You see them all over town, on the subway bobbing their heads, waiting in line with oversized headphones on, just grooving to their own beat. These are the future masters of music, the real creators of sound. These are the dreamers that are going to shape the way people interact, controlling emotions with things as simple as a beat and some words mixed into a melody.
Who knows, maybe you're one of them. And if you're not, maybe you want to be one of them, one of those people who can make their own beats. But how do you get that kind of skill? How do you make your own beats?
Just like everything else that's great, you start simple and build from there.
Listen to music – really listen.
The first thing you need to do when learning how to make your own beats is start really listening to music. I do not mean casually the way most people do, like in the car or while doing chores. I mean listening to music like a musician does, like an artist does.
More than likely you should run through your favorite songs multiple times, each time focusing on the different pieces to the music. Grab yourself a pair of quality studio headphones, and listen to the best format of music you can. You're looking for all the subtle things, the things that people miss and do not realize make or break a song. Collect those kinds of pieces in your mind, and figure out any kinds of patterns you see that cause you to fall in love with a certain piece of music.
Vary your exposure
Another big mistake people make when trying to learn how to make their own beats is to only focus on the kind of music they like to listen to. While you can definitely get a good education that way, exposing your self to more and more genres of music, ones that you never thought you'd listen to, will get your creativity really cranking.
If you ever find yourself struggling to create, or hitting a roadblock in your music, put something on that you've definitely never listened to on your own. Something will spark, something will kick in and you'll blow through the block on your way to creating beats.
Get quality software
Now that you've built up your mental catalog of sounds, you're ready to try your hand at making your own beats. A crucial part of the process is buying a piece of software that's going to be easy to learn, but powerful enough that you do not quickly outgrow it.
There are mountains of choices out there, and the best way to find out which one is right for you is to make a list of your goals musically, and then go look for reviews online that match those goals. Ask your friends and fellow musicians if they use a piece of software, and see what they like and do not like about their program.
Lay down the drums first, everything else only after
The biggest tip I can give newbies who are learning how to create their own beats is to first lay down the drums before adding or fooling with anything else. The drums are the absolute backbone of any song, and depending upon the genre will literally make or break the song. Have you ever heard a killer rap tune with weak drums? Did not think so.
Once you've fooled around with the drum line, feel free to mix and layer things as you wish. You're going to be doing a lot of creating, and do not fear any kind of mistakes that you make along the way. The creative process is just that – a creative process – and even the best beat makers and producers are still experimenting and getting things wrong. Keep to it and make killer music!