i get a lot of questions about like, making music. like, how to get started, what kind of setup you need, like basically just how to navigate the grey area between wanting to make music and being a person who makes it. here is an example of such a question, which was asked by an anonymous reader of this tumblr:
I have been non stop bullied all my life and have never fit in and the only thing that has literally saved my life has been music. I have this burning feeling that follows me around (and always has) that makes me feel like I MUST create something musical. I am itching in my own skin to do this and am depressed when I feel like I can’t or it will never happen. I need some advice. Can you give me a basic idea for a really shitty home set up to record? I can’t ask anyone else. please. x
at first, i thought that i should probably ignore these questions because i might not be the best person to answer them. when i first started making music on a computer, i was 17 and living alone in a completely empty house in las vegas. i was on dial-up internet, and i had no friends period, let alone friends who were musicians who could help guide me through the process. at the time, i’m not sure it would even have been possible to find out what i needed to know by asking people, because the practice of making stuff on a computer and distributing it via the internet was a lot less common than it is now. people were still figuring it out - pitchfork’s readership was probably a tenth of what it is today and there were no track reviews on the website, there was just a “FREE MP3” section that wasn’t updated much and consisted mainly of promotional giveaways from a few indie labels. the paradigm of the MP3 blog, of websites that actively seek out and post about MP3s or of unsigned acts successfully getting press based on self-recorded material they post on their own websites didn’t exist.
plus i had to walk five miles in the snow every day just to get to school etc.etc. i mean i’m not trying to bag on anyone or say kids have it too easy or anything, the point i’m trying to make is that if you’re on an internet connection reading this on a computer, you have the same tools i had. i mean i was on a pentium PC running windows 98, so technically you probably have better tools than i had. i didn’t have anyone to ask - there was no choice but for me to figure out how to make music on my own. and i kind of feel like whatever quality i have or had that enabled me to do that is kind of an important quality to have when making music, you know? there are people who get to have really amazing and fulfilling careers in music not because they’re particularly great at making art but because they’re prolific self-starters who get things done competently and often. it’s possible that the impulse to just figure something out on your own rather than rely on others for anything is often the exact location of the line between people who can do music and people who can’t.
but then i remembered claire telling me about how being around a lot of musicians and actually seeing people make records was absolutely essential to the process of her getting to the point where she could make one and i realized that the music industry is a place that is kind of hostile to people who don’t conform strongly a few very established character archetypes and that maybe one of the reasons i was able to figure things out on my own is that being an angsty white male teenager gave me a pretty clear path to follow
so in the interest of helping out people who don’t have a super clear path to being a person who makes music, here is what i have to say about starting out, if anyone cares
PART ONE: WHAT EQUIPMENT YOU NEED
the first thing i want to make explicitly clear is that the most important piece of equipment required to make music is your brain. if you are using your brain, and you have good ideas, you can make compelling music with anything. regardless of your circumstances, if you are reading this now, i can basically guarantee you that untold hours beautiful, affecting, and important music have been made with fewer resources than you have at your disposal right now.
do you know the story of the gordian knot? i think they talk about in watchmen. the gordian knot was a knot in greece that could not be untied, and prophets and mystics or whoever believed that whoever could untie the knot would become king of something. alexander the great wanted to be king of everything, so he attempted to untie the knot. he arrived at the place where they kept it and the knot was the absolute grossest shit ever, all these flies and rancid grease and sticky substances of unclear origin, alexander the great walked in and almost threw up and was like “well, fuck this” and sliced the knot in half with his sword. suddenly a big thunderstorm happened which was interpreted as a sign from zeus that he was satisfied by alexander’s solution to the challenge of the knot and had given him his blessing to go be king of a lot of stuff.
it’s like the part in raiders of the lost ark when someone brandishes a sword in a really impressive technical display of swordsmanship at indiana jones and rather than engage him directly in a one-on-one physical fight, he just takes out a gun and shoots the guy. the human brain is extremely powerful, and you’re not going to be able to get anywhere in your efforts to make good music if you aren’t willing to use it. all gear, all software, all instruments are totally useless if you don’t know what you want to do with them. it’s not a person’s equipment, or a person’s recording setup that makes someone good at music. it’s the person. the people who are really good at music could probably make a great song with their voice, a spoon, and a tape recorder. some people have managed exactly this. if you have nothing to express, no ideas, no vision about what shape you want the art you make to take, there is no gear on earth that is going to fix that for you. millions of dollars’ worth of top-quality instruments and recording equipment sit unused in the rec rooms of affluent hobbyists worldwide, neglected but for a sloppy, semi-annual run through “back in black” or “blowin’ in the wind”. that stuff won’t make you good, and holding it in your hands won’t suddenly fill you with ideas. if you are capable of making interesting music, it’s because of something that is already inside of you right now.
