9 Awesome Techniques for Jumpstarting Your Music Making

As a musician or producer, it can be difficult to keep the creative juices flowing. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help jumpstart your music making!

One way to get the ball rolling is to listen to reference tracks. This technique will help you learn how to create a song structure, and it can also inspire new ideas for your own music.

1. Listen to Your Favorite Music

Listening to your favorite music is one of the best ways to get creative inspiration. Whether you’re listening to the latest pop hit, or rock classics, take note of what makes each song memorable. Then try to incorporate those elements into your own work.

Another great technique is to set a timer for yourself. When you’re working on a new song, only give yourself 90 minutes to see what you can do with it. This will force you to think quickly and create ideas.

It’s also a good idea to explore genres you don’t normally like. You never know, they may surprise you! You can also check out Bandcamp to find artists who aren’t on the radio and explore their sound. You can even search for producers who worked with your favorite musicians to discover a new style that you may not have been exposed to before. Changing up your creativity can help you break through writer’s block.

2. Take a Break

Taking a break from music production can feel scary at first, but it’s an important part of the process. If you keep pushing yourself to produce without breaks, it’ll only wear you out and make you resent music making more than it already might.

Luckily, taking a break doesn’t have to be long. In fact, even a 15-minute break can help your brain hear things differently. Try listening to something new while you’re on a break, or even just walking around the house for a few minutes.

It’s also possible to get creative with your breaks by using them as an opportunity to collaborate with others. For example, you could take your unfinished beat on TikTok and ask your followers to remix it in real-time — this will open your ears up to new sonic possibilities. And, who knows — maybe one of those ideas will be the perfect solution to your beat’s problems!

3. Listen to Reference Tracks

Using reference tracks is an essential technique for getting your music production up to professional standards. These are professionally mixed and mastered songs that you compare your work to as you’re making it. This will help you hear how your track sounds and see what areas need improvement.

It’s important to choose your reference track carefully. You want to make sure that it’s a song that will resonate with your audience and sound good on multiple playback systems. It’s also important to remember that your reference track will likely be louder than the track you’re working on because it’s already been mastered.

It’s a good idea to use a tool like Magic AB to compare the two tracks. This will help you find the right level of loudness and avoid a drastic difference in volume that could throw off your ears. You should try to focus on comparing specific sections of the song, such as drops or build-ups.

4. Create a Playlist

A playlist is a curated collection of songs or tracks that are organized around a theme, mood or genre. Playlists can be created by individuals or music streaming services.

Create a productivity playlist. Boost your focus by blocking out distractions such as ambient noise, ringing phones and other office interruptions with music that matches your working pace and musical tastes. Focusing playlists differ from person to person, so you’ll need to experiment with what works for you.

Use a third-party tool to generate a dynamic playlist that adds songs based on rules you set. These tools typically allow you to select a limit on the number of songs you want the playlist to contain, as well as specifying a rule that searches for songs by artist name. It’s also a good idea to give your playlist a descriptive title that includes keywords, as this can help it show up in search results.

5. Collaborate with Others

A great way to get over a creative block is to collaborate with other musicians in Making music. This can be done in person, or through social media platforms like TikTok. Collaborating with others can help you create a more dynamic sound and open up new sonic possibilities.

A common mistake that many producers make is over-processing the signal of a track. This can lead to distortion, and can degrade the quality of your final product. To prevent this, it is important to organize your plugins and sounds into groups. This will allow you to process individual groups with compression, saturation, and other effects.

Another tip to improve your production is to create a regular schedule for yourself. This can help you keep on track and finish your beats. This will also give you a sense of accountability, which can be helpful in getting over a creative block.

6. Take Criticism

While it may feel like a major blow, taking criticism can help you improve. It’s important to note that constructive criticism is often well meaning and helps you understand how to improve your work. Destructive criticism, on the other hand, can be harmful and should be ignored.

When evaluating criticism, try to separate yourself from the situation and think of it as an objective evaluation of your work. This can be challenging because when you conceived and created the work in question, you were likely influenced by emotions. Whether positive or negative, these emotions can cloud your judgment and lead to destructive thinking.

To avoid these issues, you should only accept criticism from people who are close to your skill level and have a vested interest in helping you improve your craft. This can include other musicians, music critics, and industry professionals. It’s also helpful to practice quashing your initial response to criticism, which is usually to fight or flee.

7. Listen to Other Artists’ Music

There’s never been a time where it’s easier to access music. Whether that’s through streaming services, digital marketplaces or your cell phone or TV, you can now hear your favorite artists from nearly anywhere. This ease of accessibility comes with some drawbacks, however.

When listening to other artists’ music, it’s important to be aware of how each artist is positioning themselves and what kind of audience they’re targeting. Then, try to connect with your own audience in a similar way.

Another helpful thing to do while listening to other artists’ music is to think about where you may have heard a particular melody or musical progression before. This helps you learn how to create your own unique sound. This process also encourages creativity, boosting productivity and your ability to come up with new ideas for your own music.

8. Record Your Ideas

It’s easy to lose ideas when you’re working on a project. If you don’t write them down, they might disappear into the ether for good. To prevent this from happening, take the time to record your ideas as soon as you have them. This will help you remember them when it’s time to compose a song.

It can also be helpful to record the beats you produce. This will give you a sense of how they fit together and allow you to hear the overall pacing of your track. Additionally, it will make it easier to rework your beats in the future.

While it’s important to hone your music production skills, it’s just as important to get in the habit of finishing songs. This will make it much easier to formally release your work and will set you up for success in the long run. Additionally, it will help you avoid the common trap of accumulating dozens of “almost-finished” tracks on your hard drive.

9. Learn How to Create Your Own Sounds

Creating a song is one thing, but creating your own sounds can really open up new possibilities. Whether that means connecting a microphone (available on Music Makers and Complete) or even a guitar, learning how to create your own sound can help you to create unique music.

Similarly, if you find yourself using the same chords over and over again, try exploring different types of chords in your composition. This will add more depth to your music and keep it from sounding too simple.

Many of the most successful musicians have a variety of different skills that they bring to their work. Finding ways to vary your creative process can help you break through writer’s block and get the music out of your head. Even if it’s only for a day, taking a step outside your comfort zone can be enough to give you the inspiration you need to push on and finish your beats.