Why aren’t you making progress as a music producer?

Sometimes we question ourselves if we’re developing as producers, something I’ve explored in this post already, but I wanted to bring some new advice to it. Therefore, here are some of the most common pieces of advice I give to some producers who feel they are not making progress with their music…


1. Stop watching tutorials and focus on finishing and releasing more tracks.

When we are developing as producers, we often spend a lot of time watching tutorials to learn new techniques and ways of producing, but we often forget to apply what we’ve learned to our songs. The same happens with courses, when we buy a bundle with so many courses, but then forget to spend time creating our tracks and applying these new tips.

However, remember that it’s by making tracks that you’ll evolve as a producer since that’s what will

  1. Put all your knowledge to practice;
  2. Expose your skills that still need work.

Therefore, here are a few recommendations:

  1. Spend at most 20-30% of your music time in tutorials. they are important to bring in new ideas and techniques, but it’s in the DAW where the magic happens;
  2. Especially when you’re beginning, focus on quantity over quality as the more you produce, the more you’ll get better at it. Therefore, don’t spend months on the same track or don’t be so critical about them;
  3. Experiment with something new every new track to make sure that you’re always pushing the boundary a bit further with every song. Either fix an issue or voluntarily try a new technique to test if that makes your track better;
  4. Get feedback on your song (and you can ask for our feedback here) to get external input on your song and bring you thoughts that you might not have had;
  5. Create a schedule of constant releases for your songs. Ideally, you’ll have one release every month and a half since that can help you build a solid fan base.

2. Start working smart instead of working hard.

If you’re constantly going through an issue, say mixing and mastering, but you’re not doing anything to solve this issue, working more hours won’t necessarily solve your situation. Instead, you should consider looking for content that can assist you in fixing mixing and mastering, like ‘start to finish. courses’.

That’s the kind of situation where working harder on your mix and master won’t necessarily solve the problem that you’re facing, and that’s why we sometimes need to rethink our processes and strategies. To move forward and make progress, here’s what I suggest to start working smarter:

  1. Make a list of your current struggles;
  2. Find a video/course for every issue and take notes;
  3. For your next song, try to fix at least one of these problems;
  4. If you fixed it, move to the next one. If you didn’t fix it, try another video and if that still doesn’t work, I’d consider going deeper into it, like doing a 1on1 session with someone.

Remember, a problem that keeps you away from making progress with your music will keep you away from releasing your songs, and that’s what will make you grow as an artist.

3. Control your schedule and stop blaming your lack of progress on lack of time.

You’re a busy person and I know that finding time for music, which can be just a hobby for you, is hard, especially since music production is a really hard and unforgiving hobby to have. However, if you’re worried about your progress, it shows that you care about it, and if time is the culprit, you need to make adjustments in your daily routine to move past it and get back to enhancing your music:

  1. Schedule your sessions in your calendar, just like a birthday party or a dinner. When it’s on your calendar, it’s harder to neglect it, and it makes it easier to avoid being overridden by some random event;
  2. Clear out your distractions. To discover what’s distracting you on your computer, track your activities with an app called Rescuetime (free), which tracks all your activities and websites and gives you a weekly digital productivity score. Then, uninstall or lower your distracting activities, and that can open more time for music;
  3. Change your environment. Instead of just playing less of those games, completely uninstall them. Make your computer a ‘distraction-free’ place so when you sit on it, it’s to work. For example, I still have a PS4 that I occasionally play, but when I sit at my computer is to work, and that helps me stay in tune;
  4. Change your routine. To make sure I had time to produce, I spent 4 years producing from 4 AM to 7h30AM, before work since I was getting too distracted or tired after work. Find a time that works for you, and use it only for music.

4. Stop trying to do it all on your own.

We all complain that we need to do too much as producers, but at the same time, we never seek help to get stuff that we don’t like or are not so skilled at doing.

For example, most music producers don’t like marketing and social media, and would like to focus mostly on music, so why not just hire a friend who likes that and pay him for his work or give a percentage of your project to them? Applying this to music,

  1. Find a mentor who can unstick you from the issues that you’re having. A mentor can enhance your progress by making you learn faster and detecting issues that you didn’t even know existed;
  2. Hire someone to do what you’re not able to properly do or just don’t like doing, like mixing and mastering or even enhancing the sound design of your song. All big artists get external help from other producers, so why can’t you as well?;
  3. Don’t be ashamed of asking for help. If you know a friend who has done what you feel is holding you back, ask them for a call and if they can help you with the issue. It’s polite to offer to pay, but most of the time your friend will offer to help you because they’re your friend.

Rule of thumb, if you don’t like or don’t know how to do something that needs to be done, get someone to do it or get help to speed up your process.


How do you know if you’re not making progress with your music?

1. When you’re not happy with how your songs are ending up:

Especially if you don’t know how to fix these issues, this can prevent you from finishing your songs the way you want them and, essentially, block you making progress as an artist.

2. When you can’t fix an issue that has been haunting you:

If you’ve been stuck on the same issue or if a skill, like composition, constantly haunts you when you have to use it, put some effort into it or get some external help (feedback or mentorship) to unstick you and get you back to moving.

3. When you look 6/12 months back and you don’t see much difference:

Sometimes perspective helps, so listen to your tracks from 6/12 months ago. Often times, we don’t hear the differences from track to track, but taking a longer perspective can help us realize we ARE making progress and motivate us again.

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Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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