Why All Songwriters Should Learn How to Record Their Music


Sarah Spencer

The music industry has changed. For the better! Songwriters can now record their music at a high level. Recording music is accessible and can lead to creating and releasing your own material, collaborating with others, earning income, and having fun. It's an important skill for any songwriter to have in today's industry. | From SongFancy.com

Bold statement. But times have changed. We’re in a power-to-the-indie-creator moment. And I encourage you to take full advantage of it!

Recording music for songwriters is more accessible (and more fun) than it’s ever been.

I encourage all songwriters to learn how to record their music.

[Psst — See all my favorite recording gear and resources for songwriters!]

The music industry looks dramatically different than it did 10 years ago.

And the role of the songwriter? It’s probably changed the most.

Now days, if writing music is something you want to do professionally, you need to have basic music production skills.

And if you’re just enjoying making music as a hobby, it’s an incredibly fun and satisfying creative outlet.

Recording music is a natural segue for songwriters in our evolution as Artists with a capital A.

If you’re thinking about giving it a try but are hesitant, here are some reasons why all songwriters should learn how to record your own music:

1. The music industry has opened up.

Gone are the days of extremely fancy, expensive equipment that only a very few, fancy, educated people had access to.

Now, the most popular music is being made in bedrooms on laptops.

[It’s how I make music, too! Check out some of my favorite gear]

Music production has never been more accessible. And in combination with streaming and social media, it’s completely changed how the music industry works.

Which brings me to my second point…

A pair of studio headphones hanging on a mic stand in a home recording studio for songwriters.

2. More power to you. 💪

Because music production equipment and apps are so accessible, you have even more power over the sound of your music.

You learn how to record, and you will always have your music on a recorded medium without having to bring in a team of experts to make certain things possible for you.

Which means…

3. You can create and release your own material.

Literally! You can put your own music out there. You can own the masters. You can build a following. You can spin off as many artist personas as you like and share you work with the world in a new way.

You get to create the music you hear in your head.

Collaborating with others is still important, and I’m definitely not telling you to stop doing it.

I’m encouraging you to take your power and enjoy the process of making your music, exactly as you envision it.

Woman singing into a mic at her home recording studio desk.

4. Opens new avenues to collaborate.

Music production brings musicians together.

When you know how to record, you can now record your friends.

Need a guitar part? As a friend to come play and track her. Share stems with another producer you admire. Add your vocals as a guest verse on someone’s track.

There’s no need to book studio time just to collaborate with friends. (plus, you’ll make so many songwriter/ producer friends!)

5. You get new ways to earn income from your music.

Know how to produce, and you can always get paid to record others.

Get really good at it. As accessible as recording music is, it’s not something that can be learned over night. It’s still a sought after skill.

Produce demos for other songwriters. Be a go-to vocalist or player that can ship out dubs. Get mixing gigs. Mastering gigs. Train others. Get your music placed in film, tv, and other visual media.

6. It’s fun!

It’s an incredible feeling to create the music you hear in your head, and hear it back. I wish this feeling for every songwriter.

I know so many songwriters who have more complete visions for their music, beyond the lyrics and melodies. When you learn the skill of recording music, you open up yourself to a whole new world of creative expression.

Woman recording at her home studio.

How to teach yourself basic recording skills as a songwriter

YouTube is your bff.

There is an abundance of knowledge out there on YouTube. Before you invest in any classes, check out YouTube. Overwhelmingly, YouTube has been my teacher. In the beginning, I learned more through free content and personal experience than I did through any course.

Here are my favorite YouTube channels for learning music production:

Make Pop Music – Artist/Producer Austin Hull

In the Mix – Michael Wynne

Waves Audio – Sound Basics Series with Stella

Lyre Music – Alina Smith

Venus Theory

Find music production channels you dig, Subscribe, and start binging their content.

Anything you have a question about? Search it in YouTube. Chances are, there’s a video out there with the answer.

When you’ve gotten the basics down, check out some classes than can help you level up in specific areas.

Get a trial or lite version of a DAW.

Wondering which DAW is right for you? For the most part, all the popular DAW’s are great—Ableton, Logic, ProTools—and industry standard.

If you’re interested in a particular DAW, sign up for any free trial they may offer and dive in. Set aside that 30 0days or 2 weeks to really get to know it.

Use “Getting started in [DAW Name] Tutorial” on Youtube to help you get up and running.

Some DAWs also offer Lite versions of the software, which have just the foundational features for a lower cost than the full version. You can start with a Lite version, then expand to the full version when you’re comfy with the workflow and ready to spend the money on it.

Research recording equipment for songwriters.

When selecting the right equipment, research is your best friend.

Luckily, there are a ton of great entry level recording equipment options out there! You can find most of what you need on Amazon, or at your local music store.

I’ve put together a selection of some of my favorite entry level recording gear to get you started.

Once again, YouTube is super helpful. You can get reviews on anything you’re considering purchasing from people who are really using the equipment.

While for the most part, you get what you pay for, do your due diligence and research before making a purchase.

What basic recording equipment do you need?

You can create some very professional sounding recordings with entry level equipment, some of which, you may already have.

You’ll want to start doing some research. There’s a lot out there!

Here are the basic pieces of gear you need to get up and running:

  • A USB interface
  • A condensor microphone
  • Computer specs for recording music
  • Keyboard or midi controller
  • Cables and adaptors to connect it all
  • You can find links to all of these products on my Songwriting Resources page

I’ve got a comprehensive guide for you inside of Song Club. It’s everything to know before you buy. Check it out here!

Join a songwriting accountability community.

There’s no friends like songwriter friends. When you run into a hiccup connecting your interface, or want feedback on a new song you’re working on, a songwriting community like Song Club is a great way to get help and support.

Inside Song Club, we have a ton of recording resources for you as you get your home studio set up. You’ll also learn arrangement and mix tips specifically for songwriters.

We’ve got weekly song feedback, and a fresh songwriting prompt so you’ll never run out of ideas.

Come hang with the group during one of our live songwriting sessions. It’s how we focus on our craft and hang out as writers. It’s a great feeling to see your songwriting team working alongside you. We got your back!

Start your trial and get all the inspiration and community support Song Club has to offer.

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Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer is an award winning singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN.

Born in the Sunshine State, Sarah Spencer writes vibrant, shining americana/pop music. She works in Nashville TN as a singer/songwriter, as well as a UX designer for a marketing firm.

Follow Sarah on Spotify to get her latest releases.

You can jump on her email list at SarahSpencer.com or purchase her debut EP, "Freshman Year" on iTunes.