What are some mistakes to avoid as a producer when starting out?

As electronic music continues to grow in popularity, more and more people are turning to digital audio workstations (DAWs) and synthesizers to create their own music. While this can be a rewarding and fulfilling process, it’s easy to make mistakes that can ruin a track or make it sound worse than it could. Here are some common mistakes that I have struggled with when starting out, and that you should strive to avoid when producing electronic music.

Lacking a creative direction

It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your track before you start creating it. This will help you stay focused and avoid wasting time on ideas that don’t fit with your overall concept. Having a clear concept can also help you choose the right sounds and effects to use in your track, which can make a big difference in the final product. It’s good to have an initial phase that you use just to gather ideas or to experiment with different instruments, but once you have decided on the fundamentals for your song you should try and focus on the goal that you have set for yourself at the beginning.

Expecting your first song to sound perfect

You may be trying out music production because of a producer you really like, or because you’d like to create a song or a particular sound you enjoy. However, even though it may look simpler than learning how to play an instrument, composing electronic music is complicated and the songs that top the charts are the result of years of practice and honing one’s skills. Do not set the bar too high for your first song, go with the flow and don’t put too much pressure on you if your song does not sound great. Get it out there, everybody started from somewhere!

Underestimating the difference a good mix makes

The mix is one of the most important aspects of a track, and it’s easy to overlook it in the excitement of creating new music. Be sure to spend time balancing levels, equalizing frequencies, and panning elements to create a cohesive sound. It can be helpful to reference other tracks or use a frequency analyzer to help you get a sense of how your mix compares to professional releases. If you want to keep it simple, start from the volume of each different instrument: making sure there is a good balance between the drum and the bass, or between a vocal and a lead instrument is the first step to make your songs sound great.

Ignoring the importance of a good arrangement

The arrangement of your track plays a huge role in how it sounds and feels. Be sure to spend time on the arrangement to create a sense of flow and structure. This can involve adding or removing elements, changing the order of sections, and experimenting with different transitional techniques.

A way to make sure your arrangement sounds good is to give it a solid basic structure: alternate verses with choruses, while changing a few instruments or effects in each different section. This can help you create a song that while sounding familiar is not boring to listen to.

Spend some time to work on transitions between different sections of your song: while it can be difficult to transition quickly from a powerful chorus to a relatively quiet second verse, it is definitely worth it to make sure that there is cohesion and that all sections work well together and help you tell a story.

When you finally find a catchy melody, you’d like to reuse it throughout the song. While it may work in certain scenarios (around the world, around the world…), it can be helpful to alternate repetitions of the same melody with variations of the same. It does not need to be complicated: changing a few notes or adding an effect can make an instrument or a whole section of your song sound interesting.

Skipping the mastering process

Mastering is the final step in the production process, and it’s important to give your tracks the proper attention they deserve. Skipping the mastering process can result in a track that sounds unfinished or poorly balanced. Mastering involves optimizing the overall level and frequency balance of your track, as well as applying any necessary effects to bring it up to industry standards. Guess what: many producers do not do their own mastering, but actually outsource it to a mixing and mastering engineer. Mastering is an art that takes ages to perfect, so don’t worry if you want to rely on a professional.

Not saving and backing up your work

It’s essential to save and back up your work frequently to avoid losing progress due to technical issues. How many times have I lost a catchy melody because my computer crashed! And no matter how hard you try, it will always feel like it doesn’t sound as good as the version you lost. It’s also a good idea to save multiple versions of your track as you work on it, in case you need to go back to a previous version for any reason. Using Dropbox, Google Drive or any other cloud storage with a versioning system is a great idea to keep your songs safe!

Not experimenting and trying new things

One of the best things about producing electronic music is the endless possibilities it offers. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new sounds, techniques, and ideas. This can help you find your own unique style and bring freshness to your tracks. Many of the established producers on the scene today wouldn’t be there if they didn’t try something different, so don’t stick to the norm!

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can produce electronic music that is polished and professional. Your first track will most likely not sound great, but practice makes perfect! Keep up the good work and you will notice your improvement with every new track you release.


Can you become a music producer on a limited budget?

Are you interested in getting into music production, but worried about potential expenses? In practice, you do not need a lot of expensive equipment to get started.

What you need to get started

Do you have a recent computer, made in the last five years? If so, you will most likely be able to run the necessary software to start producing electronic music. Unless your songs get extremely complicated, with hundreds of different instruments and tracks, even a laptop will be good enough.

All you need on your computer is a Digital Audio Workstation, such as FL Studio or Ableton, and you will be ready to start. Both FL Studio and Ableton offer a free demo to try out the software. This way, you will be able to see for yourself which DAW is best for you without spending a dime.

I am sure you know that you can spend thousand of dollars in VSTi, or Virtual Instruments, and other software. Yet, I promise you the basic plugins included with your DAW of choice are more than enough to create your first, complete song.

