How to Produce Bass (Part 4)

Last week we dug deep into producing guitar. This week we’re going to move into the groovetastic world of how to produce bass. As producers, we’re listening to the songs as a whole and simultaneously breaking down the individual performances of each instrument. We know how important the drums are on a record, and seeing that the bass completes the rhythm section, we have to view it as equally significant. So let’s start reviewing.

Follow the Beater

First and foremost we need to understand that the drums and bass are like peanut butter and jelly. They’re best friends – not meant to be separated from one another. Drums and bass should “lock in”. The bassist should make a conscious note of where the kick drums hit and he should be matching his fingering pattern accordingly. If the kicks are hitting on 2’s and 4’s and the bass is hitting on 1’s and 3’s, we’ve got a problem. Make it match and your songs will sound much smoother.

Don’t Play Lead Bass

I’ve seen it far too often… the bass player in a band is not a bass player. He’s a “lead bass player”. A converted guitarist who hasn’t studied his craft well enough. The bassist is a supporting role – not a main character. It’s meant to pad the songs, not to take over (unless your name is Flea… or Victor Wooten). Have the bass player avoid overplaying and definitely don’t let him solo at inappropriate times. This leads perfectly to the next tip…

Keep it Simple

Although it may sound boring, 99% of the time keeping it simple is key. Bassists may fiddle around for hours trying to find the perfect lick, only to find it muddles the mix in the end. It’s amazing how following the root notes can actually make a song pop. Avoiding too many passing tones is also essential for bassists as they tend to muddy the mix. Chromatic notes on a bass don’t always translate as well as the same line that may be played on a lead guitar. The low end messes with your ears.

Watch The Fills

Fills are terrific. Listen for the drums and try to follow them when you can. Match the toms, hit a harmonic on a cymbal ping, and highlight those embellishments. But don’t overdo it. Fills lose their appeal if they’re played too often, so don’t throw them in after every single chord rotation.

So next time you start tracking some bass, take all of this advice into account. It’ll help save you a headache once you start mixing. Low end is always a problem and you’re always better off tracking things correctly in the first place. What tricks do you like to use when you’re tracking bass? I’d love to hear in the comments below!


Transitioning from Musician to Producer

So you’re looking to hang up your guitar, jump into that big comfy chair and twist a few knobs around, huh? Well, first you have to make sure it’s the right decision for you. Are you really willing to give up touring and live shows? Can you give up your creative control and allow someone else to take the lead? Do you really want to be the person behind the curtain? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then let your journey from musician to producer begin!


First things first, you can’t just jump into production without some working knowledge of a DAW. You’ll need to learn how to track, edit, mix and master before you get into the actual production side of things. The reason for this is that you want to know how each and every aspect of the process goes. You’ll use this knowledge to your advantage as you take your bands through the entire recording process. Once you’ve mastered your skills as a mixer/engineer, you’ll really need to start studying different genres to tackle the fun that comes with production. 

Leggo Your Ego.

If you want to make it in this business, you can’t have an ego. Let the other guys have theirs, but you’ve gotta be cool. Remember, the bands you’re working with are the stars. You’re just there to help facilitate the process. They get the glory, even if you put in all the work to get them where they need to be. 90% of bands won’t appreciate or even truly know how much you help them out. But don’t get discouraged when this happens. You’ll be building up a portfolio of great sounding songs, and it’ll make you a better producer in the long run.

Become More than a Musician.

To become a producer, you’ll need to acquire some chameleon skin. Most people hear the word “producer” and they automatically jump to the conclusion that this person has no idea how to play an instrument. In 99% of cases, this isn’t true. Most producers have some knowledge of an instrument – but their true genius comes from their knowledge of more than just that. They have a keen business sense… they’re multi-taskers… they can think on their feet… and deal really well with people. They are leaders, inspirational speakers and hard workers all blended together. Being a producer encompasses far more than just playing a few chords.


