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What is the most useful information you've ever been given?


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Finish a song before you start the next one. No matter how many great ideas for other tracks are bouncing around in your head. For years I created dozens of WIPs that never went anywhere. Because it's always more fun to start a new project with limitless potential, than apply some elbow grease to an existing one. Once a year I would clear out a huge mass of doomed projects and start fresh. Once I changed my attitude in this regard, I saw a massive improvement in my rate of finished songs.

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Finish a song before you start the next one. No matter how many great ideas for other tracks are bouncing around in your head. For years I created dozens of WIPs that never went anywhere. Once a year I would clear out a huge mass of doomed projects and start fresh. Once I changed my attitude in this regard, I saw a massive improvement in my rate of finished songs.

Relating to this, I've always been told to keep all of the things you never finish. You can look back at them and see what you like and dislike, and maybe even finish what you started. I should try limiting my production to one song at a time and see how I do though, that sounds intriguing!

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Finish a song before you start the next one. No matter how many great ideas for other tracks are bouncing around in your head. For years I created dozens of WIPs that never went anywhere. Because it's always more fun to start a new project with limitless potential, than apply some elbow grease to an existing one. Once a year I would clear out a huge mass of doomed projects and start fresh. Once I changed my attitude in this regard, I saw a massive improvement in my rate of finished songs.

I guess this is sort of dependent on what your work mode is. I was just examining yesterday that I'm simultaneously working on 7 tracks and I've been able to work on them all at a good pace without leaving any behind. BUUUUTT 100% of them have been for projects, so I actually OWE someone something. That is a big motivator for me - I can't stand it when people say they'll do something and then don't come through, so I never want to do that to project directors.

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On the contrary, Argle, I also save a lot of unfinished works in case I want to use them. However, if I know it downright sucks or sounds way too much like someone else, yeah, I don't save it.

I think the best information I can think of is how to mix in a quiet sound that is loud. PARADOX. No rly. I figured out how to mix in a sound that does not amplify the final waveform of the song, but is still audible in the song and contributes to the atmosphere anyway. That way I don't have to worry about things not being overcrowded until I layer too much. :D

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the best information ive heard is actually from our very own argle. Not to take your songs too seriously and not to focus on making one section sound "perfect" . just go with the flow and if you find a part frustrating move on to another part of the song. thats really helped me enjoy the whole process. im pretty sure argle said that, or something like that.

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the best information ive heard is actually from our very own argle. Not to take your songs too seriously and not to focus on making one section sound "perfect" . just go with the flow and if you find a part frustrating move on to another part of the song. thats really helped me enjoy the whole process. im pretty sure argle said that, or something like that.

Oddly enough, I partially disagree with that. Personally, I prefer perfecting what I write as I go, and I always find it harder to go back and try to fix the mixing in a section that I wrote earlier, mainly because I could have written it with poor velocities, a bad instrument choice, etc. If I write as I go, my mind is fresh on the current section and I know exactly what I need to fix if it sounds wrong.

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1. Continually pushing yourself. Trying out techniques you find in tutorials, or trying to replicate a sound or effect, or trying different arrangement ideas.

2. Learning to take criticism. No one can learn music in a vacuum. Criticism, when given kindly but with plenty of detail, moves you forward. Have a team of 3-4 trusted friends who you always know you can bounce stuff off of anytime, then bounce away.

3. Work with others. Collaboration is the best way I have found to learn new things. I find that when it is my turn with a file, I want to impress the other person so I do my best and always try to go beyond my previous limits.

how to push out different instruments in a multi like Kontakt to different stereo channels so you could use your DAW's sends/effects. I was opening like 4 versions of Kontakt in a single project if I wanted to add distortion or somethnig.

You're welcome!

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the best information ive heard is actually from our very own argle. Not to take your songs too seriously and not to focus on making one section sound "perfect" . just go with the flow and if you find a part frustrating move on to another part of the song. thats really helped me enjoy the whole process. im pretty sure argle said that, or something like that.

hey man I'm glad you found that helpful. That used to frustrate me to no end until I learned to change my mental approach.

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Yeah, I'd have to disagree with you on the "finish a track before starting the next" approach. I'll typically have 3-4 tracks going at any given time at different stages of development. Not only does it ensure that you're continually productive (as opposed to "Well, track's done! Time for a break!" which turns into a week-long (or longer) hiatus), it also REALLY helps prevent ear fatigue. Binging on the same track can have negative effects on your music and changing things up can help against that.

Let your emotions flow through your music, and once you do.....then anything is possible.

Unfortunately, that's not always possible. What you're talking about is basically inspiration based on emotion. It's entirely possible that a person has absolutely nothing significant enough to draw inspiration on.

