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Old 01-06-2015, 05:45 PM   #1
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SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

Hey guys,

I want to address some feelings being "on the way" of becoming a producer. And it would be really great if you share your thoughts towards it.

So how many of you have been sitting with all these midi keyboards and Daws, learning everything inside out by experimenting. Or watching all youtube tutorials and still can not make a decent track. You have many projects started, some nice sounds and tries there but no finished track yet!

So I am deeply confused being in that position. I am also finishing audio engineering degree and I feel having sufficient knowledge but whenever I sit down and try to compose I am feeling like banging my head in to the wall. I always thought you have to be persistent and just do it do it until the revelation day comes but I think it is too long already. Also I do not feel that I am growing like I am stuck. So something is not right..

I wanna ask you guys for advice or tips how did you develop yourself in there? What was your way of efficient learning and growing, seeing yourself better and better until someone started to understand your music?

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Old 01-06-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

Take a break for a while. Try working with other aspects of audio you are not fully comfortable in. Maybe get another artist to let you just mix and master some tracks for fun. Not focusing on the writing and arrangements of your own project can lead to very fulfilling results and get the creative juices going.

Don't be afraid to push on with your unfinished tracks and just sit and actually write or play something. You can get into a bad habit of never finishing anything if you don't push yourself to do it. I did just that for the last 4 years and 30 something unfinished tracks. Finally I sat down and forced myself to just create and knock myself out of the rut or bad cycle I was in.

Exercise and eat healthy, ease your mind. Get into a good mental state. There are hundreds of things to do to help get a creative spark going again!

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Old 01-06-2015, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

You're not going to stop growing, and it's only once you like your current sound that you can go back and view the progress in a linear fashion.

If you want to speed up the process though, I'd suggest switching to books and manuals instead of youtube tutorials. Most of them are shit in comparison.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:41 PM   #4
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

I'm guessing you are either getting stuck in a loop or you are getting a lot of your own self-worth wrapped up in your tracks, so if you finish a track and it sucks, that means you suck too, and that paralyzes you into inaction.

My suggestion would be to put yourself into situations where you can just practice your craft and finish shitty tracks, while being able to keep a distance from it by having some "excuse" of constraints. What I mean by that, is that you should participate in fun challenges or competition that people tend to do on various message boards where you have a very specific set of requirements and a deadline. The deadline will force you to get out of the loop. The requirements will remove the mental block of "creating art" or "expressing your emotions" so you can just focus on experimenting and having fun and not have your self worth tied to the result.

Remix competitions are also a good way to finish tracks for the exact same reason: you have a deadline and you have some kind of a framework due to the source melodies, sounds, style, whatever. You are not starting with a blank slate and you can draw some kind of a direction from the original (even if you decide to take it into some very different direction... for the lulz).

To actually get out of the loop, I suggest you try to get the structure of the tune out as soon as possible, without worrying about sound design. Just sketch out the sections and where the breaks go. Then start working on some section and as soon as you start feeling stuck, just move on to some other section. Keep going back and forth between different sections to keep it fresh and novel for your brain. If you get a bunch of ideas of things to try while you are doing something, don't necessarily rush to do them right there, but write them down, and keep working on what you were working on. Then on the days where you open the project and just feel stuck and don't know what to do next, you can just go through your list and try some of those things. Keep zooming in to look at the micro level for tiny details of some aspect, but don't forget to zoom out once in a while and consider the overall plot and how things fit together and progress. And just keep at it. The last 10-15% are always tough to push through since you know what needs to be done, but you are pretty sick of the tune by that point to actually do it. There's really no trick around this, you just have to keep at it. Or call it 'done'.

Also, read
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles: Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne: 8601401253488: Amazon.com: Books The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles: Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne: 8601401253488: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:22 AM   #5
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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Exercise and eat healthy, ease your mind. Get into a good mental state. There are hundreds of things to do to help get a creative spark going again!
Really hundreds? That is what would be nice to hear! :badger:
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:45 AM   #6
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

a tune is not going to be finished in an hour. Don't look at the process like a waste of time. Compare it to drawing or painting. The process takes a lot of time but you don't even think about it, you just do it, follow your ideas, pause in the middle, come back to it, consider it finished, think of something else you could do actually, make another painting around the same idea because there's something else you want to try. You're going to be working on these tunes for hours. That's just what you do.

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Old 02-06-2015, 11:54 AM   #7
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

Thanks for the book UCoB and your advise to finish the song and learn the structure is very accepted!


But what I have in my mind is not only boosting creativity. It is your "attitude" or "writing (mental) state" to the song. What do you think first of how you are going to do it? Do you really have to be in good mental state? I think John Frusciante is brilliant in that case! I think you can express any mental state in to the song.. I am just curious how to approach it? And how you do it guys ?
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:09 PM   #8
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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Really hundreds? That is what would be nice to hear! :badger:
Fishing, hunting, camping, bike rides, jogging, movies, videogames, lifting weights, bowling, socializing, exercising, knitting, sewing, cooking, football, baseball, bssketball, family time, books etc. (You get the point)

Yes, living life and doing other hobbies will help reset your mind and get some creativity going. Or you could just shut yourself in and force feed yourself audio all day
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:20 PM   #9
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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Thanks for the book UCoB and your advise to finish the song and learn the structure is very accepted!


