I´m going to list few tips I wish I knew when I started producing music 18 years ago.
Hope this helps.
1. Listen to music 24 hours a day, anything from jazz, funk, blues, rock to EDM, pop, hip hop… I´m sure you can find artists that resonate with you in any style of music.
2. Get a good pair of headphones and listen to tons of records on them, don´t burn your ears, listen carefully, study records you love and create your own taste.
3. Get a good pair of monitors, monitor stands and some acoustic treatment for your room, try to keep everything in perfect symmetry, don´t place the speakers too wide or too close to each other, experiment till you get the best sound stage, phantom center and stereo field and then listen, listen and listen to records, study how they sound in your room and learn your monitors like the back of your hand.
4. Whenever you struggle or doubt yourself remember why you got into this in the first place. Making music is fun. If you’re struggling you’ve forgotten the fun.
5.There is a difference between a track you casually throw up on SoundCloud and something you’ve officially released. Put care and value into your releases. People respond to this.
6. If you spend more than five minutes tweaking an EQ on a single track probably do not need any EQ at all, don´t overcook it!
7. Same thing with compression, saturation, limiting, effects, etc… don´t use every plugin you got or every trick you know on every song, less is more.
8. Never let money impede your creative progress.
9. Back up your work. Get an external hard drive and save every move you make.
10. Mastering is 90% volume and tonal balance and 10% fixing your mix.
11. Mixing is all about balance, volume balance, dynamic balance and spectral balance. Is not about analogue gear or expensive plugins.
12. Make sure you check your mixes when the track is loud and when the track is quiet.
13. When the track is quiet you should be able to hear the most important parts of your track clearly.
14. Keep volume at a decent level while mixing and producing, it helps you to see the whole picture.
15. You never finish a mix… you abandoned it.
16. The best remedy for a bad mix is a good song.
17. Learn all the rules about gain structure, EQ, compression, side chain, processors, tricks, harmony, scales, chords, mixing, mastering… and then forget it all and be yourself.
18. In fact, most technical aspects of production are overrated. Focus on the emotion and the energy of the song.
19. Ignore vanity metrics like “number of tracks” or “song length.” These have no bearing on the final quality of the song.
20. Provide value to others. In time, they’ll provide value to you.
21. You don’t need a million twitter followers to be a success. All you need is one thousand true fans.
22. If you don´t feed the industry, the industry won´t feed you back. Stop complaining.
23. It doesn’t matter what DAW you use.
24. It doesn’t matter what plugins you use.
25. It doesn’t matter what sample rate you use.
26. It doesn’t matter what gear you use.
27. Don’t resist learning music theory. Music theory is a map. You can navigate without it but it’s handy to have.
28. Don’t ever make excuses with regards to tools. You can make amazing music with 100% free software.
29. The final production is what matters — not how it’s made.
30. If you don’t enjoy listening to your music you’re doing something wrong.
31. Build your sample library.
32. Pick and layer good samples.
33. Don’t work if you’re not feeling inspired.
34. Finish everything.
35. Let tracks sit for a week or two before you take another listen and finalize them.
36. Go to live shows and listen how live musicians sound like.
37. Ear training : sing every note you play, listen to tons of records, study how those records sound on your monitors, headphones, laptop speakers, earbuds… use ear training apps to recognize chords, scales, frequencies, effects… never stop learning.
38. Pick 10 songs you love and listen to them on every speaker/headphone you got, learn how those songs translate on every system.
39. Listen to your work on every speaker, earbuds or headphones you got, from studio monitors to mono alarm clocks, car, laptops, tablets… check how your mixes translate.
40. Compare your work to your favorite songs, make a playlist call ¨Mix reality check¨ and listen to some of those songs before you start mixing, during mixing breaks and compare your work against them before you bounce anything. This is hard, we all know, but it will help you more than any course, university degree, piece of gear or Youtube tutorial, everything you need is in those records you love.