Being a Music Producer can mean many things and you’ll probably work in lots of different environments. In this blog, we’re going to show you how Rockschool’s Music Production grades can help you prepare for working in a recording studio.
You might find yourself sitting with your laptop and a pair of headphones mixing and editing your latest work or you may find yourself in a studio working out how to get the best sound out of the musicians you’re working with.
The coursework tasks are creative tasks that get you working with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and, at grade 1, look at how you, as a producer, are getting prepared for working with an artist by making sure that everything you are doing is clearly organised and in time. By working out how to write music that goes with a background set of chords, you can then work out ‘guide’ or ‘ghost’ tracks which another musician can listen to so they get an idea of what sound you want to produce.
By the time you get to Grade 8, you get to specialise and, as an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) producer, you might be sent a track that a singer has recorded into their phone and sent across to you so you can turn it into a full-scale dance track. Some of the greatest collaborations of recent years have started life like this. By the time you get to grade 8, you will have learnt how to use all sorts of techniques and skills to be able to add depth and space to their line and to add all sorts of other things to it. You can do this using any software and then apply your knowledge to working with the software that might be in the studio you go and work in.
Professional Recording Studios are filled with all sorts of equipment and knowing how they work, what they are for and how they work with other bits of equipment is pretty vital. When you’re working with a band, you’re going to need to know what microphones to use and where to put them but you’ll also need to know what cable to use and where to plug it in so you can get the best sound to work on. For example, when and how might you need to ‘balance a signal’? The graded exams take you through all of this gradually and also explain some of the old formats for recording, storing and sharing musical data so you can feel totally confident about what’s in front of you when you get into a studio.
Interested in a career in production? Fancy yourself as a producer, studio engineer or sound designer? Check out our list of careers that a music production qualification could help you achieve...
The best instrument you’ve got as a musician is your ears and, as a producer, it’s important that you can work out what instrument or track needs to be the most prominent or how to ‘fine tune’ its sound. Preparation for the listening paper helps you understand how to do this and how to recognise it in the work of other musicians. It also takes you through how different scales, chords and other features are used in particular styles so you can know how to use them yourself and collaborate with others to help them find their distinctive sound. Your increased knowledge will also help to identify and correct any mistakes that might have been made along the way.