Hey all you beat-makers! There’s no time like the present to reevaluate our creative processes and work-flows. In an effort to boost my efficiency and skills as a producer, I’ve set the goal of creating one beat a day. In this blog post, I’ll share with you the rules and strategies I’ve developed for reaching this goal so that you too can make 2018 your most creative year yet. Remember! A commitment to honing your skills is an important part of learning and growing in any field. Whether you’re a music producer, coder, game designer, filmmaker, or engineer, you can apply this Beat a Day concept.
- Defining a “beat”
One “beat” can mean different things to different people. In order to hold myself accountable as well as make my resolution realistically achievable, I’m defining a beat as follows: Any new musical composition of any duration.
I chose this definition for a number of reasons. First of all, I didn’t want to force myself to adhere to any specific instrumentation or composition style. As a guitarist and keyboard player, I wanted to include riffs and chord progressions in my definition of a “beat”. I’m opting to use the term “beat” as a catch-all for any musical sketch, the objective being to develop my ability to quickly come up with fresh ideas on any of my main instruments or DAWs (“Digital Audio Workstations”, i.e. Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, FL Studio).
- Finding Time with Portable Tools
My primary concern before starting this musical quest was being able to find the time to keep up with my daily goal. However, after looking up some of the most popular music making apps. Now I can work on creating new music, rather than scrolling through Instagram or Twitter while commuting or waiting for water in the kettle to boil.
As an Android user, I decided to purchase FL Studio Mobile. I originally began producing in FL Studio, so the interface was immediately familiar. For you Apple users out there, I recommend checking out the mobile version of GarageBand. Neither are ideal DAWs, but the portability of these tools more than makes up for their limitations.
- Try New Things and Go Easy on Yourself
In order to get the most out of this exercise, it’s important to try new things and not be too critical of your output. I think of these daily compositions more as practice than polished and completed works. So far, I’ve challenged myself to create a House track (a genre I’m wholly unfamiliar with), I’ve also tried timing myself to see what I can come up with in a spare 15 minutes. It’s important to go outside your comfort zone in order to strengthen your skills and expand your wheelhouse.
- Allow “Make-Up” Beats
Sometimes it’s just not possible to find time in a day to sit quietly with our instruments or equipment and create music. With that in mind, I’ve decided to allow myself “make up” beats. For instance, if I can’t fit in time to compose something on Monday I’m allowing myself to create two pieces on Tuesday in order to make up for the omission. I think this kind of accountability is important to maintain the legitimacy of the goal and get the most out of the exercise.
So, what do you think? Are you committed to creating each day? Whether its a beat, a line of code, or a new animated character, we want to see what you’re working on. Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using the hashtag #dmacreatorchallenge and we might share your work!