The main reason to produce music faster is because it means you'll produce more music. The more music you produce the faster the improvement you'll see in your music production skills. The better your skills get the better your music will get. This much is pretty obvious.
A second, just as vital, reason to work faster is because it grows your discography. Enough said!
A third reason to make music faster is because every second you don't get closer to a finished track increases the chances of the track never being finished. Resistance creeps in and inertia takes over and interest wanes the longer you take to get to the final mix of your track.
Yes, you want to make your tracks as good as possible. This doesn't however mean you need to work slow. Working fast and doing it well is the ideal we're shooting for as music producers.
You'll discover 33 tips on how to work faster as a producer or beatmaker below. Working faster however starts with the decision to work faster. Since you're reading this I'll assume you've already made that decision. So, you're off to a good start!
OK, let's jump right into ways to produce music faster. Here's a quick list:
This tip comes by way of Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip. He suggests you use systems instead of goals for anything that isn't a one-time achievement.
A system is a way of working that increases your skills and with it your odds of success.
So, instead of having the goal of producing many great tracks, rather create a system where you improve every day and get more work done. This increases the odds that you'll produce great tracks.
The problem with a goal is that until you achieve it you've not succeeded. This feeling of failure can get you down and being down, as you can imagine, will diminish the chances of the work getting done.
So, instead of setting a goal, say for example, of 1 finished track per week, rather create a system that improves your skills and increases the chances of the work getting done.
How do you this?
Make a deal with yourself. Say "I'm going to sit down every day and open a DAW project".
You don't have to work on the project. You only need to get your rear end in the chair and open the project. Do that and you're a success. Even if you close the project down immediately after you've opened it.
Now, of course there will be days that you just don't have it in you to work. Chances are however that since you're in the chair and you have the project open in front of you, you'll start to do some work.
This habit will increase the chances that you produce more music much more than walking around thinking "I should produce music" will ever do.
So, while this type of system won't directly increase your speed in the studio it will increase the chances that you'll actually start to work and the more you start to work the faster you'll become.
The more organized and tidy your folders, files, libraries and sessions the faster you'll work. This tip definitely isn't rocket surgery. ;-)
Delete plugins you never use. Make sure your samples are logically named and quickly accessible. Same for your favorite synths and presets. Create a system for your backups and automate it.
The space you work in, your studio, is just as important as your virtual work environment. So keep it fresh and tidy.
Also make sure the studio has a vibe that induces a mood that helps you produce music faster. I've written about this before in this post about studio design. Check out that post for some tips and considerations.
This goes without saying. The better you know your DAW and plugins the faster you'll work.
So, make it a mission to get to know your tools and, once you do, you'll produce music faster.
You cannot avoid the fact that you have to listen to your tracks over and over as you produce them. You want to however restrict your listens as much as possible. It's just too easy to have your playback on loop and sit there and listen to it on repeat without actually making any moves.
This means that A: You're more likely to get tired of the tracks and B: You definitely won't produce music faster.
This is why in the Studio Flow workflow course I suggest students use the Zoom In/Zoom Out method.
Here's how you do it:
Zoom in on a small section that needs work. Make your moves to get whatever you need done, fast. Zoom out. Then, move on to the next section and repeat.
Whatever you do just don't sit and listen to your track without making decisions and moves. It's a track killer!
Ever sat down to produce after dinner, got into it and then looked up the next moment to realize it's 3am? That's the flow state, my friend!
The flow state is where stuff gets done. Good news is you can engineer flow states. This previous post shows you how. The more you can access flow states the more you'll be likely to produce music faster, without even trying.
You already know by now that you are what you repeatedly do. Your habits make you. They can also break you.
So, it pays to cultivate habits that help you produce music faster and eliminate habits that only slow you down.
Do you have a habit of only hitting the studio every now and then? How about the habit of starting tracks you never finish? How about the habit of getting distracted by your phone? None of these habits will help you to produce music faster, as you can imagine.
Now, habits as you know by now, aren't the easiest thing in the world to change or develop. Do so you must however. It'll take some observation, maybe even time-tracking. It'll also require some discipline to instill new habits into your production workflow.
Tough as it may be there's no way around this fact. Your habits are even more important than your knowledge and skills when it comes to consistent output as a producer.
Remember to subscribe to the Renegade Report to receive your free audio training where I discuss 3 key habits producers must cultivate to make music faster and on a consistent basis.
You probably know this by now already so I won't say much about it.
You want to be able to start producing as soon as you open a new session. Setting up a session first will slow you down. So, create custom start-up DAW templates and use them!
