Updated: Sep 19
The old adage, “There's no time like the present.” couldn't be more true. There really is no better time to start making music! So many of the barriers that stood in the way of would-be musicians and producers of the past have been completely removed. Now everything you need to create your own music and develop a fan base are right at your fingertips. In this article I want to explore my top 5 reasons why I think you should start making music now.
Apps, Apps, Apps
Reason number 1 why I think you should start making music now is the availability of music apps and software. It is amazing to someone like me who had been making music for nearly 50 years just how far the technology has advanced! I remember being 13 years old and dreaming of the day when I could afford to buy a 4-track cassette recorder. That seemed impossible at the time, but my band mate and I finally saved enough money to buy a used one. That one piece of gear changed everything. No only could we record different parts and layer up a song, but now we could record multiple instruments at once and we could mix our tracks, add effects, and create a better sounding song. Today, anyone with an iPhone and Garageband can record professional sounding music anywhere they go for free. Not only do we have access to professional quality recording software, we also have access to nearly every instrument ever made in the form of virtual instruments. I used to hang out at the local music store and play all of the new synthesizers they had on display. I'm sure some of you are guilty of that as well. It used to be THE thing to do on a Saturday afternoon, although I could have never afforded to buy one at my age. Thanks to IOS and the iPad, nearly every famous synthesizer produced is now available as a virtual instrument for $9.99. Even the free instruments are so good that those are all you really need to make great music. What a wonderful time to start making music!
Inexpensive Instruments and Equipment
Reason number 2 in my list is the availability of inexpensive instruments and music equipment. I was pretty lucky as a kid to have parents that played music. My dad was a bluegrass banjo player he had guitars, mandolins, and banjos propped against the walls of our house. He also began to teach me how to play at an early age, mainly to accompany him on guitar. However, my cousin played electric guitar and I had my heart set on playing keyboard in band with him. I remember begging my dad to buy me a used Yamaha keyboard we found in a pawn shop, and to my surprise he did! Thus began my journey in music composition and song recording. Over the years I have spent a small fortune on instruments and equipment to support my hobby, but as manufacturing costs come down so too does the price of better and better equipment. Today, even the entry level instruments and equipment, such as, guitars, basses, keyboards, multi-track recorders, microphones, monitor speakers, and more, are all so good that beginners can make great sounding songs. And, because the technology is advancing so quickly, the second-hand market is loaded with great gear!
Reason number 3 on my list is online training. Thanks to sites like YouTube, it has become common place to pull out your phone and watch a video anytime to need to learn how to do something new. And when it comes to questions about musical instruments or devices it is no different. Anything you want to learn about music can be found online if you look long enough. Not only are there free videos and articles, but now you can sign up for many online courses taught by your favorite performers. Want to learn how to play piano from Harry Connick Jr.? All you have to do is sign up for his online course. Remember the days when you had to get dressed, go into town, and play in front of your instructor for 30 minutes and week and hope you got it right? Those days are gone. Now if you have been putting off taking lessons because you were uncomfortable with the idea of playing for your instructor and not reaching his or her expectations, you needn't worry anymore. Simply choose your online course, pay your tuition, and follow along with the videos. You can even practice in your pajamas!
Reason number 4 on my list is audience. In the early '80s, when I was busy writing songs and practicing with my band mates, it was very difficult for us to gain a following. As you can imagine, we weren't the greatest of musicians at that point and there weren't very many opportunities for us to play concerts. We made some cassette tapes and shared them with our friends at school and every once in a while we would play music at a get-together or birthday party, but mostly we just worked on music that no one ever heard. My how things have changed! Now, thanks to the internet, I have my music online right next to the professionals. Itunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube, Amazon music, and many, many others all allow you to upload your music and videos. Many of them are even free of charge. And with all of the social media sites on the web now, you are never more than seconds away from your fans! You don't even need to leave your house to perform your latest material, just do a live stream. What's even more incredible is that you can now have fans from around the world and your music can be pretty much any style you want. You no longer have to stick to a popular genre and be at the mercy of a record label to have a career in music. The sky's the limit.
Reason number 5 on my list why I think you should start making music now is collaboration. Making music is just so much fun. When my dad started teaching me how to play chords on the guitar it simple changed my life forever. Music has lead me to make some of the deepest relationships I could have ever hoped for in life. Some have been life-long collaborations, while others have only lasted for a few hours at a jam session. That is one of the greatest joys of music. It's universal. It's magical. And when you have those kind of connections, it's life changing. When you spend the evening jamming with friends all of the stress in this life just melts away and you are left feeling like anything possible. Music moves people and it can move you as well when you write something that you never though was possible. I simply can't say enough about it, but when you start making music you will understand.
Learning an instrument can be a scary prospect. I have tried, and failed, a few times myself, but the rewards outweigh any struggles you might face along the way. If you have ever wanted to learn to play and instrument but have had second thoughts, I want to encourage you to give it a try. You can purchase an inexpensive instrument, find some online instruction, and learn to play, all in the privacy of your own home, without any criticism or expectations from anyone besides yourself, and when you are ready you can share your music with the world! Don't miss out on something that could change your life in the most profound way.