This post is more introspective and less structured than usual. Skip it if that's not your thing.
For those who are curious about my creative journey and creativity in general, I've gone for a stream of consciousness list format in an attempt to be as objective and authentic as possible.
Hopefully you'll collect a few little gold nuggets that help you with your own music making along the way 🙂
Get in !
1. Thinking about quality when you're in the first stages of your creation is a sure-fire way to get stumped and lose your creative spark.
2. Quality comes with quantity. The more you practice, try stuff and finish songs, the better you'll get.
How did I practice?
I recorded 30 minute Morning Sessions every day for 200 days.
3. Quality can't come only from quantity. It's not enough to practice. You've got to practice deliberately. Intentionally work on stuff that's not quite working.
Examples of stuff I'm working on right now…
- bass lines
- playing in time with swing
- improvising on the piano
- vocal performance
4. The more time I spend on the production of a track, the duller I make it. Like I'm sucking the life out of it.
The solution? Short studio sessions and frequent breaks.
5. My sessions in the studio are more productive when I go in with a clear game plan.
6. Outsourcing if it's still not working might be another good option to explore….
Something that can help me get to that next level. After all, I'm good at mixing but not great.
7. I have trouble pushing the boundaries when it gets uncomfortable in the music studio. Meaning what?
Meaning I'm great at making lots of good song fast because I'm having fun while I'm doing it.
But I'm no good at making great songs because I don't especially enjoy working on that extra 1% that will (maybe) make all the difference.
How can I change that?
Well…. perhaps working with someone else who enjoys that stuff but is not so good with melodies and arrangement could be beneficial?
Collaborating is something full-time music producer SHRAi identified as THE ONE THING HE WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY if he started his career now.
8. My "best" work either took very little time…..
….. or many iterations with incremental improvements every step of the way….
There's nothing much in the middle it seems. It's mostly all intuition or deep exploration.
Note – I consider my "best" work to be the work that stands out. Music that makes you sit up and notice.
It's also music that I enjoy listening to. Other tracks have had more success but, because I don't particularly enjoy them myself, I'm of the opinion that they're not viable creative projects in the long-term.
9. Every time I take a break from a song and get back to it, I hear it differently.
Sometimes worse than expected, sometimes better. Always with something that can be improved.
What's the lesson to be learned here?
If you don't decide to let go, you never will because there's always something you can do.
What's the solution?
I just decided I wouldn't work on a track for more than around 6 studio sessions and limited each studio session to between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
Something else you might try?
Maybe committing to a release date 3-4 months in advance and launching the marketing efforts to keep yourself accountable?
Harsh! But probably very effective!!
10. Creativity feeds creativity.
The more I try stuff, the more ideas I have to try new stuff.
The more I WANT to try stuff.
11. My knowledge of theory is helpful to get unstuck but my lack of improvisation skills slows me down.
12. The music I make doesn't really stand out. It's competent but not extraordinary. Yet.
I have lots to say but can't seem to say it in quite the right way.
When I do find a way to say it, I'm confident I'll know.
And that's when I'll take massive action to share the music 🙂
I haven't found my sound yet. And that's ok.
I'm cool with it.
In the last 3 years, I've produced a LOT of music, some good, some bad. Some sold, some didn't.
In the next 3 years, I want to find my voice and produce GREAT music. Say what I have to say.
That means I'll have to reconcile myself with words in songs….
And I'll have to rekindle my love for the piano.
Already working on the piano thing. Now I need to start building a writing habit for the songwriting and singing 😉
What about you?
What stage are you at in your creative journey?
Where do you plan on going next?