If there is one major issue with music production that I have noticed as an overwhelming trend, it’s that all the music content around it is based on techniques.
“This one EQ trick” will make you sound like a great producer!”
“Learn this one synth technique & you’ll never have any sound design issues”
“With the new tools in Ableton 14, you’ll never have a problem finishing songs again!”
Sadly, these are the headlines that get clicks & it’s also the content the leads producer’s astray.
New techniques are not what you need. Most of the time it’s like learning how to set the perfect roofing tiles when you haven’t even designed the floor plan for your house.
Very few people in this field talk about the floor plan. Why? It’s not flashy, it’s not sexy and it requires a good amount of mental work. Most new producers are trying to find a technique the negates the need to do the real work & this is why so many producers fail to reach their goals.
They are promised that if they just get this one plugin, this collection of samples or this one fucking midi pack, music will no longer require any work. That’s a pretty attractive proposal.
And don’t get me wrong, tools are great. I make a few of them myself, but any producer I speak to personally knows that I always recommend the fundamentals to be learned first. You need to know how to build a house before you watch 100 videos on interior decoration.
But they may say “oh, you just want me to make cookie cutter music with your ‘process’. NO mother truckers! There is the way music is put together, just like there is an order to how you make a cake. Why are you learning how to put on the frosting when you haven’t even mixed the damn batter?
I am telling you. If you learn to build the foundation with a process & the fundamentals, you will have no creative limits to what you can create. If fact, you can even ignore or rewrite the rulebook! Why are so many producers afraid of putting in the work? They spend more time taking cool pictures for their instagram artist page than they do making actual music. There is nothing cool about having a mysterious image but no substance to back it up.
What are your true priorities? If it’s making music, then you better get really damn good at understanding how song crafting works. Not how to make wubs, bleeps or booms. That comes after you’ve mastered the process. and yes, part of the process is understanding how to make sense of the cool sounds you hear in other songs.
The thing is, once you understand all the ground work, you won’t have to look up tricks and techniques nearly as much. You’ll realize in many cases, that you already have the knowledge. Then when you DO look up a technique, you will know exactly how it fits into your music & be able to learn it, apply it & get back to music making.
You should make it a practice to spend 80% of your creative time actually creating & only 20% at most seeking information when you get stuck on something.
Just by teaching people the fundamentals & a process, i’ve helped people go from never finishing a song, to finishing new songs in about a week & getting in the charts with it. Moving faster doesn’t mean you are losing quality. You’re actually gaining quality by moving as fast as your brain likes to calculate. When you slow things down, you give your brain time to believe it might be making a poor decision & thus being afraid to make the next. it’s better to make mistakes than to not take action. You can’t learn or progress if you aren’t doing anything.
If you feel overwhelmed with finishing music that you are proud of, you are NOT just 1 technique away. You are NOT 1 plugin away. You are a full process away. When you begin to think differently about what you think your problems are, you’ll discover that those problems are just symptoms of having a lack of understanding of the process.
I know this isn’t a sexy post, but I promise you it’s the truth & if you give yourself time to ponder this, you’ll appreciate the impact it will have on your creative life.
If you would like to learn more about the Process, I have put together a free 90 minute Masterclass for you that condenses just about everything I know about the fundamentals of Music Production. There no sales pitch, just straight content.
Happy music making!