PART TWO: WHAT EQUIPMENT YOU NEED (SERIOUSLY)
this depends on what exactly you want to accomplish, and there are a bunch of different paths you can take. like, depending on your interests and your temperament and your specific skillset, you may want to join or form a band with others. i have no idea how to do this, and given the general volatility of band-type partnerships, it seems like it’s very difficult to know how to do it properly. since you are on the internet, and you are reading this tumblr, it is possible that what you want to know about is the way that i started, which is something that i am completely able to tell you about.
something that’s very important to me is that i like to be able to do everything myself. some people view collaboration as a magical and dangerous process that, like alchemy, can confound expectations by mutating the most mundane ingredients into something new that possesses a value far greater than the sum of it’s parts. i do not feel this way. it’s definitely helpful to be able to talk through your ideas with another person and have smart people around you to bounce things off of, but the actual act of standing in a room playing music with other people has always felt to me like a catastrophically inefficient way of working. during the few collaborative situations i’ve been in, while i was jamming i just felt like i was killing time waiting for everyone to get tired of the novelty so i could start doing the actual work. a room full of thinking, feeling autonomous people can come up with sounds or melodies that one person working on their own could not, but in my experience someone is still going to have to make decisions about what sounds or melodies are going to get used and how they’re going to get used. someone’s going to have to arrange all of the raw materials into a coherent whole - if you have more than one really experienced and talented songwriter in a room, it’s possible those decisions can be reached democratically by a group, but i think generally those people are rare and it is therefore very rare to find more than one of them in a room together, getting along well enough to meaningfully collaborate on something. this is why the “tyrannical narcissist” and “eccentric loner” archetypes are so common among musicians. the safest, simplest way to make sure something gets done is probably just to do it yourself.
happily, you very likely have everything you need in order to do it yourself right in front of you. trent reznor famously took on a job as a janitor at a recording studio in order to make the demos for pretty hate machine late at night when there was no one else in the building. you will not have to do this. “the manual”, the KLF’s book about the process of creating a number one single, there’s a lengthy chapter about the process of applying for a bank loan to cover the cost of using a recording studio. you will not have to do this either. here is what you should do.
the first thing you’re going to need is what is called, in industry parlance, a digital audio workstation, or “DAW”. some examples of programs like this are apple garageband and apple logic, ableton live, and some other programs i have never used with names like reason and cubase and protools that we won’t talk about because i have no idea what they are or do. some of these programs are more powerful than others and some have capabilities others do not, but the differences between them are ultimately unimportant compared to the capabilities they share. they all, for example, let you record multiple, overlapping tracks of audio, and they all allow you to play digital keyboard-controlled instruments, many of which are bundled within the program with the option to add other outside instruments at your discretion.
probably the easiest way to get started equipmentwise is to buy a macbook laptop running apple OSX and has apple’s garageband software on it. all macbooks have built-in microphones, so there will be no need for you to buy one. any recordings you make with the built-in macbook microphone will not sound as good as a recording made with a better one and a preamp or whatever, but that doesn’t really matter. if you are reading this because you are at all interested in or appreciative of the music that my friends and i make, it’s quite possible that many songs you love were written on a macbook running garageband and contain sounds that were recorded with the built-in macbook microphone or generated by the generic stock instruments that come bundled with the garageband software. rihanna’s “umbrella”, which is one of my five favorite songs of all time, is based around a drum loop from a pack of stock drum loops for garageband that apple sells.
garageband is very user-friendly and can do a lot, and it’s also very similar to apple’s higher-end DAW, logic, which makes switching over when you eventually outgrow garageband very easy. switching over to any DAW isn’t too difficult, though, once you use one long enough to realize that they all effectively do the same things. you need a program to allow you to record via a microphone or external input, to play virtual instruments via the laptop keyboard, MIDI, or an external controller, to edit and add effects to those recordings, and to arrange those recordings into a song. there are some things some programs can do that others can’t do, like ableton is great for sampling because you can easily just drag a wav or mp3 into it and change the pitch or tempo to fit it into whatever you’re working on, but 90% of the important work you do in any program will be the same no matter what program you’re using. beethoven went deaf at 26 - he could still write symphonies. you have a computer, which probably has a microphone in it, and a connection to a worldwide telecommunications network that contains scores of freely available and easily pirated software programs and sample-able recorded sound. you can do almost anything.
