The most important trait to any musician, or any profession to that matter, is to show up doing what you do on a regular basis. If one wants to make music, they have to, well, make music. The road to success is really that simple. On the other hand, our lives are so busy in this modern era that it feels like there is absolutely no time during the day for activities such as making music. To learn about how to make time for music, read on.
We all have busy lives, that’s a fact. You and I have 24 hours per day to make good use of. In reality though, you’ll be sleeping 8 hours of it, which makes the day only 16 hours long. To be even more realistic, take out 8 hours from that because you need to go to work too. That’s only eight hours of spare time, minus lunch, dinner, phone calls, etc.
To be fair, you’ve only got about six hours to spend as you will during the day on average. Now how on earth do you plan on spending it on music of all the activities possible? Mental strength and willpower.
Now of course, you’ll need to do some physical exercising activities, such as sports, with that time as well. But you don’t need to do it every day. A couple days per week will do just fine. Just to get it out of the way. There is no mental power if the physical energies are drained out.
And now, onto the tips!
Get a large whiteboard where you’ll write your daily schedule – and follow it.
This is an important one. It’s also one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It’s simple really, you just write what you have to do the next day on the board the night before, and upon waking up you follow the schedule. Here’s an example:
8:00 Wake up, make tea and do 30 push-ups
8:15-8:30 Answer emails and messages
8:30-9:30 Sound design for the next track
10:00-4pm Go to work
5pm-9pm Make music
9pm Evening hangout with friends
Now, when you make a schedule for yourself, do yourself a favor and follow it, because otherwise what’s the point? The advantages of creating a schedule are: you’ll be able to visualize your day and your time, stay organized and you don’t need to worry about what to do next or have the feeling of being lazy and useless.
If you’ve made plans with people, realize them. If not, learn to say no and follow your own schedule.
This is an easy mistake. Imagine your best friend calls you in the middle of a music making session. You’ll answer the phone and he/she wants to do something with you. Since you’re such a good friend, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of doing something fun together.
Sometimes, you need to say no. People won’t be offended. Everyone’s got things to do, and so do you. Just be polite and say: “It would be really nice to hang out, but I’m in the middle of my music making zone. We could do something later in the evening though, or tomorrow. How’s that sound?”
Since I like to hang out with my friends a lot, I’ve made this mistake quite often in the past. If you want to get work done, you’ll need to stay inside and actually do it. In fact, you’ll feel a lot better when you decide to have your leisure time after work.
Be super effective with your music making time.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve found yourself in your studio, in front of your computer, finally enjoying the moment of pure music making bliss. But then you get a great idea: “Okay, before I fully get into it, I’ll just watch this quick video on YouTube. Only the one 3-minute video.” And what happened? You’re still sitting there 30 minutes later, watching brainless videos on YouTube.
Don’t do it.
When you step in your studio, create a new mindset for yourself. And that’s for making actual music. Fire up the DAW, open your latest project and off you go. It’s that simple.
To be even more effective in this process, take look at the next tip…
Put on the timer when you start making music.
There’s a timer on my digital watch, which is a really good friend of mine. Often I find myself in situations like: “Okay, I’ve got to make a bassline” or “I need to create the sound effects for my track”. These kinds of situations need a small push from my part. I need to push myself. This is why I turn on the timer to force myself into the zone.
Just think “How quick can I do this? Let’s see.” …and click on the timer.
The timer will help push yourself in making music. There’s a saying I once heard: “The faster you do it, the faster you do it.” Makes sense, huh?
Use the non-music making time to evaluate your music, so you won’t lose time actually making music.
Here’s a common situation: you’re sitting on a bus, tram, train, car, plane or any other transportation you might have, every day going to work or taking care of business. This would be a great time to take advantage of to progress your music, wouldn’t it. Here’s how to do it:
Bounce your latest track out of your DAW and put it on your iPod, iPhone, or whatever you use to listen to music on the go. Now while you’re sitting there riding a bus and doing nothing, play your latest piece and open a notepad to take notes.
As you listen to the track, take notes of how it progresses. What’s still needed as far as instrumentation goes? How is the mix sounding? What do you need to add/take away? What’s wrong with the arrangement?
Listen closely and make good notes for yourself you can take back to your studio and get right into it, fixing whatever you think needed to be fixed. Who said one can’t make music while not being in the studio?
I hope these tips provide some aid for you in your music making journey. To be a successful music producer, you’ll need to make music. The only hard part is to make time for music in our busy lives. But that’s totally up to you to do, and no-one else.