Whether you’re starting out music production as a hobby or planning to become the next DJ superstar, it’s best to start with free music production software. Then, as you evolve into an advanced user, you can move on to the premium options which give you more freedom and a greater variety of tools.
In this article we have selected some of the best free music creation software for beginners.
When it comes to beginner-friendly music creation software, GarageBand is the number one free choice. It’s easy to download from the Mac App Store, and even teaches novice musicians how to use some of the powerful tools.
GarageBand is also one of the easiest platforms to make great music. It allows you to compose up to 255 songs and even offers a virtual session drummer.
However, even with all its visual simplicity, GarageBand can be a bit intimidating for beginners. If you find this free music production software a bit overwhelming
To speed up your learning process, we recommend installing it on all your devices (Mac, iPhone, and iPad). iCloud gives you the flexibility to work on your music no matter where you are or which device you’re using.
If at some point you think you’ve run out of free software, you can transfer all your GarageBand files to Apple’s premium music production offering: Logic Pro.
An alternative for PC users, DarkWave Studio is a free music production software that supports Windows 7 or later. It doesn’t need a lot of storage, which is perfect if you plan to use free software to compose music on your laptop (Read The Best Laptops For Making Music).
Even though DarkWave Studio is free, there are some in-app ads that you need to install.
This music production software comes with:
- Virtual Studio
- Pattern Editor
- Order Editor
- Multitrack Hard Disk Recorder
Select and edit digital music patterns using the Pattern Editor. The Sequence Editor allows you to set patterns to play in any setting and combine tracks. And Hard Disk Recorder includes recording options for live audio.
DarkWave Studio also includes 19 different plug-ins, which you can use to add virtual effects to your tracks.
With so many options and settings in separate windows, DarkWave Studio might seem a bit difficult to use at first. However, you can find plenty of tutorials and support online, making this one of the best free music creation software programs for beginners.
Unlike the software we’ve already discussed, Audacity is a digital audio editor, not a digital audio workstation. Its main purpose is to manipulate audio data rather than helping you organize disparate audio tracks into a coherent whole.
Audacity lets you edit samples, process audio files, and export music as a variety of formats, including MP3, WAV, or AIFF. It’s great if you’re looking for free music production software to collect beats and samples for songs.
The interface is easy to use, but at the same time, the various effects and settings can be difficult to wrap your head around. It may take you a few days to get comfortable with everything.
Audacity is available for download on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This is one of the most popular music production software options and a great way to get started making music for free.
LMMS (formerly Linux MultiMedia Studio) is a cross-platform music production software, available on macOS, Windows, and Linux. It is suitable for all types of music production and is a great free software choice for beginners.
LMMS has several different windows to help you create music. Edit melodies in Piano Roll and create rhythm parts with the Beat + Bassline Editor. Get an overview of your structure in the Song Editor, then mix it all up with FX Mixer. You can even automate effects and volumes using the Automation Editor.
LMMS has a wide variety of synthesizer instruments, so it’s a great software for making free music.
Among other good qualities of an LMMS is its compatibility with third-party applications. The program supports VST and LADSPA plug-ins with which you can mix many additional effects to music tracks.
When your music is ready, export it as MP3, AIFF, and WAV, or transfer the files to a different music production software.
Tracktion T7 was once the premium music production software. Rather than dropping the T7 when the next piece of software comes out, Tracktion decided to give it away completely for free, making it one of the most feature-packed options on this list.
There are no track limits, plugin limitations, or a 30 day trial with Tracktion T7. A clean, easy-to-use one-window interface to wrap your head around, while still packing a ton of different features.
You can use the Tracktion T7 to edit audio, compose MIDI, add effects, and automate various instrument parameters. It gives you everything you need to start making music.
Tracktion T7 works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. If you are familiar with free software, you can always upgrade to Tracktion Waveform. It has even more features, including Groove Doctor, Subtractive Synthesizer, and Celemony Melodyne Essential.
Register for a free account on the Tracktion website to download the Tracktion T7 to your computer.
Cakewalk by BandLab
Just like Tracktion T7, Cakewalk SONAR used to be paid software that you can now get for free. All thanks to BandLab who bought Cakewalk in 2018.
Renamed Cakewalk by BandLab, this free music making software benefits from over 30 years of development. This is another powerful option that you can use to compose, record, edit, mix, master and share your music.
Add unlimited audio or MIDI tracks using the award-winning user interface. Then take advantage of Cakewalk’s VST3 software instruments and studio-quality effects, such as reverb convolution and dynamic compression.
Cakewalk by BandLab is only available for Windows users. It is compatible with Windows 7 and later, as long as your computer is running on a 64-bit architecture. BandLab recommends that you use a computer with at least an Intel multi-core processor and 4GB of RAM.
To get it, you need to register and install BandLab first. Then you can select an instrument and effect pack to download with Cakewalk SONAR using the Bandlab app.
Find Free Music Production Software For You
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of free music making software out there. Researching and reading about other people’s experiences with them can help, but the best way to find your favorite option is to try a few of them.
When you’re ready to move to the next level, you’ll probably see a bigger difference buying a computer that’s better for music production than upgrading your software take a look The 8 Best Computers For Music Production. Especially since so many options on this list offer everything you need.