In this post we discuss why finishing tracks is important, scrap that, vital, for music producers to do.
We've all been there and done that. You know, when you have tons of track ideas started, gazzillions of 8-bar loops abandoned and forgotten on your hard-drive. Then you go and start a brand new track.
Let's see why this habit isn't a great thing for producers who want to crush it...
A music producer is someone who produces and ships music. That, as you can imagine, means you have to finish tracks!
To start a track is fun. Finishing tracks and sending them out into the great big world is more work. It's also more nerve-wracking since it invokes a whole bunch of fears and insecurities about our own abilities as producers.
You cannot however become a producer that crushes it without first just becoming a producer.
This is just one reason why finishing tracks is important. It's the most important part of the job description of a music producer. Without the habit of finishing tracks you're toast.
Our brains are wonderful. They can adapt to pretty much anything. The more you do something, the more certain neurons fire in your brain, the stronger the pathways that form, the better you get at that particular activity.
So, just starting new tracks the whole time will make you good at starting tracks. That's of course important but it's just the beginning of the music production process. Your aim as a producer has to be to master the entire process from conception to completion.
In short, you want to train your brain to start and finish tracks,
“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” - Neil Gaiman
The process of learning music production is a long road, not to even mention mastery of the craft. You'll learn much more, much faster however when you finish tracks on a regular basis.
The reason for this is because you'll be equally exposed to every stage in the production process which translates, in time, to more experience with the particular aspects of each stage. How can one get good at song structures and arrangements if all you do is make 8-bar loops? How about learning to nail your final mix?
Every part of the process involves different sub-processes and skills. All these contribute together to the final production. You'll see more progress, faster when you see your projects through to the end. This is another reason why finishing tracks is important.
Think of your music production as a system.
Every system has inputs, processing and outputs. The inputs are usually actions and the outputs are results.
With music production you can see the time and effort you put in and the actions you take as inputs. One of the outputs is of course the finished track. It would be the only output if you didn't release your tracks or at the very least played them for other people.
Once you release your tracks the system produces another output. That's the feedback you get from others.
Remember, you cannot tell if your music is good or not. That's not for you to decide and it's plain impossible as you're in the production bubble. It's not your job either.
This is another reason why finishing tracks is important. You can ship them and get feedback.
This means you can take the feedback you get and loop it back into the system as an input.
Let's say, for example, you produce a track you're real excited about. When you do so you quickly realise from the poor response that whatever you did didn't work too well. So, now you know and you can adjust your production strategy and techniques for the next project. Without this feedback you'd be none the wiser.
The odds of winning the lottery are small. The odds however increase the more numbers you play.
The same goes for the music production lotto. Finish and ship more tracks and your chances of a landing a hit goes up. So, this is one more reason why finishing tracks is important. You've got to be in it to win it!
Another, often overlooked reason why finishing tracks is important is because it allows you to refine your music production workflow faster.
The more tracks you finish the more opportunities you'll have to figure out what works and what doesn't in terms of how you produce music. You'll quickly start to realize if you have a habit or habits that slows you down in the studio.
You'll also find ways to produce faster and discover your strengths as a producer which allows you to maximize your creative output.
The upgrades you make to your workflow will feed back into your progress as a producer and produce exponential results which you wouldn't see without this type of refinement of your process.
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
- William Shakespeare
The more you finish and ship tracks the better you'll feel about yourself and your ability to produce music.
Little by little you'll start to trust your own competence more and more and this will speed up your progress towards music production mastery.
You'll overcome those nasty, nagging insecurities and doubts about yourself and you'll start to believe in your own production skills. This will make you a better producer, faster, because you'll feel good about producing music which makes it more likely that you'll hit the studio more often.
You can spend weeks or even months in an attempt to produce the perfect track and still end up with a stunning dud. Or, you could learn to accept good enough and focus on quantity over quality.
Now, of course you want to do as good a job as possible on every project. That said, quality is most often achieved when you build out a large body of work.
Take for example a respected songwriter like Bob Dylan. Not all of his songs are masterpieces. He has however written more masterpieces than most songwriters. Now, have a look at the amount of songs he's released. 38 studio albums worth. 91 singles so far.
We may only know the most popular ones. Those songs would probably not have existed if not for the rest.
So, aim for quantity. Make the best track you can every time but never let perfectionism get in the way of shipping your tracks.
Or as the first billionaire rapper, Jay-Z said:
"...I got a million ways to get it, choose one (choose one)
Hey, bring it back, now double your money and make a stack
I'm on to the next one..."
The music producer game is the game of finishing tracks.
Yes, it's nice to have a swanky home studio to serve as a backdrop for your Insta posts. It's great to know what all those buttons do. Playing around with synths is oh so much fun.
If you're serious about becoming a music producer who crushes it however there's only one thing that matters most and that's the amount of tracks you finish and ship.
So, now you can stop thinking about it all and just hit the studio!
Focus on increasing your creativity, productivity, and consistency. Studio Flow offers a framework for making a shift to a professional producer mindset.
The course is tailored to meet the specific needs of music producers who struggle with procrastination, lack of motivation, bad habits, distractions, fears, doubts, and insecurities.
Led by professional and personable instructor Marius, Studio Flow offers a no-fluff approach to learning, presenting a roadmap to becoming a thriving, optimized music producer.
So if you're looking to take your music production output to the next level, click the link below right now, to learn more about Studio Flow and get started today!
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