Music is an art form that many people desire to break in to. So many emotions can be invoked through song, whether there are vocals or just instrumentation. Like a painting music is not really "necessary" for day to day living, however it makes life more enjoyable and easier to live in times of stress and happiness. Without music, techno rave parties would be completely pointless. Mosh pits are metal concerts would never exist (and the violence conducted in them would be considered criminal). There would be no purpose to bob ones head up and down to the sound of a nice beat, and no opportunity to sing along to the latest pop song.

Do to the need for music I will be writing a how-to article on the basics of composition. I am in no way an expert by definition at composition, or the epitome of composers; however the basics of invoking ones feelings into song is created through a structured process. Even the most experimental art pieces and songs have something in common with the most generic pop song.

Things You Will Need

-A recording interface and microphone
-An instrument and the ability to play it
-A computer (or tracking device, such as an 8 track; though this is relatively uncommon these days)
-Knowledge of VSTs and various musical programs

Step 1

In order to create music, you will first need to be proficient at some instrument. I would highly recommend starting with a piano or a guitar, as they are easy to get a hold of and not to difficult to play (at record). The basis of creating music comes from understanding your instrument, at least on a basic level.

Step 2

Next, it is important to define what you are interested in playing. I am a very open minded musician, and frequently blend genres so as to invoke some sort of feeling. That said, most people tend to stick to one or two genres of music as their primary interest. Remember: Some genres are easier to work in than others. Complex heavy metal mixed with jazz and symphonies is more difficult to compose (and record/mix) than a low-fi indie rock band with an acoustic guitar and a pair of vocals.

Step 3

Next, you need recording gear. If this is not obvious, then I do not know what is. I will now list a general list of things that I use for recording. Please note that I am young and record on a budget. When more money is available, look into other higher quality items.

-Line 6 POD Farm GX is a great starting point for recording good quality guitar (and synth if you have a 1/4 inch jack output). It works by plugging in a USB chord, and latency is virtually non-existent. Built into the Pod Farm program are many different guitar tones, however you do not need to use these if you do not want to. It is very possible to just hook a microphone up through the GX and using it as a pre-amp, so as to record guitar through a amplifier.

-A good recording interface. I would recommend Reaper for those who are on a budget, as it is technically free unless you want to pay for it.

-Research virtual instruments (known as VST's). You can find a range of free ones through the internet. If you have a MIDI keyboard/MIDI controller you can hook that up and be able to play virtually any sound you desire. Prior to finding out about VST's I was limited to the mediocre synth/piano sounds on my bottom of the line CASIO CTK-710 keyboard, however with high quality VST's I am able to sound like I am playing through a 2,000 dollar keyboard.

Some VST's I recommend are Specrasonics Atmosphere (which has been updated to the Omnisphere), Magnus Chior, and EZ Drummer.

Step 4

-In correlation with VSTs, also understand what it means to program instruments. If you are interested in using synth sounds (or anything found in a VST), it is possible to program these things so you do not have to physically play any of the notes. This makes composing an orchestra piece or an instrument you do not have access too (or skill to play) possible. In my own music I have programmed drums and orchestras, without ever leaving my home or being able to play these instruments.

Step 5

-Learn about guitar tablature/notation software. I highly recommend Guitar Pro 5 because you are able to program instruments (by writing tablature/notation then exporting it to a MIDI file and importing it into your recording software). While many of the things I have listed are relative to the physical aspect of music, in truth having all of this equipment and spending all of this money only makes it POSSIBLE to create music. You need a drive and some sort of vision to compose a proper piece of music.

Tips & Warnings

When it comes to making music and looking into different hardware/software, be sure you test as many things as you possibly can within your budget. Expensive items are not always the best, though you may be lead to think so. Some software also requires a massive amount of space, so be sure you are ready to commit to the amount of space required.