6 Ways to increase your productivity as a composer

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Like in other areas of life productivity is important, the same way it is important when it comes to composing. Composing is creative process. And creativity can be time consuming. Creating something new means messing with lots of ideas. And if you don’t have some planned structure it can take forever to create something new. Here are some ways to reduce that time.

  1. Decide what and for whom you are going to compose today before actually sitting down. Just sitting in front of computer and pressing random chords and notes on midi keyboard not going to take you anywhere. Have a purpose or goal in mind. Is that a 30sec music or full 3 minute song? What structure will be needed? What instruments to use? What chord progression will go with melody Decide thing like these before turning on your DAW.
  1. Keep your samples and synths handy. Have your samples and sound folder structure in mind. You will not waste time in finding the right sound. If you need that reverse cymbal sound you should know where it is located in which folder and sub folder. When ideas are flowing it is not a good thing to searching the files in the mess.
  1. Be specific. Experimenting is good thing but it has its limits. You can mix n match instruments and styles forever. Be specific with genre choose instruments as per the genres requirement.it will also save your computer’s memory from loading heavy unwanted plugins and make your session heavy unnecessarily. And if you are going to use software synths know what synth is good for which sound.
  1. Practice not only composing but your theory and instrument playing. The more you practice the more you compose fast. If you got melody in mind you will quickly know what chords will fit. Also, you will reduce the takes while recording, by practicing your preferred instrument.  
  1. Make schedule of daily composing time. It will help your creative mind to flow even more smoothly. Benefit of scheduling is your mind get in habit to use those hours fully and not thinking about other thoughts. And by practice your mind will also get active for composing ideas. If your schedule start at 5 for one or two hours, your mind will automatically get in the composing state between those hours. 
  1. Take breaks! Productivity does not mean always working and torture your creative mind. It needs a long breath, go out, enjoy a cup of hot coffee, I prefer green tea (it’s amazing). That will generate new and fresh ideas

 

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WHAT TO LISTEN IN SONGS

band-592983_1280Its weird!!
I know you said it when you first read the post title. it is, in someway, what should i listen in songs then. i can hear the drums the voice the guitars the synths as simple as that!! whats more in it? well, you are missing a lot then.

It is normal to listen to songs while working, or in the car, or while having coffee in coffee shop. (feels nice). but that music or song is more like the background music of your activity. you hear some part of the song then do your activity and then it moves to next song and the same process repeats. you were listening that songs Passively and that is absolutely fine its not bad thing. but as composer, songwriter, producer you should not consider to yourself that you heard those songs while doing other activities.you should listen actively, without any other activity if you want consider you heard a song carefully.

So what exactly is Active Listening?

Its not hard, just 3 simple steps – listen to that song for 3 times.

1.Listen the whole song without any judgment without making any firm statements. just to get the feel and vibes of the song. what atmosphere it creates what is the message is in the lyric. what is the basic mood of the song is that happy or sad tragic or it leaves with no certain mood, just plain music.

2.The second time listen to find more musical details. this time listen with musician’s ear. focus more on musicality like what is the genre, how it is structured and formed, what instrument are used, how many melodies used, try to find out the chords, scale, key.

3.And finally listen with engineers ears. listen to every detail of production process. how the reverb is working in whole song, how the vocal treatment has done, ups and downs of overall dynamics, listen to instrument panning, compression, what recording techniques they used. try to figure out what is real instruments and what are midi.

Overall you will get very much idea after 3rd step of how the song is made from composition to recording to final mix-master on CD. this idea works best in the scenario when client refer you a song and hit hard with giving you very tight deadline. take these 3 steps and you will find what to do with your new composition for that client.

And keep practicing these steps to get better at it. and yes these are not written rules or gospel. i am sharing a method with you that worked for me. i strongly encourage you to develop your own method and stick to it.

Till then goodbye and happy music making.

(share this post if you find it helpful).

Basic principles of knowing the fretboard

musician-414080_1280For many guitarists its frustrating to apply theory on instrument. These are both different things that learning any instrument and learning music theory. And to apply theory on instrument means using your physical ability to play guitar and theory knowledge will go hand in hand. Here are some main aspects to start with.

1.Know all notes on fret board the open strings are from lower to higher are E(1),B,G,D,A,E(6). So if you choose 3rd string that is G count G as open string and then press the first fret that will be G# the next fret will be A and so on till 12th fret G note. By this way practice knowing all frets and its notes.

2.How to spell chords chord spelling means the notes that make chord. E.g. spelling of C major chord is C,E,G. F major chord’s spelling is F,A,C. Once you learn the notes on the fret board you can easily apply this theory.

3.Play major and minor chords after knowing the notes in chords start practicing major and minor chords. try simple progressions like C,F,G or D,A,G play slowly but clearly.

4.Try scales major and minor first try C major scale first. learn the shapes of scale there are mainly 4 types scales

  • Major Scales
  • Minor Scales
  • Harmonic Minor Scales
  • Melodic Minor Scales

Start from major scale then master others.

5. Arpeggios helps us to play more fluently in the key. Arpeggios are notes from chords one benefit is you will play more notes in short time. Like in scales we have same parts in arpeggio

  • Major Arpeggios
  • Minor Arpeggios
  • Harmonic Minor Arpeggios
  • Melodic Minor Arpeggios

These are some basic points you can add in your guitar practice schedule, Make weekly schedule for each topic for best results.