Speed up your music production by using a workflow


#1

Hi,
I have made this blogpost about my music production workflow. I use this to have a goal when I am making beats, or just producing music in general.
The blog post explains each step of the workflow in detail. It also includes tips for idea generation, mixing and mastering.

Check it out and leave a comment.

Music production workflow - Speed up your music making!

Do you already have a workflow that you trust?
Share it.
What is your workflow?

All the best
itsContraBeat


#2

This is pretty cool, man. Thanks for sharing.

I find it interesting how different producers approach beat making, and music in general. Some people (like yourself, from what I gather from this workflow) are really good at quantifying each step and laying out in a workflow to go through the motions on making a track, constantly giving yourself a “does this sound good” QA/QC step as you move through it, eventually finishing the composition as prepped tracks before doing full mixdown and mastering.

I could see how this would be really helpful for beginners to look at, or for those people who are just simply lost in direction.

My first response to this is… Why is speeding up your music production important, and how does this workflow really aid in that? I see the initial loop being “do I like this?” and returning to 30-60 minute intervals. That could go on forever, for some people. In a lot of ways, I think producers think too much ahead in the scope, and in a sense that limits them - but again, everyone works different, that’s why I find this a fascinating approach.

I’ve always considered myself an “exploratory” producer. I like to start off either with drums, or a single instrument… and see where it goes… chaining inspiration in a micromanaged sense. “Ok, I have a synth that is cool. Let’s add some drums. This is neat, I think (this) would go good with this… then experiment” repeat.

Then again I also break a lot of standard operating procedure in the studio, I like to also do my mix down as I’m going along, making constant minor adjustments so in the end I can master it extremely fast and with ease… and I find that helps production speed up on the back end.

But that’s my two cents. Thanks for posting :slight_smile:


#3

Hi Nostromer,
thank you for you comment on the post, I am happy that you like it.

Maybe “speed up” is not the right term to use here, because it is not speeding up the process that is important. The important thing, in my opinion, is to finish tracks. When I started using a workflow, it made me very aware of the different steps I needed to take, to end up with a finished track or beat.

Before I started to use a workflow for my music production, I often found myself spending a lot of time on music that I would never finish. I found that this often was due to the fact that I started focusing on the mix of the beat, before the idea was finished, and therefore lost the creative flow that I needed to finish the beat.

It is true that the idea generation intervals can go on forever. But I find that the best music I make, is the music that comes naturally. If I find that I am pushing myself to be finish an idea, then it is often better leave the idea and start working on something new. The idea can then be worked on at another time.

But, as you say. Everyone works different. The purpose of this workflow is to show one way of getting from an idea to a finished mixed and mastered production. If a person already have a method that works then…“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” :slight_smile:

Again, thank you for your very good comment.

All the best
itsContraBeat


#4

Great stuff!, really handy to see how other people go about finishing.

Not totally on topic but with regards to speeding up your workflow this dude is great, really really fast worker.


This guy works insanely fast and has some great little tips from speeding things up, its from an ableton live perspective but these could be applied to other daws. There is another 2 videos of him talking about the same sort of stuff.

As for me I tend to sample myself alot so I might spend the day writing drum parts in different bpms and stuff, then pads or synth patches, so on. Then I sort of sample myself and try and get things down as fast as possible. I find the more I can write when I get in the zone the easier and more enjoyable I find the later stages of mixing. Helps me not listen to my own track too much and lose objectivity.


#5

I find the tracks I finish are usually the ones where I get a solid, full track arrangement of the basic elements down in the first session. Maybe two. If arranging and writing the track takes more than that those tracks tend to not get finished.


#6

If I were to graph my workflow the top would be the same as yours.

The bottom would be:

Arrange and edit…maybe that is implied in your ‘needs more work.’ Half my music, even most of the parts that are electronic, are played live. Get some good takes, but I usually hold off doing fine editing until I am arranging. Because often I find some tiny ‘mistake’ I thought I had made, subtle phrasing, cant be heard in the mix.

Get my busses in order. I color tracks in here. Also double check that synths or drum machines are going through an amp sim, if I didnt record them through a real amp. Most things already have saturation by the time I start thinking things are ready to arrange and mix, most things I still use hardware saturation on.

Spatialization. Now that I have my busses, decide on the virtual room the song is in. Make one to three auxs for variations of a reverb for far, near, and sometimes near left, near right. Send tracks and busses to the verbs deciding where they are in the room. I usually draw a picture here because it helps me think about the milliseconds per meter.

High pass …what should be high passed.

Eq pockets…push things into their eq pockets.

Compression and levels…I usually do these together. I tend to put a compressor on everything. Some may be a very subtle thing, 2:1 or whatever, and I may even decide something is too compressed, fuzzy guitar a common culprit, and Ill flip it to being an expander. But ya, as this effects levels, I would put these together.

Review eq pockets

Take a break…I dont prefer to do my own mastering. I’m not bad at mastering or mixing imuho but I think this is great to do one or the other. But if that particular project doesnt have the luxury, I at least have to forget about the nuances of the mix and come back.

Mastering.

Getting pissed about something and remixing

Mastering take 2…usually have it by then.


#7

Thank you, I will check the videos out.

Making your own samples can really speed up your workflow and keep your “own” sort of sound. I have sometimes made a whole loop or song and then used that as a sample. This can really jumpstart an idea and give you that “Everything is fresh” vibe.


#8

You are spot on! Arrangement is truly king. To focus on moving on from that initial 4-8 bar loop, that so many of us start from, should be top priority, the magic is in the arrangement.


#9

Hi,
Thank you for the details on your workflow. I will probably add a section on reverb to the workflow at some point. This subject have been a bit neglected in the workflow post, unfortunately.