Fortunately, this guide can help you get off to a good start.
Getting started: Make sure you have a good computer with at least 2GB of RAM, a 2GHz processor, and plenty of space on the hard drive - or an external hard drive - for storing audio samples and your work.
You'll also need music production software, like Reason, Ableton Live, Logic, or Pro Tools.
To figure out which one is right for you, download the demo versions for free and try them for 30 days before you commit to a purchase.
Recording: To record live musical instruments or your voice, you'll need an audio interface to transmit the sounds between your instruments, computer, software, and speakers.
When choosing an audio interface, make sure that it is compatible with your computer and that it has enough inputs and outputs to support your music making.
A good question to ask yourself when figuring out how many inputs you need is "How many instruments will I be recording at a time?" If you're making music alone, the answer will most likely be 1.
MIDI: Most musicians and producers use MIDI controllers/keyboards to trigger sounds and interact with their soft synths and samplers.
Today, you can easily find a cheap MIDI keyboard that connects to your computer via USB.
For most people, 2 octaves worth of keys and a good number of faders and knobs is enough.
Good pianists, however, may want to opt for 7 or 8 octave keyboards.
Speakers: For beginners, an affordable pair of speakers, like the KRK Rokits or M-Audio Studiophiles, will do.
This will allow you to monitor and mix your music with far greater precision than if you were using regular computer speakers.
Sounds: You may want to download additional audio samples and instruments.
However, most audio production software comes preloaded with more than enough samples and instruments for you to get started.
Putting it all together: Once you've set up your studio, you'll need to get down to business and start laying down some tracks.
Experiment with your software and the different sounds it comes with.
If you're struggling with it, look for free online tutorials.
In time, you'll master the art of making music on your PC.