Writing 1-2 quality tracks in a day…

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  • #27771 Reply
    ChuckMott
    Participant

    For folks who feel they can do this, tips? What I would like to do is commit to doing this over the course of the next 2 weeks.

    How do we not overthink things like “Should I add a tambourine” or “maybe I’ll add a synth line”…..

    #27773 Reply
    NY Composer
    Participant

    Hey Chuck,

    From my experience:

    Take plenty of breaks away from the DAW and monitors to get a fresh ear a few times a day. If you don’t, you will drive yourself batsh#* crazy :-).

    Also, listen at low levels then walk away 10 feet from the monitors.

    The more you “Overlisten” to your tracks, the more you will question them. Think of it like using your first intuition on a test question. It usually works best.

    I work 65 hours a week at a “Day job” but manage to hit 2 tracks on a day off.

    #27774 Reply
    SteveW
    Participant

    Chuck

    Firstly, I’m the procrastination and indecision world champion!! So getting into this routine was literally lifechanging for my music. It helped me ralise that even I could work fast and be decisive!

    My experience of working fast is not quite 2 tracks from start to finish every day though, but about 25 tracks in one month.And what worked for me was to do things in stages, so this may not help you if you are determined to start AND finish 2 tracks in one day. But it may help someone.

    Basically, first I restricted the palette to 3 instruments – like piano/bass/cello. This stopped my usually indecisive nature taking over and sabotaging things!

    I spent the first few days doing a few sketches a day. And taking loads of breaks, as Daniel says!! I’ve never taken so many breaks and never been so productive. It was a bit like when you have a spare 30 mins and you decide just to play about for fun without putting any pressure on yourself, suddenly a track appears from nowhere!
    Taking breaks is key to this, I think. It helps to curb that overthinking and questioning you mention Chuck.

    So by the second week I’d decided on about 25 tracks to concentrate on, and this week was spent mostly on structure, as the original sketches were just 8/16 bars.So I was just going from track to track all day and taking loads of breaks. It was (almost) fun as I wasn’t getting bogged down by one track and the usual indecision stifling my enthusiasm.

    The third week was mostly adding other colours to bring out the identity of the tracks. But also as Daniel mentioned, trusting intuition and not over thinking things is really important. That’s why I found it worked best having a load of interesting sketches I could flick between, and as soon as I started fidgeting and staring out the window I’d make a cup of tea and move onto the next track.

    Amazingly (for me!), by week 4, as if by magic, I had 25 tracks that basically just needed mixing.

    I think the most important thing of all is setting a goal in the first place, as we hear all the time. If you make the decision to do 2 tracks a day I’m sure things will fall into place and you’ll find a way of doing it that works best for you pretty quickly – if not the first day πŸ™‚

    Steve

    #27776 Reply
    ChuckMott
    Participant

    Does this include creating your edits, tagging, er, shipping for lack of a better word?

    I agree and the PMA conference I went to suggested keeping things minimal; that was fo advertising tracks.

    If taking all that extra time meant that the trcks were yards better, then it would be worth it but it just as often as not makes no difference at all.

    So thinking acoustic guitar bits, 4 piece ensembles with instruments I can play fairly well. In styles I am comfortable with. A one or part piano tension bit…etc.

    #27777 Reply
    SteveW
    Participant

    No, just 25 tracks of 1:30-2:00 mins. So maybe not amazingly productive for most people here.

    I think more than anything I was trying to get the point across, no doubt a bit longwindedly, that even little “tricks” like taking regular breaks can drastically increase productivity, and help to stop those silly things that get in the way.

    Talking of piano tension tracks. I once ignored a brief from a library for custom “piano tension” type tracks until the last couple of days before the deadline, because I’d never done anything like that before and assumed they must have loads of composers who really knew what they were doing and that anything I did would probably sound quite infantile in comparison. But with the deadline looming I just gave it a go anyway, using the foolproof lots of breaks method πŸ™‚ I managed 10 tracks that weekend. I submitted 3 which were all accepted.