if you’re on a PC, or a computer which does not contain a microphone, garageband+macbook mic might not be a valid setup for you. PC users may want to jump directly to ableton live, which is what me and almost everyone i know uses, people without microphones will want to buy a microphone. if your particular vision for what kind of music you want to make requires the use of a particular instrument, you may need to purchase that instrument. it’s not really possible, for example, for a computer to convincingly replicate the sound of a guitar. if the sound of a guitar is absolutely essential to your vision, you will need to buy a guitar. i do not know a lot about guitars, so i cannot really help you in your efforts to buy and learn to play a guitar. happily, people have been making music using guitars for decades, so there is no shortage of information about guitars on the internet. maybe start by figuring out what types of guitars and guitar effects were used to make music that is similar to what you want to make and going from there.
if you have some money, and find working with just a computer and a built-in microphone limiting for some reason, there are some other things you may want to buy. at some point you may need an audio interface - something that plugs into your computer via USB that has a bunch of useful plugs on it. an audio interface will let you plug things like guitar cables and professional-quality mic cables directly into your computer, allowing you to record more high-quality audio and record real instruments like guitars or synthesizers directly. it also lets you record multiple inputs at once, or output different things through different outputs simultaneously. like, if you had a band all playing together in a room and you had each of their instruments plugged into a different input, you could record all of them at once as they play through a song. another thing you might want is some kind of controller - some kind of keyboard, for example, that either plugs right into your computer via USB or through the MIDI ports in your audio interface and lets you play virtual instruments on your computer with a full-sized real-life keyboard.
audio interfaces can run very cheap or very expensive depending on what your needs are. for performing live, you’ll need an interface that has very little latency, which means that if you have a guitar going through your computer via an interface, there’s not a huge delay between the time you play a note on a string on your guitar and the time people can hear it coming through the soundsystem your computer is hooked up to. for recording, you need something with very high audio quality. the apogee duet is generally considered to have very good recording quality and it is not super expensive, chances are that for purposes of recording you will probably never need a better interface than a duet.
when you hit a wall in your attempts to make a specific kind of sound, find an example of that sound or something similar to it being made and figure out how it was done. a synth sound eluding you? research songs that have the sound you’re looking for and find out what was used to make them. there are software recreations of most hardware synthesizers available for free or for purchase. figure out which synth you want and then acquire the digital version of it. do the reverb effects plug-ins you’ve been trying to use fail to give you the sound you want? research the different kinds of reverb and if necessary buy a piece of hardware that can produce, for example, spring reverb, which is impossible to faithfully recreate on a computer because they lack the actual springs that real spring reverb hardware use to create the effect.
PART THREE: ON SONGWRITING AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
the stuff that someone does after having made the decision to make music and procured the necessary equipment to record or perform that music is different for each individual. like, what max martin does once he reaches that point is different from what philip glass does, etc.etc. it’s kind of my belief that each individual’s creative process is meaningfully unique, to the point where even a completely faithful attempt to totally imitate or recreate an existing composition or recording will still be in some very significant way different from the thing it is attempting to copy. i think all people are individuals whether they want to be or not, and individuality is something that is inherent to all art, even when people don’t want it to be. in their book, the KLF illustrate this point by asking the reader to imagine, for example, a techno record that is just a roland 808 drum machine playing a kick drum at 120 beats per minute for six minutes. then to imagine another techno record coming out several months later that also consists entirely of a roland 808 drum machine playing a kick drum at 120 beats per minute for six minutes. though the two records are functionally identical, one will be better than the other. one will evoke different feelings than the other. one will have more soul, one will be more melancholy, one will be sexier, one will be more boring, one will be more exciting. i believe that this is true.
