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Audio Production: Music

Tips, tools, and inspiration to start recording podcasts or music.

Music Planning

In this stage, ask yourself:

How do I begin?

Everyone's creative process is different. When it comes to planning out music, there are many routes to approach a new project. For example, you might start off by writing some lyrics and creating a song to fit the lyrics. You might start off with a bass line or a drum pattern and build off of that, layer by layer. There is no right or wrong way to start. 

Preparing for a Music Project

  • Have an idea of what you want your finished product to sound like.
  • Create reference tracks by recording something quickly on your phone.
  • Figure out in what order you want to record different layers, instruments, synthesizers, and vocal tracks.
  • Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse!
  • Recording songs can be a very tedious process that requires many re-takes. Remember to stay patient and focused.

Songwriting Tips

"Your main goal as a songwriter is to keep writing good songs and the best way to accomplish this is to play or listen to good music and to incorporate aspects you like into your own originals. You want to absorb all this input and apply it to your own material in a creative and original way."

Keep the parts of a song in mind when you work on the arrangement of your song.

  1. Intro - a distinctive section at the beginning.
  2. Verse - descriptive section.
  3. Chorus - the section also sometimes known as the hook which is repeated or emphasized.
  4. Bridge - the section that provides a transition between other parts.

- Pickow, P. & Appleby, A. (1998). The Billboard book of songwriting. New York: Billboard Publications.

Technology for Music Production

In this stage, ask yourself: 

Where can I find technology and resources to create music?

If you are interested in experimenting with microphones, and other audio equipment you can check these items out at Lied Library.

You can also use the Music Recording Room on the first floor of Lied Library to record your songs. You can find information on the equipment available, making a reservation, and booking a consultation to get help on the University Libraries' Multimedia webpage.

You can also follow along with the Music Recording Room guide below for tips on recording in the Music Recording Room.

General Tips for Recording

The following tips are a good place to start when it comes to recording music.

  1. Figure out what equipment you need. (eg. what kind of microphone)
  2. Make sure you are in a quiet room free of background noise.
  3. Test your equipment.
  4. Find the right distance and volume to speak into the microphone by making a test recording of each participant

General Tips for Editing

The following tips are a general starting point for editing music.

  1. Cut out any excess audio to avoid background noise.
  2. Make sure all sections are arranged.
  3. Know the functions of the tools provided by your DAW. (eg. Audacity)
  4. You can achieve a cleaner sound by using certain audio effects such as Equalizers and Noise Gates.
  5. Similar to Podcasting, the vast amount of audio production tools offered by today's technology make it easy to over-produce a project. Be careful and try not to overdo your editing.
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