Never stop hustling. There will always be someone out there trying to be the best. Trying to be better than you. Don’t let them. Push yourself past your comfort limits and do what you can to grow as an artist. Are you killing it on the pop punk front? Then get some bands in that play hard rock. Don’t feel comfortable working with metal? Well, get yourself a few metal heads and record some tasty licks. Don’t just settle for ok. You wouldn’t have done that as a musician, so don’t do it as a producer either.

I hope this article has piqued your production interest. If you’re looking to make the transition, or even to record as a hobbyist, I’d love to hear from you. What have you found to be your hardest mountain to climb? What have you enjoyed or dis-enjoyed? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you and discuss!


Six Tricks for the Perfect Mix

This article will not make you a perfect mixer. There’s not one (or six) trick(s) that can give you a “perfect mix”. If there was, we’d all already sound just like Chris Lord Alge and life would be boring. Every mix sounding the same. This is meant to help you out with a few things I’ve learned along the way. So please read on and hopefully you’re able to take something positive away from my ramblings.

1) Record it Right in the First Place

Personally, I will never take on a strict mixing gig. One of the reasons I avoid mixing projects is because you never know what you’re going to get. Some recordings are straight up unsalvageable. It’s tough to deal with tracks that were played without a metronome, or where a vocalist is out of tune. At these points, you’re talking about doing more editing to save the song than actual mixing. If you do it yourself, make sure you do it right from the get go. Otherwise, you’ll be doing your best to fix someone else’s mistakes and your name will forever be tied to the stinky turd you’ve volunteered yourself to polish.

2) Nothing is Set In Stone

…until it is. That means get funky, get experimental, and get weird! Your mixes are not final until they’re up on iTunes. So have some fun and try out some different effects. If your clients are digging them, fantastic! If they don’t like all the flange you threw on their guitar, that’s an easy fix – just bypass the plugin. Simple as that. Don’t limit yourself because you’re afraid something might sound off-putting. What’s done can just as easily be undone.

3) Hold the Compression

Something I learned very early in my career is that even a light touch of compression can make a world of difference in a mix. You don’t need to slam your drums or vocals with compression, just give it a little tap tap taparoo. You’ll be impressed with how much you can do with so little.

4) Practice Your Craft

Yes of course you should be reading blogs, (cough cough, like this one), but what you should really be doing is practicing every chance you get. Just because someone loves one technique doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Look at my compression example – it’s something that works for me in most cases. I never go too heavy on my compression. But if you go through my catalog of songs, there are a few tunes I’ve doused with heavy loads of it. The more you work your craft, the better you’ll become at it. Practice makes perfect.

5) Edits Make Perfect

Practice makes perfect, and so do edits. You’ll be amazed at how much better a mix will sound when the vocals have been properly aligned with Melodyne, or the drums have been quantized perfectly with elastic audio. Even editing out mic bleed can dramatically improve the quality of your mixes (especially editing your toms on your drums). I know some people are more traditional with their approaches, but if you don’t like the way your songs sound after some finely tuned edits, revert back to #2.

6) Make it Your Own

No one ever told me when I first started that I could do whatever I wanted. Well, here I am telling you that you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. You don’t have to take my advice, I’m just telling you some things that have worked for me. If you’re using some techniques that are completely unheard of, but you’re making your clients happy and making a name for yourself, you’re obviously doing something right. There is no right way and wrong way to do this, it’s all about what sounds good.

I hope you’ve been able to get some sound advice (oh boy I love a good pun) from this article. And honestly, if you’re using some obscure methods that your clients love, please hit me up and tell me what you’re doing. I’d be pumped to hear about it!


How To Hack The Primal Brain Using Dogs, Ben Franklin, And Elevators

Part two of our “How to convince your client that you know what you’re doing” series.

This is a guide to being respected, feeling valued, and creating personal brand ambassadors. In Part One, we went over how to identify the problem clients. In Part 2, we will discuss how to make and change first impressions. Here’s how to hack the primal brain using dogs, Ben Franklin, and elevators. Note: These tactics are very powerful. Only use them if it benefits both you and your client.

