5 Productivity Tips for Beginner Music Producers
This week we want to share some tips for the beginners out there. It’s a constant battle pursuing art, so it’s important to remain productive. The habits you form early on will influence your workflow for many years. Read below to get some insight and inspiration on how to stay productive as a beginner music producer.
There is no shortage of information on how to become a music producer – you can learn just about anything at any time with the advent of the internet, you don’t even really need a degree. If we can agree on that much, there is one question left: why haven’t you?
You’ve watched nearly every YouTube video out there on how to create a catchy melody, or how to sample your favorite video game, even how to get Insta-famous once you do. You’re excited about music and feel passionate about it some days, but on others, you roll over and click “Yes” when Netflix asks if you’re still watching; don’t worry, you’re not alone…it’s an epidemic.
One thing is clear in this day in age: it has never been more important to manage your time and emotions. There is an endless battle going on for your attention.
We’ve spent our whole lives subconsciously creating habits, both good and bad, and the best way to correct them is to first take stock of what’s really important to us, and then admit to how deeply distracted we’ve been, by what’s not.
You won’t change overnight, but you can make the commitment to, now. Now is the time to decide what you love, now is the time to fight for your right to create and contribute your mark on the rest of the world. You’ve already taken the first step: you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been through it too, and we can help you through this.
Be Mission Driven
It is the right and responsibility of every human being to find what drives them. You may know already who you live for, but do you know what you live for? I’ll give you a hint, it’s what you turn to when you want to turn off all the stresses of everyday life.
Let’s assume that since you’re reading this, your joy in life is music. You love it, you follow your favorite artists daily, geek out when they come to town, basically live as an extension of your headphones…trust us, we get it.
But, you couldn’t possibly start music as a career though, right? It’s not practical. Your parents would kill you, it simply isn’t a job. Wrong. The sooner you realize all those thoughts are the result of fear and nothing else, the better.
There are no coincidences; you are reading this right now for a reason, this is your hero’s calling. You can either answer the call or ignore it. Swipe left or right – on the rest of your life. Are you in? Good. Now that you’ve accepted music as your mission in life, be Mission Driven.
It is officially your duty to go forward and let nothing stop you, try as it might (and it will). There’s a masterpiece waiting inside of everyone, needing to be let out. So how do you start? Read on.
Now that you are mission-driven, it’s time to get to work. Music was your hobby, but now it’s your mission, see the difference? It’s officially your duty to give it your undivided attention at planned, honored, and distraction-free blocks of time.
Set a timer for 90 minutes on your computer’s browser. Why 90 minutes? This is the amount of time it will take you to get to a place of focus, stay in it, and eventually reach creative flow if and only if it remains uninterrupted.
Now turn off your phone. I’m serious. Oh, and that includes any computer notifications. Anything and everything that could potentially pull you away from your life’s mission. The consequences of that “hi I’m bored” text are officially dire.
If you need to, get lost somewhere, go to a coffee shop in the next town – whatever it takes. Don’t touch that bookmarked page, don’t check Tik Tok. Not right now. Ask yourself who was the hero in your life, before we decided that it’s your turn to play that role. Maybe it’s your grandmother, maybe it’s Kanye West. Whoever you wouldn’t dare check Instagram in front of if they were giving you their undivided attention. That is how you will treat your uninterrupted 90 minutes.
When you stop working to look at other people’s content, all you’re really doing is neglecting your own. Take the phrase “to pay attention” literally; it is a payment. Just like every video game you’ve ever played: you only have so much time and energy, what are you going to do with it?
This is an unparalleled time in history, the world has never been better at grabbing your attention, and it will continue down this path. Every post, every tweet, every article is screaming at you, and it’s all for their own gain – not yours. And every single time that you give in, even for a second, you are losing time and energy that could have been spent on your own creation, your sacred mission. You are quite literally giving up your own life, for an addiction to other people’s.