But what I have in my mind is not only boosting creativity. It is your "attitude" or "writing (mental) state" to the song. What do you think first of how you are going to do it? Do you really have to be in good mental state? I think John Frusciante is brilliant in that case! I think you can express any mental state in to the song.. I am just curious how to approach it? And how you do it guys ?
I have written tunes in any mental state. Mad, angry, happy, depressed...of course you can. Just be in an inspired state of mind for creating. Although I personally write best when I have my life in order and I am happy about things. It doesn't mean I write tracks about ninja turtles and unicorns. I project myself into the track.

Nobody can tell you what work flow works best for you. Shit bro, you just gotta give it time and figure it out. I work linear, section by section from start to finish. If you need arrangement help just listen and study other arrangements. Study music theory.
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:59 PM   #10
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

The point is, don't just sit there stuck and banging your head against the wall. Either take a break and do another hobby or work with another aspect of audio. Sound design work is a gem for inspiration. Create patches or sample libraries, that in itself can push your tracks into completion. Work with effects processing just to analyze what you are actually doing to the dynamics of a sound. Just create shit for pure creation and not to finish a track. Or just sit down and force yourself to actually write a new section in your track despite feeling the want to or not, you may get inspired just by forcing yourself to write.
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:01 PM   #11
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

Get some hardware and have fun!

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Old 02-06-2015, 02:08 PM   #12
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

Get more software and have even more fun! :problemofficer:
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:10 PM   #13
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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Originally Posted by rewir3d View Post
Exercise and eat healthy
So simple, yet no one wants to do it.
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:55 PM   #14
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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Originally Posted by astru View Post
But what I have in my mind is not only boosting creativity. It is your "attitude" or "writing (mental) state" to the song. What do you think first of how you are going to do it? Do you really have to be in good mental state? I think John Frusciante is brilliant in that case! I think you can express any mental state in to the song.. I am just curious how to approach it? And how you do it guys ?
If you are talking about mood, then I think you can channel just about anything creatively. Which is why I generally prefer to work on several very different tracks in parallel, so depending on my mood that day, I can pick the appropriate track that would benefit from my vibe.

But if you are talking about having a specific idea for a track where you sketch out the intensity and the feel and whatever else you can before you even open your sequencer, then I don't generally do that, but I feel like I should. Majority of my tracks start out simply by messing around with synths or noodling on guitar and once something cool happens, I try to build other things around it. But I think it would be much better to actually try and express something specific, so you have a sense of direction, instead of randomly throwing things at the well and waiting for something to stick.

I'm actually about to start a project with my wife specifically to try to work in that way. I've asked her to create descriptions for different tracks and write down the kind of feelings she would like to evoke with them and to provide pictures (she's a photographer) that kind of have the same vibe she wants the music to have. And on the technical side, I've asked her to find some reference tracks that either have the same vibe she's going for or just have specific elements she likes. So I'm going to give up creative control and just try to follow the framework she created and have her direct the work and make choices, while I do the technical work. Should be a pretty interesting experience (if I can actually keep my "control freak" nature under control).
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:05 PM   #15
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

I can't get an idea for a track else I am making a track.

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Old 02-06-2015, 06:04 PM   #16
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

My advice is stop being a fuckboy and embrace nihilism.

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Old 02-06-2015, 06:21 PM   #17
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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My advice is stop being a fuckboy and embrace nihilism.
My advice is to guard oneself from false dichotomies so one can embrace nihilism by becoming a fuckboy, if one so wishes.
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:24 PM   #18
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

Not to diminish your degree work w/o out knowing anything about it--but, if it is an audio engineering degree are you actually getting much "song writing" education? While I understand many modern dance genres hold mixing, mastering and sound design in higher regard than very advanced song writing and music theory, perhaps trying out some more traditional song writing techniques might help you out.

One thing I experimented with recently was writing out a full song using really simple patches and place holder drum sounds. Absolutely no sound design or mixing allowed until I've written out an entire song with at least a basic set of 3-4 instruments + percussion.

Other than that, I like what Lug said, rewired in his first post and what auto suggested. Having something immediate to jam on and sketch ideas with then being able to record those ideas is very useful--I'm always very impressed by people that write inspired, interesting, human feeling music using only a mouse. Although I don't think there is much bad advice here and that advice is pretty obvious.

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Old 02-06-2015, 07:06 PM   #19
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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My advice is to guard oneself from false dichotomies so one can embrace nihilism by becoming a fuckboy, if one so wishes.
did you know that when i get really into music i fail to eat, drink, or sleep properly

cuz i don't caaaaare :3

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Old 10-06-2015, 05:45 PM   #20
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Re: SELF DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

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Originally Posted by UCoB View Post

To actually get out of the loop, I suggest you try to get the structure of the tune out as soon as possible, without worrying about sound design. Just sketch out the sections and where the breaks go. Then start working on some section and as soon as you start feeling stuck, just move on to some other section.

Also, read The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles: Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne: 8601401253488: Amazon.com: Books
Golden advice, thank you.
Love that book recommendation as I'm constantly on the lookout for productivity tools.

Here's a question though, what if you feel like you keep recycling ideas and even song structures and all your tracks start sounding too similar or parallel? How do you break things up/ keep it fresh? Use/learn a new tool? have you personally experienced this?

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