From basslines to waveforms: could TikTok videos teach you the basics of music production?

An avid music fan, 書き込み, analyses and listens to music – but now he takes a shot at making it

Like a lot of expectant mothers, my mum played music to me when I was in the womb. 当時の, she was hopelessly infatuated with reggae; my dad was part of a Rastafarian sound system. So it was perhaps inevitable that I, あまりにも, would grow into an avid music fan. 実際には, my career is centred around music; writing about it, listening to it, analysing the culture around it and, when we were permitted to, attending music events across the country and the rest of the world.

に 2013, I learned to DJ, which allowed me to channel my love for music into curating playlists and sharing my passion publicly. しかしながら, in all the time that I’ve been immersed in music in its many different forms, I’ve never attempted to make my own. I had a keyboard when I was nine or 10, but that was as far as it went. The closest I came to getting into music production was when I worked at a music school and I was allowed to take a production course for free. だが, CarellとGuguMbatha-Rawの間のシーン, I had to drop out because I had so much going on in my personal life.

But the hunger is still there. I’ll often play tunes on my 21-month-old daughter’s musical toys. しかしながら, when it comes to trying my hand at music production, I struggle to know where to begin. There is an abundance of information available online, from simple beginners lessons, all the way up to advanced masterclasses for those wishing to brush up on their engineering skills. With the advancement and democratisation of music production technology over the past couple of decades, bedroom producers are commonplace and many of those who’ve become adept at making music kindly share their experiences online.

Finding something relevant to meet my needs proves a tad overwhelming, しかしながら, and I get lost in a sea of waveforms, EQ tips and info on achieving a decent level of dB. So I turn to TikTok, using simple hashtag searches. The hashtag #MusicProductionBeginners brings up a host of user-generated videos that really help cut through the noise, so to speak.

One of the producers I encounter is Kade, who posts TikTok videos under the handle @musicbykade. He manages to break down how music production works in perhaps the simplest way I’ve ever heard, hailing the convenience of loops – little repetitive clips of music that can be used as the foundation for myriad genres. 私のために, I was angling to try my hand at a bit of “doof doof” – loud electronic music centred on a bass-heavy kick drum.

Kade’s video uses GarageBand, free software for Apple Mac users, but I use another free platform called Waveform. The basic premise and layout for most production software is the same, so I follow his succinctly delivered tip to download some loops, put them into Waveform and get started. He recommends a site called cymatics.fm, where there are free loops and I start downloading house music samples to finally take my first baby steps into the world of production.

Another TikTok creator, Mikey C, drops a gem in his own series of production tips: “Here’s my best advice for first-time producers – your first songs are ない going to be hits, so don’t spend forever on them,」と彼は言います. Nothing technical there, but it’s solid gold for anyone who has lofty ambitions and feels frustrated when they can’t match up to their favourite artist. Learning the basics is about exploration and experimentation, not relentlessly overworking your very first attempt at a track – Mikey C’s video was less than 30 秒の長さ, but his tip probably saved me hours and hours of fruitless tinkering.

Another of his videos suggests reaching the chorus of a song within 45 秒. “Anything later is going to be too long of a wait and you’re going to lose listeners,」と彼は言います. While I’m nowhere near making a song yet, it’s incredibly useful to have an experienced producer share a key tip that’s easily remembered.

On my hashtag travels, I stop off at Sarah Maddack’s account. Maddack has more than a million followers and describes herself as “the silliest rapper you know”. Her comedic approach is immediately disarming. Not afraid to laugh at herself, she explains how to create the sound of a “crowd” screaming by recording different types of screams with your own voice, and then layering them to create a multi-scream, group effect. I have a microphone, which I usually use to record podcasts and radio shows, so I decide to put it to use in my new producer “lab” and record my own voice.

Another video I find incredibly helpful is a demonstration of how to make field recordings from TikTok creator Arthur Caplan. “You’ve reached sound design TikTok,” says the text on his video. There’s no talking, just text explaining what he’s doing. So I take my dictaphone outside to get some recordings of the trains going past on the local line, birds chirping in the trees, and the trusty sounds of people running.

The simplicity of the tips I discover on TikTok have helped me take the plunge into a world that I had always felt some trepidation towards. I’ve learned that music production doesn’t have to be this grand expedition, where you spend hours meticulously arranging and creating sounds. It can be as basic as recording the sound of leaves blowing in the wind, grabbing some premade loops and basslines, talking into a mic, uploading it all into your production software and simply having fun with it. Just don’t ask me to play any of the “music” I’ve made so far.

Why not try something new? Discover the benefits of just having a go #LearnOnTikTok

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