2009 Wrap up & Plans for 2010

Well it’s been a good year and I’d like to share some of the highs and lows of the last 12 months as well as some of my plans for the next year. Be warned that this Blog is more in the personal development department than it is musical. Feel free to skip this if it doesn’t interest you…

Successes:

Some of the successes have come in the health department. I’ve gone to a mostly organic vegetarian diet with the excepton that i still eat fish and I eat turkey once a year (I’m sure you can guess which day).

Through the year I struggled to wake up before 11am. I would literally feel sick if I woke up much earlier. I realized that for me, waking up earlier required more than a simple habit shift. It actually required me to change several habits.
For one I traded in my meditation time for cardio. Now I walk up a place in town called Mount Rubidioux which is about a 3 mile walk.  I find it’s a great way to get my heart rate up and get me moving.

Although I don’t want to completely give up meditation as a habit, I found that although pleasant, it was about the laziest healthy thing I could do for myself when I really needed to put my body into motion. Getting into motion earlier in the morning set the tone for accomplishing things through the rst of the day.

Another important component to waking up earlier is having a light meal for dinner instead of a heavier meal. so now I end my day with something like cantaloupe or something easily digestible. I’m not saying that I suggest you take this step yourself, but it works well for me and when I slip up and have a heavier meal (like the sweet potato and spaghetti squash I had last night), I have a much harder time getting up easily.

Unfortunately for the last year, I’ve suffered from some pretty severe stomach/digestion problems. This often leaves me with a burning in my stomach, sharp pains in my sides or back, or heavy bloating. Not too pleasant when you are trying to be productive and creative.   In fact this is much of the reason for ALOT of false starts throughout the year.

Anyway, regular walking, lite eating at nite,  sleeping before midnite and getting up before 9am has been pretty doable. It’s tough though on the nites that I DJ til 2am, and those mornings I find myself up at around 9:30. My goal is to be able to wake up fresh and alert at 7am so I’ll be inching away at that.

I’ve also stopped drinking alcohol completely as I realized I must be allergic to it somehow. Out of everything that effects my stomach, this is by far the worst. A 3rd of a beer will set my stomach off for up to a week, so although it was fun drinking (mostly) responsibly all these years, it’s a practice my body no longer allows for.

I bought a blender/jiucer (yes, it’s the one Montel Williams sells on infomercials) and that has been a huge shift in the way I eat. My first meal is almost always a fruit smoothie.

A typical smoothie has: 2-3 bananas, 1 apple, 1 pear, strawberries, 1 orange, a couple kale leaves, hemp seed protien powder, and yogurt. Sometimes I use coconut milk other times just water or almond milk. This might seem like a lot of food to you, but you’ll be surprised how much you can drink before you feel satisfied and full. Often times I’ll also make a veggie juice later in the afternoon or as a last meal. This could include, pomegranate, carrot, celery, cucumber, spinach, beet, orange and ginger.

For me, eating as healthy as possible is a must to maintain a certain level of energy throughout the day. One bad meal can set me off for days of discomfort, pain and fatigue. If my level of activity appears to be sporadic, this would most likely be the culprit.

Another habit that I’ve started is Dream Logging and Journaling. This has a greater benefit than I would have expected when it comes to peace of mind. Although I don’t bother attempting to interpret my dreams, making it a point to remember them and write them down allows me to access the creative side of my brain that is normally shut off when we are awake. Think of it a bit like this:

Our brain works on frequencies and we have certain frequencies when we are awake and certain ones when we are asleep (and of course a wide range of frequencies inbetween). When we make that shift from asleep to awake, we shift frequencies, much like you would change a radio station.  The reason you can’t remember your dreams is because they are located in a frequency range that is no longer accessible unless you have trained your mind to find that frequency in your waking hours.

Journaling is basically writing for a certain amount of time about anything that comes to mind. It could be like a diary, or it can be about your goals or daily frustrations, or it can be a fictional story. What I find is that when you start Journaling, it’s similar to starting to meditate. It’s like the brain needs to take the time to defrag and organize before you start getting the benefits. Just like cleaning a dirty room, it’s often going to get worse before it gets better.

With my experience of waking up and writing for 15 minutes, I found myself doing a lot of complaining and a lot of time talking about the things i wanted and sometimes an action plan.  Sometimes I would simply write that i didn’t have much of anything to say. After 2-3 weeks of consistently writing first thing in the morning, I started to notice that I no longer felt like complaining, that i wanted to use the time more creatively and that I felt more relaxed and sometimes even inspired. I find it very beneficial clearing out the crap in my brain before moving on through the rest of the day. It’s also a great way to shut down the critic in your head since there is no wrong way to Journal except to not write. I plan to use this technique more in my songwriting as well.

