6 Ways to increase your productivity as a composer

music-176566_1280

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

 

Advertisements

Introduction to composing for Production Music Libraries

microphone-626032_1280

It is not that different than writing normal music. It has certain criteria you have to follow, balancing with your creativity.

Production music used for visual mainly, for TV ads, corporate videos like training videos, company profile video, YouTube videos, games, which is huge industry for music. Short films, animated films or other visuals.

Production music’s purpose is elevate the content. it should go with the feel and match the vibe of the content. Watching some TV is good idea to know where and how it is used.

Reading the points below will give you basic idea of how to approach composing for Production music. 

  1. Quantity matters when you write music for libraries. Write maximum number of tracks in every possible genre. Make schedule of composing like 3 track per week or 2 track per week, whatever suits you. But do it regularly don’t procrastinate on schedule.
  1. Edits are very important. Make 30 sec, 60 sec and 1 minute version of each track. Also make version of muting some instruments e.g. same track available with only drums or only melody or any particular instrument solo only. This can give client good options so that he can buy exactly what is suitable for his project. Making Loops is also a good idea. 
  1. Listen to other artist’s music. It helps a lot listening to lots of music by people who are actually making it or to understand what markets trend is, learn the genre and master it. Composer should not bound by any particular genre, Yes, having personal favorite genre is not a bad thing but you should be good at composing in different genres. 
  1. Market yourself make a website to showcase your tracks. Make soundcloud, YouTube channel, Facebook page work for you. Work on promoting your music and show your work as much as possible.

This was very brief post of the topic. I will write more in depth on composing techniques especially for library music. Till then keep composing and write lots of music.

What Is Production Music?

tape-recorder-349848_1920

As on Wikipedia

Production music (also known as stock music or library music) is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to customers for use in film, television, radio and other media Oftentimes, the music is produced and owned by production music libraries.

We hear production music everyday on TV or radio ads,documentaries,short films. the music used in movies is called “Background Score”that is totally different genre i will write the dedicated post on this subject. The purpose of this music is to support and elevate the content.

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).