Garageband is a free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that’s easy to use and comes with everything you need to create a song from scratch. This is only exclusive to Apple computers, which is bad news for Windows users. If you are using Windows, there are plenty of great alternatives out there such as Ableton Live and FL Studio. While not free, there are free trial versions that let you try before you buy.
In order to create music with DAWs, you will need a MIDI controller. A MIDI controller acts as your all-in-one instrument, so it’s crucial that you invest in one. The most common form of MIDI controllers are keyboard controllers, which look and feel like traditional piano keyboards.
If you plan to add lyrics to your song, then you will need a studio microphone. Microphones on webcams or headsets aren’t good enough for professional-sounding vocals and can make your song sound low-budget. While studio microphones are expensive, they more than make up for it with their impeccable sound quality. Here’s a list of some of the best studio microphones.
Just like microphones, you can’t use any old pair of headphones or speakers to listen to your own music. Standard speaker systems add artificial elements to audio, like bass boost, that can mask over the actual sound of your music during production, giving you a false perception of your own music. Studio-quality headphones and speakers give you the rawest form of sound, which is ideal for music production. Headphones are often better suited over speakers as headphones allow for the most direct sound to your ears. Sennheiser headphones are regarded as the go-to brand for sound design and music production. Check out their product range here.
To achieve the best possible quality from your instruments, you will require an audio interface. An audio interface converts analog signals from your instrument into digital signals, which allows you to record real guitars, drums, keyboards, and other instruments within your DAW software. Sound will then playback in real-time through your speakers or headphones without latency issues.
Last but not least, you’ll need a pretty sizable hard drive for all your samples. Having lots of samples can eat up your storage space quickly and it’s important to keep them organised.
Now that you’re better acquainted with your DAW, you can finally begin to write your first song. By taking what you learned from music theory, you can use your newfound knowledge to good use and produce some beats fairly quickly. Decide what style of music you want to make and choose the instruments that best utilise that style within your DAW. Start off with some rough chords and melodies so you get a feel of what your music will sound like. Making music is all about experimenting, so keep playing until you hear something you like and take it from there.