8 Tips for Enhancing Your Music Production

In music, as in any other kind of art, it is very difficult to create something without inspiration. Some artists work on an album for years, while others shoot regular monthly releases. To become a successful writer of music 'on demand', you need to have lots of experience and should be able to control your workflows.
Apart from lack of inspiration, there are many other factors that may negatively affect musicians' production, no matter experienced or novice. It's important to create an environment where you feel comfortable and nothing distracts you from your work. It applies to the arrangement of both the premises and software.

In this article we offer 8 tips for speeding up and overall improving your music creation process.


Build a Creative Environment

In your home studio put all the available equipment like midi keyboard, drum machine, midi controller, etc. within the reach of your hand so you don't need to stretch out or stand up and walk to approach them. If you have a rotating chair, adjust it to your comfort first and then put all the devices on stands around you.

Bring yourself everything you need so you don't have to leave the workplace every 5 minutes to take something else. For example, have enough water to drink or if you like tea, make yourself enough tea. Such minor things may seem insignificant, but they do affect your concentration during the work.


Limit the Number of Instruments You Use

We've already discussed this topic in one of the previous articles. The idea remains the same: it's better to deeply study and understand just a single instrument than to have ten instruments in which you'd have difficulty to navigate.

We live in the era of digital plugins, when you simply get lost trying to select your best working tool. All synthesizers, samplers and processing tools have their cons and pros and none of them is ideal. But the desired results can be often achieved if you just use the tools which are right at your disposal, you only need to thoroughly understand them.

Newbies often think that following the rule "The more, the better" is the right thing. But, trying to use a large number of different plugins will only distract you from the very process of writing music. You'll only waste your time figuring out how the plugin works or where the knob you need to tweak is, instead of trying to create your next track. It all turns rather exhausting, than inspiring.

When your creative process just starts, ideas come and go quickly and it's very important not to let them vanish.

The best approach is to stick to just one virtual instrument and download a user guide from the manufacturer's official website where every button and knob is explained to the smallest detail. You may, of course, watch a tutorial on the Internet, but to really understand all the functionality and capabilities of the instrument, you'll need to go through the whole video course which might be lengthy. Therefore, the user guide option is still preferable.

Here is the list of 5 plugins which we recommend as your first instrument:

Native Instruments Massive
Reveal Sound Spire
Xfer Serum
Native Instruments Kontakt
Spectrasonics Omnisphere


Create Your Own Library of Samples and Presets

If you are into electronic music, most likely you spent hours searching the right drums and percussion samples or vocal hooks. The number of available samples is just huge, but only a small part of them suits your needs and fits your style.

Instead of digging in piles of 'sonic garbage' each time you start a new composition, we suggest to dedicate some your time to pick and store your favorite samples in your special folders. Sometimes it may even take a week or so, but trust us, it will save you a lot more time and effort later on.

Do the same with your favorite synth and processing tool plugins.


Improvise

The idea should always come first. If you get down to work having no new idea, you might find yourself sitting in front of the computer monitor for hours and still writing nothing worthy.

Then your best assistant is improvisation. Quite accidentally you might play those very notes that would luckily become the main theme of a new track.

Open your DAW, load your favorite synth or instrument, and click Record. Relax and let your feelings guide you. Don't be afraid of your playing errors, at the end of this jam you will open the midi editor and select the best pieces you played.

Try not to stuck inside a specific melodic part or passage. The more different phrases you play, the more likely you'll come to something original and unusual.
Do Some Sound Design

Let's assume you have a melody, but have no suitable sound. Then it's maybe time to do some sound design. Here there are two approaches possible: a simpler and a more advanced one.

The first option is to send the midi track with the melody you composed to your favorite synth and try to find a preset that you'll like. If you already have a folder with your favorite presets, this won't take you much time.

The second option is to try to build the sound from scratch. We recommend that you give this exercise as much time as possible. The more practice you have, the easier and faster you'll achieve the desired results in the future. This option, of course, means that you already fully understand the interface and feel confident using the functions of the instrument.

Create as many sound variations as possible for the same piece of melody. Firstly, you need it because from all those variations you'll be able to choose the most suitable ones. And secondly, you'll be able to use them for sound layering.

Layering is an important kind of sound design and a very inspiring one. Using it, you can combine together the most differently sounding tracks and see what the outcome is. As a result, you can even receive a sound that you wouldn't be able to get using a single synth.


Use Randomizers

If you're unlucky and a good musical idea still escapes you, then you may try and rely on chance. There are a lot of randomizer plugins to help you with this. Their functionality is very different, but the essence is the same: the plugin takes your audio signal and changes it sometimes beyond recognition.

The most common core effects embedded inside such plugins are Glitch, Stutter, Stretcher, Gater, Modulator and many others.

Here is the list of five plugins we'd recommend:

Illformed Glitch 2
Output Movement
Sugarbytes Turnado
Dmitry Sches Tantra
Image Line Gross Beat



Relisten to Your Unfinished Projects

Everyone has tracks which for one reason or another remain unfinished and which yet could be very useful.

Open an old project and think what you like about it and what you don't. The more experienced you get, the more objectively you'll be able to evaluate your draft tracks and sketches, compared to the time you wrote them. If you don't like anything in that unfinished track, delete it completely and forget it. But if there are still elements or parts that you like, export them and add to a new project. This may hopefully become a good start for a new track.


Create Your "Inspire-Me" Folder

You never know how or when a good musical idea will come to you. Don't get stuck in a single musical style.

Each genre has its own sound and arrangement techniques that make it unique. Take it into account and follow it when you create your tracks, it's a great way to do something unique.

Take three or four favorite songs of different genres and just write down what you like about them. It can be anything: the kind of kick drum used, the cord progression or the bass line timbre.

The main thing here is to get a list of specific characteristics of those songs. Then, when you start creating your track, use this list, and maybe later on it will help you make what will be the perfect composition for you.

Another tip: create a compilation of your favorite and inspiring videos. It's not that you need to try to copy or make similar music, it may quickly and easily get you encouraged for the future work.

Watching a performance of your favorite artist or a breathtaking video recorded by a helmet camera of a snowboarder running down the mountain may inspire you and thus hugely accelerate your productivity.


Using these tips, you could greatly improve your mood, creativity and, in the end, performance when you work on a new track. Try each of these tips and see how well they work for you. With a little practice and patience, you'll no longer feel disappointed having got stuck with your work, and will be always able to maintain good spirit and sense of inspiration.


If you already have songs, for which you want to receive a reward, then we are waiting for you on the ExpertMusic portal. We provide content for background music of different establishments as well as for production: commercials, movies, YouTube-videos, games, etc. Learn more here.



We wish you more completed projects,

ExpertMusic team


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