The best advice I've ever been given was from my college Music Composition professor: "The art of music is 10% inspiration and 90% craft". While emotion is by far one of the greatest sources of inspiration, it's possible to capture a particular emotion without ever having experienced it through understanding of what musical elements or sounds evoke that emotion. Inspiration and emotion are secondary to understanding the craft of writing music. Especially if you write professionally with deadlines. You can't just wait for inspiration to strike :P

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how to push out different instruments in a multi like Kontakt to different stereo channels so you could use your DAW's sends/effects. I was opening like 4 versions of Kontakt in a single project if I wanted to add distortion or somethnig.

Wait, using one Kontakt application with many instruments inside it is more efficient than using one Kontakt application per instrument?

My computer struggles a lot with my projects lately, and maybe that's the reason :oops:

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Wait, using one Kontakt application with many instruments inside it is more efficient than using one Kontakt application per instrument?

My computer struggles a lot with my projects lately, and maybe that's the reason :oops:

Well there is CPU overhead for every instance of Kontakt.

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Most of the advice I've been given is about mixing.

Stereo control and making sure EQing and compressing pops everything out so you can hear every part well.

I've learned a lot all by myself. Not sounding perfect? It won't sound perfect. I'm a ridiculously heavy perfectionist and I sit there trying to perfect something to its perfectest. And I can get really dang close, but the MOMENT it is out of your hands and out to the public and you can't go back and change it, there's always at least one thing in the song you notice you had wished you would've fixed. Always happens.

There are many other things I've learned throughout the years. That's just one of those things I decided to point out just cuz I could.

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"Melody first"

That's interesting. I don't really see much benefit to writing the melody before the rest of the texture in pretty much any situation. I guess it COULD help with the counterpoint but honestly, that seems way too subjective to me to be considered advice. Personally, I like to get a groove down and then improvise over it in my original stuff a lot of the time and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. It's all about how you work.

"study classical music"

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES A million times YES

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Biggest thing for me was learning that a track should add and subtract sounds. For the first few years of making music, I would make songs that would only build and build. That's a fast way to make your track sound like garbage. Only when I started looking more carefully at professional music did I notice "hey, in the chorus they dropped out that instrument that was in the verse!". Sounds stupid but that was a big lightbulb in my head, and I don't think I'm alone. To this day, I still give remixers that critique.

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Well there is CPU overhead for every instance of Kontakt.

Wow. I asked that once and I never did get a straightforward answer. Thanks, now.

That's interesting. I don't really see much benefit to writing the melody before the rest of the texture in pretty much any situation. I guess it COULD help with the counterpoint but honestly, that seems way too subjective to me to be considered advice. Personally, I like to get a groove down and then improvise over it in my original stuff a lot of the time and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. It's all about how you work.

Yeah, I think writing the melody first just hinders the rhythmic contrast you're inclined to put in a song. I prefer to write a rhythmically interesting bassline or drum part first with the source to reference. Sometimes I just write whatever part will make me remember my arrangement best, and then as I go, I'll fill it in with whatever else is still in my head.

Edited by timaeus222
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Yeah, I think writing the melody first just hinders the rhythmic contrast you're inclined to put in a song. I prefer to write a rhythmically interesting bassline or drum part first with the source to reference. Sometimes I just write whatever part will make me remember my arrangement best, and then as I go, I'll fill it in with whatever else is still in my head.

Actually, I think it depends. I often often come up with melodies first and then build on to them, and then I continue by doing the opposite; making the bass/rhythm and then coming up with the melody. A couple of tips my professor gave me also: try making an ending first, or at the beginning, so that you have a clear defined ending you can work towards. So that instead of building a bridge into the fog, you can see the other end of the bridge and connect the two flawlessly. The other thing he told me was to ALWAYS go out of your comfort zone. I never had much problem with this, but god, I don't think I need to tell you how many people just pump out the same old EDM over and over again! Even if you're not good at a certain genre of music, don't let your current ability hinder you making it.

That brings me to my greatest sage advice: IF YOU HAVE A TUNE GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD, MAKE IT THEN, AND DON'T WAIT UNTIL LATER! What goes through your head is what your brain wants to make then and there, and if you wait, you'll lose that creative flow!

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Actually, I think it depends. I often often come up with melodies first and then build on to them, and then I continue by doing the opposite; making the bass/rhythm and then coming up with the melody.

That's true. Sometimes if I'm really inspired, I just rework the melody's rhythm right then and there, and create some bass/rhythm to go with that instead. Actually, that probably happens more often for me than writing the bass/rhythm first.

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Maybe it's just because I'm a wind player, but I have real issues making any real progress with songs if I don't start by fleshing out a melodic idea before anything else. Curse you, monophonic mind's ear!

In regards to topic, the best advice I had heard was to put subtractive EQ and filters on pretty much everything. Sometimes you just can't get a track to sit well unless you trim away a lot of the excess.

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