Music Production 101 - Overview

Level: beginner

In the past, music production was a linear process. Now we have powerful DAWs and you can mix or swap different stages according to your experience and personal preferences. Be aware that this can affect your productivity. It’s always a good idea to review your workflow from time to time. The production of music is usually divided into three stages: pre-production, production and post-production.




It is about capturing the initial musical idea and developing it to a point where you like it and have enough excitement and motivation to continue working on it. But first of all, record it as soon as you have it in your head! In time you will have a collection of different ideas and you will always have something to start with.

Composition, Arrangement and Songwriting

Creating a complete song from a one-bar loop, an interesting chord progression, a catchy chorus or a hook is a big job. It’s often done in collaboration with other band members, songwriters and music producers.

Recording a demo

If you’re working in your home studio and you’ve already done the arrangement step, you’re probably very close to having your demo. It does not have to be perfect, but it should be a complete track that helps others to understand your musical idea.

Finding references

There is a fine line between copying musical ideas and using other tracks as a reference. Nowadays, reference tracks are used in almost all stages of music production, especially in sound design and mixing.

What’s missing

This step is about planning your next steps. With a demo and reference tracks, you should have an idea of what is missing and whether you can do it yourself or need outside help. Think about the people you can work with and the time and money you need to invest to get your perfect song.


Sound design

The amount of sound design work will depend on the genre and instruments in your project, but it’s always a good idea to think about the sounds of individual instruments before recording them. For virtual instruments, sound design can be done after recording MIDI tracks.


This is often one of the most expensive parts of music production. Having a plan will save you time and money. It’s always a good idea to work with someone more experienced if this is your first time.


After editing each track, you should have a good-sounding rough mix. This includes selecting the best takes, cleaning up, correcting pitch and timing, and applying effects.



The blending of individual tracks into a cohesive whole is a big job, and one that requires a lot of knowledge and practice. There are a million different techniques and ticks that can improve your mix, but you must always keep in mind your artistic vision and the sound you want to achieve.


In the age of streaming and singles, the main job of mastering is to make sure that your track sounds good on all devices and is at industry-standard loudness levels.

This technique is used:

Genres: all

Instruments: all

Stages of production: general