File Under: Creating and Making Your Music

This article is part of the Creating and Making Music series: how to create and produce more music for the new streaming world.

As an independent artist today, it's easy to lose sight of why you're in music in the first place: to make music. But to balance the music part with the business part, this week we're going to share the second of two of the most powerful music production skills of all. You won't find either of these in any recording book or available as a plugin.

Last week we talked about the powerful music production skill of focus [link to last week's article]. The ability to say "no" to distractions so you can say "yes" to creating music is critical, but it's only the first part. To produce the music, you need to the second powerful skill: scheduling.

Our band learned very quickly that if we were going to create, record, and release one song for every day at, we had to schedule the time for music creation and production. It wasn't enough to talk about doing something, we needed to coordinate band member schedules and agree on when to meet. This commitment meant scheduling time in the calendar.

But scheduling is much more than just coordinating people's schedules. Even if you're a solo artist or DJ, scheduling time to work on music is essential. Why? Because scheduling can form habits. The scientific research on the power of habit has shown us that doing something consistently day after day can become hard to give up. Jerry Seinfeld, the famous comedian, advised young comics on how to harness this power. Seinfeld's belief, which mirrors our own belief about creating music, is that to become a better comic, you need to create better jokes, and the way to do that is to write every single day.

But he went one step further. His advice to comics was to get a huge calendar, hang it on the wall, and for every day he wrote, he put a huge "X" through it. After a few days, you'll have a chain of "X's". And after a few weeks, an even longer chain. At this point, your only job is to not break the chain.

While we didn't use Seinfeld's calendar system, we did set aside every weekend and at least two weekday nights for music production. These dates were always on the calendar, and we had to cancel it if we wanted to do something else -- not the other way around. Using your calendar to lock down recurring music production days of the week can be powerful way to build your songwriting and music production skills.

Now that you know the second powerful skill, check back next Wednesday or follow us on Twitter @indieguide for the last part, where we'll talk about how to apply scheduling to your music.


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Photo credit: Casey Marshall