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Halt
01-09-2010, 07:59 AM
It has finally came to my attention that one of the HUGE reasons why I'm not progressing musically, is distraction.

I've noticed I plan to work in FL Studio and Practice guitar, but what happens is, I end up playing a video game/watching a movie. like tonight, i work a little bit in FL and guitar.

What are some ways to keep me in the groove of constantly working and practicing?

Some people said, schedule a time when you do all this. This doesn't work for me, since I am inconsistent with everything I do. However, I do plan to ease up on the video game playing. I don't watch movies much, but i have a few I could watch at night.

So, my plan is to take all this free time I have, and be more productive.

Some good ways to keep practicing guitar and working with FL, would be like what? Ideas are what I need here :)

dannthr
01-09-2010, 10:43 AM
Treat it like a job.

Clock-in, clock-out, don't just give yourself an hour block, give yourself 8 hours.


When I write, even when I'm paid for it, I don't get into the groove of writing (especially after a break or some time off of work) until a few hours have passed--like a warm-up.

Usually I start out just playing some piano, without direction, and then maybe some piano with direction.

Sometimes, I have to turn off all my communication stuff because while I don't waste my time on video games and movies, I do waste my time on forums, IMs, and emails--to excess.

Real pressure will bring out the worker in you, a deadline is a deadline, and believe me, when deadlines are looming, you'll wish you didn't have to sleep.

Treat it like a job.

Dissidia
01-09-2010, 11:05 AM
I'm the same way, except with school work.

Some tips:
Motivate yourself.
Find something that gets you into the mood.
Try to immerse yourself into your songs.
Eat something before you start, it can help you stay focused.
Find a friend to practice with.

avaris
01-09-2010, 02:56 PM
Treat it like a job.

Clock-in, clock-out, don't just give yourself an hour block, give yourself 8 hours.


When I write, even when I'm paid for it, I don't get into the groove of writing (especially after a break or some time off of work) until a few hours have passed--like a warm-up.

Usually I start out just playing some piano, without direction, and then maybe some piano with direction.


IMO this is 100% true with me as well. I can't just sit down and start writing something noteworthy in 10 minutes. To even put yourself under the kinda pressure to do that is ridiculous.

Try using the first 30-60 minutes to practice guitar and then open up your sequencer. This way you warm up and get a chance to practice guitar as well. Besides it's fun alot of times to just screw around and explore all of the musical goodness around you.

Dj Mokram
01-09-2010, 04:40 PM
What are some ways to keep me in the groove of constantly working and practicing?


Hey Halt,

I think it has a lot to do with the workflow.
Seeing as you can't yet find a suitable time frame or mindset to get down to practice making music a little more seriously, it all comes down to finding a way to do just that.
Once again, one hour compo is a really good way to start getting something done in a time limit, and it's still pleasant cause you can feel the rush of emulation while having fun.

The 'treat music as a job' approach really doesn't work for me, as if I feel I'm forced to sit down and compose, it ends up being a wasted effort.
I agree with the fact that a 30-45 minutes warm up will really help you get in the right mood. It can be practicing your instrument, or starting something on FL.
But it can also simply be listening to some music you like, while analysing what you like about it, and trying to learn how a specific segment was made.
Take your favorite song from ChronoCross for exemple, and try to find out what makes it so great in your eyes.
Is it Mitsuda's style? Is it the genre/instruments used? Or is it related to the memories your have of playing the game?

To make music, you have to start by knowing what kind of music you wanna make. Find an inspiration first.

Skrypnyk
01-09-2010, 05:04 PM
couple of suggestion:

---> try making something completely different. If you usually make say trance, make something downtempo. If you do classical, make some reggae. Explore!
---> get some new synths/effects. Maybe what you need is a new sound to start something productive. Expand!
---> start with something you wouldn't normally start with. If you usually make a lead first, try making a bassline first. Create a drumloop first a build a song around that. Experiment!

