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 scheduling and how using Jerry Seinfeld's "don't break the chain" calendar system can help you get more music made. But there's more to scheduling than simply forming a good habit. Here's how you can apply more of the power behind scheduling and planning your calendar:

1. Schedule your songwriting sessions

If you're a group, getting together to write songs requires coordination. During TheSongOfTheDay, we would set up every Saturday for songwriting sessions. This was mostly for band members, but for the project, we actually opened the invite to others like they do in Nashville. By bringing in other collaborators, we ended up mixing up our styles and created more sounds. It all depended on who showed up. For example, our song, You Shouldn't Have Pissed Me Off came out of a session where Nice Peter, who went on make Epic Rap Battles Of History, came by. His songwriting style was freewheeling and improv-based resulting in a completely different energy in our studio.

Even if you're a solo artist, you still may want to schedule a recurring session to make sure you write music and block out the time from other people interfering with it.

2. Schedule separate recording sessions from your songwriting sessions

We found it critical to separate our songwriting and demo sessions from our actual recording sessions because if we attempted both we stifled our creativity as we began focusing on the mechanics of recording. Because of this, each session could be more productive.

The other benefit of separating the two types of sessions was to we could tap those musicians who we needed to record rather than waste everyone else's time if they weren't required. We would use the calendar to schedule specific recording sessions: days reserved for recording drums, days reserved for horns, days for recording guitars, and of course, days for vocals. The rest of the band appreciated the respect we had for their time and it made it all the more likely they'd not only show up for their session, but be pumped to play their best.

3. Schedule your releases

Scheduling isn't just for music production. Scheduling consistent releases over time is critical given streaming and the internet-driven music industry. In fact, it's your release schedule that is actually the place to start because it drives when distribute your music, register it, promote it, push it to get heard all the way back to when to create your music in the first place. For example, if you set out to release a song every three weeks, with a calendar, you can plan out the drop dates, and then work backwards to find the date you need the track sent to your digital distributor. Before you submit your track, you need to make sure your music is tagged correctly, so you can then work backwards a few days to give you time as to when you need to set the ID3 tags. Plus, it's at this time you'll want to submit your song so it's registered with your royalty organizations so you can get paid.

Successful songwriting needs the focus your creativity requires. A lot of music production is about prioritizing music by making time for it within your schedule and limiting the distractions that can keep you from creating and recording it. When composing music, you need the space to experiment and play with ideas. When in production mode, you need the focus to clarify your vision for each song and the time needed to finish each track. If you can master focus and scheduling, both will come together to make the best music possible and you will spend your time doing what you love most: creating music.


#music #scheduling #makingmusic #productiontechniques

Photo credit: Randy Chertkow & Jason Feehan