1. Why your dog seems to know what you’re thinking

We’ve all been in a situation where we know we’re being judged. Opinions are constantly being formed, and they are most commonly formed based on feeling. Consider how illogical that is.

In a split second, the brain makes a primal decision. Friend or Foe? This decision is made by a part of the brain that we do not fully control. We actively read body language. But we passively read faces. And we’re very good at it.

Have you ever wondered why your dog seems to know what you’re thinking? Dogs and humans look at human faces the same way. We look at each half of the face separately from left to right while searching for that person’s intent. Face’s are NOT symmetrical. Expressions work across our faces. So being able to read each side separately is powerful. Perfection is alien. That’s why when you symmetrically invert Sylvester Stallone’s face in a photo… [images style=”0″ image=”” width=”700″ align=”center” top_margin=”0″ full_width=”Y”]

He looks like an alien!

We consciously look for symmetry and ignore imperfections in that symmetry. This leads us to believe things are symmetrical. It’s also the reason we recognize face shapes while looking at craters on the moon or mountain structures on Mars. The imperfections in symmetry is what shows that persons emotions.

I will explain how to train your face using elevators in a moment. But, lets go over a much simpler way to hack into the primal brain.

2. The Ben Franklin Effect

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” – Benjamin Franklin

A person feels obligated to do favors out of kindness. Completing a favor gives that person a sense of pride, accomplishment, and completion. The brain is pleased by these feelings and the brain attaches you (the person who asked for this favor) to these feelings.

As a music producer, I ask for something that will help me produce the record I’m working on. Simple requests do work, but leading requests work more consistently.

Simple request: “Could you bring that guitar you mentioned?”

Leading request: “That guitar is going to be a huge help to me. I need it for the record. You can bring it, right?”

Leading requests are more exciting. The favor sounds larger than it really is. This will correlate directly with the pleasure your client feels when she does you that favor.

3. Elevators – The rise of walking emoticons

Training your face to display the proper intention cannot be done alone. A mirror is of no use to you. You need someone who does not have a set opinion on you to read your face. So, you cannot practice with friends or family. That’s why you should use elevators.

In an elevator, you will meet people who have no intention of talking to you. Start by engaging people in the elevator in conversation. Use your face to say things silently. Show surprise, concern, joy, pain, and other emotions without saying a word. Keep mental notes on which faces worked to move the conversation in the direction you wanted it to go. After you begin to really understand how to use your face in conversation, start conversations using only your face.

I personally thought this was a fun exercise. After getting the hang of it, I would enter a crowded elevator and stand towards everyone. I would be the only person facing the back of the elevator. This afforded me a lot of eye contact with people who were unsure about my intentions. It’s amazing how different the reaction will be when you change your face emotions. I was able to make people laugh without speaking! They’d smile and even laugh if I was displaying the right amount of surprise and happiness in my expression. I would be asked if I were okay if I displayed sadness with my face.

If you happen to be a fan of the television show “The Office” than you’ve seen this in action. Those actors do single camera candid shots and talking head style shots that move the story along without any dialogue.

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Look at the lips from left to right. They show a slight curve up at first and a straightening towards the right. This person has mixed emotions in his lips. It leads you to believe he is concerned about something. Of course, when you look at it as a whole you can tell by this expression that he is very troubled or concerned at the moment. But remember, that’s just your brain doing all the work for you.

So… dogs know your intentions, Ben Franklin is a brain hacker, and elevators are a great place to meet new people.

In the next article, we will speak about convincing a client you’re valuable while you work with them.

