The Power Of A Daily Music Making Practice
As an experiment, I committed to making music every day for at least 10 minutes a day (sometimes more) for a month.
It might seem like a small amount of time, but that’s the point. It’s something that I could do consistently.
Before I would usually wait for weeks until I had the spare time or felt inspired to work.
Throughout these mini sessions, I’m only focused on getting something down to have thoughts about later–throwing sonic paint on a musical canvas.
For anyone who’s a perfectionist… this can be REALLY hard to do.
This approach has started to reveal how much I confront the urge to judge and perfect everything upfront. To make it “good.”
In other words… to analyze it and pick it apart.
I wanted to share because I’ve found this to be a deeply freeing and fun way to approach the creative process—a huge win for me and my music production.
1.Your Minimum Viable Commitment
Alright, so to create a daily practice, you need to COMMIT to something that’s actually doable.
Every. Single. Day.
A great way to think about this is… what amount of time can you commit to making music every day to avoid being instantly beheaded?
If that were the case, you surely wouldn’t choose 2 hours. You might not even want to go with 30 minutes. I personally choose 10 minutes per day.
Once you have you have your M.V.C, let’s focus on making the most out of your mini-sessions.
NOTE: If ever you feel like working longer than you M.V.C or are still in a flow state when the time is up, by all means, do so!
Even if you have an exquisite memory, ideas have short lifespans. If your current setup involves plugging in cables, setting up routing, and excessive menu diving to capture an idea… something is wrong.
You want to be able to capture ideas as quickly as possible when they come to you. If you use a midi controller as the central command center of your studio, make sure it’s front and center on your desk.
Also, if you have gear or instruments you rarely use, they might not need to be center stage in your setup.
You might also want to find an app on your phone that you can use to capture quick ideas on the go. It’s also a great way to do your M.V.C while away from your studio! Whether your cooking, waiting in line, or on the toilet, there’s no excuse not to get your M.V.C done!
Make sure your studio is rearranged in the best way for optimized for efficient idea creation!
2. The Pressfield Effect
They say that professional writers write every day. If that’s the case, music producers produce every day…
In Steven Pressfield’s book “The War Of Art,” he states that professionals best the “resistance”(procrastination, writers’ block, “lack” of time) by showing up to their craft every day. Beyond overcoming creative resistance, developing a daily practice makes you feel like a professional
That means that every day you sit down and create something, you’re focused on developing your craft. You can tell yourself that you make music every day.
Now isn’t that an empowering statement?
You see, once you develop that habit of making music every day, it starts to build momentum. It becomes a psychological reinforcement. You become more confident!
I like to call this the Pressfield Effect.
This is a HUGE benefit to developing a daily practice. One of the keys to maintaining a practice is to, counter-intuitively, have ZERO focus on quality.
Stick with me! The goal is to work fast and not ponder. AKA get into flow state.
Think: shitty first draft
When you heavily critique your work early on, you end up over-analyzing and get stuck in your head. Which often results in giving up or strong procrastination. Don’t forget that creative work is largely a mental game. Make it easy for yourself!
You see, the hard part is not making music, it’s sitting down to make music. Flow and get ideas down free of judgment. It’s a lot easier to tweak ideas and work with something instead of looking at a blank session.
3.Editor Vs. Creator
Think of the various processes within making music on the spectrum of right-brain thinking (creator) or left-brain thinking (editor)
Example: When you are focused on creating ideas, your editor should NOT be critiquing your ideas.
When you are editing a vocal track, your creator should NOT be thinking of new lyrics.
All this to say that some tasks are better suited for a creative mindset and others are better suited for an analytical mindset.
So when you focus on making music, focus on the “broad strokes.”
It’s so easy to get hyper-focused on the tiny details in our productions, however, this usually slows down our ability to move forward.
DON’T JUDGE YOUR IDEAS as you create them!
Although details are super important zooming into one part too much and too soon can be very unproductive.
30 minutes quickly turns into 2 hours without seeing much progress, and things start to stagnate pretty quickly. We’ve all been there.
A great way to avoid tunnel vision in the studio is to focus on the creative “broad strokes” of your ideas. This can help get the general idea of many parts down before getting sucked into the details. You can then focus on editing and refining your ideas in a different session, a different phase.
Try to see your session as a developing story. You don’t want to ramble on about a single character (music part) for too long, and you need to keep the narrative flowing. To keep a reader’s attention, you need to maintain consistent development.
This will only work if you commit to moving on, even if a certain part isn’t “perfect” yet. This will help you avoid obsessing over one section for too long, editing when you should be creating.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out my ►► 7 Simple Steps To Take Your Songs From Start To Finish. Download Your FREE Pro Producer Roadmap PDF: https://www.metamindmusic.com/workflow
My name is Alex, and I help musicians produce themselves by developing their mindset, expanding their creativity, and connecting to their artist in a deeper way.