Posted October 18, 2017 by Mike Mineo in Features

4 Things the Best Music Producers Have in Common

Conversations with some of the best music producers in the history of music show some commonalities that can’t be ignored. If you want to take your skills to the next level it’s a good idea to emulate what they do and experience a new level of success.

A Natural Ear

No matter how much you surround yourself in music, nothing can compensate for having an ear for what sounds good. Of course, when you take that natural ability and add thousands of hours of practice that’s what makes the best the best and the rest just mediocre.

There isn’t just one path to success when it comes to producing music, and it’s important to focus on the things you can change without dwelling on what you can’t. If you don’t have a natural ear for music, you can still be a great music producer, it will just take some extra work.

A Perfectionist Side

Attention to detail and an inability to accept anything less than the best is one trait that can’t be overlooked. It’s been said that Dr. Dre had rappers perform again and again until they got it right, even if they had already done a take that was “good enough”. It’s that extra effort that can separate an album from being just good to being great.

Take an inventory of your previous work and ask yourself whether you’ve been a perfectionist or if you settled for just good enough. It could be that you need higher quality samples instead of settling for stuff you found from a Google search. Check out Cymatics.fm for an awesome bundle of free goodies.

A Strong Work Ethic

At the end of the day it all comes down to doing the work. As a producer there isn’t anyone looking over your shoulder making sure you’re doing what you should be doing and putting the hours in. In fact, if you’re good at what you do and love doing it you’ll probably be putting in an insane amount of hours and getting lost in your work.

How often do you practice your craft? Would you say you’ve been treating it like a profession or just a hobby? If you haven’t been immersing yourself in your bliss maybe it’s time to get back into it and push things to a new level.

A Knack For Getting The Most Out of Artists

In the Dr. Dre example above, it’s more than just demanding perfection from the artists you work with, it’s about coaching them on how they can pull the best out of themselves. If they cut a track the same way over and over again it doesn’t matter how many times they do it. You have to provide instructive feedback, and help them find their personal best performance.

Think of yourself as a director of a movie, they don’t just tell the actors to do the scene again and again. They help them get into the character’s head and help them feel the emotions that need to come out on screen. You can do the same thing and watch the intangible qualities of your music increase with each new performance.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound. I used to write for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].