7 Rookie Mistakes Music Producers Make (And How to Avoid Them)
At Cosmic Academy, we work with music producers of all skill levels. Some come in having never opened a DAW, while others come in with PhDs as Doctors Of Music (yes, seriously!). But no matter what, we believe in the concept of “always being a learner.” So, regardless if you've been producing for 10 years or no years, you’re never going to know it all. And that's what makes this journey so fun!
So with that said, let’s pretend we truly are beginners, and let’s go through a few common mistakes we see producers and artists make (and how to avoid them!)
Mistake #1 – Starting without a Plan
If you were to start a business, you’d have a business plan. At Cosmic Academy we treat our students like Entrepreneurs. But instead of creating a “product,” you’re creating music!
With that said, we need to think in similar terms. Just like a business would have monthly goals, quarterly reports, and yearly plans—so should you! Jot down what you want to accomplish. Track it, and take it seriously! If you treat this like a hobby, it’s just going to stay that way!
Mistake #2 – Expecting Fast Results
Okay, so now you have a plan! Congrats. You’re off to the races with a clear vision. But music production is not so different from other pursuits in life: working out, learning how to cook, playing a sport, etc. You’re not going to wake up in a month and transform into that professional you look up to.
This stuff takes time. Mastery takes years! We always hear, “behind every overnight success story is10 years of hard work.” Luckily, at Cosmic Academy we see our students getting some amazing results faster than that all the time, but don’t expect them! Have patience. Adding the expectation of fast results will just add to pressure and anxiety. You have time.
Mistake #3 – Chasing Trends
A lot of people come into the electronic music business, or music production in general, because they saw some artist at a show, and they want to be just like them! That’s totally fine; inspiration is important.
However, if you chase the “hot sound,” or whatever “cool genre” is next, you’re never going to find your “own sound”! And to be clear—even if you were to chase trends, by the time you master that sound, people will be on to something new. At Cosmic Academy we focus on finding YOUR SOUND, so you’re never chasing.
Mistake #4 – Going at it Alone
We preach "community" so much at our academy. And if you’ve been producing music for any amount of time—you begin to realize—it takes a village to move a mountain. Music is a collaborative art form, and so is the industry. If you’re a naturally independent and secluded person, try to open up to the idea of networking with others. Music can be a difficult and lonely place if you’re just doing it by yourself. That’s why we have multiple feedback sessions every week, office hours, and our students are constantly meeting up. Having a supportive group around you is everything.
Mistake #5 – Waiting for Perfect Timing
Can’t count how many times a music producer will tell us, “I’m waiting to launch my Artist Brand after X, Y, and Z happens.”
Listen, Cosmic Academy has been around for over 10 years; we’ve taught more than 500 artists and have worked with with thousands of producers. Trust us when we say: you will never be able to “time” this thing perfectly. It’s best to just start now.
There’s a saying in entrepreneurship: “done is better than perfect.” And many times that’s true for music as well. If you wait forever for “perfect,” you’re not going to see any progress. It’s better to try, and fail, than to never try at all.
Mistake #6 – Thinking “Busy” is “Productive”
Just because you produced for 8 hours today doesn’t mean you made the most of that time. Be really honest with yourself on this one. Were you actually making it productive? Or were you tweaking that snare drum for 8-hours 😅 …
Haha we know what it’s like! Be honest with yourself about efficiency and where you need to clean up your workflow. Don’t just do “work” to be busy. Always try to get the most of your time. It’s our most valuable resource.
Mistake #7 – Taking it Too Seriously!
Leaving this for last because it’s so important.
Remember, this is the entertainment business! People listen to music as an enjoyable activity. Fans attend shows to bring them joy. You’re the central aspect of that process. And if you’re taking it too seriously, you’re missing the point.
There’s a lot of jobs out there that are literally life-or-death (doctor, soldier, lawyer, etc.). Sometimes we’ll see music producers acting like they’re Heart Surgeons with their music. Once in a while, you need to take a step back. The end goal of what you’re doing is not to save lives. The end goal of what you’re doing is to make people feel good, happy, entertained, and bring some light to their life. Don’t take it too seriously! Have fun! 😁