When you hear the word “discipline,” you might think of the work it takes for a bodybuilder to build and maintain muscle, or someone saying no to certain foods because they’re on a diet. But as music-makers, discipline often means the difference of being able to write great music or not. It’s one of the most important attributes we can embrace if we want to be productive and meaningfully engaged.
Anyone who’s been holed up in a music studio with the mission of writing a new album knows how hard it can be to focus on the task at hand. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s a smartphone notification, pet, bandmate, or our own internal boredom or impulsivity. To get the most of your life as a music-maker, you’ll have to learn to devote deep focus when you create or perform music. Here are four huge benefits you’ll experience when you apply focus to your music:
We don’t need much other than an instrument and our desire to make music during the writing process, but we do need some things. What you have in the room with you while you write can absolutely have a big impact on the music you end up creating. Some of the items on this list might seem obvious, but their importance and benefit to your writing process really can’t be overstated. Nothing on this list should be too hard to get your hands on, and if you make sure to have these items out and ready when you write, your musical life will be a lot easier and more productive.
Whether you make folk music or EDM, technology is now an unavoidable part of your daily life as a musician. From DAWs and sophisticated recording equipment to smartphones and computers being ever-present while we write, it’s now virtually impossible to separate technology during the music creation process.
Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) being an introvert is exhausting. Everything going on in the world around us drains us, and when we can’t get that alone time to regroup and recharge, it can cause us to shut down, making it impossible to be productive. And that’s kind of the last thing you want when you’re trying to create your next masterpiece, am I right?
When you think about your favorite music, you probably immediately turn to the stories of what inspired great songs. Breakups, tours gone wrong, new love, etc. While these origin stories are crucial for shaping music and giving it purpose and urgency, there’s something important missing here that songwriters should know about.
There are the big stories behind great music, and then there are the many small things that had to happen in order for vague ideas and inspiration to combine and develop into something solid and memorable. Actions as simple and easy as having a recording device out and ready and labeling your spontaneous music ideas could make the difference of whether you’ll be able to create at your full potential or not.
Every songwriter has been in the unenviable position of loving a specific musical idea but not being able to take it anywhere. A dead-end idea can be as simple as a synth riff or as packed as an entire song. This situation happens when you come up with something you really like, but feel like it’s not going anywhere. When you’ve got a dead-end idea stirring around your brain and taking up room on your computer, do you pull the plug or forge ahead? The answer completely depends on your specific idea and goals. But if you’re leaning towards keeping your idea alive by giving it somewhere to go, these suggestions might help you make meaningful progress:
The best songs ever written came from a place of real authenticity on the behalf of artists from every genre and background you can think of. This unique creative voice is the product of an artist’s complex experiences, musical intuition, and the countless hours they’ve spent developing their ideas to become better music-makers. If you’re at the very beginning of your music career or are years along but aren’t sure how to rediscover a creative voice that’s unique only to you, consider these tips: