Do You Need To Read Music To Be A Music Producer?

Getting into music production can be a fun way to explore your musical creativity. But let’s face it being a complete newbie comes with a lot of questions and the only way to gain understanding is through years of trial and error plus some good research.

This article is centred around the popular question which is:

“Do you need to read music to be a music producer?”

To produce music you don’t need to be able to read music. You can produce music with the fundamental basics of music theory.

You need knowledge in audio production utilizing various equipment to help you do so. Therefore, learning how to read music can certainly help you advance in your musical knowledge, but you can do without it.

Now that we’ve explored this a little bit, let’s get into what you should be looking to have knowledge of as a newbie music producer.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Beat Making

One of the technical skills that you need to master in order to get into music production is the skill of beat making or having enough knowledge about it to be able to edit and work on instrumentation.

This is pretty much optional in most cases because most music producers don’t make beats as much as they produce, but beat making can help you get acquainted to the works done in DAWs.

Recording

The next absolute necessity is having music recording knowledge.

When clients come to you with a record, you have to be able to coach them in order for them to record properly.

Therefore its necessary to invest a good amount of time into learning what actually makes up and goes into a good recording.

This skill is practice based and is something that you’ll become good at as you as you do it more and more.

Editing

This is closely related to recording because it is usually the next step after recording.

Editing involves linking and lining up the various recorded vocals/takes properly as they are intended to be mixed. It takes a great deal of knowing the difference between a good and a bad take.

You’ll need to develop your ear so you can pick and choose the takes that will make the final cut and the ones that will need to be redone. This is necessary and important because what you’re looking for at the end of the day are good quality vocals that are recorded properly and sound good even before any processing is done.

I encourage people to rely less on processing as a way to improve a vocal because getting a good enough vocal in the first place should be the aim.

Mixing

Now that you’ve properly lined up, cut, and linked up various vocal takes in your editing process. We can now get down to the mixing part of things.

The main goal of mixing is to set the level relationship between all elements. This process involves blending all individual tracks necessary to your project.

This calls upon the various use of processing to make sure your vocals are ready enough and can be perceived with ease.

Mixing is no easy process and will require some ear training on your part because it is very technical and meticulous.

Mastering

One you learn how to mix music, you can then move on to what is known as mastering.

The initial goal of mastering is to match the levels of all the separate elements in the final master. This is done by employing various processes that are intended to give the mix more balance, volume and no peaking.

At this stage, all the tweaking is done in order to make the record ready for release.

EQUIPMENT

We’ve discussed the technical bits that will be involved in becoming a music producer, but those technical skills work hand in hand with having knowledge of how to handle equipment.

So let’s get into the various equipment you need for music production.

Microphone

First and foremost you’ll need a microphone in order for you to capture audio signals into your DAW.

You have to get the right microphone because it will mostly determine the quality of the recordings you end up with.

Here are my recommendations

Audio Interface

Secondly, you’ll need what is called an audio interface that you’ll use as a the bridge between your equipment and computer.

An Audio interface is simply an external Soundcard that has converters suited to handle audio production. It’s best to avoid using the in built sound card that comes with your computer because it won’t help you get the job done the right way.

Pop Filter

Next will be a pop filter, a pop filter will go over your microphone to avoid any unwanted plosive sounds fro being recorded.

It is a vital element and you should take some time to pick the right one.

Computer

Of-course you’ll need a computer because it will store your digital audio Workstations and will be the primary tool that you use to carry out almost 90% of your operations in music production.

DAW

You also need good digital audio Workstations for various application.

Here are my DAW recommendations.

Plugins

You’ll also need some good quality DAW plugins that will help you process everything for your projects.

Final Thoughts

You can get through music production without knowing how to read music. Most successful music producers focus on the technical bits and don’t even possess music reading abilities. Therefore focus on the various things that have been discussed here that are necessary for music production.

Happy producing.