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Alternate Jobs to Consider for Record Producers

Is your life as a Record Producer getting dull? Feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, unhappy? Of course not! Being a music producer is awesome. It’s quite possibly the best job there is. Other than ice cream taster. Or lego player wither. But alas, they’ll probably never respond to the 6,000 messages you sent them. So get back to the music! And when you do, remember, you do so much more than just produce. Let’s take a look at what other jobs record producers would be great at:


Record producers are always teaching. Our artists are our students and we’re constantly feeding them knowledge. We teach about the circle of fifths, proper singing techniques, why we’re cutting out certain frequencies, and so much more. Something that comes naturally to us is eye opening for our bands. So we share what we know because that’s the right thing to do. It’s in our nature.


As with any good teacher, we also need to hone our babysitting skills. A ton of bands will goof around and get off track during a session. And though we like to have fun, we still need to be on top of things. If we only have 6 days to track an EP, we need to make sure the whole operation runs smoothly. That means keeping everyone focused, and making sure nobody cries.


We play the part of the psychologist a lot more than you’d think. It’s amazing how many people will open up when they’re recording. Maybe it’s the environment of pouring emotion into the music, but it really gets the feels flowing. Singer/songwriters divulge their innermost secrets about why they wrote a particular lyric and you’ll be shocked at some of the stories you hear. You just need to be there and be a good listener. Give them encouragement/support when they need it, and hopefully when you’re done you won’t need a psychologist yourself.


As a record producer, you’ll learn it’s about more than just the music. Business decisions need to be made. You’ll need to maintain your equipment, handle your finances, and upkeep the calendar. You’re in charge of your own bills, so you’ll want to know how to best handle your overhead and workflow. But the benefit is that you don’t need to wear a suit. Unless you want to. Then do it.


Guitar leads aren’t the only leads record producers should concern themselves with. You’re going to need to up your negotiating skills if you want to make it in this business. You need to be able to close a deal in order to make that money, so brush up on your sales chops and be prepared for a lot of persuasive chit chat. Have confidence, and don’t sell yourself short.


Bands won’t clean up after themselves. They just won’t. You’ll need to scrub toilets, take out garbages, clean up wrappers and vacuum the floor. Keep your studio tidy and you’ll have a much nicer work environment. The cleaner, the better.

The morale of this story is don’t quit your day job. Because your day job is like, at least 10 jobs. Nothing beats being a record producer, and I personally wouldn’t change it for the world. I love going into work and knowing I need to have such a vast skill set to make it through the day. It keeps things exciting and fresh. I’m grateful music production is a thing. Otherwise I don’t know what I’d do. I guess I could always take up blogging… Anyway, thanks for reading. Please feel free to share our content and take advantage of our entirely free site. Peace and rock on.


Music Producer Pages

Music Producer Pages

The Importance of Facebook Music Producer Pages

Last week I finished my How to Land a Band series and got a ton of messages from producers telling me that my article was extremely helpful. (I love to hear that, so keep em coming!) Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite working so well for them. After a few conversations, I found myself giving out similar advice and figured I might as well write an article on it, and here we stand. Or sit. Or lay. Whatever.

The first question I kept asking people was “do you have any Facebook music producer pages?” The common thread was “yes, but it doesn’t make much of a difference”. Well, honestly, that’s because they aren’t using it correctly. Let’s go over some things.

Take it Seriously

When you’re creating your music producer pages, make sure you’re professional. Look at your page as a billboard for yourself. Include a picture of yourself so people can see you’re a real life human. For your banner, include a picture of gear, or your studio name. Add pictures, and create tabs that link to your YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Outside Website, and most importantly songs you’ve actually produced. That’s the best area to send bands who want to hear the quality of your work.

Post Often

If you haven’t posted in 5 weeks, it makes you look lazy. Once a week is a good amount to post, and the more, the better. Make sure you stay on top of this. Potential clients want to know they’re working with a diligent producer, and not some deadbeat who doesn’t even have the time to update a simple Facebook status.

Write Posts with Significance

It’s your wall. Write anything you want. Want to write an inspirational quote? Do it. Want to add a picture of cats, do it. But try to keep it musically oriented. Writing about what your favorite band is up to is great, and posting articles about industry trends is even better. It makes you look like an authority figure when you post about audio. Bands take notice and they want to work with someone who has a passion for what they do.