Halt
01-09-2010, 05:47 PM
Hey Halt,

I think it has a lot to do with the workflow.
Seeing as you can't yet find a suitable time frame or mindset to get down to practice making music a little more seriously, it all comes down to finding a way to do just that.
Once again, one hour compo is a really good way to start getting something done in a time limit, and it's still pleasant cause you can feel the rush of emulation while having fun.

The 'treat music as a job' approach really doesn't work for me, as if I feel I'm forced to sit down and compose, it ends up being a wasted effort.
I agree with the fact that a 30-45 minutes warm up will really help you get in the right mood. It can be practicing your instrument, or starting something on FL.
But it can also simply be listening to some music you like, while analysing what you like about it, and trying to learn how a specific segment was made.
Take your favorite song from ChronoCross for exemple, and try to find out what makes it so great in your eyes.
Is it Mitsuda's style? Is it the genre/instruments used? Or is it related to the memories your have of playing the game?

To make music, you have to start by knowing what kind of music you wanna make. Find an inspiration first.

I like Mitsuda's Style alot. its not so much classical in ChronoCross, but elegant. Yet, I carry more trance/electronic plugins and instruments in my arsenal, so I seem to be going for the fast paced drums, but also like the smooth melodys of mitsuda. Plus, yeah OHC is good, but I work best when I have more then 1 hour to work. :P

Arcana
01-09-2010, 05:53 PM
Hey Halt, I know you're still mixed on one-hour compos, but it's one reason why I do it, because it's an hour of my week when I basically KNOW that I should come up with something (anything, even if it's bad, I post it) for the compo because if I don't the opportunity will never present itself again.

So in a way it's the pressure of performing.


Also I find that changing your expectations from the song "sounding like" something to "demonstrating a concept" allows you to return to it more. A lot of us have "visions" of what we want to do but we don't have the skill or practice or experience to do exactly what is in our heads. We try it, it doesn't quite work, and we get frustrated and then do something else. So I find that changing your expectations and instead of saying, "I want to make a sweeping string piece inspired by Mitsuda" you claim something a bit more technical like, "I want to make a song with a I-IV-iii-ii-I progression" or "I'm going to use three guitars and play each part on my acoustic" you can make a song that, even if it's not that good, is at least something that fulfills your goals.

Not everyone can be a Mitsuda in their first few years, and in fact trying to get to grips with the fact that you might not even know how to put the notes together to make a trance song yet (which is often seen to be a simple, repetitive genre) is a bit of an esteem hurdle that is a good one to get over - once you get over it, just practice it and don't worry about whether it sounds "good" - it's much more important to simply "do it" at first and to crap out anything at all.

Halt
01-09-2010, 05:59 PM
Hey Halt, I know you're still mixed on one-hour compos, but it's one reason why I do it, because it's an hour of my week when I basically KNOW that I should come up with something (anything, even if it's bad, I post it) for the compo because if I don't the opportunity will never present itself again.

So in a way it's the pressure of performing.

I normally don't have time for it, something always gets in the way, sleep, school, or friends usually.

But I'll take some of the advice here and start up on the track i started last night :]

Nase
01-09-2010, 06:34 PM
hm, careful with the 'job' thing.
it's true of course, if you aren't getting your shit done but really want to, you need to show discipline.
the problem with the 'job' moniker is, it's pretty firmly linked to monotony and routine as that's what most jobs on earth are all about, sadly. If you start 'working' on your music with that kind of unconscious mindset, it probably won't make you much happier or productive.
so when you start treating music as a job, you also need to understand that it's a rather unconventional one. your mind has to be open above all. just keeping at it is a good start but not enough in the long run, and you might grow sick of it if you can't feed on any inspiration.

i have to agree with the 'warm up' comment though, the first hour of sequencing or so is very rarely fun for me. in fact, i often feel like i have to learn making music over and over again when i start making a tune. the knowledge is still there, but the mindset is gone.
then, as soon as i've found something that works and i start to imagine where i could take it, i go 'ah rite making music is pretty neat!'.

