As a music producer, it’s essential that you find ways to be as efficient as possible. Many (or most) of us are self taught, working on our own schedules, often from in-home studios. It can be difficult to find time to do everything you need to do, and stay focused when you are accountable mainly to yourself. As the New Year approaches, it’s time to decide how you’ll streamline your workflow and maximize your creativity in 2019. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 music production hacks you need to master in 2019.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #1: Create A Separate User Account For Music
If you can’t turn the internet completely off while creating music (and let’s be honest, who can?), try creating a separate account to use exclusively for producing music. This removes some distractions such as personal email accounts, photos, documents etc… It won’t stop you from checking Facebook every 10 minutes, but it’s a start.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #2: Get Rid Of Distractions
Maybe this isn’t new, but I think we can agree that the degree to which we rely on our cell phones is constantly on the rise. The Guardian reports that more than half of young adults admit to excessive use of smartphones. Not only do they make it hard to focus, they also remove any possibility that you’ll be bored and for many of us, boredom results in creativity. It’s often when you’re simply staring into space that the best ideas come to you. So try to put the phone away. I promise you’ll be more productive without it.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #3: Take Breaks
If you work for hours on end (on anything, not just music) you’ll find that you start to lose perspective. Eventually you’ll burn out. Not to mention the neck and back strain that come with working hunched over your keyboard all day long. If you treat music production like a job, then schedule your breaks much like you would have at a 9-5 job. Go outside, move around, stretch, whatever. Just take. some. breaks.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #4: Declutter
You might own 3 midi keyboards, 5 microphones, 2 sets of speakers and 4 screens, but how often do you use them? Be honest with yourself and purge what isn’t essential. It’s difficult to focus in a cluttered environment, and having too many options when you’re working can make it difficult to decide what to do next. Keep your favourites and store (or sell) the rest.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #5: Invest In Studio Equipment and Education
Now that I’ve told you to get rid of extra equipment, let’s talk about quality equipment. Investing in good studio equipment can only result in better mixes and better sound quality overall. Along the same line of thought, if you have the time and money to invest in some type of education surrounding music theory, do it! If you don’t, try to learn what you can as you go. Bettering yourself as a musician will come through in your music. If you’re looking for help mixing or mastering your own music, check out our other blog posts here for some tips and tutorials.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #6: Collaborate and Network
DO find a mentor. A professional producer, mixing or mastering engineer will have loads of advice and knowledge that they can pass on to you.
DON’T ask for handouts.
DO find artists to collaborate with. Find a professional and genuine way to let them know you’d like to collaborate with them.
DON’T spam producers or artists online.
DON’T feel like you need to accept every collaboration offer that comes your way. Be true to yourself as a musician and collaborate when it will be mutually beneficial.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #7: Mix Your Music Properly (we talk about this more in another blog post)
If you can pay someone to professionally mix your music, do it! Having a fresh set of ears work on your music will have an enormous effect on the overall quality of your tracks. If you prefer to mix your own music, try to learn as much as you can or look for a more affordable service (like Sound Comet… check it out!).
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #8: Stop changing the arrangement and mix
While it can be tempting to go back over a track repeatedly, at some point you simply need to stop. You’ll lose perspective and stop being able to tell if what you are doing is actually improving the arrangement, or making it worse. Try to limit your revisions. Instead, focus on finishing your song and asking for feedback (see tip number 10).
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #9: Protect Your Music
Copyright your music to protect it. This is an easy hack that many new producers overlook. You can usually complete the process online and it costs less if you copyright an entire album at once.
MUSIC PRODUCTION HACK #10: Get Feedback
Ask at least one trusted friend or family member for an honest opinion of your track. Not everything should be published and sometimes it takes un outside ear to help you figure out which songs are worth spending that extra time on. Beyond friends and family, be open to constructive criticism from others in the industry. Understand that even the best producers in the world are always learning more, so embrace feedback as a means to improve your craft.