We all struggle with developing our music, and we want to get there FAST, but sometimes we get stuck on barriers that slow us down. Here are a couple of tips to you to develop your sound a bit faster:
5 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Make as much music as you possibly can. Making music is the best way to develop your production skills and the more you make them, the faster you’ll develop. But, it’s not only enough to keep starting new songs as you’ll only develop the skill of ‘starting songs’, and not the skill of ‘finishing songs’. It’s important that you go from the beginning until the end because only then you’ll be able to fully develop as a producer. In addition, only then will you be able to compare your current song with your previous song and say: ‘This got better here and here, but I still need to develop there and there’. Otherwise, you can, and you will, rely on “ah, but that track isn’t finished, so that’s why it sucks”, and this won’t make you look inside and seek areas of improvement since, after all, you haven’t finished the track, right? Lastly, the repetition of certain processes, like Mixing & Master, will streamline and perfect your workflow, which will help you make tracks faster and better. Therefore, commit to making as much music as possible and a good goal to set is one finished song per month!!
2. Watch tons of ‘Start to Finish’ or ‘Project Walkthroughs’ on Youtube. Watching tutorials on youtube is a way for you to get inside other producers’ minds and learn how they think and how they do their songs, so you can develop your own skills. For example, I learned the technique of Eq Matching, something that I talk about A LOT, after watching a project walkthrough from Shanahan’s ‘Starts & Moon’ [Enhanced]. “Leo, but it’s a 45min tutorial…”. Well, I watched several of these, and like any other book, if you learn ONE technique or idea that you find interesting, it was worth it. When watching these, even if in the background, take notes of EVERYTHING the person says, and highlight what you don’t know so you can recall it later. Not only will this be helpful to you to expand your knowledge, but also for you to experiment with things you haven’t thought of before.
3. Use reference tracks as much as you can. Reference tracks are gold mines when it comes to expanding your knowledge since they possess everything that a producer did on a track, and since you’ve likely chosen a track because you like it, it’s knowledge on how to do something you’d love to do yourself. How long is the arrangement? How is the sound design of the elements? How is the balance between kick, bass, and other elements? How loud is the song? Everything can be taken from just listening to a reference, but you must be willing to dig into this information as it’s ‘deep in the story’ of the song. In addition, they are the best way to compare if your song is ready to be released since you can discover if it is lacking something compared to a reference track. Let’s say you feel that your track lacks low end when you compare it… Bam! Then, you already have a new skill to learn on your music production ‘todo list’. Therefore, make sure to use reference tracks to get the most you can from them!
4. Experiment as much as you can as this is what is crucial to your development. (1) If you only do what you know, you never expand your boundaries and you’ll keep repeating what you already know. (2) If you don’t get feedback from other producers, you won’t look outside of your own thought about your sound. (3) If you don’t experiment, not only won’t you learn new techniques that can enhance your skills, but you can end up stuck in a rut, which can lead you to get frustrated with music. The more you experiment when producing, the more you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, and this will be the thing that will shape your sound, your music and your development. And, this is where we tie points #1, #2 and #3. The more tracks you do, the more opportunities to experiment with the knowledge that you acquire. Therefore, make sure to, in every new track you make, try something you’ve seen that you haven’t implemented yet. Maybe you’re already comfortable with what you’re doing, but what if there’s a better or faster way?
5. Get a mentor and/or get some help with 1on1 sessions. The four items above are the recipe for developing your music production skills in the fastest way possible, but sometimes you need to push it a bit further and ask for some personal 1on1 help. Not because you haven’t done what I’m mentioning above, but sometimes you need someone to either guide you through this or help get you unstuck from one of the things that you’re not being able to solve by yourself. In addition, when getting 1on1 lessons, you’re getting personalized help from someone that has experience over the years that will be suitable for your situation, which not only will speed up your development by teaching you something that will take you months to find on your own online, but will also give you more paths to experimentation, which will help you to further enhance your uniqueness. Therefore, if you’re feeling stuck with something in your music, or if you want to further expand your knowledge, consider doing a 1on1 session online, something that we offer as well and you can contact us here if you’d like to know more about it.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What are the areas that you’re feeling you most need to develop?
1. Arrangement & Composition: Use reference tracks to understand how others arrange tracks, and listening to how others produce can greatly develop your composition skills!
2. Sound Design: There are a ton of Sound Design tutorials from us on Youtube, and many other channels as well. I definitely recommend you check The Sound Design Channel as well, which I participate in as well
3. Mixing & Mastering: Often this can be solved with projects Start to Finish/Walkthroughs on Youtube, or even getting 1on1 help since these mixing issues can be the last 10% that you need, but they are the hardest to find and solve, so getting someone to take a look at what you’re doing can be a way to solve this