I've been uploading my work on Newgrounds for the past 5 years, and in the spirit of New Years, I've decided to make a contribution to the community for all its provided me. This is also a thanks to all the people who have bothered reviewing my music but never got a respond back or a review in return. I'm horrible at reciprocating, so here's my attempt to amend that.
Regardless of how experienced you are or how much know, take the time to read these 5 tips that you might have forgotten when making music. These are small details that make your workflow easier, help you get more creative, keep you motivated, and even improve your skills as a side-effect. Here we go...
Probably the most obvious tip that comes to mind. Creativity is what makes you produce in first place. Everybody thinks and feels differently, which in turn makes them express their music differently. The second you stop trying to be creative as a musician is the second you get stuck and stop growing. Anyone else here ever had a creative block? Of course we all have, and it's not because we can't pump out new melodies or create new sounds, it's because -we stop trying to-. We start sticking only to what we know; we get comfortable. Always try out new techniques, find new sounds if you feel you new more. Personally, I'm a jack of all trades, I know a wide variety of techniques and I do a wide variety of genres, but I haven't mastered any of them, but by trying out new things, I can integrate everything I know into every new track. It's a world full of possibilities, and the more you learn, the more comfortable you'll be navigating new territory.
Procrastination and laziness kills. You get out of music what you put into it. The harder you work and the more persistent you are, the more pleased you will be with your product. You know that repetitive drum beat in your track that has the listener bored to death? Add a fill to it. You know that frequency in a particular instrument that is making your song sound muddy? Cut it out. Is your song clipping? Fix it. It all makes a difference, and slacking is worse than taking a shortcut. It's the equivalent of stopping at a marathon when you're halfway there. And it will most likely show in your music. Push yourself to finish the songs that you like and polish them.
This is another personal problem I have, I lose motivation a lot. This usually happens when you work on a song for too long or when you fall in love with a work in progress but lose interest because you over-listen to it. Make music for a couple hours, take a break, let your ears rest and listen to your music the next day. Obvious "mistakes" (I find them subjective, but everyone knows what they don't like about their own work) will pop out and you'll be ready to tackle them because your ears will be fresh. Don't get obsessed, remember to eat, work out, and get enough sleep. Seems pretty obvious, but the healthier you are, the more focused you will be when making music.
It's not really a production tip, it's more of a general life tip, but it still applies and it correlates to creativity. Step out of your comfort zone, listen to music you normally wouldn't enjoy, and keep your expectations low, because expectation is the source of all disappointment, and you could be pleasantly surprised by what kind of things might be around the corner if you openly embrace them. Groundbreaking things are created by open-minded people who are not afraid to take risks and jump into the unknown. Give it a shot.
Do you ever find yourself spending more time setting up your DAW than actually making music? Do you forget your brilliant ideas before you even write a note because you're too busy finding the right synth? Create a template for your DAW with instruments, sounds, and synths that you will most likely use, it'll save you a lot of time and help you get your ideas down quickly. It's very simple (most programs allow custom templates) and you'll spend less time worrying about your THC-filled brain forgetting what you were singing in your head.
Since this is not thread on any specific production technique, I'm not going to teach you how to EQ or use compressors (I can barely do that properly yet myself anyway), but keep in mind that overdoing things can make your song worse. I'm not saying you should go minimalist, but keep your soundspace clear so people can enjoy everything that is going on in your song. Don't overcompress, don't overEQ, don't add a thousand details that take away attention from everything else. Keep it simple at first and add things as you see fit, but keep the big picture in mind.
Now how obvious is that? If you're not having a good time working on a song, what's the point? Most of the time your listen CAN tell how much work you put into your song, and the more fun you're having, the more motivated and creative you will be. Seriously, it's that simple. Some of us may have forgotten that at some point, but we still make music because we love it. You are a musician, and most importantly, you're an individual. Be original. Love what you do but don't fall in love with yourself, be humble and learn from others. Take your time to do your research, learn new things, and practice.
These are all things I've forgotten down the road, and I don't even follow all these things myself, but they're constantly hovering over my head, because they all lead you to being a better musician. Hope my mistakes help others, thanks Newgrounds.