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How Do I Become A Music Producer?

So, you think you want to become a music producer? Good for you! Music production is an exciting way to blend multiple skills into one career. Music producers are musicians, creators, innovators, composers, networkers, muses, and tech experts all rolled into one. 

Music producers work in every area of music, from today's greatest hits to music theater, video games, and theme park ride recordings, as well as TV and movie soundtracks. According to Berklee School of Music's Career Development Center, music producers make anywhere between $10,000 to $1,000,000 per year, so the income potential is as broad as the career offerings.

Read our post What Does a Music Producer Do to learn more about the many hats music producers wear on any given day in the business.

5 Steps to Launch Your Music Production Career

Becoming a music producer is an extremely competitive career track. It requires a highly developed set of skills and a natural intuition or sense about current and future music trends. Also, because most music producers will tell you "who" they knew was almost more important than "what" they knew — add savvy networking to the skills you need.

Step One: Learn Everything You Can About Music

Music producers know their stuff. They are superior musicians, most of whom play more than one instrument, can read music, and draw from a range of other musical traditions and genres to keep things fresh and moving forward for their clients. Therefore, the more proficient you are as a musician across different instruments and genres, the more marketable you'll be in the professional realm.

Besides reading music, knowing music theory, and playing multiple instruments, future music producers also are adept at music composition and recording. You'll produce your recordings, destined to be audition material at some point. So, the more professional those recordings are, the more beneficial they are for your career. You can also practice by offering to record and produce your friends' music and audition videos.

Step Two: Take Advantage of Related Summer Camp Programs

Summer music camp programs offer more than instrument masterclasses. Many of them now offer programs for teens and young adults interested in learning composition, recording, and production skills. These camps, along with future internships, give you the chance to learn about technical music and sound equipment you may not come in contact with otherwise.

You'll meet other students like yourself, and the program instructors may be the recommendation you need down the road to get into the right music program or internship.

Step Three: Get a Degree From a Respected Music Program

Attending a respected music program and graduating with a related program is another way to continue learning, growing, and networking. Music producers often take care of project budgets and business-related responsibilities. As a result, you may decide to major or minor in the music business to round out your knowledge and skillset when it's time to apply for internships and jobs.

Step Four: Apply for Internships 

Many theater and music production companies hire summer interns to support the workload and reduce their payroll. Some of these summer internships are volunteer. Others are relatively low-paid. In either case, quality summer internships are win-wins, giving aspiring music professionals like yourself a hands-on learning opportunity and introducing you to an extended network of people who can advocate for you in the future if they believe in your abilities.

As the professionals at recordingconnection.com state, "The best way to become a music producer is to hang around a bonafide music producer…someone who makes their living being a music producer." Internships are a wise way to do that.

Step Five: Get Your Foot in the Door

If you're lucky, a combination of talent, experience, and timing will land you a job in a production studio reasonably quickly. Most of the time, music producers climb their way up from the bottom by working their way into a production assistant gig. 

As the production assistant, you have the chance to establish essential relationships and connections with studio personnel, engineers, and artists. In addition, working in an apprentice-style position puts you in place to gain powerful referrals and recommendations for future music production jobs based on your proven track record. 

A Rewarding Career

Music producers work with the most talented people in the music industry and have opportunities to travel worldwide. There's no better time than NOW to put your plan in place and begin working towards your future music career goals. Connolly Music wishes you well on your path, wherever it may lead you.