Promote Your Artists

Make sure you’re promoting your artists. If you’ve got a band in the studio, promote them. You’ll get them a few likes, they’ll get you a few likes. It’s win win. Plus it shows that you CARE. And that’s what this is all about. So share their show announcements, talk about their upcoming release and endorse their new album on iTunes. It makes you look better, and your clients will love you for it. This will also help to promote repeat business.

Promote Yourself

Talk about your accomplishments. Brag a little. “Just finished an 18 hour day, but the guitar tones sound AWESOME #worthit”. Maybe you’ll only get 2 likes, but here’s a little tidbit of advice, add a picture and you’ll go from 2 likes to 14. It’s ok to be a little egotistical, but don’t overdo it. Be proud, but not arrogant.

Answer Messages

Whenever someone sends you a message, make sure to respond. Firstly, you don’t want your respond rate to be 2 weeks. Secondly, occasionally you’ll get a really good lead that you weren’t even expecting. So make sure you’re constantly checking that inbox and keeping up to date with it.

This isn’t as easy as it seems, it takes time. And for the first few weeks you aren’t going to notice any results. But if you’re consistent and you make a point to keep at it, I guarantee you’ll see results on your music producer pages. I hope this article has helped, and if you’d like to see me cover something next week, please let me know. As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. Peace and rock on.


5 Reasons Music Producers Should Sleep Around

I chose the term music producers carefully. Not only should record producers sleep around; I think artists should sleep around as well. Anyone involved in producing musical content needs to experience different music. If you’re a metal producer, spend some time with alternative rock or pop. Don’t tell me that working with pop artists will make you less metal. Machine produced Lamb Of God and Fallout Boy. If you’re a pop vocalist, try out some rock. Even Britney Spears loved rock and roll. You should get into bed with every genre of music you can for these 5 reasons:

1. Where’d you learn that from? When you work with different genres you pick up new tricks of the trade. You might find out that layering and spreading vocals on pop songs works great when you want ambient screams on a metal song. (It does. Try it out.) Different genres have different best practices. As you explore the genre, you’ll figure out what they are and how to use them. The next step is adapting them to your core genre.

2. I’m going to put this somewhere it’s never been. You know how to bring production elements. Now, it’s time to bring actual sounds. 808’s are used in everything from pop to metal. Where did they start? Pop … but that’s okay metal heads. You have made it your own.

3. Don’t knock it till you try it. You’ve heard this phrased different ways. My favorite version is a bit more descript. I once told a friend that I’d never date a smoker. Her response “Until you meet a smoker you want to date.” You may think a genre is terrible. Maybe you hate the simple progressions that have made pop punk a major musical genre. But one day, there will be a punk band you like (no matter how many cigarettes they smoke.) *I mentioned joining online communities in “How To Skip Audio Engineering School (Part 2)” Let me take a moment to acknowledge how a pop punk Facebook group has brought new music lovers to the scene lately. I’m a member of the “Defend Pop Punk Group” on Facebook. That community is all about having fun and being supportive. Participating in that group will teach you about musical psychology. Music is something we lean on, and in that group, people ask questions like “I need some songs to listen to. The guy I like just got a girlfriend. Suggestions?” I know some of you think that’s childish. But, listening to music during particular emotional states can help. They can get you ready to go out and have fun with your friends. They can also bring you back to the place you were when you first listened to it. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. I don’t consider myself hyper-emotional, but there are some songs I purposely skip because they bring back memories I rather not relive. I suggest my producer and musician friends join that group and learn from its members.

4. I’m sick of doing this missionary sweetie. Do something to impress me.Different genres have different structural staples. A music producer that sleeps around can bring these one-time structure and arrangement staples to new genres. One of my favorite is the whole step modulated chorus. This comes primarily from country, but it can be used in everything from metal to pop punk. It’s as easy as creating a quick pause, and then playing the final chorus up 2 frets on guitar and bass. It’s a little more complicated for keyboard players due to chord shapes. But, for those of us with a chromatic fret board in front of us, this is simple. It’s also very effective, and it shows some musical prowess.

