How to Make Computer Music: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Oct 16

Welcome to the HTMEM Blog.

Have you ever wanted to unleash your creativity and produce your own electronic music? With the right tools and guidance, you can turn your musical ideas into reality. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the essential equipment for computer music production, help you create your first track, and introduce you to learning resources and community support on how to make computer music, to continue your making music journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Equip yourself with essential hardware and software for audio production.

  • Understand the basics of audio interfaces, studio reference monitors, headphones and DAWs to create professional tracks.

  • Utilize available learning resources & community support to Your journey in producing quality sound.

Essential Equipment

making music with a computer with a digital audio workstation software installed

Gathering some basic tools and gear is your first step into the world of electronic music production. The essentials include:

  • A computer Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

  • Audio Interfaces

  • Studio Monitors

  • Headphones

With these tools, you’ll be able to record music, create sound using virtual instruments, and produce music on your computer.

Understanding the difference between MIDI and Audio Files is important when making music on a computer. MIDI controllers and virtual instruments are vital for controlling digital instruments, while audio files are used to capture physical instruments. Further sections will provide deeper insights into the essential equipment, helping you make informed choices for your home studio setup.

Selecting a Suitable Computer and Operating System

Selecting a computer and operating system compatible with music production is vital. Some Minimum Specifications you should aim for include a Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, and a Solid-State Drive (SSD).

These specs will ensure that your computer can handle the processing power required for working with a DAW, a musical instrument digital interface (MIDI), an audio card, and other aspects of music production.

In terms of operating systems, macOS, Windows, and Linux distributions like Ubuntu Studio and AVLinux are suitable choices for producing music. A MIDI controller is another essential piece of equipment, as it allows for precise manipulation of your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

Additionally, utilizing MIDI programming tools can further enhance your music production capabilities.

Understanding Audio Interfaces

An image of a person using an audio interface to create computer music, demonstrating how to make computer music

An audio interface is a device that connects your computer to external hardware such as:

  • Instruments

  • Headphones

  • Monitors

  • Microphones

This allows you to create music on your computer. Audio interfaces come with various types of ports, including USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and MIDI, to connect different instruments like electric guitars, synths, microphones +++

Considering basic features and compatibility with your instruments is important when choosing an audio interface. A good audio interface will enable you to record high-quality vocals or musical instruments and connect suitable studio monitors for an optimal music creation experience.

Furthermore, you might want to think about improving your room acoustics. This will not only elevate your listening experience but also enhance the quality of your mix.

Studio Monitors and Headphones: Making the Right Choice

A pair of studio monitors and a pair of headphones

Accurate sound reproduction relies on the use of studio-grade monitors and headphones. These devices provide a flat response, allowing you to accurately perceive the sound in your music, including intricate details like the sound of an acoustic guitar.

Some well-regarded options for studio-grade headphones include the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. Popular studio monitors for home studios include the Yamaha HS series, KRK Rokit series, and the Presonus Eris series.

Additionally, treating your room acoustically can significantly improve the accuracy of your listening spot. Consider investing in Acoustic Treatment to elevate the quality of your mixes.

Finding the Perfect Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Your music production journey hinges on the selection of the right DAW. Popular Digital Audio Workstations include Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Reason, and Pro Tools to name a few. Selecting a DAW that aligns with your music genre is crucial, as each has unique features, strengths, and learning curves.

Developers frequently make free versions of their DAWs available. These often have fewer features than the paid versions. Examples of free DAWs include GarageBand, Pro Tools First, and Studio One Prime. When selecting a free DAW, consider your needs, assess your PC compatibility, and determine if a full pack is necessary to sustain your music career.

Investing time and effort into mastering your chosen DAW will pay off in the long run, as it dictates the general production process when producing music. Be patient and persistent in learning the ins and outs of your DAW, and you’ll be on your way to creating professional-sounding tracks.

For a deeper understanding of how to select your DAW, consider checking out this post: Superb Make Music Software for EDM Producers

Creating Your First Electronic Music Track

A person playing a drum machine and a bass guitar

With your essential equipment and DAW in place, you can now start creating your first electronic music track. Start by determining the type of music you want to create and listening to examples in that genre to gain insight into how it should sound.

These are the typical elements of an entire song:

  • Drums

  • Bass

  • Chords

  • Melody

  • Vocals

Each of these can be heard playing their unique part in creating the overall sound. The following sections will guide you in producing these elements, mixing your composition, and mastering your final product for a professional sound.

Establishing the Foundation: Drums and Bass

Drums and bass form the foundation of your electronic music track. Begin by constructing drum loops using drum samples, which you can download here at HTMEM or create yourself. Layer different drum samples, adjust the tempo, and incorporate effects to achieve the desired sound.

Next, create basslines by layering different bass samples, adjusting the tempo, and adding effects. The suggestion here is to experiment with different sounds and techniques to find the perfect combination for your track.

Remember that drums, including the kick drum, and bass work together to create a powerful and dynamic sound, so ensure they complement each other in your mix.

