Methods of improving besides making songs

It’s been said that electronic music production is an interesting side of music in that rather than separating practice + production like other musicians it gets lumped into one. We aren’t sat with our guitar practicing the parts for the recording session or playing through scales on the violin to keep our chops up before the live or recording session. We sit at our computer, hit buttons and tweak till we have something we like and that is our product. We get better by making more of these songs, trying different things but ultimately it usually stems in our direction of “making a song”

That being said there are some ways to improve that don’t involve making a finished song and I want to share and see what methods you have found to be effective at improving yourself as a music producer and more generally a musician. Here are some of mine:-

  1. Reverse Engineer - Take a song you like, break it up, recreate it inside a daw or using notes to find out how it ticks and works the way it does

  2. In The studio videos - FutureMusic etc. Less guess work than the first one to find out how things tick but… while it can be easy it is less engaging in encourages you to think less so you might not benefit as much

  3. Collaboration - This can help see what other ways your track can take by seeing what someone else does with your ideas. As well as developing ideas that can be different from what you are used to starting with.

  4. Active Listening - Different from the usual shall we say “background” listening. Make sure you’re free of all distractions, get a good monitoring system (maybe if you don’t have one find somewhere or rent a place for a bit) and listen closely to all the details of the song. (bonus points for closed eyes!)

Read some books and take physical notes.

Explore other activities where dividends are almost not the point - where the enjoyment comes from patience and love of process instead of results. Cooking and gardening are roughly analogous to producing imo.

1 BigUp

Just listening to music changes you so much. Every 6 months I get a noticeable change in how deeply I can hear into sound.

Then again I listen to music all day. Finding music I like as fast as I can burn it is a serious problem from me.

Once week I might just be listening to bass content in snare drums across different genres. Next week it might panning in terms of the over all mix.

Good ideas guys!

Give yourself one or a number of creative requirements and/or limitations that you aren’t used to.

Your new solution to the new problem is your creative work.

1 BigUp

Learn an instrument.

1 BigUp

If I never had deadlines I’d never finish anything.

DSF Sample Comps honed my chops in that sense. A lot.

1 BigUp

no tips as i’m kinda feeling the same thing atm… been producing for several years now under the moniker “gurnum”… my sound has always been that lofi… dark… vinyl sounding shiit… but the thing i’m wondering now is how artists like “sorrow” and others like him have a similar vibe (a lot better lol) but their sound is so damn clean… clean bass… clean everything… idk how to improve my own…

It’ll come through mate

1 BigUp

Just installed this free many-band compressor today. It can get a pretty tight sound. Maybe the general principle is to try using different or improved tools.

JB Smash Pro
www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?plugin=Smash_Pro&id=2067

2 Likes

It’s bit sad tbh, but I think this is at least 50% true.