our website because there will be more and more posts to help you along the way. Next week's post will discuss the basic mixing techniques that everyone should know.