7 Skills Music Producer Need That No One Talks About
Producing great music is more than just knowing how to work in a DAW. Suppose you want to be a successful music producer. In that case, there are several critical skills you need to develop that go beyond technical and musical knowledge. In fact, if you master these skills, you’ll often produce better music, keep clients happy, and have more fun in the process.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the seven essential skills that you need as a music producer, but no one is talking about.
Be sure to grab your notepad; let’s begin!
#1 The ability to be a good leader
Having excellent leadership skills is at the core of being a successful music producer. When you wear the producer hat for a project, your job is to help the artist create a clear artistic statement. One that is authentic to them while also pushing them into new musical territories they didn’t know was possible for them.
To do this well, you must develop trust with your client and keep them motivated and excited about the project from start to finish.
The producer’s job is to navigate the entire recording process from pre-production to final master. They need to ensure that the project has the right people, stays on budget, hits milestones on time, and keeps the artist happy.
Some producers (like Rick Rubin) provide such a safe and creative space for artists that they don’t even need to be musicians themselves to be highly effective. They are effective at bringing an artist’s vision to life simply by understanding the person’s psychology.
So remember, developing leadership skills is often more important than technical knowledge to be a great music producer.
#2 The ability to communicate and collaborate with other people
To be a highly-efficient and professional music producer, you’ll need to have a great team of people working on the project alongside you.
A great producer will have a hand-selected team of musicians, studio technicians, and engineers that they can trust to get the work done.
A professional producer is aware of the team’s strengths and knows how to communicate to make sure everyone stays inspired, creative, and clear on the direction of the music.
Also, with remote recording studios becoming more popular, excellent communication skills have become even more critical.
It’s crucial to effectively communicate what is needed for any given song to remote players since there isn’t instant feedback like in a traditional studio.
The challenge of remote recording is turn-a-around time. You have to wait until the track is delivered before taking notes on the performance and requesting revisions.
As a music producer, you bring value to the table when you establish a team you can trust that clearly understands your musical vision. This will avoid lots of back and forth that slows the production by days, if not weeks.
It’s more important than ever as a music producer that you sharpen your communication and collaboration skills to ensure a smooth production from start to finish.
#3 The ability to be organized and efficient
As a producer, you are the captain of the artist’s vision and chart the course of the project. Your ability to be organized and efficient in this role is critical for success.
A huge part of being efficient during the production process means having the best systems. You need to have all relevant information about deadlines, budgets, resources, and talent are in one place.
This could involve using project management software like Monday.com or Asana.com.
Most independent artists have a limited budget and time, so it’s part of your job to know how to maximize the resources for the project. The only way to accomplish this is to have good planning skills that set realistic expectations of what can be done, for how much, and for how long.
When you have this mapped out for every team member to see, it helps clarify the scope of the recording, increasing productivity and efficiency.
At the end of the day, when you organize and layout a clear plan, the artist and team will execute more effectively.
#4 The ability to think on your feet
Even with the best systems in place and the perfect plan, you will encounter unforeseen problems during the recording process.
It could be your favorite microphone not working, the preamp sounding scratchy, or an intern making the wrong comment that ruins the vibe (I was once that intern (add grimace face emoji)).
As a producer, you are the person ultimately responsible for ensuring that issues get handled without ruining the momentum and spirits of the artist.
One of the roles of a great music producer and audio engineer is to provide a “distraction-free” environment that fosters creativity and exploration. Because creativity is often a battle of the mind (don’t believe me, read The War of Art), many things will derail the musicians in a session.
So it’s your job as the music producer to think fast and foresee and diffuse any situation that could potentially kill the mood.
Your ability to adapt in any situation, whether it’s a significant setback or spotting an unexpected opportunity to enhance the song, will be a superpower in the studio with any type of client.
#5 The ability to be creative and innovative on-demand
As a music producer, you are responsible for taking an idea out of someone’s head and transferring it into reality.
You get hired because the musician needs you to help guide their creative vision to a completed project. Because let’s face it, staying creative and following through on projects is hard work.
It takes discipline to show up to every session ready to engage, inspire, and help an artist develop their song into something extraordinary. As the project leader, you have to make sure that everyone is motivated and ready to give their best performance.
The quickest way to lose morale and money is by losing the creative mojo during the session. To be a great music producer, you need to pivot and keep the inspirational energy ready and on-demand.
#6 The ability to be a good listener
As a music producer, you are working with experts within their craft. You must take the time to listen to all of their ideas and allow them to bring out their ideas to the table.
If you don’t listen well, an artist could develop a bad taste in their mouth and not want to continue working with you in the future.
Suppose you listen to others’ advice during sessions. In that case, you open yourself up to new learning opportunities that make you a more creative and innovative producer in the future.
Also, it’s critical to actively listen to the music that is being recorded. Music is fluid, and sometimes new ideas will present themselves while recording a take. Also, sometimes ideas that seemed good at the moment turn out to be a distraction in the song.
As a music producer, you must learn to spot opportunities to add parts and remove unnecessary elements.
When you become a great listener to both the music and the people involved in creating it, you will often come out with a much better recording.
#7 The ability to take criticism and learn from it
Nothing can ruin your day more than an artist telling you that the track sucks.
But the harsh reality of working with artists is one day, you will get fired from a job. Not everyone is a good match, and sometimes you don’t learn this until you begin the project.
Just remember that when someone hires you to produce their project, they are trusting you with their “creative baby.” If it’s your first time working together, sometimes you won’t find out you’re a terrible fit until after the project has started.
Unfortunately, this will lead to some ego-crushing criticism that can make you want to quit.
However, failure is the best way to learn whether we like it or not. During these moments, you discover more about yourself as a person and as a music professional.
Remember, taking criticism and failure, then learning from it, is critical for your future success as a music producer.
Great music producers understand that they are hired to bring an artist’s vision to life. This means helping them develop their sound and managing the project from start to end.
It takes more than just technical knowledge to be great at this. You will need to develop the soft skills discussed throughout this article.
However, suppose you are reading this article and realize that you need a music producer for your own project rather than become one. In that case, hiring the right producer will be the most critical decision of your career.
Supreme Tracks is ready to connect you with all the resources necessary to turn your next project into something incredible.
Reach out today to connect with the right music producer who will make sure your song sounds awesome on playback, don’t wait!