Dreaming of being the next high profile DJ on the electronic dance music (EDM) scene? It’s a lofty goal for sure, especially if you’re new to EDM and don’t know the right steps to take.
Like anything in life, it can take a while to get there. It takes a bit of patience, but if you’re persistent, you stand a good chance of achieving whatever you’re after.
So where to begin? There is a lot of information out there, so we’ve narrowed down a list of the 7 most actionable tips we can think of.
Let’s take a few minutes to check out a few of the best (and simple) ways to start making your own electronic music.
Prepare for a learning curve
Making music won’t just happen on its own, you’ll have to take the time to learn some new skills and become familiar with some topics that you may have never had to deal with before.
That’s not a bad thing. In fact, you may find your passion will drive and push you. It’s no different than someone learning to play the guitar. If you’re a passionate beginner, you won’t find the learning curve cumbersome because the focus should be on making it a lot of fun.
So how long will it take to become an EDM master? That totally depends on how much time you’re able to dedicate to the process. If you’re already musically inclined, you’re already at an advantage. If you’re coming at this as a complete beginner, there are a few challenges to overcome not only with the tools you use, but understanding how different aspects of music work together.
But, the focus, in the beginning, is to make this as fun as possible. Make some beats, mash together some notes and see what happens. It’s definitely better than not getting started at all.
Choose a DAW to start on
At the core of any Music Production is a full-fledged digital audio workstation (or DAW for short). DAW is a piece of audio software that lets you do everything you need to make to create beats, add in MIDI instruments and essentially create your own electronic music. Recording, mixing, and editing are just a few of the functions a decent DAW will provide.
So which DAW software should you go for? If you’re an Apple person, you could start out with Garage Band as a free option, and move onto Logic later down the line. Of course, there are a huge range for PC too. Check out this list of DAW options, it honestly doesn’t make too much difference in the beginning so go for the one that fits your budget.
Create your first song
It doesn’t have to be good, but it helps to break the mental roadblock of getting started by creating your first EDM song. At this point you’re learning a skill, and everyone has to start somewhere. Who knows how many clunkers David Guetta or Calvin Harris came up with before they struck gold!
Creating your first song is a way of discovering how music comes together and helps you to grasp the basics of how any DAW works. It’s quite an addictive process and you’ll end up learning more than you’d ever be able to get from watching a bunch of youtube videos.
Once you’re done, save that track and make sure to revisit it in future – you’ll be blown away at how much you’re improving over time.
Expand your music knowledge
Music – regardless of the style or genre – is a wonderfully creative thing that truly has no limits. And that’s what makes it exciting! It’s not critical to know anything about music to make music, but it certainly helps to know the core basics.
Even if it’s just learning some simple chords and scales, having any volume of experience will pay off big when it comes to writing your own songs.
One way to advance your skills is to learn a traditional instrument. It doesn’t matter too much what it is, could be as basic as learning to play bass or guitar, or you could go for some online piano lessons using a half decent midi keyboard.
While it would be amazing to master whatever instrument you choose, the idea here is just to cover the basics and understand how different music intervals interact with each other. Of course, if you want to move onto more challenging subjects, it can’t hurt to know more.
There are SO many resources available online these days where you can get all the musical knowledge that you may need practically free of charge. If you have some cash to spend, then you’ll definitely get there faster by signing up to online music lessons.
As I’ve mentioned, you don’t need to be an ‘expert’ – some of the most popular musicians in history never had a formal lesson in their lives.
Set a goal to create your first 100 tracks
Perfectionism kills creativity. My advice? Don’t spend too much time perfecting each new song, but instead, aim to create a new song every week or as often as time allows. Don’t worry about making mistakes, or getting the perfect mix – you’ll learn so much more from doing more.
Just as with any skill, becoming a musician takes dedication and practice. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Set some personal goals for yourself and don’t let your critical brain get in the way.
After all, who is listening to all the music you create? May just be a few people around you, or it may just be you, but after you’ve created your first 100 tracks, you’ll be well on your way to mastering every aspect of the tools you use, and you’ll start to develop your own sound. So just get on with it, create a library of tracks and sharpen your new-found musicianship and skills.
Experiment with different music genres
This is a big one. You should always have an open mind and be willing to explore music from other styles. Sure, we’re talking about EDM here, but a lot of the most iconic musicians that have ever lived realized the importance of taking influences from genres that may be completely opposite from the one they prefer to work in.
Try crossing Latin and Rock with an EDM beat. What about some smooth jazz? Or heavy metal inspired dubstep? Even if none of these music genres are your thing, experimenting with all sorts of music will definitely force you to think outside the box, and help you to avoid getting stuck in a loop where all your music seems to sound the same (we’ve all been there).
It’s simply a different way of looking at things, and the goal after all is versatility. You may come across musical ideas and elements that may take your EDM songs to a completely different level.
Collaborate and network with others
Once you’ve smashed through all your personal goals, it’s time to share your creation with the world. It may be a bit intimidating at first, but, unless you are making music explicitly for your own personal satisfaction, then getting immersed in the EDM scene with other musicians – and creating your network – is the most important step to take.
Start of small, share music with your closest friends and family and see what their reaction is. Find a facebook group of likeminded musicians and ask for feedback. Make use of all the social platforms and promote your music to the public and see what comes back.
Yes, it’ll take a little work and elbow grease on your end, but there’s no doubt that in the long run it’ll be worth every minute of time you invest in your EDM career.
So what do you think? Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Trust me – it isn’t. Sure, you may be keen to treat the music you create as a business, and to have an entire plan laid out, but it’s not necessary at this stage.
It’s much easier to begin at the beginning, and have as much fun as possible. After a year or two of hard work, then fair enough – set the goals you want to achieve out in the real world.
And, truthfully, the Internet can be your best friend here. Regardless of what aspect of making your own electronic music you may find to be challenging, there are tons of resources and advice online to keep you motivated.
The ball is in your court. Take a leap of faith in yourself, follow these simple steps, and you’ll be creating your best EDM possible in less time than you may think.