Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

What are the advantages to having never played an instrument prior to making music, especially in a digital audio workstation like Ableton Live 10, FL Studio, whatever the Logic Pro X?

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

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There is a huge advantage to never having played an instrument before. It is an open set of ears. I went in thinking that it was a big disadvantage that I had never played an instrument before, that I didn’t know anything about how to play the piano and that I didn’t know anything about music theory. What it actually allows me to do is have a much more open mind and less judgment creatively.

I’ve noticed watching some musicians on Twitch create, that those who have gone through learning to play an instrument like the piano, the trombone, the tuba, the saxophone, the violin, or whatever, have a disadvantage.

Especially those who have gone through the process of learning how to play an instrument and been told over and over by a teacher, “No, that’s not right. You messed that up.”

The problem is then that gets ingrained in the mind, and then when you are creating, you are judging yourself the exact same way.

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

When I’m creating with never having played music, because I gave the music teacher the finger in sixth grade and stopped listening during music class, I go in and I just do whatever I want.

You see if I hit a few keys, someone might say based on the two things I just played, “You played those wrong. You can’t play those. They’re not in scale.”

I don’t notice that. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t hear that.

I hear all the sounds equally because I’ve never been trained to judge or expect the sounds to come in a certain way.

Now, you might think this is a handicap.

You might think, “Jerry, you are not going to be able to make music people like without doing it in the way people expect.”

What I’ve found is that’s not true.

My three-year-old daughter loves my music.

Several of my songs are some of her favorites because she doesn’t know any better, you might say, but other people that are grown and have heard a lot of music have the same experience.

I have a huge advantage never having played an instrument and if I just hit some keys, and because I don’t have that musical training, I don’t hear anything wrong with what I just did, and that gives me complete creative freedom to make things that don’t sound like what most people are hearing.

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

Now sure, I’m making electronic music. I will throw a kick drum, a snare in, some hats, put certain chord progressions, and then the fact that I don’t expect the chords and stuff to be put in a certain way allows my music to sound original.

In fact, it’s hard for me to hear music lots of times that is so strict and complies with all the things you would learn in music theory because it bores me.

I know what’s coming all the time.

I say, “Ugh. It’s dull.”

I want to be surprised.

I want to have fun listening to music and the big opportunity with all the music that’s out there is to create something that doesn’t sound like everything else because almost everyone is trying to make things that do sound just like everything else.

Now sure, listeners will often be a little put off at first like, “Ew. You did that? Ew. That’s terrible.”

I don’t know, I don’t hear the difference.

Now, I certainly hear if I push something like right next to each other, it sounds like a little clash, but I’m freed up from that prison of that my music has to be a certain way or it won’t sound good because the human ear doesn’t go by those rules.

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

These are all just theories people have made up and in a world where so much music goes by certain theories, it really helps to step outside the box, but it’s hard to step outside the box if you have been trained that it has to be a certain way.

Most of us as children are a lot more creative and a lot of us have been through the process of essentially having our creativity trained or punished out of us.

“Don’t do it that way or you get in trouble.”

“Don’t do it that way or you’ll get a C.”

Therefore, I hope this video is helpful.

If you are liking music and you are wanting to do it, but you are thinking, “Well, I don’t know anything. I haven’t played an instrument,” that actually could be a big advantage.

At 32 years old, I started making music with no experience after giving the music teacher the finger at sixth grade.


Absolute zero.

Pretty much the lowest you can have aside from being deaf.

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

Yes, I guess if I’d been deaf and suddenly could hear, I’d have less, but other than that, about the lowest experience you could have and I’ve made music that I love the sound of, and that’s the bottom line.

I love listening to my own music, my daughter loves listening to my music, and therefore, it’s only logical some other people will love listening to my music, and really all I need is a small percentage.

If 1% of the people in the world like my music, I will be happy.

You might think, “One out of a hundred people? Yes. Someone will probably like your music.”

1% of the whole world, 70 million people, that’s enough to be one of the top artists in the world.

I don’t need to create music that everyone out there loves, all I need to do is create music that I love and then share it.

So, that’s what I’m doing.

That’s why I’m making these tutorials.

I’m doing as many of these tutorial videos as I can because I’ve also noticed if you want to get ahead in music or all the other things I’ve gotten ahead in, tutorial videos work.

Nothing beats tutorial videos, especially addressing pain points, answering very specific questions.

In my opinion, the highest experience is to watch this happen live.

If you would like to see me make some music live, will you please take a look at because that’s where I’m making most of my music live although I’m also making it in other places?

Do I Need to Play an Instrument Before Using a Digital Audio Workstation?

I’m putting tutorials up on YouTube, I’m live on Facebook sometimes, but Twitch is the main place. Twitch has an amazing community and I’m grateful to be creating there.

Thank you very much for reading this or watching the video at the top of this post.

If this was helpful, will you please leave a like on the video because you will feel good knowing that you are helping me reach more people with this same message?

It feels good to help other people.

I always leave likes on videos that I like.

I hope to see you again soon.


Jerry Banfield

Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at