So You’re Looking to Become a Record Producer (Part 1)

If you’re anything like me, you love music. Chipotle is great, video games are awesome, but music creates this completely different feeling altogether. It’s euphoric. If I could bathe in that feeling I would. And somehow, being a musician, that sentence feels right.

That’s what music does. It gives us this overwhelming sense of peace which allows us to feel completely comfortable with who we are. But there comes a point in every musicians life where we need to make a decision – a career in our passion? Or the dreaded “regular person job”. I suggest the former, and seeing as you clicked the post, I think you already know which career path you want to take.

1) Touring Musician.
The dream of becoming a rock star is one we’ve all had. If you get out there and put every ounce of energy you have into it, becoming famous is an attainable goal. However, when musicians go on tour it isn’t all peaches and cream. They are constantly lugging around all of that heavy gear and driving for hours and hours on a daily basis. They’re on a constant grind and sometimes consider themselves lucky if they make enough money at a show to pay for gas. (Not to mention the constant paranoid fear that their van is going to break down and leave them stranded in the middle of Shamokin, Pennsylvania). It may take years before touring musicians can establish themselves and some people just don’t have the patience and drive to wait that long.

2) Live Sound.
Prepare to be yelled at by artists who think they’re Dave Grohl, but act more like Justin Beiber. This is an arduous job that requires running cables, setting up microphones, adjusting PA’s and dealing with technical issues. Be warned, there will be a night when you only have room for 15 microphones, and the 16 piece folk band is complaining that their washboard player doesn’t have a mic. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve heard horror stories where the sound engineer walks home with less than $30 for a 5 hour night. Baby, baby, baby, no.

3) Music Teacher.
If this is what you want to do, be 150% sure. Being a music major is tough. You’ll have to take a boatload of classes. Some are only worth half a credit and you’ll be required to learn instruments that you have no desire to play. Not to mention the fact that when schools need to cut programs – music is the first to go. If you major in music education, all you can do is teach it. If you decide at some point teaching isn’t for you, you’ll end up with a useless degree – you can say goodbye to all of your time and money that went into school – and you’ll be back to square one asking yourself what you want to do with your life.

4) Record Producer.
Being a record producer combines the elements of every musical job there is. You’ll experience the thrill of teaching when you help a band in pre production. You’ll enjoy the technical side of live sound without the stress of working in a live environment. You’ll get to live vicariously through every single band you work with (and as a bonus instead of putting all your eggs into one basket and hoping you make it as a touring band, each and every band you work with has a chance of hitting the big time. This means only one of your bands needs to land for you to make a splash in the industry.) A record producer can make a living by being musical, creative, and helpful, all from the luxury of their own studio.

So now that you know you want to produce records for a living, you’ll want to learn yourself what a producer actually does. In part 2 I’ll explain just that. Please stick with me through these articles and if you enjoy the content, share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else you hang out on the internet. Peace and rock on.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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