One more piece of equipment that is important, and that you most likely already own, is a pair of headphones. Otherwise, a pair of speakers is also great to use for music production.

Producing your first track

To produce your first track, you do not need the highest quality or the most expensive equipment. After all, you’re just starting out. You will have time to buy better equipment once you realise that you want to invest more money into this hobby, or even make it a career.

When I got interested into music production, I did have any equipment at all. Just an old computer my parents gifted me, and a 10$ pair of headphones. Admittedly, the quality of tracks I produced with that setup was terrible. However, that old PC gave me the opportunity to experiment and to get used to the software. After a while, I figured out that music production was something I was really interested into. Only then I started investing more money into equipment and software to improve the quality of my songs.

Buying additional equipment

With regard to hardware equipment, something that helped me a lot was buying a MIDI controller. This way, I was not restricted to FL Studio’s piano roll when composing. Rather than that, I could just practice playing and finding out what notes went well together. Even if you do not know how to play a piano (I didn’t, at the time), that should not stop you from buying a MIDI controller. For me, even after many years, it is a wonderful feeling to find two chords that sound great together.

It is true that music production can become an extremely expensive hobby; however, this should not scare you off from trying it out: a number of famous artists, such as Billie Eilish, Skrillex and even the Foo Fighters produced many of their hits on a laptop with limited equipment.

To recap, these are some of the hardware and software tools that can help you start producing songs.


  • A computer
  • A Digital Audio Workstation (FL Studio, Ableton, Logic…)
  • A pair of headphones (or speakers, or both)

Good to have:

  • An audio interface
  • A MIDI controller
  • Microphones (if you plan to record someone singing)
  • Acoustic treatment

How to use MIDI files? Learn music production the easy way.

If you think that MIDI files are an outdated technology, I would suggest you reconsider your opinion. MIDI files do not exactly sound great, unless you have relative expensive equipment. MP3 files, while larger, sound much better! Even so, MIDI files still have many uses if you are interested in music production.

If you stumbled upon this post, chances are that you are interesting in one of the following categories, where MIDI files are still very popular:

Music Production

MIDI files are an incredible resource when it comes to creating music. They allow you to easily import and export notes across a variety of devices on different operating systems. It’s simple to jot down a few notes on your Android MIDI editor on the go. When you get home, you can import them on FL Studio or Ableton on your PC or Mac.

MIDI files are there to help you overcome your creative block. They are great even if you are simply searching for inspiration or trying to analyse how your favourite artist created his latest banger.

You can download MIDI files of popular songs or original melodies that you can remix in a few minutes at Carlo’s MIDI.

Learning to play the piano with MIDI files

Synthesia is a software that lets you practice playing the piano through a MIDI keyboard or with your own computer’s keyboard. After importing a MIDI sequence in the software, it shows you what notes to play. While this is not the standard way of learning an instrument, it is awesome if you are not comfortable reading music sheets.

Normal MIDI files do not work very well with Synthesia. Considering that most MIDI sequences are a close copy of the original song, it becomes apparent how trying to play them in Synthesia will get complicated quickly. Adapted MIDI files often come with a difficulty tag. Taking into consideration your skill level, they will let you proceed at higher difficulty levels at your own pace.

How MIDI files can help you study music theory

Have you ever wondered why a song chorus is so catchy, or how to reproduce a song you like? Regardless of whether you are a seasoned musician or a beginner, MIDI files allow you to break down the song into different instruments and parts. This lets you analyse chords and sequences with ease. It also lets you exercise your musician’s ear by isolating single tracks or removing some completely.

Software like MuseScore can help you turn a MIDI into actual sheet music, but be careful with that. The conversion from MIDI to sheet music still lacks a few important details that make sheet music readable or not. Thus, it can be a good idea to ask someone who actually knows how to read sheet music to help you. Something else you can do is to simply download a professionally made music sheet.

Practice Singing

If you are a singer, MIDI files can be very helpful when practicing. When you need to rehearse a song on your own, a smartphone can easily play the MIDI file back to you.

While it is easier to download an MP3, a MIDI gives you control over each instrument in the track. For example, MIDI can help you hear better the voice notes by increasing the volume of the voice track. When you are confident you have practiced enough, you can lower the volume of the voice track or just mute it.

Live Performers

Equipment such as a sound module can render MIDI files and make them sound like a real orchestra or band. Connecting them to your audio system, they allow you to replace a sick member of your band, or letting you perform solo. Then again, MP3 files can sound good as well. However, having a well-made MIDI file, with exact velocity and notes can be even better.


While MIDI files have been around for decades, they still have many different uses. Whether you are still making your first steps in the journey that is learning to play or create music, or you have already several years of experience, they can be of great help in enhancing your production.