If you're interested in learning how to mix a kick and the bass using dynamic compressors, don't miss out on our Free Audio Compression Course.

Creating Melodies and Harmonies

The melody is the part of a song that sticks in your mind and is often hummed or whistled.

  • Melodies and harmonies are integral components of electronic music.

  • A memorable melody serves as the main focus of a song and provides direction and emotion.

  • Harmonies add depth and richness by combining different musical notes simultaneously to create chords and textures.

To create melodies and harmonies, use synthesizers, samplers, and digital instruments. Experiment with different synth sounds and techniques, and consider the structure of the melody and harmony to create a memorable and identifiable tune.

Remember to incorporate dynamics and contrast to create an engaging and interesting sound.

Enhancing Your Track with Automation

Automation is a powerful tool for adding interest and depth to your music by gradually changing parameters and effects. For example, you can gradually increase the volume of a pad or lead synth at the start of the song to create a crescendo effect or automate a low pass (or high pass) filter on the lead synth in various sections of the track to accentuate or reduce the energy of the track.

Almost any parameter with a knob can be automated, such as:

  • Volume

  • Pitch

  • Panning

  • EQ

  • Wet Effects Knobs

For a more immersive experience for your listeners, experiment with various automation techniques and curves. These can generate unique and captivating sounds and transitions, adding a new level of intrigue to your music.

Mixing Techniques for a Professional Sound

mixing to control a daw digital audio workstation

To achieve a polished mix, focus on adjusting levels, panning, and using reference tracks. Level adjustment involves adjusting the volume of each track in the mix to achieve a balanced sound. Panning positions each track in the mix within the stereo field, adding depth and balance to the mix.

A reference track is a professionally mixed track used as a point of comparison when mixing. By comparing your mix to a reference track, you can make the necessary adjustments to achieve a professional sound. Remember that the primary factor to consider when mixing is maintaining appropriate levels.

If you're interested in mastering the art of mixing an EDM track, consider enrolling in our course:

Mastering Your Music

Mastering, as the final stage of audio post-production, is key to achieving a professional sound. The process involves:

  • Balancing and harmonizing various sonic elements of a track to enhance its overall sound

  • Adding a final touch of gloss to the music

  • Ensuring that it is loud enough to be heard clearly on any speaker

Mastering is essential for creating a polished and professional final product.

The fundamental tools for a mastering engineer are equalization, mastering compressors, saturation, stereo wideners, and limiting. By mastering your music, you solidify the mix’s foundation and polish the track, ensuring that your electronic music track stands out and leaves a lasting impression.

Learning Resources and Community Support

A group of people discussing music production

Remember, numerous learning resources and community support are available to assist you in refining your skills as you embark on your electronic music production journey. Some of these resources include:

These resources can provide valuable information and guidance in your music production journey.

I can also suggest that in music production, experimentation is vital, and garnering inspiration and support comes from connecting with fellow producers.


As I like to remember, creating electronic music on a computer is an exciting and rewarding journey. By gathering the essential equipment, learning your DAW, and following our step-by-step guide to creating your first electronic music track, you are well on your way to becoming a skilled music producer.

Remember to experiment, connect with fellow producers, and enjoy the process of creating music.


Can a Computer Make a Song?

Yes, a computer can make a song with the right software. Using digital audio workstation (DAW) software, you can layer instruments, vocals, and other sounds to create a full song structure. Later composers such as Gottfried Michael Koenig even used computers to generate the composition itself.

Is There Software to Make Music?

Yes, there is software available to make music. Popular software options include Steinberg Cubase Pro, PreSonus Studio One, FL Studio, Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools, Audacity, Waveform Pro & Free, Reaper, and iZotope Music Production Suite.

How do I Make Music on my Computer for Free?

Making music on your computer for free is easy with Cakewalk, a comprehensive music mixing package that provides creative songwriting tools, advanced mixing and mastering tools, unlimited MIDI and audio tracks for recording, and editing tools. Additionally, the best free music production software includes Apple GarageBand, Reaper, Avid Pro Tools First, Serato Studio, Tracktion Waveform Free, PreSonus Studio One Prime, Soundtrap, and Bandlab.

How do I Record Music on my Computer?

You can use one of the aforementioned DAWs above or, in just a few words, you can record music on your computer for free using apps like Audacity, Movavi Screen Recorder, Screen Capture, and Windows Voice Recorder. Once you open your preferred recording app, press the Record button to start, Pause to pause, and Stop to stop (that's incredible 😁). To create professional audio recordings, use headphones while you listen to what you have already recorded and then play your instrument to it.

What Essential Equipment do I need for Computer Music Production?

To produce music on a computer, you will need a computer, audio interfaces, studio monitors, headphones, and a DAW.

Also Check: Making a Music: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
Now Practice and Enjoy!

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About the Author

Max Porcelli

Steinberg Certified Trainer, DJ, and Producer with 29 years of experience. He owns 989 Records, an Electronic Music Label based in Italy. Every Saturday he hosts an exciting Radio Show called 989 Records Radio Show on air on Patchouli Deep Radio, London. 
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