2009 failures:

This year I have made several attempts at new habits that did not stick. Either I wasn’t really devoted to it, I got sidetracked or was just plain lazy.

100 push ups – Inspired by another blog that I read, I attempted to build myself up to being able to do 100 pushups via HundredPushups.com. I attempted this twice and both times only lasted a couple of weeks before I got distracted and broke the cycle.  It was a decent goal, but obviously not that important to me.

Qi Gong – I also experimented with Qi Gong excercises which is basically a way of moving energy throughout your body and clearing out blockages.  I enjoyed it a lot, but it seemed to be too much of a commitment, so I just do it every so often.  I’m a pretty skinny guy, so I’m not really under any pressure to get myself in shape. The benefits I am looking for are more in the mental clarity department.  I’ll probably return to this once or twice a week.

Plans for 2010:

Live PA shows – 2009 saw no Live performances outside of my local gigs. 2010 will be much more active in the Performance department. Myself and my production partner Frank Prosnik are planning several Live PA gigs in the Los Angeles area and beyond as Innerstate.

I took a pay cut by taking off Saturdays at my local gig so I can pursue weekends out of town and also focus more on music production and more video tutorials.

To be more specific, I’d like to have a new track every month throughout the year. Due to how picky I am about my output and how slow I tend to be in the songwriting department, I would be comfortable with at least 6 solid tunes completed.

As far as video tutorials, I am going to dive deeper into DJ’ing, performance videos and also plan to put myself at risk by doing a video journal of me making tunes start to finish. You will get to look at all the trials, errors, swear words and false starts.  It’s really going to force me to see a track to the end in a public forum. I plan to explore several different techniques as well so that I am broadening my songwriting horizons. I see this as a great oppurtunity to grow as an artist and to also help others beyond their own creative fears.

Iphone Ap – This has been a goal of mine for quite a while and it appears I’ve finally run into the right people to make it a reality. Soon you’ll be able to watch all my tutorial videos straight from your Iphone or Ipod touch! Stay tuned.

From PC to Mac – Ok so I have but working on a Macbook all year but I am still tied to a lot of my PC only software and plugins via Bootcamp (Sound Forge, Fruity Loops and loads of effect plugins).

I’m hoping that with the help of our community here that I’ll be doing  100% of my live performances on Mac. I still doubt I will give up the PC completely in the studio but I’d like it to be 75% Mac. I’m open to learn all your Mac production tips, so send away.

Image-Line – A couple of months ago I started experimenting with Image-Line’s Deckadance as a plugin inside of Ableton. It works in a similar fashion to Tracktor or Serato so you now aren’t trapped into one master tempo in Ableton. Being that I play a club that it not very house music friendly, I find my tempo’s all over the place. This meant that I would have to exit Ableton to do most of my gig’s. Deckadance has mostly solved that problem and given you the best of both worlds.
I made a video on how to set it up in Ableton that the owners of Image-Line (also famous for FL Studio) saw and liked a lot. Since then they’ve kindly hooked me up with a lot of their software and I’ve been road testing Deckadance and reporting back.

Thusfar it’s a bit buggy but the potential is pretty awesome. It will read nearly all timecode CD’s and also has it’s own “absolute” timecode that you can download from inside the program itself. It also will work with nearly all 3rd party plugin’s, so you can get really experimental.
Keep a lookout for more Deckadance tutorials as well as some FL studio tutorials as I plan to use both a pretty good amount in 2010.

Other Plans

I’d love to tell you about other 2010 plans but it would be jumping the gun a bit, so for now I’ll just keep you posted as things develop. Rest assured that I plan to keep this blog interesting and give you several more options to learn and develop your skills in Ableton and beyond.

Until next year… Happy Music Making

Jason



If you are benefiting from these posts, you will absolutely love my 2 bestselling books:

The Mental Game of Music Production
The Process for Electronic Music Producers

To level up your Ableton Production Skills: Ableton Courses & Instruments

If you are looking for personal guidance with your music production or Ableton, you can set up a free chat with me to go over exactly what your best next steps are to create the best music of your life. If it seems like a good fit, we can move forward from there.  https://musicsoftwaretraining.com/private-coaching

Happy music making!
Jason

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