10 Production Tips to Stay Motivated

Have you found yourself staring at your computer screen totally clueless as to what to do? As creatives, we often easily exhaust our ideas or get burned-out from overworking on our productions. Not too long ago, I stumbled upon an article on Entrepreneur titled “21 Ways to Get Inspired” which had a cool infographic about steps you can take if you are blocked and need a way out. In this blogpost, I’m going to extract 10 ways and see how it can apply to us as music producers.

    1. Pick The Worst Idea
      • I’ve been guilty of sitting all day and not coming up with anything productive because of waiting for the perfect idea to fall upon me.
      • When it comes to music, we are always careful not to pick musical ideas that are too cheesy or way too common in order for us to be different and stand out from all the “noise” out there. However, when starting from scratch, it is often more productive to start with a cheesy idea and built on it. It is better to get something going than nothing at all.
    2. Question Everything
      • We make a thousand and one micro decisions each time we produce but how many of us question what we are trying to achieve and why?
      • I found a useful practice when producing to question why would I choose this particular sound, or what would it be like if I used another plug-in instead of my usual go-to’s? The questioning often leads me to explore different alternatives which may or may not sound better.
    3. Be a Copycat
      • We all know it, most music out there are copies of some other music that has been out already.
      • When starting out on a production, try to acquire references for you to fall back on. You can pick references based on the genre of your production, the tonal characteristic, the instrumentation or even musicality.
      • There is nothing wrong with trying to copy these references and produce something original out of it.
      • Watch this video to see how Snarky Puppy’s Michael League used a Lebanese song as a reference for his own composition
    4. Ask 3 People
      • One of the best ways to get out of being stuck is to ask people to listen to your production and give comments.
      • Splice is a great way to do that as we have a community of over 300K users on the platform sharing their work’s in progress, getting feedback and even ideas added on to their production.
      • If you are not familiar with Splice, you can join now – it’s free!
    5. Practice, Practice 
      • A little everyday goes a long way.
      • Pick something small to practice on each week. It can be practicing on writing melody lines, working a particular synth better, mixing vocals etc etc.
    6. Focus
      • You probably have noticed that I said to practice a new thing each week and not everyday. Focus is key to production as you can accomplish a lot more within a shorter period of time.
      • I have an excel spreadsheet of all my musical projects and sort it according to priority. At the start of the day, I would open up the spreadsheet and see what’s left to do in terms of production and set goals for myself to accomplish over the week.
      • This way, you are giving focus to projects that needs to be done and at the same time making best use of your time.
    7. Get Moving
      • We all have a tendency to get stuck in our music studio for hours without stepping out.
      • Sometimes going out for a walk helps clear your mind and feed you new inspirational ideas.
      • Personally, I take twenty minute breaks to help me move out of my seat and rest my eyes. To help me do that, I use Dejal’s TimeOut.
    8. Look Outside Your Industry
      • I find this tip tremendously useful. Personally, I look at the tech giants and startups of today and see how they are working and thinking and see how I can gather inspiration from these top players.
      • Since music production and technology are so closely tied with each other, often reading bout tech news and stuff can inspire you to create fearlessly.
    9. Daydream & Doodle
      • Sometimes it is just great to have no agenda when producing music.
      • Giving yourself time to just create without any objective can sometimes spur crazy moments of inspiration and creativity.
      • Splice Sounds is a great tool to use to get randomly inspired by different samples and sounds.
    10. Start Over
      • Accept failure and know that it is perfectly fine to start over with a fresh idea.
      • In mixing, I often start over about two or three times every hour just so that I do not grow too attached to a mix.
      • After having three different versions of a mix, I sit back and listen to them again, evaluate and see which ones I like the best and work on the mix.

Spark inspiration for your music with expertly-curated loops, one-shots, MIDI, presets, and more:

March 25, 2016

Reuben Raman Product Marketing Manager at Splice