Streamlining Your Music Production Process: 9 Time-Tested Techniques
Our goal as producers is to avoid letting any more songs go into the “unfinished pile” by finding ways to make the production process faster and more productive. It can be tough, however, when our lives get more and more crammed with diversions. Getting ideas from your head to your DAW as rapidly as possible is a challenge for many producers, whether they're attempting to balance school, employment, a busy social life, or learning to use their new music production gear and software. As a result, we've put together a list of nine proven ways that you may speed up your workflow so that you don't become bogged down when you're on a roll.
1. Organize Your Personal Space
It's much easier to stay focused on your work when you have a neat and orderly environment to do it in. Another benefit of doing so in this manner is that it makes it easier to locate any tools or equipment you require without disrupting your creative process.
2. Set a Deadline for Yourself
Even though it seems intuitive, giving yourself a deadline to meet can help you get more done in less time. An hour, a day, or even a weekend is OK, as long as you know where you're going and how long it will take you to get there. This will keep you from becoming bogged down in little details that don't have a big impact on the final product. In the long run, even if you don't produce your best work, you'll find that pushing yourself to finish tracks in a day will help you work more efficiently.
3. Reduce Distractions
When you're striving to meet a deadline, it's important to stay on track. You can maximize your productivity by minimizing your distractions and avoiding anything that can disrupt your focus. Distractions can take many forms, but your phone, the internet, or television are the most popular. Use the internet for tutorials if you must, but stay away from social media because it is so easy to become sucked into the endless scroll.
4. Create an Orderly System for Your Sample Collection
Consider the state of your sample library before you start working in a new environment. Your production time will be reduced significantly if you organize your sounds and samples in an orderly manner. Organize your go-to kicks, claps, snares, and hats in a way that best suits your working style by creating folders for each of these sounds. When it comes to organizing your collection, ADSR's sample manager is a terrific tool that will do the heavy lifting for you. This application makes your whole sample library searchable and audible right in your DAW using clever and custom tags. You can see it here. Remember that arranging your song's channels, such as grouping key elements like percussion, vox, or leads and correctly labeling them, will enable you to jump throughout your project and know where all of the important pieces are located.
5. Get to Know Your Equipment and the DAW's Hot Keys
Your DAW's instruments, effects, and layout will become more familiar to you as you use it more frequently. It may take some time to master this, but if you put in the time and effort, your productivity and workflow will increase. It's also a good idea to understand your DAW's hot-key commands so that you can perform tasks like automating, slicing, and duplicating with ease. If you find yourself delaying over which plugins to use because you can't decide which one to use, understanding how to use the stock plugins in your DAW will save you time.
6. Utilizing Presets and Templates
When producing, if you have a particular style or sound in mind, saving an older project as a template with all of your favorite sounds loaded and mixed will save you hours of dropping, dragging, adjusting, and more. When creating your template, make sure to appropriately label each piece to minimize the time spent searching for certain elements. If you're searching for some template inspiration, there are plenty available online via subscription services such as Splice and Sounds.
7. Utilize a referential track
It's possible that something you recently heard on the radio or in a club-inspired you to write a new song. When you're working on your own, keep this one in mind. Using a song as a reference point can be helpful, comparing and contrasting your mix to the song's, and even keeping the structure of the song in mind. Even if you're an expert at mixing and mastering, you're unlikely to achieve the same results as your reference track, which is likely to have been done so by a professional. Begin by setting up a reference track, and be sure to regularly back up your work so that you can go back in time and fix any mistakes that may have been made.
8. Take the initiative and make a choice!
While it can be a lot of fun to program your synths, drums, and basses, it can also make your music sound more sophisticated and technical. On the other hand, making all of these automations with your mouse and keyboard may be a real pain. If you're using hardware or even a midi controller, you can play these in real-time. It'll save you some time. You may come upon some surprises that you didn't expect, which could motivate you to be even more creative. Let go of the past and go forward with confidence! Returning to something that's been bothering you is always an option. As long as the fire is still smoldering, you can continue on to the next segment of your track.
9. Attempt to Complete Tracks at All Costs
Of course, the ultimate goal is to complete the track, but as producers, we are well aware of the challenges that can arise. If you don't finish the song, you won't be able to perform it in a club or send it out to DJs, labels, and tastemakers. It's a good idea to layout your track template at the beginning or once you've figured out the most important parts. By filling in the blanks as you see fit, by deleting and adding components as you see appropriate. Once you've established this framework, it will be much easier to keep moving forward with your objective in mind.
If you've read this far, I hope it's given you some motivation to get back into the studio and start working on some of your older projects. Enrolling in a course could provide you with the extra assistance you need with your tracks. The state-of-the-art studio facilities at esom school allow students to learn sound engineering, music production, and more.