Digital DJ Tips reader G Ford writes: "Please, if you can help me with my question? Do you have any structure theory or any basic config of making a house track in Ableton or some other program? For example: After how many measures should I bring the bass or keys, pads in and so on? Are there some examples I can look at, or do you know any place I can find something like this? I'd really like to produce my own music but am struggling for where to start."
Digital DJ Tips says:
Remember, there is no right and wrong. Music is art, it's about creativity and imagination. If there were a blueprint, it wouldn't be those things. Having said that, there are conventions, and the thing is that you need to understand those conventions before you can purposefully break them and in doing so create something that's "yours".
Best way to learn them is to DJ (DJing teaches you song structure very fast). But also, take apart, however roughly, a track you like. Use a pen and paper to map out where the producer brings things in and out. You need to have a basic understanding of beats, bars and musical phrases of course - but that's the same for DJing (and it's taught very simply in How To Digital DJ Fast).
Do this, and you'll learn more in that one lesson than you ever would looking at some written blueprint for how it "should" go. But two other resources I can recommend are Rick Snoman's Dance Music Manual, and also a video course by sometime Digital DJ Tips writer Chris Cartledge called OD Total Music Production, which is excellent - here's his video explanation of the course:
I hope those resources help you, but I'd like to ask our readers how they think you ought to get going too.
So - over to you. What advice would you give to our reader? What's the best way to "learn the rules" when you're just starting out in production? Please share your experiences in the comments.