i don't know if you're that kind of person, but if you are, it might be enough to force yourself to make music for 1-2 hours every day. if you can keep this up, there WILL be a day when you get so inspired that you can't help but work on it all night. best thing is, it doesn't feel like work at all ^^

Palpable
01-09-2010, 07:59 PM
People have different ways to motivate themselves, but I tend to practice more by setting a goal for myself. Now that we have an upcoming show for Flickerfall, I've been practicing my guitar a lot more lately. It can also help to have people hold you "accountable". Maybe ask a friend for an idea for a guitar remix, and tell them you'll give them a recording or performance of it in a week. The one-hour compos also work like that.

Arcana
01-10-2010, 12:32 AM
I normally don't have time for it, something always gets in the way, sleep, school, or friends usually.

But I'll take some of the advice here and start up on the track i started last night :]

If the time restrictions are an issue you might want to try doing PRC or ORC as another way to get into things where people will listen and provide some feedback on your work.

Halt
01-10-2010, 12:42 AM
If the time restrictions are an issue you might want to try doing PRC or ORC as another way to get into things where people will listen and provide some feedback on your work.

Well, its not time restrictions, I have LOADS of time. Its like this, I'm setting up for OHC and whatnot, 10 mins before. I get a call. "Hey Cody we're going here and here and doing this and that."

My friends and I don't plan shit, we just go at a moments notice, sometimes I get a call as they pull into my driveway as well :P. Things just happen to pop up. So yeah.

And JUST now I lost all motivation to work on music, my whole "I'll do it later" is kicking in. Lame. D:

Although, I'm going to practice guitar anyways. ^_^

ella guro
01-10-2010, 01:55 AM
I have to echo what Nase said. If I'm not having fun making music, I can't do anything. Though an outside force motivating me to get something done (like a semi-flexible deadline or something) is almost always a positive thing for me.

I don't know who this may or may not apply to...but I get easily flustered with music. The main reason is because I make "weird" music according to a lot of people, and I find it intensely frustrating that there always seems to be a contingent of people who aren't gonna like my music no matter what. It really bothers me. So I always get trapped in this mindset of "I'm gonna make some 'normal' music this time so people will respect me musically" or something like that. And that never works. What ends up happening is I start to make 'normal' music, and then I get into a mindset of "what would someone else do in this situation" and stop doing stuff that's interesting or fun to me because I'm making music to what I think other people will like. In that situation I either end up getting bored and giving up or turn things into a 'weirder' direction and then enjoy it a lot more.

I think the bottom line is that ultimately you have to make music that you would like to listen to and have fun doing, and don't let your important creative decisions be defined by other people. Advice is good, of course, but you're the one in the end making all the decisions. That's something I don't think is said enough here at OCR.

Arcana
01-10-2010, 06:22 AM
Well, its not time restrictions, I have LOADS of time. Its like this, I'm setting up for OHC and whatnot, 10 mins before. I get a call. "Hey Cody we're going here and here and doing this and that."

Well that's why ORC and PRC might be good for you because they give you about a week to come up with a song. You still have to tell yourself to sit down and do it though :)

The Biznut
01-10-2010, 08:26 AM
I think there is some really good advice here. I think I originally multiquoted almost every response :) Then there were 3, and then I wrote too much, so now there is only 1 quote response.

Well, its not time restrictions, I have LOADS of time. Its like this, I'm setting up for OHC and whatnot, 10 mins before. I get a call. "Hey Cody we're going here and here and doing this and that."

My friends and I don't plan shit, we just go at a moments notice, sometimes I get a call as they pull into my driveway as well :P. Things just happen to pop up. So yeah.


This was a huge issue in my life and is something I will always struggle with I think, though I am getting better at it. I always want to be in on the fun, so I struggle and often fail at sticking to a plan I have set out for myself. I don't have a cure all for this, I think it comes down to just being really assertive on this front. If you are like me and have a hard time motivating yourself out of sheer discipline, then find out what you are motivated by and choose to put yourself in situations where you are more likely to be externally motivated.

