Thanks to cheaper and more accessible technology, more people are exploring the world of audio production. What normally required an entire control room of equipment has now been reduced to software in your computer! (This is both good and bad.) This recent wave of popularity has also seen the increase in music production lessons in both schools and private institutions, so if it interests you, pursue it!
What is audio production?
Audio production is the creation of recorded sound. This process can be broken down into three key elements:
1. Engineering: Engineering is the knowledge of how to make the sound you want in your head a reality. It's placing microphones correctly on an amp or instrument, wiring cables correctly so they don't hum on the recording, choosing the right guitar amp, choosing the right microphone preamp, etc. It's a lot of work, with many variables, which is why experience is a must to become a great engineer!
2. Performance: While performing on the track might not be up to the actual music producer, it is the producer's job to make the performance run smoothly, and to make the performer feel comfortable. If these two criteria are met, chances are you're getting good takes from your performer, while saving precious studio time.
3. Mixing/Editing: After the tracks are recorded, they need to be edited (equalizer, effects such as reverb, delay, phaser, flanger, auto-tune, etc.) and mixed. Mixing is an art form in it's own right, requiring the producer to really listen in and control the volume of each track so that it blends well.
A good producer does not have to be an expert in all of these areas (although it is highly recommended). Nowadays many musicians who play an instrument will teach themselves these aspects of producing (myself included). With just a laptop, a few decent speakers, microphone and interface you can start experimenting in no time. It's a tedious process that can take years to get good at, but if you can get there, you can create anything you want! This not only saves you money, but you can say you did it yourself, and if your skills are that good you can reach out to other musicians and start recording them!