How do you achieve consistency? A solid starting point is by setting aside time each day for your music. Time is the only thing every person runs out of. There will always be 24 hours to a day, 60 minutes to an hour, and 7 days to a week. The beautiful fact is that no one has more time than anyone else. Warren Buffett may never run out of money, but he’s on the same ticking clock as everyone else. Every successful producer knows this and devotes a large portion of their time to the one thing they truly love – their music. If you’ve got a busy life and you’re not sure where to start, the first thing to do is determine how much flexibility you have in your schedule. If you have some degree of flexibility to your life, think about what your best time of day is. For example, I function best at night. Specifically the hours from 11pm through 4am, depending on my schedule. Some folks love getting out of bed at 5am to start their day early. Everyone has their own preference, and works best under different conditions. Figure out your ideal timeframe and try to produce during those hours. If you don’t have room for schedule changes, then you should look at what you can cancel or reduce in your life. How will you hit that 10,000 hour point? If you keep a calendar, in either the physical or mental form, pencil in some free time where you will only focus on creating music. Yes, this might mean skipping the sports game, cutting back on dating, or staying up later after work. If you’re desperate enough to realize your dreams, you’ll find an opportunity to free up a few hours. Many musicians I meet have a wife, kids, extended family, friends, day jobs, other hobbies, and more. Despite this, they make time to produce and release music. A few DJs like Claude VonStroke, Marcel Dettmann, Luciano, and others have wives, kids, record labels, and they tour extensively. Berlin DJ Rødhåd started his own label, began touring, and released new tracks all while having a day job. It’s not about if you are too busy, but how you will carve out the time for your music. If you are dedicated to your art, any amount of time will suffice, at least when starting out. It doesn’t have to be 6 hours every day – even one or two hours an evening is a great beginning. Just get to it though, don’t procrastinate.
Tools: The last part to a productive environment is what tools you use. This point is rather simple, so I’ll keep it brief. If you don’t have any production tools, you obviously need some. An affordable beginner’s kit would include a computer with your preferred DAW (Ableton, Logic, FLStudio, Cubase, etc.), some headphones or cheap monitors, and only a couple plugins. I emphasize only needing a few plugins because it’s way too easy to drown in the indecision of finding new VSTs and plugins to use. You end up not mastering the ones you currently have. If you already have a setup that gets the job done, then all you need to worry about is being able to practice. You don’t need the newest analog synthesizer, or the latest plugin bundle. Stick with what you have until you can make amazing music. If you get distracted by all the shiny new toys you could create music with, you’ll end up veering off the path to success. Having the latest Moog synth doesn’t matter if your music still sounds piss-poor. On the other hand, if you’re making incredible songs, you can do it with even the worst synths and effects.
If you’ve got a productive environment and all your puzzle pieces are aligned, it’s time to focus on building daily habits and routines. Sit down whenever your new, modified schedule allows, and practice. Make a track. Try a new bass line. Experiment with compression. Do something everyday. Even at 30 minutes each day, you’ll be much happier and way more productive after a few weeks. Forming habits are the best way to steadily progress towards your goals. TO many they may seem daunting, so here’s a simple way to look at building new habits:
1. Imagine whatever it is you want to add to your life. Maybe it’s mastering the art of EQing, or perhaps it’s creating a song every single day.
2. With a specific goal in mind, set aside at least 15 minutes every single day to practice working toward your goal.
3. Don’t worry about whether you will achieve the goal. Instead, focus on what you need to do today. Sit down and complete your tasks for today, and then don’t think about it until tomorrow.
Essentially, take it one day at a time. Before long you’ll look up six months down the road and see how far you’ve traveled.