Music Tips That Every Musician Needs To Know
Making music is awesome. No discussion. But the whole process of creating your first song and share it with the world contains a lot of steps. Some steps are very difficult to start with, others are fairly easy. We will talk about the easy ones, for now, just to get started. Here are 10 music tips that every musician, current or future member of Drooble, should know:
Tip 1: Start with the end in mind, try to see where you want to be in 1 or 5 years
By having that great goal in mind, you will also have a good motivation on the “why” of your music creation process. Don’t forget to keep it simple and achievable.
And make your goal as specific as possible. Having a general goal like “I want to be famous” will not really help. Try to use the S.M.A.R.T. way of setting your goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). Write it down, hang it on your wall (or anywhere where you can look at it often) and stay focused. And, yes, you can change your goal if needed, but remember that that is not the intention of having a goal. Only change it if some major things change in your life and you have to adjust.
Tip 2: Get your gear in place
Make sure you have all the good gear, not the most expensive or shiny, but the best gear that you need at that moment.Maybe you need some specific equipment for a certain song or gig, but always make sure that it is really relevant. Buying cables, strings, power adapters, guitar straps, keyboard stands and all that stuff that might look too obvious or a waste of money, but it will help to keep all your gear in working order. In other words, if you have a nice guitar and no decent guitar strap…. well, search youtube for “guitar strap fails” and shiver in fear;-) Also, you want to do regular maintenance on your instruments. This is much cheaper than buying new parts or a new instrument altogether. That being said, buying new/shiny instruments is not a problem, just don’t spend ALL your money on it. If it helps think of it this way; if you buy a Ferrari, you might want some extra cash for new tires, maintenance, insurance, and gas 😉
Tip 3: Set your style
You don’t have to stick with a style, but it might help on your way. Especially when you are just starting with your exploration in the music world. Play whatever suits you, record it, let others listen and see where your style connects with. Try to see what style “works” for you. Also, try to play along with different styles of music to see if you have some unexplored genres that you actually like. It will help if you start in a more general style. For example, Rock, then Alternative rock, then another sub-genre if you have trouble connecting with Alternative Rock. Don’t do sub-sub-sub-sub genres that no one knows about. Wait until you have created more music or albums and let your audience decide where it fits.
If you have found your style, try to stick with it for a couple of songs or albums.Changing your style with every song might confuse your audience. If you have different styles of music and you just want to make what you like, try to bundle each style and put them into an album. If you stick to that concept, people know that they can expect different styles from you, but it is up to them which style they want to stay with by buying a certain album.
Tip 4: Set your visuals
For a lot of people, this is the fun part. But for others, they totally forget about it and just use whatever picture or style they can find. You can recognize them by having a general social media picture as an album cover, or they have a super high-quality album cover with 1 or 2 not so awesome demo’s. What I meant to say is, they have a dis-balance between visuals and music. But why is having a visual style so important? In most cases, it should fit your musical style and be a combination of your overall style and the style that appeals to your audience. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to create what they like, but you also want to stay away from images or colors that are just not appealing to most people. Again, balance it as much as possible. That is why you may want to set some time aside for this part. Some albums have a cover that totally fit the story of all the songs on the album. Some bands have visuals that totally match their musical style, and they stick with it for many albums.
Whatever the case, this part helps may even help you to visualize what your music will represent. Have fun with it and see what other musicians in the same genre use. Then you can make an awesome combination of a certain style and your own specific visual.
Tip 5: Friends and family first
Music can be a time-consuming hobby or business. We all know that and maybe we even like this! But don’t forget about your surroundings. By spending all your free minutes with your musical project, you might lose a little bit of touch with your friends and family. This might sound more problematic than it is in real life, but it is very easy to forget track of time when you are in the middle of a super awesome song. This will become more noticeable when you play in a band and do live shows. You could be on the road for a couple of days or weeks, and practicing all the songs might take up quite some time during the days before the show.
To balance this, make sure you have a good schedule. Try to see how this schedule fits in with your friends and family. Does it work? Or do they accept that they will see you a bit less for a couple of weeks of months? If you plan this out and keep an open communication about this, you will find that both parties are happy with your hobby/business. Even as a solo artist, planning your musical project with your (life)partner might lighten up your relationship 😉
Tip 6: Build up social connections (new artists)
Whether you are in a band or you start out as a solo musician you might need some other people in your music project, as a fellow instrumentalist, a band member or a teacher, or just someone to discuss your latest album with. Having an extra set of eyes and ears can also help you to stay on track. They can give you a different viewpoint or point out things you might have missed. And do not be afraid to ask for help. Having valuable connections can help you with tasks that would take you forever.
They can also map out a certain path with you or tell you some do’s and don’ts along the way. It will also build up character and personality. Be genuine and honest and people are more willing to connect with you. In most cases, they rather connect with honest people with mediocre skills, than with arrogant people with high-level skills.
Tip 7: Plan your journey as much as possible
In the same line as “Set your Goal”, planning your journey will try to see what might lay ahead. touring means you should prepare mentally and physically and be away from home, a new album might need instruments and all musical projects need time and energy to produce, so a good schedule is a must. Do you have any deadlines? If not, it might help to set your own. It will create a small sub-goal and it motivates you to keep going and not lose track.
Tip 8: Lessons and tutorials
On your musical journey, you might come across one or more difficult things, like learning new mixing techniques, improving your musical skills or learning how to promote your music. Try to focus on the more important things first by mapping out what is most needed before you start. That simply means that you don’t have to worry about proper mixing before you learn how to play your instrument. There are a lot of things that you have to learn right from the start, on any instrument. This needs time, practice and good guidance. If you can afford it, take lessons. Find a good teacher that connects with you and start learning your instrument. One other thing that will really help you as a future musician is building up confidence. Having a decent amount of confidence will help you be a great band member, be social with your audience and fans, build up personality and it will even help you to put your emotions into your music in a more constructive way. Don’t worry if you struggle with your emotions or confidence in the beginning. Accept it and try to channel it into your music. Believe me, it really works. The best songs are written from a certain emotion. Any favorite songs that you connect with on a deeper level? Try to find out the emotion behind it. What motivated the composer to write that song?
Tip 9: Prepare to repeat, repeat, repeat
Practice makes perfect, but studio sessions and live shows are repetitive. You will have to play the same set of songs over and over. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a negative thing per se, but it can become frustrating sometimes, and when you have certain parts of a song that are just a little bit too difficult and need to be recorded/performed in a perfect way, you might question yourself why you started to make music in the first place. After you mastered a song and you perform it with your band, prepare to play it over and over again. Maybe you know it, but your fellow musician might mess up once in a while. This is all part of the game and it has its charms. Play as much as you can and develop some stamina. You and your body should become stronger and after a couple of months playing a lot, you might find that it becomes easier altogether.
Just remember that your favorite musician had to start from scratch too.
Tip 10: Start making music
Or, make enough to start. Be sure to have enough music before your start promoting or doing live shows. Having just one awesome song is cool, and maybe having a small EP is great, but you will need to know how long it takes for you to create songs. If you worked hard to create one song and it took you 6 months, that is not a real problem. But it also means that you will have to have more time to create a full album. Don’t worry, it is not easy when you are just starting to play an instrument or learning how to record and mix.
Make Awesome Music
In the end, it all comes down to you, making the awesome music that you want to make. The above tips can help you along the way, and you don’t even need to use all of them.
However, I encourage you to try them out one by one and see if they work for you.
So, let’s start making awesome music!