Music Production 101: How to Record Your First Song from Home

You have a talent for singing and you already wrote or got a song that you want to launch? You can do it!

The digital progress revolutionized the music industry. Nowadays, you don’t have to get an agent, go to a studio, and pay a big-shot producer to launch your work. People create successful music in their basements, garages, and bedrooms. All they need is a lot of talent and some technology to aid the process. 

As for the distribution, you can always rely on free online services. Maybe your first song won’t go viral, but hey: you still have that chance. 

It sounds easy because it is! We’ll guide you through a few simple steps on how to record your first song from home. 

  • Get the Needed Equipment

If you want to produce high-quality music from your home, a basic computer won’t do the trick. Yes; a powerful machine is good enough, but you’ll need additional equipment to record the track. Otherwise, you’ll listen to the recording and wonder: “why isn’t my microphone working on my Mac?” The built-in microphone on your laptop may work, but you need a better one for music production. 

In addition to a good computer, you need a few other elements in your starter setup:

  • High-quality microphone
  • Headphones
  • Top-notch sound card (audio interface)
  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW – software for music recording, editing and mixing)

If you have no idea what equipment to get and how to set it up, there’s a lot of research to do. You can talk to a musician friend who’s familiar with the process, or you can gather online resources to figure out what to get. 

  • Start the Process

Most musicians wait until they have a clear plan for their song before they start recording. They finalized the lyrics and melody, and they have an idea of how the beat and overall production will sound like. 

You don’t have to be such a perfectionist. Songwriting, recording, and production can occur at the same time. Don’t feel shy to record several versions of the song to find the best sound. Since you’re doing this in your home, you’re not wasting anyone’s time so you should feel free to experiment.  

Record all ideas on structural parts and harmonies that occur to you while you play around with the song’s foundation. Save one day of the week for analyzing the work you’ve accumulated. Write notes on your favorite experiments and think about developing them further. 

  • Work on the Rhythm Section First

Once you’re done with the previous stage, you’ll have a good idea of how you want the final product to turn out. Now, it’s time to record the drums/bass. All other instruments will follow the rhythm set by this foundation, so it makes sense to record it first. 

  • Progress with the Harmonies and Vocals

It’s time to build a chord structure on the basis that you already have. This means adding harmonies through guitar, horns, synths, piano, and any other instrument you plan to include. Most songs need a combination of instruments for a complex melody, but they still have a dominant one. Decide what the dominant instrument will be, and record it first. 

Then, you’ll be ready for the vocals. The rule still stands: record the dominant lead first, and you’ll proceed with the background vocals.

You’ll be left with the small nuances, such as piano and percussion fills. Those are the details that most musicians record last.  

  • Last Step: Mastering

At this point, you might consider hiring a mastering engineer, who will take your track and bring it as close to perfection as possible. That will cost you a bit more than $50 per track, depending on the professional you choose. 

But if you want this to be a 100% DIY project, you can do the polishing to improve the quality.        

It’s Not Easy, But You Can Do It!

This is not a process that you’ll complete in a day or two. A single song requires a lot of time, dedication, and patience. Recording and arranging require some skill as well. 

When you get the basic equipment, you only need to start experimenting. You’ll be getting better by the day. When you have the final version of a decent track, you’ll know it. You’ll be ready to share it with the world!                         

Author: nohoarts