EXAMPLE - I can't motivate myself to work hard to finish a remix, or I haven't yet, despite it being a goal of mine for years. I have started I don't know how many, and have remix ideas for probably one third of all the video game tracks in existence. Yet I have not finished one, not even come close.

I am motivated by something, so what is it? If it is not me and my decisions or willpower that motivates me, it is something else. So I start to identify what does motivate me. I know I am motivated by deadlines, and I know I am especially motivated by group activities and fun challenges, especially where there is some form of recognition involved, be it ever so slight and fleeting.

When I started getting serious about getting involved in this community, one of the first posts that caught my attention was FBRC2009. The Freshly Baked Remixers Challenge seemed super cool and exciting, and looking back, it was because it had elements that naturally motivated me. Not only that, but the choice was made for me regarding the source to remix, another sometimes daunting step for me, as my initiative can be crippled if I have too many options. So, I entered very enthusiastically, and when it was said and done, I had created Chocobongo!!, which was my first complete remix of a video game track. It wasn't good enough to submit to OHC, and it didn't win FBRC, but people did hear it at the listening party, and I got some feedback, which was a hugely motivating factor for me, the fact that I wanted to have something for the listening party. I FINALLY took a critical step toward a goal I have wanted to reach for years. I had never managed to complete a full mix until that point.

My next step is to create a ReMix I that is Mixpost Quality. That Chocobongo track has potential, and I have a Corneria techno track that I think could make it if I made the right improvements, and I have a MegaMan 3 metal track that would make it if it were recorded and mastered right I am sure. I haven't touched any of them for over month for a few reasons, but I am beginning to think that a collaboration scenario would be the situation where I would produce the best results, have the most enjoyment, be the most motivated, and learn/improve the most. So, once I get some homework out of the way, I will be looking to collab with someone who is at the same level or better than me, and would be willing to work with me on getting something posted. And you know what? If I can find someone, I bet it will happen.

It's late and I rambled and wrote a lot, I hope what I said is helpful, and that you can see the point I am trying to make, which is essentially:

Stop trying to change what you are. If you are not flourishing in your current situation:
1. What environment(s) do you flourish in?
2. What steps can you take that would move you toward those environments?
3. TAKE THOSE STEPS!

Maybe you need to have some of us call you 2 minutes after your friends call you and say "Hey Cody we are going to do OHC and it wouldn't be the same if you weren't there man!! This is your chance to get closer to your goals!" If you are impulsive, swing it in your favor somehow!

Enough.

I'll bug you in IRC next time I see you ;-) Good luck bud!

Halt
01-10-2010, 11:21 AM
Stop trying to change what you are. If you are not flourishing in your current situation:
1. What environment(s) do you flourish in?
2. What steps can you take that would move you toward those environments?
3. TAKE THOSE STEPS!

Maybe you need to have some of us call you 2 minutes after your friends call you and say "Hey Cody we are going to do OHC and it wouldn't be the same if you weren't there man!! This is your chance to get closer to your goals!" If you are impulsive, swing it in your favor somehow!

Enough.

I'll bug you in IRC next time I see you ;-) Good luck bud!

Please do. I'm Learning Fragment of a Dream/Dream's Creation on guitar, essentially the same song as far as my ear can tell. So like in a couple days bug me about it, I love mitsudas work far too much to drop learning another song of his.

Meteo Xavier
01-10-2010, 06:23 PM
One of the best ways I find myself motivated to work is I open a random song, try to dissect it in my head, and then try to copy it in FL. That actually starts a chain reaction where, more often than not, I'll have the raw data of a pretty good track that didn't sound anything like the one I started with.

Sometimes its a flow too. You find it difficult to get started because your energy is already flowing in one direction, but if you can direct it into the sequencer, then you'll stay there for a while. That's what can happen to me.

A level of curiosity is also required. A lot of what keeps me glued to the sequencer is wondering what happens if I do...... THIS! And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.