Discussion in 'Education' started by maverickvd, Oct 12, 2017.
Turn the radio on to a station you rarely listen to. After three minutes turn it off. Spend the next thirty minutes with fragments of that song in your head. They won't make sense, but your brain will try to reassemble them and you'll have an idea of where to go next.
maybe you just need to put your hands on something. I'd just get a piece of hardware like a drum machine (stuff in the line of Korg Electribe, Roland MC or even Arturia Spark, NI Maschine if you want to use it with a software) and start with that. sometimes less is more!
. make the basic rhythm of the genre you are producing ( by referring to songs of the same genre)
. improvise over it by playing or by synthesizing new sounds.
. Somewhere along the line you will intuitively get the idea where to go.
. happy producing
maverickvd, remember fun? No really. FUN. You won't do anything you don't have to do if it's not fun on some level. I don't mean funny, I mean enjoying doing something, and sometimes just for the fun of it. I don't think the mechanics of actually doing it is the hurdle. It's just not fun for you yet. Think of something else you do for fun, for enjoyment, and apply the same mind-set to having fun with music software. Maybe just the fun of following a tutorial maybe? Have fun.
welcome to producing music instead of consuming.
that dramatic difference between pressing play and pressing record.
suddenly even watching someone else making music starts to look like a convenient compromise all of the sudden.
because you are now responsible for to whatever note/sound is put through the speakers, then its easy to freeze. that is why many scape into hoarding vsts, daws, tuts etc.
my tip is, limitations will help you determine if you are really able or not. you got to win over the anguish of not wanting to SIT AND FOCUS.
limit yourself, you can do it in several forms, for instance, decide what chords are going to be used BEFORE anything, or what key, or choose a scale. dont sit without a plan
decide stuff before any note playing and it will get you focused and started, other-ways you will burn all of your initial enthusiasm wondering about settings and other bullshit, hours will fly and you will accomplish nothing. but if you sit down with a plan you will get focus, then you will be on a roll, for a while at least
Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
20 years ago I got Cakewalk and enjoyed it but used it mostly to record some live audio takes and never tried creating a song from scratch.
I reproduced 3 or 4 jams I'd recorded on tape using drum machines and guitar or keyboard, but never finished anything,(and that is another aspect, but related i suppose).
A few years later, I got interested again after seeing all the power (and stability) of modern DAW stuff, and figured I'd be inspired by the potential...but in the process of putting together a computer DAW I realized that my interest had been in the DAW, not the music,
and only did a little with it.
Recently I got a new computer, and installed a DAW. I began to look at what instruments I should add to it...and effects..
and STOPPED. I realized it has all the instruments and effects I need.
So faced the empty tracks ... Well, finishing had been MY particular problem, but STARTING is difficult for me too.
Over the past few months I have found some easy ways to start, but am still working on the "finishing " aspect.
Making sure you have a template set up is a good idea, and I like to have a piano and 2 kinds of sustain instruments loaded,
because a simple melody or chord change is often what makes me want to sit down.
Sitting down and hitting the record button with no metronome seems the best when i have that impulse.
Afterwards I can mess with it, but having the wrong beat hit you when you have something else in your head sucks.
I am easily interfered with in that way, (by wrong pitch or beat) and need to do what is in my head right away,
be it what i heard, or what I am feeling. Making sure you know the quick keypresses for "tap tempo" helps in that way too.
Sometimes I want to hear the beat, and I made a basic hihat beat (could not see how to adjust metronome volume in FL Studio), then
I added kick and snare backbeat. I have a basic drumkit on a multi-out, and can just unmute what parts i want to hear, and I imagine building that up with a few more parts.
That has helped in avoiding having to click a bunch of stuff while I am humming and my head is nodding to an internal beat.
Another way I have started when triggered by something I heard is to drag the actual audio into the DAW, but the problem with that for me is I have no found the quick way to match tempo. Filling in some basic drums is usually pretty easy, but i've done it the hard way i think, adjusting the tempo as i fill in the timeline with a basic beat. (Have not messed with beat detection yet).
I add in some of the parts but there comes a time when I realize i do not want to reproduce the song, and I am usually focused on just a bar or two anyway, that made me want to do something. Then it seems like time to do something else.