Remember that every time you break concentration, it takes on average 23 minutes to get back into creative flow.
Your music is yours and yours alone so make it special and treat it as such. 90 minutes is going to feel like a LIFETIME at first, and you’ll get frustrated. You will want to console yourself with a nice hit of Facebook, but you won’t, right? Because you’re a hero now. Eventually, once you’ve exercised this muscle at least five days a week, for a couple of weeks, you’ll be craving this 90 minute period of uninterrupted bliss.
Master the Foundations of Music to Set Your Creativity Free
No one starts as an expert. There was a time when the Beatles couldn’t write; they had to learn their A, B, C’s just like everybody else. When you first start learning music, you’re learning a new language, just like Spanish, just like Chinese, just like Algebra… it’s going to feel like it!
Even the most timeless, classic songs start with some very basic rules. Rules? Isn’t that why you’re into music…to break free of rules? Don’t worry, this is actually good news!
When you hear songs as a beginner producer, you probably think they sound like magic, an unidentifiable cacophony of sounds only a sorcerer could come up with. Make no mistake, there’s a science to music. Once you find yourself comfortable within the rules of using pitch, tempo, texture, and structure, the creativity that you crave will be set free.
Don’t give yourself such a hard time, be patient and celebrate the little wins…like when you finally get what MIDI is. What is it anyways?? Making it there is a milestone in my book. Remember, progress is happiness.
It’s a big day for you – you’ve already committed to your life’s mission! Next step: pick a song that you love and would like to create something similar to. Find an instrumental version on YouTube and take note of the patterns and layers that stand out as you develop your critical ear. Keep that song handy for the next tip. You’re doing great!
There’s Nothing New Under the Sun: Use This to Your Advantage
If the thought of coming up with the most original song the world has ever known paralyzes you – you’re not alone. That’s a common, daunting barrier to entry for artists of all media. But, like all the other fearful misconceptions we’ve discussed, now you can be free of this one, too.
Music is about sharing and celebrating the ability to create as human beings. When you look up your favorite artist you’ll often find their influences, and their influences’ influences, and so on and so forth.
Now it’s your turn. Make a list of your favorite artists (limit it to 10, because remember, parameters can only rid us of the paralysis of choice). Take that song you were studying just a minute ago, and combine it with another one.
What would a song look like if you took the chord progression of the first, and the percussion of the second? Now list out all the things you like about each one of the artists. Soon you’ll be staring at a list that will soon be what you could potentially be, or sound like, as a producer.
But don’t worry, art is about recreating yourself, you can always and will always be able to reinvent yourself and your art, over and over. This is simply a place to start.
Find A Community of Like-Minded Individuals
So you wake up in the morning, you’re all pumped up, ready to be Halsey, and check your phone: boom. Bombarded with memes and texts, next thing you know you’re down the YouTube rabbit hole. You rollover. Too tired. Too this, too that. Your relatives are asking you what you’re doing with your life. Give up. Do the easy thing…don’t worry, it’s not just you, it’s human nature.
So how do you combat this? You join a community of people who have the same life mission as you do. You become the average of the five people who hang out with the most, so it seems to me the choice of a lifetime to see to it that you are surrounded by people who will help pull you forward when life tries to pull you every other way.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? (…) Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”
Rae Childs is an alumnus of our Online Certification Program she wrote this article to share her experience after a year into her journey. She left us with the following –
The 4-month Beat Lab Online Certification program is an amazing place to start for not just beginners, but for anyone who feels called to music. You’ll experience your hero’s journey from beginner to advanced in the comfort of your own home. You will get access to the extensive resource of exclusive videos, articles, and tutorials.
After all the practicing throughout the program, you will learn how to take that experience and translate it into a career in the audio industry. Upon completion of the Beat Lab Online Certification program, you will get full length mastered tracks of your production, help with booking shows, and access to Beat Lab’s Student Network.
Wherever you want to take your life’s mission, Beat Lab will help you find your own path in the industry.