in their book (which is available online as a PDF that you can and probably should go read for free right now) the KLF also laid out a set of ground rules for successfully making pop music. about the term “pop music” - i once read an interview with gene simmons where he asserted that the blues is the basis of all popular music, in a way that seemed to kinda imply that he saw the blues as the immaculate, perfect realization of the form and all subsequent popular music based on the form as imperfect descendants, as diminishing returns. kind of a creationist view of pop music - that, like the universe, it was immaculate at the moment of it’s creation and that it’s all been downhill since then. variations on this idea - the idea that modern popular music is a bastardized and inferior variation on some perfect predecessor that did everything better and earlier - are often referred to as “rockism” by critics and the like. i feel the opposite way - i feel like the blues is like the primitive evolutionary ancestor of contemporary pop music and what’s happened since the inception of the form has been progress, evolution, that it has been improving. when i use the term “pop music”, i’m using it as an umbrella term that encompasses every evolution and mutation of the blues form. everything with verses and choruses that people are meant to enjoy listening to.
when the KLF use the term “pop music”, though, they are explicitly referring to music that appears on the pop charts or is intended to appear on the pop charts. their “golden rules” that chart pop must follow do not apply to everything that i’d use the term to describe, but are still pretty useful as a template to use to begin writing songs of your own. you should really go read their book to find out what the rules are, it’s not that long, but the gist of it is:
- it must have a dance groove running through the entire record that the current generation of music buyers will find irresistible
- the song should be structured as follows: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, breakdown, double chorus, outro
- the song should be less than three and a half minutes long
- you will need some lyrics
there’s also some discussion of tempo - different types of rhythms and different musical forms lend themselves to different tempos. the best way to sort this out is probably to find a program that lets you find the bpm of a song and use it to find the bpm of several different songs you like. 120 is kind of the most basic default tempo of popular music - it’s usually too fast for rap music unless you’re flo-rida, but it’s essentially the default tempo of house music and if i recall correctly it’s also the tempo of “smells like teen spirit” by nirvana. current rihanna style ibiza dance pop is usually around 128bpm, rap is generally around 80-100, reggaeton and the weird slower pop like katy perry’s “wide awake” and rihanna’s “diamonds” that has been popping up lately is around 110, indie rock is between 135-160, jungle is like 140-180, and dubstep is essentially the same as jungle, just at half-speed. what’s usually called a “drop” in a dubstep song is the point where the beat in a song suddenly goes from, for example, 160bpm to 80bpm, reducing to half speed. “bubble pop!” by hyuna is around 150bpm - during the bridge, where the “drop” is, the beat slows down to half that, around 75bpm. shifting a song’s tempo between a base speed and half-speed or double-speed is a signature element of the form, the way that pairing clean, melodic verses with loud, distorted choruses was signature element of what ended up getting called “alternative rock”. the incorporation of innovations like those into the larger vernacular of popular music is what allows it to evolve into newer and exciting forms.
when you’re writing songs of your own, another thing it may help to consider is the idea that popular music is a conversation - that pop songs are not completely self-contained, sacrosanct bodies, but pieces of a larger conversation. consider “be my baby” by the ronettes - the iconic drum beat at the beginning of the song has been recreated and re-used by hundreds of bands for hundreds of songs, like “just like honey” by the jesus and mary chain and “what’s a girl to do” by bat for lashes. in the strictest sense of the word, these songs are “derivative”, but only to the extent that all popular music is. they respond to and build on things that came before. it can be difficult to know what to do when you’re staring at a completely blank page and placing an expectation on yourself to fill that space with something completely original - but especially in the realm of popular music, that’s not really how the creative process actually works. you’re not creating something from nothing, you’re not starting from scratch. music was not a silent vacuum before you decided to interact with it - it’s a living, growing thing, and you’re responding to it. it might be helpful to think of your song that way - as a response, or a reply to something. it might help to fill that blank space you’re confronted with when you open a new project in your DAW with something that inspires you, something from the larger conversation of popular music that you want to respond to. a drum beat, a bassline, a clip of ambient sound, a chord progression, anything.
if that kind of talk makes you worried about the concept of or laws surrounding intellectual property, consider how arbitrary and skewed intellectual property laws are. the “be my baby” drum beat, one of the most distinctive and important parts of the song, is not protected as intellectual property under copyright law. the rhythmic elements of songs like drum beats and basslines never are. if the jesus and mary chain had quoted lyrics from “be my baby”, they would have had to pay royalties to the song’s writers, but they were not required to pay royalties for using the song’s distinctive drum beat. some people feel that copyright law is inherently racist, and that the elements of a song that are protected by copyright law, e.g. the lyrics and melodies, are “white”, whereas the elements that aren’t, like drum beats and basslines, are “black”, and that the laws are racist in that they’re designed explicitly to protect elements that are important to “white” music at the expense of the elements that are important to “black” music. regardless of the veracity of this argument, i think it’s not unreasonable to suggest that copyright laws represent a flawed and at least somewhat inaccurate picture of what a pop song is and what makes the form work, and that they’re not necessarily the best guide to understanding the real difference between an original work and a forgery from the point of view of an artist.
