It’s been said that electronic music production is an interesting side of music in that rather than separating practice + production like other musicians it gets lumped into one. We aren’t sat with our guitar practicing the parts for the recording session or playing through scales on the violin to keep our chops up before the live or recording session. We sit at our computer, hit buttons and tweak till we have something we like and that is our product. We get better by making more of these songs, trying different things but ultimately it usually stems in our direction of “making a song”
That being said there are some ways to improve that don’t involve making a finished song and I want to share and see what methods you have found to be effective at improving yourself as a music producer and more generally a musician. Here are some of mine:-
Reverse Engineer - Take a song you like, break it up, recreate it inside a daw or using notes to find out how it ticks and works the way it does
In The studio videos - FutureMusic etc. Less guess work than the first one to find out how things tick but… while it can be easy it is less engaging in encourages you to think less so you might not benefit as much
Collaboration - This can help see what other ways your track can take by seeing what someone else does with your ideas. As well as developing ideas that can be different from what you are used to starting with.
Active Listening - Different from the usual shall we say “background” listening. Make sure you’re free of all distractions, get a good monitoring system (maybe if you don’t have one find somewhere or rent a place for a bit) and listen closely to all the details of the song. (bonus points for closed eyes!)