5. Lets make a baby. I just scared every guy reading this! But, when you know your child is on the way, you hope it has the best genes. Which usually means that you hope the baby has her smile, her eyes, and if you’re in love, pretty much her everything. A child is given genes from its parents. Thousands of years of genetics go into making a new human. Do you do the same amount of research when creating new music? When we make a baby we want it to have all of the best genes. When making new music, you can afford it all the best genes by investing your time. Learning what makes great music in different genres will give you a sort of genetic edge.

If I haven’t convinced you to study new musical styles, please read “The Four Dimensional Record Producer.” It may take a different type of thinking to get you there, and this article explains producers should approach a song in order to get the best mix. The more you focus on how to get the best finished product, the more you’ll want to learn from other musical genres.

Please leave your comments and feel free to contact me directly at or at my facebook page I’ll do my best to respond to you and answer any of your questions. Now, go out there and make great music!


How to Skip Audio Engineering School (Part 2)

How To Skip Audio Engineering School

If you read part 1, you already know why you should skip audio school. You also know that I skipped audio school and you probably remember this amazing fact: 5 out of the last 5 producers that won the Producer of the Year Grammy don’t have an audio degree!

In this article, I’m going to layout the steps you need to take in order to skip audio engineering school.

How To Skip Audio School

1. Give yourself a budget for learning. You’re about to teach yourself a lot about audio engineering. Get the right tools. You’ll need a computer and a DAW. A DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation. I personally recommend Pro Tools. It is the industry standard. That means you will be able to walk into most studios in the country and start working on Pro Tools. That can’t be said for other DAWs. If you want some help choosing the right computer, click here.

2. Set a schedule. Set aside time every-week specifically for your audio education. This can be an hour a day or 40 hours a week. You can learn at whichever pace you want, but don’t allow yourself to stop or stray from your schedule. Remember, this is not a hobby. This is your career.

3. Find some relevant blogs and YouTube channels. I aim to be your number 1 source for free training and free information. However, it’s always good to explore many blogs and YouTube channels.

4. Join Online Audio Communities. I’m a member of several online audio communities. The information in these communities is not always 100% accurate, but people are sharing knowledge about what works for them. You can pickup some good ideas from these communities. You can find them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites created specifically for audio engineers.

5. Find professional quality audio files to work on. It’s hard to tell what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong when you’re working with amateur audio. You should be practicing your edits and processing (EQing, Compressing, etc.) on professionally recorded tracks. That way, you know that there aren’t major flaws in the sound quality. I know that it’s difficult to get your hands on professionally recorded tracks. So, I’m going to leave a Pro Tools session file right here for you.

6. Practice recording. You’ll need to eventually start working with artists. I highly recommend practicing editing, processing, mixing, and mastering before you ever work with an artist. But, when you’re ready, you’ll need to tap into that budget you made for yourself during step 1. Remember, when you acquire recording gear, you will be able to record artists. You’ll have what you need to start the career you want. First, you’ll need an interface (which converts the analog signal from your microphone into a digital signal that your computer can process and understand) and you’ll need microphones. This article will tell you exactly what you need to put together that recording studio. Click here

7. Find a producer you trust. You’ll need advice from someone who has been successful doing what you are trying to do. Find a full-time producer who’s willing to help you round out your edges. There are great resources for this online. It’s likely that producers will charge a fee to examine your sessions and give you professional feedback, but it can really help you get better at your craft. Budget for this. I also recommend attempting to get a recording internship at an active studio. The best way to do this is to bring in business. So, the small recording studio you personally set up will be the catalyst for this. Keep recording bands. You can do it for free or charge low rates, but this is about practicing and building relationships. Soon, these bands will want to take their sound to the next level by going to the type of studio that has $4000 microphones and acoustically treated rooms. You may be able to leverage your relationships with the bands, into an internship.

