Production Tutorial

How to Practice Music Production

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22 Videos | Length: 1hr 14min 47sec
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  • Introduction 0:40


    Multiplier welcomes you and goes over what the series is all about.

  • Analyzing MIDI 2:40

    Analyzing MIDI

    Analyzing sample pack MIDI is a great exercise for learning timing. The people creating them are experts, who know all the "correct" ways to do it for that genre. I show two examples: tech house drum rhythm, and an idea to make chords sound more "human" and realistic.

  • Construction Kits 3:41

    Construction Kits

    Construction kits are a great way to learn how full tracks are layered, and sequenced. I illustrate this with an example, showing you the best workflow for analyzing them effectively and efficiently.

  • Create 64 of Something 3:03

    Create 64 of Something

    As an exercise, try creating 64 of something. Without task switching. You'll gain a much deeper understanding of the thing you're creating, and be forced into a more creative frame of thought, as you'll need more than your usual 3 or 4 approaches to the problem. And as a bonus, you end up with a sample pack full of stuff to use... that's yours!

  • Deconstructing Presets 4:32

    Deconstructing Presets

    Deconstructing presets is a great way to learn how things work. I provide a few tips and tricks for doing so effectively, while deconstructing a Serum preset I created for a sample pack I made for Splice.

  • Deliberate Practice 2:33

    Deliberate Practice

    Try doing "deliberate practice" of a task you want to improve at (e.g. EQing drums, or compressing vocals). Do just that one thing, over and over again, without task-switching. In this example, I show how this would work if compressing a folder full of sample pack vocals, including a useful tip for which folder to choose!

  • How to Finish Tracks 0:54

    How to Finish Tracks

    Entering remix contests is a great way to practice finishing tracks, as the deadline forces you to finish things. It's important to practice going through all the motions, and completing tracks, even if you aren't happy with them yet.

  • How to Hear Sound Design Imperfections 3:47

    How to Hear Sound Design Imperfections

    To train your ear to recognize mixing mistakes, or sound design imperfections, create the mistake. Push it too far. Learn how the problem sounds when it's obvious, and that'll make it much easier to hear when it's more subtle. Here I use limiting artifacts in mastering as an example.

  • Keep the DAW Open 1:09

    Keep the DAW Open

    We learn by doing. Don't just passively watch tutorials or read manuals. Learn with the DAW open, so you can pause it every time a new thing is shown, and try it for yourself. It sounds obvious, but most people don't do it.

  • Learning from Presets 2:38

    Learning from Presets

    We can learn concepts by analyzing presets. In this video I'll give two examples to spark your imagination (both using EQ Eight presets in Ableton). The first illustrates one way to make a mono sound stereo. The second illustrates what structurally makes something sound like a vowel.

  • Learning from Plug-Ins 8:46

    Learning from Plug-Ins

    We can also use plug-ins to learn music production concepts. Here, I use a chord generating plug-in (Captain Chords)to learn how to best add notes to a chord and to thicken it up. We also see when it's best to change chords, and what rhythmic structures generally work.

  • Playback: Frequencies 12:13

    Playback: Frequencies

    See how to gain a proper understanding of how we hear frequencies differently, depending on the situation. Our ears, the volume, our speakers, our room, and even where we place our head in the room, affects how we hear frequencies.

  • Playback: Stereo Imaging 4:57

    Playback: Stereo Imaging

    Following on from the previous video, but this time, learn how various stereo imaging techniques translate in different situations.

  • Playback: Use the Wrong Speakers 5:14

    Playback: Use the Wrong Speakers

    As a thing to practice, every 3 or 4 sessions, produce on "bad" speakers, i.e. something the end listener might listen on. Understanding how your engineering decisions translate to the full range of playback devices/situations, is THE most important thing in music production. You MUST routinely train your ear in this way.

  • Recreating Tracks 2:25

    Recreating Tracks

    Recreating tracks you like is a great way to practice music production, however, most people find the process frustrating/impossible, and almost immediately give up. There's a trick though. Don't recreate the sounds, and don't recreate the notes. It's all about learning the structure, both macro (arrangement), and micro (sequencing & layering) structures.

  • Resonant & Unwanted Frequencies 2:25

    Resonant & Unwanted Frequencies

    Discover how to train your ears to pick up on (unwanted) resonant peaks, whistles, and ringing sounds. I demonstrate this on a high hat.

  • Set a Reminder on Your Phone 1:01

    Set a Reminder on Your Phone

    Set a reminder on your phone to practice that technique/concept you just learnt, in two weeks time. To make sure you don't forget it. And keep setting reminders for a few months.

  • Use Metering 1:43

    Use Metering

    Whenever possible, use level meters, and spectrum analyzers, to help you understand what's happening. It's a more efficient way to make sense of what you're hearing. I provide two examples, detuning, and how chords are a natural way to spectrally fill up a mix.

  • Using Synthesis to Train Your Ears 0:45

    Using Synthesis to Train Your Ears

    Learning synthesis is an efficient way to train your ears for the structural components of sound (pitch, amplitude, stereo imaging, harmonics, etc..), as you are isolating, and manipulating each individually. This translates to other aspects of music production too, e.g. mixing. It's easiest to learn "phasing" while learning synthesis, which makes it then possible to hear this issue when mixing.

  • Visual Feedback 4:07

    Visual Feedback

    When learning music production, we need to use tools with visual feedback, otherwise, it'll literally take 50 times as long to understand what's happening. Once we've learnt the concepts with visual feedback, we can use tools without the visual feedback. In this video I demonstrate using Serum, comparing to Massive & Diva.

  • Visually Analyze Waveforms on the Grid 1:51

    Visually Analyze Waveforms on the Grid

    We can visually analyze waveforms (comparing to the "grid"), to learn how things "should" line up. In this example, I do this to show how we usually nudge claps and snares a bit to the left of the 2's and 4's.

  • Why? 3:43


    As an exercise to practice, ask yourself WHY you do what you do, or WHY you insert a "standard" element like you do. Understanding the functional reason for that thing, allows you to pick a more creative alternative, that serves the same function. I show two examples, off-beat hi hats, and white noise risers.

Product Overview

Adam Pollard delivers an assortment of of music production tutorials! See how to practice music production techniques that will hone and sharpen your production skills. These music production videos are designed for the new producer just starting out, but are also great for anyone who produces music.

Starting things off, Adam shows you how to analyze professional MIDI tracks, construction kits, and presets, so you can peek behind the curtain and see what makes this content work. Next, Adam reveals powerful practice techniques that will supercharge your production abilities, including "deliberate practice", how to finish tracks, how to learn to hear sound design imperfections, and understand how frequencies and stereo imaging work.

Adam then gives you even more tips and tricks to take your production skills to the next level, including how to effectively use metering and other visual feedback to improve your eyes and ears, helpful workflow concepts and much more.

To see what each video teaches you and how it can help you produce music better, see the individual music production tutorial descriptions on this page. If you're new to producing music and want to really get better fast, this collection of music production help secrets will do just that... See how to make better music productions today with “How to Practice Music Production".

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