Starting your journey towards producing EDM is a rollercoaster. You will inevitably feel clueless at the beginning. As you progress, you will go through a series of stages before reaching complete mastery. Having a general roadmap and tips for riding the waves they bring can make your journey less intimidating.
The Starting Line
This stage is a period of a million questions. Unless you already know someone in the industry, you will wonder if you need special gear or if you need an arm and a leg’s worth of money. The truth is that the only equipment you will need is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and a pair of headphones. Unless you have friends that can recommend a DAW to you, choosing a DAW mostly boils down to your budget. Once you have picked out a DAW, spend plenty of time learning to use it. Google tutorials, read the manual, learn all of the fundamentals you need. From there, you can spend plenty of time experimenting with different beats and sounds. Your final step is creating your first original song.
Over a period that usually ranges from 6 months to 2 years, you will continuously pick up knowledge. You will start catching on to how things work and gain momentum quickly. There are no limits to the amount of knowledge available to hone your skills. Ideally, understanding music theory, learning to structure your songs, continued experimentation, and learning to mix and create quality sound is fundamental in this stage. Push yourself to finish tracks as consistently as possible. Obtaining feedback and constructive criticism can give you a clear picture of what you can improve on or tweak. Networking with other artists and building relationships will benefit you in the long run.
After devoting so much time to production thus far as well as continually using creativity, you will inevitably hit a brick wall. Many producers get too frustrated and give up, but there are ways to make this stage possible to overcome. Burnout is inherently uncomfortable and will push you to your limits. You may feel like quitting. It is helpful to break up your work into digestible bits to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Try mulling over what motivated you at the beginning so that you can reignite your passion. If you are experiencing a creativity block, try looking for methods to break down that block. Most importantly, be patient. This stage will eventually pass.
Achieving fluency in your craft involves more learning than ever before. This stage typically takes several years. You will dig deeper into previous topics, sink your teeth into new concepts that expand your understanding of sound, and pick up on nuances by studying master producers. There is more than a lifetime worth of learning regarding music and mixing. You will never stop learning. This stage is also where you begin taking steps to turn mixing into a career. You can start by establishing your presence as an artist, possibly becoming an intern in a studio, spreading your music, and picking up gigs whenever possible.
Master of Your Craft
Mastery takes years to achieve. Hitting mastery around 2-5 years is a minimum, while the commonly accepted average time is approximately 10 years. One way to know if you’re a master is if mixing is now second-nature to you. Reaching this stage does not mean it’s time to stop. You will continue experimenting and innovating. You may want to expand your roots into new challenges or musical interests. Your journey never ends as long as you stick with it and never stop growing.