8. Never stop learning. So you made it. Your recordings are sounding good, and artists want to work with you. You have an edge. But, you need to constantly be a student. Look into processes that you take for granted. You might find out that your noise shaping you use during dithering isn’t as good as it can be. As boring as that may sound, that’s some of the advanced stuff that you’ll be thinking about when you get further into your career as an audio engineer.

9. Build Relationships With Other Producers. Keep going to those communities you joined. Invite someone you respect to co-produce a record with you. Share your new techniques. Other producers will respect you for it. They’ll know you by name, and they might even send a project your way.

10. Build your own studio. Some of us may have no interest in running a business. Freelancing can make you a great living. But, the best way to make a lucrative living as an audio engineer/producer is to own your studio. You will now make what you made as an engineer plus you’ll collect fees for studio time. You’ll have a lot more control over your income, and you can rent it out to your producer friends.

I know that I may come off as anti-school. I’ve been accused of that before. I assure you that I am pro-education. I’m just anti-getting ripped off. Some recording colleges cost $80,000 or more. If you could educate yourself, you’ll take on less debt and have enough left over to buy some amazing gear. In my next article I will dig further into a few of these steps. And remember, as a leader in free education, I have over 100 lessons available for free inside this site. Just click here to get started.


How to Skip Audio Engineering School (Part 1)

Why You Should Skip Audio Engineering School 

You are about to learn how to skip audio engineering school and jumpstart your recording career. I know how to do this from experience. I skipped audio engineering school. I’ve been working professionally as a music producer for 11 years. I own several recording studios. I’ve been hired by platinum selling artists, indie labels, national television brands, and no one has ever asked to see my recording degree.  But, I’m not the only one who took this route. In-fact, 5 out of the last 5 producers that won the Producer of the Year Grammy DO NOT have an audio degree! In this article, I’m going to explain why going to one of the many audio engineering schools is not just a tremendous mistake, but possibly the worst life decision you could ever make.

Why you should skip audio school:

  1. The numbers don’t add up. These sound recording programs carry insane price tags. Getting a bachelors degree in Sound Recording can cost over $80,000! You shouldn’t have to start your audio career in debt. At the beginning of your career, you will not command high prices. You need to build your reputation. Building reputation means working for little or no money just to get your name attached to great sounding records. Taking on the debt of recording school can destroy your career before it even starts.
  2. Most of the professors haven’t worked full-time as an engineer or producer for years. Recording technology is constantly changing. You need to keep up-to-date on new trends and techniques. As much as we all love to hear stories about how recording used to be, we’d be better off spending our time learning what to do in today’s production environment.
  3. The information is available outside of these programs. Music producers are artists. If you ask them how they created their art, they’re likely to tell you. I keep no audio secrets. I post all of favorite techniques and my workflow online for free. There are other fantastic producers doing the same thing. You can learn some really interesting techniques from some of the best producers in the world by searching for it on Google or YouTube.
  4. Audio schools will teach you a little bit about a lot of things. But, what you really need to learn is the essentials. Then you’ll hone your skills by with hands-on practice. Audio engineering schools will spend a lot of time teaching you about the inner workings of different types of compressors, and tell you that FET compressors have a very fast attack. But, will they show you how to properly edit your drums in Pro Tools or how to use your ears to determine the correct type of compression to use? I’ve had interns who went to recording college for 4 years but and still didn’t know how to paste a chorus vocal to the right spot. It’s like having an accountant who knows the components of a calculator, but was never taught how to do someone’s taxes.

I’ve heard people say “You get out what you put into it” while talking about audio school. The same can be said about skipping audio school and educating yourself. Except, audio school charges tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of “getting out what you put into it.” In my next article, I’m going to explain how you can skip audio school and give yourself the audio education you need.

In my next article, I will outline how to skip audio engineering school.