Improve your music while being away from your DAW

Posted by Esteban Miranda on

 

Are you having trouble finding inspiration? Or maybe having trouble with your setup?

You may need some time away from your daw!

But it doesn´t mean you have to stop improving your music production. Today with Top music arts we are going to leave you some tips on how to keep your productivity while taking some time away from your daw. You don´t even have to necessarily be away from your computer, or your studio.

Or maybe you are having to take some time away for another cause, like problems with your pc, or your studio, and you just want to optimize your time in the meanwhile. We all have trouble with our setups from time to time!

First of all, we would say that, in order to keep the productivity and the inspiration going on, we all need to take some time off from time to time. With that being said, we´re not telling you should take too long when you are between projects or you have to work on your songs. We mean when you are stuck with one song in particular, and you just can´t make it sound as you like, or just not getting where you are aiming to with your song.

That is when you know you should take a distance from your daw, that project, song, or whatever is frustrating you, and to not waste your time while you are not producing or composing, you could try some of this suggestions we are giving you here.

Learn

When you think of ways of making the best out of your time while away from your daw, or even from the pc, you should consider learning to play any instrument (you don´t need to buy any expensive one, you just need to start playing with it to learn), or music theory also.

At first it may seem like it is too hard! Or maybe that it´s not for you, but once you are in the spiral movement of learning, and you dig deeper into learning every concept, you will find very useful to have these new concepts about music; And you will have a fresh new point of view. There is much to learn about scales, tonalities, chords, and harmony. Which chord belongs to which scale, and vice versa. Or figuring out what tonality you are playing on.

That kind of concepts will improve your music production significantly.

And when you start mastering your musical instrument of choice, you will have a new way to start composing new songs and explore new sounds.

If you have learned how to play any instrument and you know music theory or harmony you can try another instruments, have in mind that the notes will be the same, the A minor chord has the same 3 notes in the piano, guitar, bass or whatever instrument. You just have to learn the technique of that instrument. I highly recommend that.

A producer that knows to play many instruments can think of different approaches to come up with something new.

Also if you have a midi controller, and you are not sure on how to control it completely, you could read their manuals, or watch some youtube videos to learn new tricks, and that could also help you in your next composition. Since most of the midi controllers offer much easier ways to do common things with your daw.

Of course, you can always learn some techniques with Mixing books, articles, or the YouTube tutorial videos of your choice. In our YouTube channel we have many Ableton tutorials available with more tricks and tips that may help you.

You can watch the videos, take note of the main concepts, and then go and do it and try it yourself in your daw, when you get back to it.

 

 

Practice

Practice is key. In everything you get into, practice is key, there is not much more to it. But if you are new with your daw of preference, if you are new to music, or new to music production, or even if you have music production as a hobby to help you distract from your work, the exercise of practice will always help you. It will always push you forward to a new technique, a new concept, or a new element to try and learn from it.

Find that moment in your week, that time of the day, or just bookmark the tutorial videos you want to learn, watch them and practice. We would really encourage you to try new styles, and different techniques, because it is really good to be a music producer that can work in different music genres.

The more you do something, the easier it gets.

So go on and practice your craft!

For example, if you have trouble building a drop in your songs, try doing another project just to make different builds and drops. Do your thing over and over until you like what you are hearing. There will be a few that you won´t like, maybe a lot, but think of that practice as a search, and that you are in your way to find it, or to find your way to do it the way you want.

Sometimes, the search is more important than the find.

 

Inspiration

Inspiration is something funny because, mostly it comes to you when you are not looking for it. To get the inspiration you need, you could try a lot of things, everyone has its own way to trigger it, so we recommend you to try every one of them, or the most you can, and stick to the one or more that proved to be useful to you personally.

I find inspiring to try new Vsts, when I´m trying new sounds, every time I find one that I like I always end up with a new idea for a song, or composing a new one from that sound. We will be talking about that on our next deliveries.

You MUST have a variety of sounds you use in your music production, a producer that uses the same sounds for everything tends to be predictable and, unless you are looking for exactly that, it´s not any good to have similar sounds in every song you make.

Another very used source of inspiration is to listen to new artists and songs regularly. A producer needs to be in touch with the new stuff. Whatever is your music style or genre of preference, you need to be listening to the new songs and artists, even if you don´t like them! The new songs have information you can use in your own compositions or it can “trigger” some new ideas of your own that you could use in your next song.

When you listen to new songs, try to pay attention to any elements you like, sounds, effects, builds, drops, synths, anything. Then when you get back to your daw, you can drop the song you like into a new project and try to copy those elements yourself. You may end up with a new version of your own creation or new ideas.

Analyzing any music you like (it doesn´t even have to be of the genre you are used to listen), taking notes of the bpm, the different elements, the sections or parts of the song, the layers, the quantity of instruments sounding at the same time, all of that WILL help you train your ear.

 And your ear IS your biggest tool. So you need to keep it sharp.

 

Interact

Go to see live shows of the artists you like. From the artist you look up to, you can learn a lot of techniques or just enjoy the music that so many joy gives to all of us.

Go to a lot of local shows, friend’s shows or rehearsals, meet people, get involved in what other people are doing and help them if you can. Most of the time, when you add an instrument played live or more than one, your composition will have a unique input, that you would not get with any vst. Collaboration is such a powerful tool when you are creating music, because when two minds combine efforts in creating a song, it will have twice the potential to come out as a good piece. And we are sure you are going to learn from each experience!

You will find that getting out of your “comfort zone” can be mostly rewarding.

Maybe you can get to help with another one’s project, or maybe get a feature in another one´s song too. And After all, in music production, the ultimate goal is to create a better song today than you did yesterday.

 

 

You can check our YouTube channel for new tips, templates, and tutorials you could find most inspiring here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYwPOFSEYyCl85p1O04d-2A

On ways to optimize our time, we all have ones that work better than other ones for us,

What are the best ways for you? Or which work out better for you?

Let us know in the comments


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