PART FOUR: ON PRODUCTION AND ENGINEERING
here is a list of everyone who worked on the taylor swift album “red”. by my count, the album’s liner notes credit 44 different people doing technical work - 44 producers, mixers, and engineers. the level of quality and polish exhibited by huge, major label projects like the taylor swift album requires a huge time investment, lots of money, and a huge team of people. you probably do not have lots of money and a huge team of people. your music is not going to sound as good as the music made by people who do.
you will need to learn about production, but exactly what information will end up being valuable to you is different from individual to individual. if you want to make music that’s textural, you will probably need to learn about effects like reverb and distortion. if you like electronic sounds, you may need to learn about synthesizers, both real and virtual. you may need to learn about EQ and compression, you may not. much worthwhile music has been made on extremely meager setups without the benefit of any of those things - but on the other end of things, skrillex is really good at mixing and engineering, and in his case the production is an absolutely essential part of what makes his music creatively and commercially successful. there is no absolute, external, unimpeachable standard of how music is supposed to sound. popular music is a conversation, a dialogue, a living and constantly growing thing. there are qualities that most successful pop songs of any given timeframe are likely to have, but the popular consensus about what music that sounds good sounds like is constantly shifting. timelessness is a fake idea. if your music doesn’t sound like the stuff you’re trying to get it to sound like, that might be a good thing. no listener wants to hear something that sounds exactly like something else. the process of learning how to get the sounds you want is completely unique to you, and the quirks that arise from the results of that process are part of what makes your music distinctive and new. aggressively trying to correct those quirks might be what’s necessary to help you to grow as an artist, but it might also erase some of the things that make what you do special or interesting.
you should work hard, and be relentlessly dedicated to self-improvement, but you should also give yourself some credit for being one person trying to do a job by yourself that major labels employ one hundred people to do. allow yourself to let something be done when it feels like it’s done, not when it conforms to some arbitrary external standard of what a finished song is supposed to sound like. try to step back from the work, and ask yourself it’s something you would, as a listener, enjoy listening to it. that’s the only standard that should matter to you right now. when someone is giving you $20,000 to make an album, and you need to worry about how good an album needs to sound to be accessible enough to sell enough copies to make that money back, then arbitrary external standards of what a finished song is supposed to sound like might suddenly become important. happily, at that point, if necessary, you can probably also pay other people to start handling things like mixing and mastering if your path didn’t involve becoming really good at those things.
PART FIVE: ON PROMOTION AND “THE GAME”
after you finish some stuff, you may want people to hear it. when elite gymnastics first finished some stuff, back when it was me and another person and not just me by myself, i was fortunate with regard to promotion because i was already someone who was really interested in following newish upstart bands like mine making music with very limited resources. i was already actively reading several blogs and websites that regularly posted music by laptop music projects without publicists or record labels. after posting our first ep, which was called “real friends”, as a free download on our website with full artwork, i already had a pretty good idea which websites i should email a download link to.
on the first day, i emailed about 6-8 blogs total. the first blog i sent a link to posted a track from the EP called “is this on me?”. a second, larger blog linked back to that blog in their own subsequent post about another song from the EP. that post was linked to by pitchfork in the post they made about the EP in their now-defunct forkcast section. at that point, a lot of different websites started picking up on it and linking to the EP. it had reached a sort of tipping point. if you are going to attempt to promote your finished music on the internet, and you do not have any personal connections you can utilize to get a manager or publicist or label onboard, or some free introductory press, or some high profile shows or something, you should familiarize yourself with all of the websites or magazines or radio shows or whatever that seem willing to post unprofessionally recorded music by unsigned nobodies like you. pitchfork, for example, will often do this. in their track reviews section, where most of that coverage occurs, posts sometimes link back to posts on other websites that might be smaller and easier to get the attention of. do research. be realistic if not outright modest about your expectations for the appeal your music is likely to have. try to compartmentalize the part of your brain that creates from the part of your brain that reads reviews and pays attention to how “the game” is played.
this kind of compartmentalization can allow someone to avoid one of the great pitfalls musicians fall victim to when paying attention to their press. many of the worst creative and career decisions i’ve witnessed were made by people who could not handle their own press.