Another pretty obvious tip here. If you do a task with one keyboard shortcut that would otherwise take you 5 mouse clicks in a menu to perform, then of course you'll produce music faster. So, learn your DAW shorcuts, customize your shortcuts, memorize your shortcuts and use them!
You could even take this a step further and learn how to use macros in your DAW to complete more complex regular tasks.
Working in projects with tracks labeled Audio 1 to 136 will not help you produce music faster. "Where's that synth lead part again? No, not that one. Not that one. Ah here it is, finally found it!"
Get into the habit of naming your tracks in a way that makes sense as you create them. "Reese Bass" will always stand out more than Audio 43!
This ties in with the previous tip. Good color coding gives you a visual way of navigating your session faster.
It helps also to use the same color coding scheme in all your projects as much as possible. You may like to make your kick and bass parts red and orange and your leads green for example. Stick to this scheme from project to project and you'll get used to it. This definitely helps you to produce music faster.
An easy way to do this is to work color coding into your custom start-up template. You also want to get into the habit of color-coding your new tracks/channels as you add them so you don't have to spend time changing a bunch of grey channels later on in the session.
The music production process consists of different phases or stages. Think of these as different modes of operation.
Making synth patches requires a different way of working than balancing levels which in turn is a different mode of operation to editing audio to remove clicks and pops, for example.
Switching between very different types of tasks doesn't allow you to properly get into the flow of any one of the modes. So, if you want to produce music faster, try to stick to one type of task for longer and then move on to the next type.
Try make all your sounds before you start writing. Keep your EQ, compression and other mixing tasks away from your writing phase. Try not to get into writing when you're busy mixing.
Now, of course you won't always be able to keep such a clear separation, especially with electronic music production where you tend to mix-as-you-go to keep the vibe going while you write. Experiment with different sessions for different parts of the process however and figure out which way of working helps you produce music faster.
Your ears need breaks. Your brain needs breaks. The reason, as you may imagine, is because there is a point of diminishing returns that you reach after you've been at it for a while. This slows you down.
So, learn to recognize where your concentration starts to wane and take a break the moment you reach that point.
Take a quick break and come back fresh. This way you'll produce faster more often.
Related to the previous tip but a bit different. A hobby that's not music production is good for those times when you need a bit of a longer break to reset your nervous system.
This means that you can bounce between your music production and your hobby and so lessen the chances that you'll become bored and also work faster when you get back to your music.
Some producers are night owls, others are early birds. You know your own best times. Working in the morning when you're a nocturnal animal is counter-productive.
So, schedule your sessions to take advantage of your own natural rhythms and you'll produce music faster.
Do not disturb sign on the studio door, phone on airplane mode in your drawer, Wi-Fi off, drinks and snacks handy.
Read Cal Newport's "Deep Work" to discover just how bad interruptions and distractions actually are. They physically rewire your brain so that over time you become unable to focus for longer periods. Train yourself to do deep work, which means longer, focused sessions with no distractions.
Make your studio time sacred and protect it's sanctity at all costs!
Why reinvent the wheel every time you sit down in the studio for a new project? If you spend hours making a good bass patch or the perfect kick in one project then save it and have it available for your future projects.
The same goes for channels with plugin chains you'll be likely to use again. Save it and load it up when you need it.
Do you often find yourself heading for the same sample packs and ignoring others?
Put all your most-used sample packs in one folder to load it up faster when you need it. This is a simple way that helps you produce music faster.
This is a bit more about psychology.
When you're focused on the goal of producing a masterpiece you could fall into the trap of getting yourself down because you're not there yet. So, forget about the final outcome and hone in on the process itself.
Do what's right in front of you with as much focus and intention as possible and before you know it the outcome is achieved by itself!
Music production, like most creative work, isn't always fun. There's work to do if you want to produce anything of real value. So, sometimes you just have put your nose to the grindstone and tractor through.
This takes some grit. Good thing is you can develop grit. Do it!
You want to create momentum and keep it going to produce music faster. Asking yourself "what's next?" helps to do this.
Just glued your kick and bass together? What's next? Finished compressing your snare? What's next?
In fact, write the question on a card and place it where you'll see it until you've developed the habit of asking it.
Perfectionism is often procrastination, fear or doubt hiding under a different guise.
Remember, most listeners won't be as obsessed with that second layer of your mid-bass as you might be.
So, learn to accept good enough and move on fast. Get as close to the the sound or effect you want and proceed to the next thing. See the previous point again.
Brick wall, meet producer, producer, brick wall. Producer will be banging head against you for an hour.
