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Production

Studio 101: How To Challenge Yourself as a Producer, Part 1

Studio 101: How To Challenge Yourself as a Producer, Part 2

Music production can be a challenge. Sometimes, you find yourself in the studio, stuck and unable to create, and you realize that maybe the problem is that you aren’t being challenged enough! Artists use all sorts of tricks to jump-start their creativity, from changing their environment to limiting the tools they’re allowed to work with. Here are some things you can do to challenge yourself in the studio.

Limit Yourself to Five Tracks

One way to make things more interesting for yourself is to start a project where you’re limited to just five tracks. These can be anything you want, audio or midi. Restricting yourself like this forces you to think more creatively about how to use a particular instrument or sample. You’re also inclined to be pickier about the parts you want to occupy these five tracks. In order to give yourself a little bit more room to play, feel free to use any number of sends & returns.

Work in an Unusual Area

Beach Sunrise
Changing your surroundings is a good way to shake things up. Take your laptop/instrument/whatever someplace you wouldn’t normally produce. This can be anywhere from another room in your house or apartment to a nearby beach or field. It’s good be comfortable in your studio, but when complacency begins to set in, it might be time for something new. New stimuli brings new ideas, which hopefully leads to new songs!

Use a YouTube Sample

While not a new or innovative concept, pulling samples from YouTube is a fun way to get the ball rolling. There’s more than a decade of material at your fingertips. YouTube hosts tons of content, including trailers, vlogs, and clips from shows & movies. You’re bound to come across some section of sound that makes you say, “Hey, I could use that!” As a reminder, it’s important to make sure you have permission to use samples.

Lay Down a Beat Using FM Synthesis

Sine Waves
For a slightly more technical challenge, try making a drum beat with your favorite FM Synth. Create a basic five-piece drum kit that includes a kick, snare, hi-hat, tom, and a crash or ride (depending on what you like more). Then, use the kit you just designed to lay down a beat. Working on sound design can often lead to inspiration. You’ll hear something you’ve never heard before, and all sorts of ideas can come bubbling to the surface!

Use Sounds From Your Room

If you’re worried about copyright infringement, that’s okay, simply grab a mic and start recording sounds from your room. Anything will do: the hum of you computer, flicking of a light switch, even the sound of your roommate snoring through the wall. Once you’ve got a decent collection of samples, load them into your DAW and have at it. Chop things up, flip them around, bend them up, or bend them down!

Stay tuned for more ideas on creativity. If you have any fun tricks that work for you, let us know in the comment section below!

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