The Musician’s Guide to Maximizing Your Creativity
One of the biggest challenges any musician faces is keeping their creativity thriving. All the gear, tools, and toys in the world won’t help if you have no new ideas. Creativity is a skill just like any other. It can be honed and developed. All it takes is some practice and strategies for managing creative burnout. Here’s some exercises, tips and tricks that will help you keep your creative process fresh and exciting.
Sometimes all it takes is something new to play with to have some fresh ideas. But that doesn’t mean you have to run to the store and drop cash on a new synth. Here’s some free tools that will help you beat the burn:
A guitar teacher in your pocket. Uberchord sonically analyzes what you play and provides instant feedback, and also includes a comprehensive list of every guitar chord known to humans.
The simplest 8-pad controller ever made. Just record a sample or loop into each of the pads. Then tap the pad to play it back. Infinite jams to be had.
Free sample packs are a great place to find inspiration. Whether your halfway through a track and need that final sound to be done, or you’re looking for sounds to build something new around, LANDR Samples has you covered—from vocal samples to drum loops and everything in between.
Music is an art like any other. Inspiration doesn’t always have to come from other music. Visit a local art museum and get inspired by great paintings, photographs, sculptures or installations.
3 ways to challenge yourself
Try a new DAW
Since you’ve grown accustomed to your go-to DAW, trying something new will shake up your workflow and break some boring habits. A new way to work might just bring out some fresh ideas.
Recreate a song you love
Record a cover song. You’ll not only get some great ideas, but you’ll also learn a thing or two about songwriting and production along the way. Use your new ideas to make yourself a new and unique track that’s all your own.
Make a song from start to finish in 1 hour
A bit of a time crunch can light a fire under you. Put a little pressure on yourself with a one-hour deadline for your next track. You’ll learn where your workflow could be improved and hopefully get inspired by the constructive pressure of a deadline.
To create something new, you have to try something new. Challenge yourself each day, you’ll learn something new every time.
Use LANDR as a creative tool
Your mix is coming along smoothly by this point. But there are always those looming questions… How do you know if your mix is up to snuff? Does it sound like other good songs? Is everything sitting together properly? Use a Mix Reference.
There’s a couple ways to do this:
Put a track you love into your DAW session as track one and reference it while you go. Is your kick sitting in the mix right? Is your guitar cutting through the noise?
Export and LANDR your track often during the mix process. Take notes on what’s sounding right or wrong. Go back to your mix and fix.
There’s a saying that the last 10% of the job is actually 90% of the work. Use LANDR to avoid all the roadblocks during the most important part of your session. The only way you’ll know you’re done is to hear it mastered.
It’s a lot easier to stay creative when you have someone to talk things through with. Not to mention, they’ll bring some new ideas to the table, too.
But sharing tracks, keeping all your good ideas in one place and making changes remotely is a gigantic hassle.
Keep your collaborations creative by sharing tracks and creating multiple versions right inside your LANDR library. Make comments, share ideas and find the best version with all your collaborators in one place.
Stay organized and focused
Procrastination is the thief of time. And distraction is the thief of creativity. Keep your studio and workflow clean. The smoother your process, the quicker you’ll be able to capture good ideas before the disappear.
Here’s some helpful tools that will help you make the most of your studio time:
Ever found yourself sitting in your studio chair, DAW empty, phone in hand, scrolling through your Instagram feed? Have you ever gotten lost, eyes glazed over, in the endless sprawl of the internet when you should be making beats? Try using a productivity app to keep you on track and productive with your studio time.
Label your tracks
Label your tracks properly in your mix. Finding that one maraca in your session is maddening if you don’t organize from the start. Bonus points for color coding, too – blue for percussion, yellow for leads, and so on. Creativity is easier to maintain when you’re not left searching for that lost layer.
This step of fostering creativity is often overlooked. How many times have you had an incredible idea right before you fell asleep, only to forget it in the morning? That’s because when you’re in bed, you’re relaxed, and your brain is free to ponder the mysteries of the universe. So what’s the number one key to creativity?
Stay chill in the studio
· Get a “Do Not Disturb” sign for your studio door. · Stay hydrated with good old fashioned water. The average person needs about 2 litres per day. No more headaches, and way more energy. · If something isn’t working, move on. Come back to it later with clear eyes. · Turn your phone off. · If you’re stuck, look out the window for awhile. Or better yet, go for a quick walk. No matter what you do, remember that a clear mind stays creative longer. Try to be in the moment when you’re creating and leave your baggage at the door. Your track will benefit.
Okay. Now you know how to get inspired, how to get organized, how to stay focused, and how to relax. And you picked up a few new tools along the way. There’s only one thing left to do: get in the studio and make…
Rory Seydel is a musician, writer and father who takes pleasure in touring the world and making records. Creative Director at LANDR.
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