    The reason I’ve rambled on again with this little example is that I think, for me at least, restricting the palette, taking loads of breaks, sticking to a theme/mood (I never do deliberate genres), and having a deadline can be a magical combination!

    #27778 Reply
    OverDub
    Participant

    Best thing for me is to make a deadline. Give yourself an hour ( or whatever time limit works) to finish a track, and set a timer. You will use whatever time you have, be it, 2 hours, or 16! Treat it as a challenge. It forces you to make hard and fast decisions on everything, instrumentation, mixes, etc. Even if you don’t beat the timer, it definitely makes you get to work!

    #27779 Reply
    ChuckMott
    Participant

    For me it was a week, but that was if I was writing every day. My work schedule didn’t allow me to do that. Honestly I wasn’t hitting that even. I appreciate your feedback you guys. Obviously the edits I do would depend on the library. I’m in the process of uploading a RF one I finished in a couple hours last night. Did the edits today in about couple hours. Nice to hear people can push out ,acceptable stuff at this pace. Any fulltimers doing this consistently, tips for being productive, and not burning yourself out?

    #27780 Reply
    Danny
    Guest

    Does this include creating your edits, tagging, er, shipping for lack of a better word?

    What I do is use Word docs for certain genre and their associated moods. For instance, If I am writing Investigative tension pieces, I already know that the moods will be, “Anxious, tense, nervous, anticipation”, etc.

    You can copy and paste pre written moods for all genres into library meta-data fields because chances are, each genre will have the same moods associated with them.

    I’m sure other guys will have similar time saving techniques or spreadsheets, etc.

    #27790 Reply
    Alan
    Participant

    Great string you started Chuck. SteveW, wow! 25 tracks at once? I would have never considered that. I’m going to try your formula after my vacation SteveW. I think I will start small with 5-10 though. I’ve been in a slump but this gets me motivated to write .

    #27795 Reply
    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    Hello to ALL! After being in this side of the business; for a little over 10 years (Was mainly in the record side) I have come to find out that “this is really not a numbers game, but setting yourself apart from the rest by going the Extra Miles!!” Having done it both ways, cranking them out for Quantity; or top tier production quality tracks. Quantity tracks I’ll get maybe 1-4 placements each, per each quarter. Quality Tracks 15-to-25 placements each per quarter. Rather than having 5-10 OK solid, but not the Hot Sh*T Tracks. I now put a LOT of energy into making those 2 to 5 per week THE BOMB!! In addition, EXTRA focus needs to go into your Mixes!! Set them to “The hottest tracks on The Radio, and Mastered to perfection!!” Numbers don’t get you noticed, and get you into bigger Libraries. The Product is EVERYTHING!!!

    #27797 Reply
    kandr21400
    Participant

    BEATSLINGER…..that seems like some pretty good advice. I work full time, and upon reading a lot of these posts about banging out hundreds and thousand of pieces, I was like Man….I have to get started, and really put a LOOOOT of time in this. I understand it’s a marathon, and not a sprint, but your pointers on Quality and not so much Quantity makes better sense.

    #27801 Reply
    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    In addition to standing out from the rest of the cues/tracks; “make tracks so good/interesting that they will want to play them for longer durations”. Unless you get a re-curring theme song; THAT’S where the money really is! Boring, cookie cutter, this is good enough tracks “usually” do not get longer durations. At the end of the day, be a “salesman”. Do you want to be a salesperson that produces a one item sale every day. Or a salesperson that gets several items in one purchase?

    Also, make your product SO GOOD that they make your catalog their “Go To!!”

    #27802 Reply
    GaryW
    Participant

    I’ve been doing this for about 7 years now, Being semi-retired I can spend time writing, mixing, etc every day. I have it down to pretty much a routine where I write and record one day, and mix, master the next day. I’ve tried doing both the same day, but I get too much ear fatigue.

    I’m able to write and submit about 4 tracks per week. I really don’t spend too much time on them. Maybe a couple of hours writing and recording, and a couple of hours doing post-production, tagging, submitting, and editing.

    Because I have the time to do it, I now have over 1000 tracks in my catalog.

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