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Getting Stuck in the Music Production Process? Can’t Finish Beats? Here’s 5 Reasons Why and How to Get Yourself Unstuck, Without Spinning Your Wheels!

Stuck in Music Production Hero Image - Driver Spinning Wheels

Fact: Even the best producers sometimes get stuck in the music production process.

In this post we take a look at why we sometimes hit roadblocks in the studio and how to get things moving again so we can finish more tracks, faster and on a consistent basis.

Why do producers tend to get stuck in the music production process?

There's a huge variety of reasons why producers like you and me tend to hit roadblocks with our music projects, as you can probably imagine.  Many of these reasons are very specific to the individual producer.

Below we take a look at some of the common reasons many producers often get stuck and you'll also discover some handy tips and strategies to rise above the stuckness.

5 Reasons Producers Get Stuck While Making Music:

1. Too focused on the results instead of the process

One reason producers often get stuck in the music production process is because we are too focused on achieving the final result of the finished track.

You know when you’ve started a track, developed it to a listenable point and then compare it to a commercially released track. Ouch!  It’s hard not to get demotivated when you realize the huuuuuuuge gap between where your track is at compared to the finished release.

The problem here is one of motivation to continue.  It’s easy to feel like you suck at music production and will never be as good as your favorite artists.  So, it’s easy to just get stuck and rather just go watch some Netflix or Youtube.

So what should you do when you get stuck in the music production process for this reason?

Focus on the process more than the results.  Here’s how:

One technique I suggest to my students is to form the habit of always asking “What’s Next?”.

This question keeps your mind focused on the next step in the music production process and not the disappointment of not yet having the intended final result.

You cannot finish a track with a few moves.  It takes thousands upon thousands of tiny moves.  That’s why your focus should only be on what the next move is.

Sure, you’re working towards the final mix and you keep that in mind.  You’ll get there faster when you keep your immediate attention on the current task at hand and move on to the next task right after you’re done with it.

So, always ask “What’s Next?” until the answer is “Nothing!”.  At that point you’ve finished your track and it’s safer to start comparing with your reference tracks again.

2. Getting bored with the track - the thrill is gone

This is another easy way to get stuck in the music production process.

You know the deal.  You start a track, get a banger of a loop going and then after a few hours you think the same loop sucks, or that you’ve messed it up somehow.

What’s happened in this case is that you’ve probably just heard the loop so many times that your brain has adjusted to it.

That’s why the suggestion I give in the Studio Flow course is to practice the “many moves, few listens” method.

You want to minimize the amount of times you listen to a loop or the whole track as much as you can during the production process.  This way you keep it as fresh as possible to your ears.

So, decide what the next move is.  Zoom in on that section.  Make the move. Zoom out and decide what the next move is.

Never.  I repeat. Never just have your loop or track playing over and over without doing anything to progress it.

3. Lack of practice of later stages of the music production process

A cool trick I learned from a guitarist, I forget who,  is to practice the end of a new song first and then practice the start of the song.

The reason this works is because when we learn a new song we tend to start at the beginning and then stop when we make a mistake.  Then we take it from the top again. So, we get really good at the start and then get less practice at the end.

The exact same thing happens in the studio while producing.  We get really good at starting tracks and even making eight bar loops and never finish enough tracks to get better at the last stages of the process.

So, if you want to avoid getting stuck in the music production process in this way you need to practice finishing tracks.

A little hack I suggest here is to find multi-tracks in your genre and just mix them. Mike Senior has just posted an update of the huge selection over at Sound-on-Sound.  You can get the link to the multi-tracks here.

This way you avoid having to write the music and don’t have to do the arrangement.  You can just practice mixing which is usually the final stage in the production process.  After a while you'll get good at the mixing part of the process which means you'll more easily and quickly move into and finish this stage with your own productions.

If you're really new to music production and still uncertain of all the stages and steps involved then be sure to download your free copy of the workshop and checklist I recently created.

4. Moving too slow

It pays to be a bit aggressive when you’re in the studio.  With this I simply mean you want to move as fast as you can.

The reason you want to do this is because the longer you take to finish the track the higher the chances that you’ll get bored or stuck in the process.

Now, it’s easy to fall into this particular trap because unless you’re working with a client or a label you don’t have a real deadline for your own tracks. This equates to having no sense of urgency and no need for speed.

One solution is to create your own sense of urgency using deadlines with real-world results.

You can, for example, announce a release date on your socials.  The threat of embarrassment can be a good motivator to get it done. Or, you could tell a few friends you’ll give them each $100 if your track isn’t done by your deadline date.

Another suggestion which I’ve included in the Studio Flow course is to start with your broad moves and only do the smaller tiny moves near the end of the production process.

This helps you get as much of the track done as fast as possible and then polish and finesse the mix when the foundation has been laid and all the main elements are in place.

5. Not noticing attention to workflow bottlenecks

If you often get stuck in the music production process at the same place then you have a bottleneck in your music production workflow.

This is where you have to get a bit meta with it and change your workflow so you finish your tracks faster.

You may spend hours on a snare sound when it’s not really needed.  You may wait too long before you start your full arrangement.  You may have too many distractions like Youtube videos and social feed notifications while working.

This is where it makes sense to review your system, workflow and music production habits to see if you can unblock the bottlenecks and streamline your process.

Track what you do while producing and how much time each task takes you.  Then think of possible ways you can speed up tasks,  especially the time-hogs.

In Conclusion:

So, there you have 5 potential reasons for getting stuck in the music production process and some ways you can side-step these issues and get more music done!

Now, if you want to discover a way of getting more tracks done faster and on a consistent basis and dramatically reduce the changes that you'll get stuck in the music production process, then be sure to check out the Studio Flow course while it's still open for enrollment.  You’ll learn about the mindset and habits you need to cultivate and the techniques you can implement to become a producer that finishes tracks faster and on a consistent basis.

Until next time…

… get more music done!


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