I've come back and muted the original and messed with a few of those, and ended up with totally different things and I am not sure at all what the original was on a couple of them. Once the original is deleted, and a very few things changed, the essence of the song seems to disappear. And changing an instrument can radically shift everything, too. I noticed that in replacing a piano sound with an organ, and then I had an idea, and that became the basis for a bunch of strings, and that feeling of the strings made me want to add a piano part.
Also, loading up MIDI stuff is another way to get started.
I haven't seen any tutorials or found much in the way of tips yet, but I know there must be tons out there.
The question is: Will I get too involved in watching tutorials and be sidetracked?
I'll be following this thread ...
I have a feeling someone will say the key is not having a full instrument rack ready, but a full bottle of whiskey
I've had the same problem for about 30 years now. So don't worry. It's not just u.
I also tried to analyse it. But i can only tell you whats true for me.
1 - Lack of (the right) gear doesn't stop me. I want to make music so i'll do it anyway i can.
As long as i can record a vocal and or a keyboard i'm good.
2 - Never start playing unless you have something in your head, a melody or rythm. Or a certain mood or feel.
I sometimes start by making a drumbeat, other times i'm stuck with a melody in my head that needs to be played. So don't start a song by looking at a blank DAW. Get behind your laptop when you feel like u need to play something just to get it out.
3 - Do not expect instant results. Once you have played a couple of bars u realize u need more parts, like a bridge or a chorus or other variations. U need to build up your song to make it feel like it has a beginning middle and end.
And maybe after a while you start to hear that the drums u started with need variation. You'll soon have that familiar feeling of never beeing finished with a song like most of us.
Inspiration and the flow of ideas is the only way out of this. When making a song ideas for what comes next can come from your own enthousiasm, knowledge and or just playing around and having fun. Some of the best music is accidental.
4 - Always play whats in your head. ( Miles Davis sayed that, and now me too )
Never play just to fill the song. Never layer hundreds of sounds if u can get there with just one.
If u can't make an interesting song with two instruments adding a third won't help u.
Learning how to play a keyboard will help u a lot. Learning to play drums from scratch will help u a lot.
I don't want to destroy your dreams, but if u really can't play or think of anything to play maybe this isn't for u.
Most musicians i know are too hungry and inspired to be stopped. Despite their lack of musical knowledge.
They don't look at the DAW as beeing empty. Their enthousiastic to play and discover.
Not every session has to be a succes. Sometimes just fooling around and getting to know your instruments can be inspiring. But making music is also work and even has some boring elements.
The key is to have fun.
And not worry over the song needing to be finished in one afternoon and pleasing to all your friends, that comes after...
If you're anything like me, it's probably just impatience thats holding u back. Learn to play and have fun.
p.s. pick a song u like, any mp3 or wav. Put it in your DAW. Find the tempo, cut it up in 2 bar parts.
Remake that song part for part starting with drums and then bass. The bass can help u find the correct chords.
Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
I'm going to be brutally honest with you:
Music production is but a simple way of doing things. It's a trade. A tool.
What comes first is music. If you have nothing to say musically, all production is moot.
The producer produces ideas into a finished product. If there is no idea... you get the point.
It is ONLY in electronic music (and maybe hip hop, who knows) that the producer is composer, arranger, instrumentalist, mixing engineer, producer and sometimes mastering engineer in one person.
You can make up for the lack of being a gifted instrumentalist, or mixing engineer, or producer, you can learn all that - but if you lack creativity, if you never found yourself in a situation huming a melody you made up, druming a rhythm you made up on a random object, if you don't feel you can only express yourself properly through music (and I mean expressing, not feeling something very strongly when you listen to music!) then maybe, just maybe, your creativity is not expressed with music.
That doesn't have to mean you cannot work in music. I recently spoke with the owner of a very reputable and well-known label about being a musician. He said something like "Don't forget, the only reason I'm running this label is because I failed as a musician. I tried but I realized I'm just mediocre. But I wanted to work in music, so I founded this label."
Just because you're not creative it doesn't mean music cannot be the centre of your life.
Or, if it really is just a simple blockade, there are ways around:
I find this to be a paradox. The common correlation is: the more academically inclined the family, the greater the likelyhood of recieving an education that includes playing an instrument.
