In our last blog, we talked about musicians learning a new skill. We continue this week to discuss what you can do to become a better songwriter and producer. Also, for those of you who always wanted to make your own home studio, I did a survey with my technical music friends and we their suggestions are below.
BE A BETTER SONGWRITER
No, I am not a songwriter but I have been working with multi-platinum songwriter and custom song creator, Harold Payne, for many, many years. I also have been around the songwriting community for a very long time. I am a sucker for a great song that tells a story and brings up true heart emotions. (PS. But I still do like a song that can just make you get up and dance!)
So the question this week, “Why are you NOT creating more music during these COVID times?’ I am going to give you a few suggestions that my songwriter musicians find helpful.
1) Acknowledge your best creative time of day. Morning, after dinner or 2 o’clock in the morning…there is no wrong time of day to create.
2) If you are not songwriting every day, maybe keep a daily journal of song or story ideas.
3) If you get stuck on a section, go to a different music instrument, out of your normal expertise and play around on a piano if you are a guitarist OR get some bongo drums if you are a keyboard player. It may spark some cool melodies for you and open up your creative juices.
4) Get together with another songwriter. You can experiment in different genres of music. Creativity comes when you try something new.
5) Take an improv class. One of my friends said a class like that will make you think on your feet to deliver more ways to approach a song or idea.
You may just need some help from mobile apps like ‘WordSwag’ or “RhythmeZone’ but if you are just not completing those songs, you may want to dive into a book like “The 30 Day Music Writing Challenge” by Ed Bell or maybe you need to join a songwriting group. My songwriting group suggestions: Jai Josefs’ Song Shop (http://www.jaijomusic.com/ ) OR Harriet Shock’s 10-week songwriting class called The School of Songwriting (https://harrietschock.com/). You can also look for your Songwriting Associations in your immediate area to join a group or songwriting retreat…check out: https://www.songwriteruniverse.com/songwriterassociations.htm
SO YOU WANT TO PRODUCE?
The word ‘Producer’ has changed the last few years. When someone says they are a producer…I ask what does that mean? Recently the response is “I create beats and put them together with another person’s words.” If that is your definition, I want to say that I think what you are doing is being a songwriter and engineering the final product.
For me, a producer is someone who oversees all aspects of the creation of a song and suggests little incidentals, like adding a background vocals, hiring a harp player or being the artist cheerleader to give the pep talk that makes them play or sing their next studio piece to perfection. It is great if the producer can also be the engineer, but that means they should he/she is paid as an engineer AND a producer. Reverbnation has an article called, “Successful Skill for Music Producers” (link below).
Some of the advice for producers are: organize your samples, experiment with plug-ins and acquire some ear training to help develop your intuitive understanding of every part of a song you are hearing. Yes, you can go to a music and recording school to learn the ear training skills you need but for those who want something now online, check out Monthly.com. I discovered a course conducted by Ryan Tedder (frontman for One Republic & producer extraordinaire on the TV show, “Songland”) called “Write and Produce Hit Songs.” It really looks like a killer collaborative course that is a one month commitment to get immersed in the process of songwriting and producing. It truly looks like something I would try if I was serious about my music craft.
HOME STUDIOS (Every musician needs one!)
SO, do you think you only need a laptop and microphone to make a home studio? Well, I asked musicians Tyler Ray and Aaron Overtone and professional vocalist Clydene Jackson for their suggestions. Here is a quick list to get you started:
1) Computer (With Garageband or Audacity recording programs); 2) DAW (Digital Audio Workstation); 3) Headphones; 4) Audio Interface; 5) Microphone; 6) Speakers (Studio Monitors)
The musicians gave me real details….see the list here:
- Mid-level headphones Like Audio-Technical ATH-M50x’s (for recording and mixing)
- Set of monitors (like JBL LSR305’s- for mixing)
- Condenser mic for vocal recording (Rode NT1A of Gauge ECM 87).
- All Macs come with Garage Band and WINDOWS has Audacity (REAPER for advanced features but you must pay $60 for Premium after your 60 day free trial).
- RECORDING INTERFACE. Focusrit 2i2 is perfect for bedroom producers Allows for mic recording or direct injection the guitar or bass signals into software
- OTHER ADDS: XLR Cables, Pop Filter and maybe a MIDI controller
Check out SWEETWATER.com (Suggestions: Mackie Studio Bundle OR Pre sonus audio box 96 OR WA47-TD—warm audio and Apollo twin mkii duo vocal recording bundle) Price $ 250 to $1600. Start with what you can afford but it may be best to buy a bundle.
I hope this encourages you to learn your craft, create more songs and learn some technical skills to show you are a true DIY artist. Let’s get ready for a new successful 2021.
NEXT BLOG AND FACEBOOK LIVE….WEDNESDAY December 23rd at 1pm. Subject: Music Ideas that give back to a worthy cause.
LINKS SUGGESTED IN THIS BLOG:
- Jai Josefs, Teacher, Coach, Author Songwriter/Producer http://www.jaijomusic.com/
- Harriet Schock, Multi-Platinum Songwriter https://harrietschock.com/10-week songwriting class called TheSchool of Songwriting
- APPS: Word Swag & RhymeZone
- YouTube: How to build a home studi0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iaQHN45rxE
- Equipment: Sweetwater.com
- Songwriters Association list https://www.songwriteruniverse.com/songwriterassociations.htm