As the old saying goes, time is money.
Okay, even if you’re not completely focused on cash in terms of your music career, the fact remains that it’s oftentimes better to boost your creative output versus only putting out songs every once and awhile.
Pretty much the only way to improve as a musician and improve your recording chops is by laying down more tracks. Whether you’ve found yourself in a creative rut or simply desire to write more songs but don’t know where to start, perhaps it’s time to rethink your mentality and overall approach to songwriting.
Below we’ve outlined five smart tips for musicians of any walk of life looking to increase their output as a songwriter.
Rely on Presets
Perhaps the most time-consuming aspect of writing and recording isn’t the actual composition piece of the puzzle but rather mixing and mastering. Fine-tuning tracks in pursuit of a certain tone can take forever and never feel 100% right even after hours of tweaking. This usually ends in analysis paralysis and wasted time as you can’t find that “perfect” sound.
On the flip side, downloading resources such as this ultimate list of free massive presets is a brilliant move for those who want a turnkey solution for mixing and mastering tracks. By having a bunch of presets on deck, you can get the tone you want in a matter of seconds that you can rely on time and time again.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to have a saved set of EQs and finished mixed that you can open in your DAW for each of your tracks. This saves you the headache of having to remember how track and effect settings each time you lay down something new.
Build Track Templates
Speaking of which, having a go-to template when it’s time to record or compose a new track is also a must-do for saving time. When you have elements of your songs such as instruments (think: drums, synth, bass and so on) alongside a designated time signature and effects, you can record immediately instead of having to start from a clean slate. Over time, you can save multiple templates for different types of songs.
Think of Songs as “Pieces”
Many new songwriters don’t always grasp the concept of structure when it comes to songwriting. Rather than think of your songs as a whole, break them down into individual pieces (think: chorus, verse and bridge, for starters). By doing so, you can write these pieces independent of each other rather than feel you have to sit down and come up with an entire song all at once.
This approach to songwriting is fairly standard and allows you to focus on multiple songs at the same time without getting overwhelmed.
Don’t be a Perfectionist
Simply put, so much of being a successful musician is a numbers game. The more tracks you put out and produce, the more likely you are to get noticed. Therefore, there’s no need to strive for perfection before writing or recording a song: simply get your tracks on paper and lay them down as quickly as you can. If something is truly worth revisiting and refining later, so be it.
Focus On Your Music First
This tip is a two-way street. Firstly, you can’t obsess with what others in your space are doing and constantly second-guess your own decisions as a result. If you spend all of your time worrying about your genre at large, you’ll never find what makes your own music unique.
Secondly, while marketing is definitely a crucial component of being a composer, don’t neglect the importance of actually writing and recording music. Sure, you should always be looking for inspiration and ideas, but don’t let that distract you from the task at hand.
Writing more songs may feel like an uphill battle until you’ve refined your songwriting process. Sticking to these tips can be transformative to songwriters who’ve traditionally taken their time and are looking to get more music out as soon as possible.