Look up the book "Music Habits-The Mental Game of Electronic Music Production" on a certain sister site. I've been in the game many years and still run in to the same resistance, I have to break it down to unlock the creative flow every single time. You will realise that breaking this resistance down is part of the process of music making, it's rare when its not there. But for you to get to that state you need to finish tracks and get a workflow, even if they suck at first.
First off, nothing you can post here or anywhere else will have life-changing consequences ... BUT ... Didn’t you find that writing all that down already answered your questions ? Because to me it’s crystal clear :
1) You can’t make music if you can’t play an instrument (unless you’re happy pressing buttons in order to trigger and sequence somebody else’s musical ideas).
2) You can’t learn a trade by looking into the tools alone (but on the plus side you can now confidently join the vast community of tutorial makers you’ve been gorging yourself on for the past six years).
3) If it’s inspiration you’re after, consider locking yourself in a room for a week with a piano, guitar, flute or any other instrument you can’t play. You’ll stand a better chance of finding musical creativity than by getting lost in an arsenal of VST’s, sound libraries and DAW options.
4) You put your finger on a crucial point, and that is that you’ve collected far more information on the subject than you’ll ever be able to digest. The ease with which we can access information today is fantastic but also daunting, overwhelming ... And it’s just as easy to trick ourselves into thinking that it makes us more intelligent, more highly educated, when essentially all we’re doing is window-shopping.
Oh, and as a side-note : “Coming from an academically inclined family” doesn’t exclude knowledge of music theory ... Quite the contrary in fact.
Do you know why people are going to a fitness center for running? Because they find it's boring to do it alone at home! Maybe all you need is just someone to make music with (we have a collab forum here ).
I can't see any relationship between these.
Work with someone already doing it.
Agree with others. There's online collaborative DAW like Soundation and Ohm Studio. Instead of writing music from scratch, you can try something new like writing a synth-line to any open invitation project. Don't give up, give yourself a chance, and have fun.
This is very good advice
Enjoying it while you're doing is very important. I really enjoy when I start making tracks that I like. Of course it's not always fun, there are very frustrating moments, but those fade away when you look at your finished product and you can proudly say "hey, after all these years, look, I made it! i AM capable of doing it"
If it's not fun for you, you need to find the right way of doing it then. This is where advices from other people stop being useful, and you gotta do it yourself
•Oh and of course you can always start remixing, copy the structure of a song completely, etc.
Tbh whilst im oversimplifying it/I thnk your overthinking the process!
I do understand ........."Believe me i understand"..............
The only real world applicable thing i could suggest to you is>> ............ "Ignore all and everything else , when programming"..
Like Maybe if your cats on fire ,Maybe thn take notice!......
I know its way easer said then done,But just try to put yur doughts aside n let the magic happen ...
Realy dont mean to u offer little real world help ,but its what id do...
you are setting yourself up to fail.
i suspect you also have some sort of quality judgement, perhaps that you could not make anything as worthwhile or good as .. and i know it easier said than done but you need to get rid of this judgemental, censuring voice with respect to your own stuff. play is the thing. don't worry about the quality, you are your own audience at this point. so do what you want. make the music you want to hear. even just playing with some synth presets, stuff you could actually work into your day as routine. the learning curve is different for everyone. i have been making music on and off in the last ten years and am still learning , it's slow for me personally , sometimes i may work on a bit of melody, the next sound design or beats etc.. it's a very fertile world for music makers today. so just jump in and don't measure yourself against anyone else. don't forget , apart from the few natural geniuses[?] everyone starts somewhere. for some the situation is similar to yours. forums are another great thing. find ways to stimulate and inspire so you can't wait to get down to working on your music
find your pace and stick to it.
and enjoy it. if you don't enjoy it at whatever level chances are you are on the wrong path.
get this book
you hit the nail with that statement, sharing the idea that you has not beeing a talented musician to work with music, should take much pressure for some of us. thank you
This is like saying that you want to be a painter, but instead of collecting pictures, brushes and (magazines, vsts, daws, hardware, songs etc), you had to learn to paint (sing, play or compose) on your own...
Most producers I know have learned the fundamentals of one genre and are sticking to it.
With enough imagination you don't need to stick to any rules.
Make a cheat sheet with the characterstics (like tempo, common drum patterns, cliche chord progressions etc) of the genre you want to produce, learn a few scales - natural major and minor, pentatonics and you are ready to produce simple pop or electronic music.
Separate names with a comma.