Learn to realize when something's just not working and trash it. Try something else and keep your momentum going so that you produce music faster and don't get stuck.
Use other tracks for reference when you do your song structure. Pull the track right into your DAW and just line up your sections with it. Make a few tweaks if needed.
No need to struggle when you can just borrow it!
Embarrassment can be a excellent motivator to produce music faster. So announce your release on your socials and see just how fast you'll work to get it done.
You don't want to be known as the producer who doesn't deliver on their promises do you? Make your deadline public and amp up the guilt/embarrassment/pressure factor to your own advantage.
Maybe it's playing games. Maybe it's your favorite drink. Maybe it's a cheat meal. Maybe it's an expensive purchase.
No matter what your secret pleasure is, tell yourself you'll get it only when your track, EP or album is done and released into the world.
This is using a carrot instead of a stick. A reward on the horizon gives you something to look forward to and this can be a good incentive to produce music faster. Try it!
Your brain isn't good at reminding you about stuff. That's why it likes to remind you about the light bulb you need when you try to switch on the light, not when you're at the store in the electrics section.
So, if you have a lot of things going on and you sit down to produce music your brain decides to suddenly remind you of everything else you need to do instead of producing music. This type of internal distraction can prevent you from making music faster.
So, you need to clear your mind. The way to do this is to capture it all outside your head in a safe place. Only when your brain trusts that you have a system for storing, retrieving and remembering the important stuff will it relax and allow you to produce music without nagging interruptions.
The system I recommend is "Getting Things Done" by David Allen because it leaves nothing unaccounted for. Every single thing you need to take care of, every piece of information that comes into your world, has a place in your GTD system. Definitely check it out.
You may think it's a bit much but once you do the process for the first time you'll experience beginners mind, the perfect state for creative flow.
So, give it a good try. You might just love it, not just for music production, but as a way to manage your attention in every aspect of your life.
It's so easy to sit and listen to your track over and over and not do anything, especially in the last mile where it's so close to being done. Or, you listen, tweak this, tweak that, tweak this again and never bring the whole thing to a conclusion.
A good way to prevent this is to use pen and paper. Listen to your track through once and make notes of what needs to be done.
This means you end up with a list you can cross off as you complete each point you wanted to address.
Then, with all your tasks completed, repeat it. Your list should be shorter every time.
Keep doing this until there's nothing left to address.
Then, accept that you're done, print your final mix and move on to your next track.
You could of course just play the whole music production process by ear and that's fine. Try this however:
Create a little mini-plan for what you want to achieve and give yourself a certain amount of time to complete the task. Like little deadlines.
So, let's imagine you want to make your kick and bass fit together and smack your listener's little cotton socks off.
Decide you're going to experiment with side-chain compression or LFO Tool and a bit of EQ and saturation and you'll give yourself 10 minutes to get it done.
Set your timer and go go go!
Again, your brain will take it's time unless you restrict the time you allocate to the task.
The ticking timer will create the needed sense of urgency to help you finish tasks and produce music faster.
Try to produce an entire track in 1 day. Pretty hard.
Now, try to do it in 1 hour.
It might not be the best thing you've ever produced but it'll help you to practice making music faster.
So, set all types of ludicrous music production challenges with hard time limits and just go for it.
Most electronic music production starts with a loop. Many producers however tend to get stuck listening to the 8-bar or 16-bar loop they've created. Don't let this be the case for you.
Read this post on how to escape the loop and break free so you'll be able to produce music faster.
You already know you can steal track structures. There are more hacks you can use to produce music faster and more effectively.
One way is to use MIDI chord and chord progression packs to make your life easier.
This means you don't have to sit and build chords with your mouse in the piano roll. Just drag in the chord or progression you like and move on. This isn't cheating. There are only so many chords and so many progressions.
Feel free to tweak but don't think you have to start from scratch every time.
Music production is both fun and excruciating at the same time. It definitely can be seen as therapy but that's not what it's about. Your music is for other people to enjoy. If you don't get your tracks out into the wild other people cannot enjoy them.
So, remember that you're doing this for other people and finish and ship as much as possible.
Don't keep them waiting!
Music production isn't all about speed. Without speed and a bit of aggression your progress will however be slower than a sleepy snail.
It's vital to optimize your music production workflow as much as possible if you want to make music on a consistent basis and at a professional level.
The 33 tips above will make a massive difference once implemented.
Remember to also sign up for the Renegade Report below right now to get more techniques and tips to help speed up your workflow and progress as a beat-maker or electronic music producer in 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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