We often don’t know why we are not getting better as music producers, and that usually has to do with our own inner beliefs than anything else. Here are a few things that could help you untether yourself and develop as a producer
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. You need to learn something new with every new song you make. For you to be able to develop, you must be able to learn/try something new with every song you make. Not only this, but you need to have some deliberate practice sessions where you’re intentionally going to experiment with new things to expand your knowledge. For example, how often do you practice learning new sound design techniques? Or mixing technique? Or, how often do you stop to analyze the arrangement of a song you’ve just completed and how you could make it better? These moments are insanely important because these are the moments that will fuel your mind and give you more options when you hit a bump in the road while you’re producing. A great way to do this is by watching production walkthroughs like the last L.GU project walkthrough we posted, where you’ll see full tracks from other producers and their thought processes behind them, which you can then take some techniques and try on your next songs. Therefore, make sure to constantly learn and try new things with your new songs as this is what will fuel your growth as producer.
2. Stop focusing on releasing with your favorite labels and focus on making music. Focusing on labels is a problem because it somehow makes you ‘fit in’ with their sound, and that keeps you from experimenting with your sound because the fear of rejection will prevent you from trying new things. However, that’s exactly the opposite of what labels want you to do. Labels do NOT want you to be completely different from their catalog, but they want you to be somehow different from what they already have, otherwise, why would they sign an artist that is the same as what they have? This way, stop focusing on making music with a label in mind, as said in this post, and make music for yourself, and then adapt it to labels when needed. In other words, make sure to view labels as a consequence of production, not the meaning of why you’re making a song, and this will take a lot of the fear of experimenting and being rejected away from you, which often will make you produce more freely and try new things, what could lead you to make better songs and getting signed.
3. Stop being protective of your songs and start getting feedback on them. Some producers don’t like sharing their songs with other producers because they (1) fear their songs will be criticized or (2) they take the feedback so personally that any bad comment will put them down. However, getting feedback is one of the most crucial things in developing your own sound as you’ll listen to a perspective from someone who is not emotionally committed to the song as you are making. In addition to hearing mixing or sound design issues that you might not be hearing, you can also understand if the composition and arrangement of your song are lacking anything, or if your song is ready to go. In any case, this is almost like ‘beta testing’ your song in the market and the information you gather from feedback can become a list of to-dos for your future songs. Of course, make sure to choose someone that is constructive with their feedback (if you need, ask us over here) and you’ll learn a lot from it, which will make you a better producer if you’re able to correct issues you’ll be made aware of.
4. Start focusing on FINISHING tracks rather than creating a new song that you’ll likely not finish again. Finishing songs is insanely important and one of the most underrated skills in music production. Only when you finish your song is when you can start releasing your music and start building a catalog as an artist. In addition, only when you fully finish a song is when you can really compare yourself to other producers and to your past tracks and say ‘this song A is better than B because it has X, Y and Z’. It could even be the ‘radio edit’ of a song, but when you say it’s finished, there are no excuses like ‘the song is still 70-80%’ and if something is lacking is because you need to fix it or didn’t know how to do at the time. Hence, after finishing and comparing your songs, now you’ll have a song to release and a list of things you need to fix for your next song, just like you’d get from feedback. ‘Why don’t I just ask for feedback?’ Well, this is you giving feedback to yourself and it’s important to develop this skill as this will also help comprehend how you can develop your production skills only by comparing songs other than only relying on asking for feedback. Therefore, make sure to finish your songs as this will help you develop as a producer by having a to-do for your next song, but also by having a song to release, which is what producers do… release songs!
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
How else can you develop as a music producer?
1. Stop trying to make hit songs: This will only make you feel more pressure when starting a new song, and often will halt you due to the pressure or make you ‘conform’ and make something that has already worked, which normally won’t work.
2. Stop trying to find your ‘signature sound’: Finding your sound comes with experimentation and constantly looking for it will put too much pressure on it. Before you even know it, it will already be there, just keep experimenting.
3. Improve your workflow: A more streamlined workflow can help you finish tracks faster, and that can help you finish more tracks as a producer. For example, choose your go-to sample packs, preset packs, and VSTs instead of always trying something new.