like, at the highest levels, there are a lot of really great music writers in the world who can tell you really interesting and valuable things about your music that might be difficult to see on your own. i learn a ton by reading things that critics write about music - simon reynolds’ writing about 90’s dance music has been really influential to me as a producer. if you can successfully locate the constructive criticism in your press, it can be extremely valuable to you as an artist. what you also need to realize is that there might not be much. music writing is not necessarily a field that is overflowing with talent - someone with a real gift for writing can probably make more money writing about almost anything else, regardless of their relative level of interest in it, so there’s little incentive for really good writers to do so. the absence of people with a lot of talent leaves a lot of room for people with the next best thing: a work ethic. a large percentage of the people currently having any success writing about music enjoy that success because they can be relied upon to churn out content consistently and often. this is great, these people are your friends - it’s not like anybody really needs a five page writeup of staggering quality to help them decide whether or not to download an mp3 by an unprofessionally recorded unsigned nobody like you. your ability to capture the attention and affection of people like this is critical to gauging your ability to appeal to wider audiences, so they represent a not-entirely-awful bottleneck to try to figure out how to fit yourself through.
but there’s a difference between accepting constructive criticism and letting press and your probably flawed ideas about how to play “the game” affect your creative process. the fact that a lot of newer, buzzy acts are exhibiting a strong r&b influence is a shitty reason to make stuff that exhibits a strong r&b influence. i doubt that any really exceptional music was created for the explicit purpose of getting on music blogs or being cool on the internet. nobody wants to listen to the sound of somebody trying to be cool on the internet. when people get a bad pitchfork review, they sometimes overreact by jumping to conclusions and assuming that pitchfork just doesn’t like their personality and will never like them and that everyone who reads pitchfork doesn’t like them and will never be an audience that is accessible to them. they might go as far as to start stripping their music of the qualities they believe that people who read pitchfork like, and making drastically different creative decisions when making music in an attempt to court other audiences.
the line between this kind of behavior and constructively accepting valid criticisms when you get them is very thin, and very difficult for a lot of people to perceive. this is why conventional wisdom instructs people not to read their press. it’s generally good advice - in my experience most people cannot handle reading their press and i’ve seen a lot of situations where people who are capable of great things start making total shit because they’re trying to play “the game”.
i don’t know if i actually have a conclusion to put here i just feel like it would make sense and be tidy and satisfying to have some kind of thing here at the end instead of ending suddenly. i guess i could maybe reiterate that there is a lot i don’t know: i know very little about playing live and the career path some people are able to follow that involves being good live and building a following through live shows. for me it’s like, i make stuff, the stuff gets press, and the press begets offers to do live shows. the “focusing on live performance” path seems difficult because a national PR campaign seems to be able to coerce people across the country to get into rooms to see a touring band a lot more quickly and effectively than the long process of building up a local following, then turning that into a regional following, etc.etc.
i also don’t know a lot about networking. if you have a lot of social skills and know a lot of people, it may not be necessary to promote yourself on the internet the way that i did. the “ruin 1” and “ruin 2” EPs i made, which were collected on the first elite gymnastics physical/commercial release, a 12” record called “ruin”, were initially posted online in their entirety for free after they were completed. it is maybe kind of unusual, although maybe a little bit less so these days, for a record to be pressed up that consists entirely of music that is freely available online. generally, when people finish 40 minutes of new music and full album art, they feel compelled to use their social skills and social connections to try to get that music and art into the hands of record labels who might release it or potential managers or lawyers or publicists who might get it into the hands of said labels. i have no social skills or social connections, so i was very insistent about posting it all for free online. there are others ways of doing it. i do not know what they are.
i guess the last point i want to try to make is that given all of the things i have written here, if you have read them, i hope i have been able to reasonably express to you that if you are able to read this tumblr post on a computer that has the internet, the only significant obstacle that could possibly stand between you and making music is yourself. i did not have any money, have any connections in the industry or even know anyone at all, or have any remarkable technical skill when it comes to producing or performing music. when elite gymnastics started up in earnest i was too broke to buy clothes ever and weighed 40 pounds more than i weigh now, so i was absolutely not getting by on looks, and even the most cursory perusal of my tumblr or my live show probably indicates beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is extremely unlikely that i am benefitting from any kind of aptitude for social situations. i’m doing okay. considering that, you probably already have almost everything you need, you know?