26 Music Production Exercises That Will Improve Your Skills

Music production is a skill that has a lot of diversity to it and requires a person that is open to learning more.

This is crucial to ones success because the music industry is an ever evolving industry that doesn’t stagnate.

Technology makes this possible and makes it a requirement for all producers to keep sharpening their skills.

A good way to sharpen your skills as a music producer is to constantly learn and have an exercise routine to keep you in shape.

There are a lot of music production exercises that you can do from time to time to ensure that you keep your mental state strong.

This post will dive into some good music production exercises that you can put in practice and improve your skills.

#1. Remaking beats

One of the best ways to improve your skills as a music producer is by remaking beats.

Your skills will be tested at a high level and you’ll learn some new tricks while doing remakes.

The best way to get started is picking songs that are out of your comfort zone. This will be a learning experience that will easily sharpen your skills as a produce.

#2. Music theory practice

Music theory is a complex subject and practiced the right way will improve and sharpen your musical abilities.

The best way to go about this is singling out a certain topic and going all the way to learn and apply what you’ve learnt.

This is a good exercise for music producers that want to learn a lot more about theory and basically improve their approach to composing music.

#3. Sound design

Sound design is such an interesting topic and should be one to be embraced by all music producers.

You can read books and watch tutorials on sound design and start coming up with your own sounds as you go.

This will make for an interesting  way to come up with your own sounds and basically understand how most sounds are created from scratch.

You can then try and make full compositions using your own sounds and see what you’re able to come up with.

#4. Sound Manipulation

Sound design is more technical but sound manipulation is less technical and gives the producer more room to experiment with effects.

The best way to approach this is making a loop and using various techniques and effects to alter this loop or completely change it and make it something new.

Sound manipulation is a great exercise that can yield great results in the process.

#5. Cover certain songs

Cover songs are the best way to figure out the mechanics that went into making a song.

You can go ahead and cover your favourite song whilst introducing your own little tweaks and additions to make it your own unique way of delivering the song.

This can be a great exercise for producer that are musicians as well.

#6. Cleaning up your mixes

This exercise involves coming up with a simple composition and mixing it to the best of your ability.

Follow your mixing process and try to refine it as much as you can and approach your mixing in an almost perfect approach.

Doing this will improve your basic mixing skills.

#7. 10 Minute Mix Challenges

This little mix challenge can improve the speed with which you do your mix.

Come up with a simple composition and mix it in a minimum of only 10 minutes and notice how the end results sounds.

This can improve your ability to think on the fly and make decisions much quicker.

#8. Play an instrument

The best way to exercise your musical abilities is by playing an instrument and experimenting with it.

Come up a composition from an instrument and build it into a full song.

This is the best way to stretch your musical abilities and skills.

#9. Try out new arrangements

If you’re a music producer you know that arrangements matter the most in any composition.

The fact is, a song is only as good as its arrangement.

As an exercise, try out various composition arrangements and structures and see what you come up with.

This can give you an insight into arrangements that you’ve never used before and can therefore help your skills as a music producer.

#10. Remixing acapella songs

Get an acapella, make a song around it.

This is one of the best ways to test your abilities as a music producer. The key is to remix the song in your own way using your own unique elements.

Great exercise that will help you make better decisions in your production process.

#11. Watch tutorials and try to make something similar

YouTube offers a wide range of tutorials on different subjects.

The best way you can exercise your skills is by trying to mimic what you learn from a tutorial.

If it’s a beat being made in the tutorial then go ahead and try to make the same beat with a few adjustments and follow the same principles being expressed in the video.

#12. Try making music at different BPM’s

If you’re used to making beats in certain BPMs, you can exercise your music production skills by going out of your BPM range and trying to make music in that range.

This is great way to get out of your comfort zone and try something different and new. This can also help you to discover new territory that you can thrive in.

You never know until you try.

#13. Analyze genres you’re not familiar with

Good exercise is not all about doing, sometimes it’s just about observing and trying to understand.

Look into unfamiliar genres and understand the themes and logic behind them.

This can give you insight into the thought process behind certain genres.

#14. Learn new scales and chords

A good way to make music that is different from everyone else is to explore unexplored territory.

Learning new chords and scales is a great way to exercise your production abilities and the way that you approach music.

The more you can go at this, the better you’ll essentially become.

#15. Make music using less Instruments

Another cool way to exercise your music production abilities is to make music using only a few instruments.

This will force you to become a lot more creative while using only a few things.

As you dig deeper into this exercise you’ll realise that making good music doesn’t require the use of a lot of instruments.

You can be creative using only a couple of elements.

#16. Build a song around a loop that you hate

Let’s face it, we all at one point or another encounter a loop that we simply don’t like.

A good way to exercise your production skills is building a beat around a loop or melody that we hate.

Music is matter of preference, what may sound undesirable to you may be desirable to others.

#17. Make music in an unfamiliar place

We are all used to our own systems and our own computers.

A great way to put your skills to good use is to make music in unfamiliar place, preferably in another place or another studio.

This will expose you to new challenges.

#18. Listen to some new tracks

Practise active listening in your music and see what other guys are doing in their production.

You can learn some new things that can be incorporated in your process.

#19. Produce a full track in less than hour

Time limits in music production serve a key function for the producer.

It can introduce them to the ability to work under pressure which is a valuable skill.

Therefore try and produce a full song within an hour and see how it turns out.

#20. Use the sounds you hate

Hating certain sounds in music is very common, as a music producer each time you work with a sound you hate, you basically exercise and go out of your comfort zone.

#21. Sample yourself

This is one of best tricks to improve how you compose.

Take a composition you made and sample it like you would sample anyone else.

This will improve your work flow and give you more insight about your production style.

#22. Use more live instruments in your music

Live instrumentation always requires a delicacy in handling it.

Try and work with more instruments that are recorded live.

#23. Combine different samples

This is one of the most effective sampling techniques that involves the combination of two or more independent samples to create one song or beat.

Great exercise for anyone looking to sharpen their music production skills.

#24. Recreate loops

Try to recreate a loop or a section you heard in song and see how close you can get your recreation to the original.

This will sharpen your ear listening skills and your perception skills.

#25. Start with drums/Start with Keys

If you always start out your beats with drums, an exercise would be starting out with the keys instead. If you prefer starting with the keys then try and start with the drum pattern first.

#26. Use stock plugins

Stock plugins are plugins that come pre-installed in your digital audio Workstation.

Some are not as good as third party plugins.

Therefore try and make music using only stock plugins.

This can help your creativity process and will let you think outside the box.