The Process Of Creative Creation

Don’t you sometimes wish you could go back in time and tell your 5/10/15 years younger self that everything will be fine and you should just enjoy the moment while it lasts? When everything is happening right now it isn’t always easy to remember that advice and to take things easy and stay calm.

With the help of our award-winning composers and their favorite tips and tricks you can start your composition with a clear, relaxed mind and profit from their experience. Many times our composers have hard deadlines and many projects to juggle at once and things could easily get stressful. Today they want to tell you how you can manage every task that you are committed to doing and reveal what support them in their daily work.

Remember, this isn’t about blindly following these steps. Some things work for some of our composers, others don’t. Be as creative as you are with your music with your life. As Bruce Lee is quoted to have said: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own”. We’ll just add that we hope you have fun doing so.

 

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1.  Clear your space to clear your mind

This can be a hard one for many creative people. Many people talk about the creative chaos of a freethinker – also in our creative business. Still, you shouldn’t just sink into total chaos because if your environment absorbs you, it also sucks up your time to be creative. Once you have cleared your desk and only kept the things which you really need for your work the visual embargo is solved and you have the space to spread out your mind. This principle can also be transferred to your digitalspace. Delete all files from your hard drive that you never have used or never will use in the future. Sure, your hard drive has enough disk space to save every file, but you know that isn’t a solution. Not only does a leaner hard disk run faster and more smoothly, you also have less distractions and a frictionless workflow to really turn those creative ideas of yours into a reality. Also think about a filing system that includes a short-term memory and long-term memory, some of our composers swear by it.

Remember our article about the blank page syndrome? We suggested to stimulate your senses to trigger your creativity. Now that you have a clear space, you can consciously choose if you want to add one or two inspiring objects or pictures that give your space a personal touch.

 

2. Time out

Music making time is time to break away all distractions. Otherwise the stream of mails, phone calls or breeze in colleagues interrupt the growth of this delicate flower we call your creative process. Of course it isn’t always easy to ignore these factors, but try to keep free a couple of hours. In these hours you should have a clearly formulated task. The tasks that motivate you the most, are the tasks which you concentrate on most, because you know the purpose of your work and your thoughts don’t digress as easily. Therefore it is important to attend to just one task. Our brain can absorb information and impressions in a successive manner, so forget multi-tasking during this time period. If you try to manage several tasks at the same time it turns into permanent stress and worse music. Actual and perceived stresses are attention killers and if you let them take hold of you, you risk working distracted and then the outcomes won’t make the grade. So arrange for enough time to do your work and put these times into a calendar.

 

3. Feel the flow

Flow denotes a special peak experience, high motivation and your personal prowess. When you get the right flow you are awakened and live in the here and now. Your brain is completely involved into our composition and perceives it with all senses. Now your brain is able to accomplish to make new nerve pathways and you can achieve further learning effects.

There are some ways to trigger this experience. Maybe you notice that every time you go running or you play ball with your kid that you get into a flow state of mind. A technique we adapted from the chess prodigy, tai-chi push hands world champion, BJJ Black-Belt and learning expert Josh Waitzkin from his book “The Art of Learning”, is to first identify when you get into the flow state. Then build a ritual before you do that thing. Let’s say you get into flow when you go running. A ritual could be you drink a small smoothie, meditate for 10 minutes doing a certain breathing technique, listen to a specific song while you warm-up doing 40 jumping-jacks, stretch for 5 minutes and then go for your run. After a while, around a month, your brain starts associating this progression of activities with the flow state that follows. You can then start doing the same motions before going into the studio to make music. After a while you can also shorten the progression to smoothie, 5 minutes meditation, 10 jumping jacks with only the intro of the song and only 2 minutes of stretching. Ultimately you want to compress the ritual into such a short time that you can get into flow within the blink of an eye and one deep breath.

 

4. Fix targets

Your big goal should be divided into several sub-goals. Sub-goals keep the motivation up because they are easier to achieve than one big target. Conversely you can use your negative emotions as reminders: whenever you feel overwhelmed it is simply a sign that you haven’t broken your goal down enough into small enough sub-goals. Instead of saying: “I need to complete the Soundtrack by November”, break it down. What does the soundtrack consist of? What do the individual songs consist of? Which do you need to work on next? Then do that!

Feel the thrill while you approach your task. Don’t forget to involve your client’s wishes and expectations.

 

5. Make your musical visions audible

Sample libraries are very useful to give your client a first preview of your composition – even if you have the pleasure of having your composition recorded live. But they are not only useful for mock-ups. With their help you can pimp your live sound recordings as they do it in the Hollywood studios as well. Of course these libraries save a lot of time when you have to manage a task and only have a few of days to present your first composition. Also the cost factor plays a big role when you are composing. You must have a budget for the musicians or a whole orchestra, the rent for a good sounding hall or scoring stage and for some technicians who will accompany the live recordings. Therefore sample libraries can be a great support especially for young composers.

Thereby it is very important that the sample libraries relish a high sound quality. Many libraries are on a top quality level and a layman will not pick out the sample soundcompared to the live music. For example the drum sample libraries: You can handle the mixing very easily with digital drumswhich would be more difficult with live recordings as the rate of the cross talking of the several signals is easier to control. Even the melody instrument samples are getting better and better. In many genres a mixture of libraries and live instruments is established because you can operate with both strengths of the two worlds.

Beside the sound quality the intuitive playability of a sample library is an important factor. You should have the option to make inspiring music with the help of the library. If it’s too complicated and complex you won’t have fun composing. When layering instruments make sure you don’t have to adapt too many parameters, that process is tedious and can kill your flow. So check out if the sample library enables a simple programming.

The more live components you involve in your composition the more the track comes to life. The compositions with sample libraries sometimes come across distant, sterile and artificial. Try to record an instrument yourself and add it to your composition to bring it to life. Many sample libraries can’t make the grade despite legato-tools. The soul that the musicians or an orchestra breathe life into while they are playing a melody or musical phrases of your track usually can’t be implemented by a sample library. These emotions can really only be created by an emotional playing style, which a library with only several tones doesn’t have. To find this in a library you need a library that includes whole phrases.

 

6. Allow mistakes

If you want to improve your composition and thus your personal skills you have to change your routine and that will be also good for your creative work. But, changes always mean risk – you don’t follow the same sounds and styles of music as you always did, when you look for new impressions and inspirations. That can be lead to mistakes and setbacks, simply because you have no guarantees that your new approach will work. When all you do is motivated by the fear to avoid these mistakes, all you really get is a first class creative block. The person who never tries another way to achieve their goal will never be better than before.

 

To handle criticism and to still be creative is not always easy. In our next article we want to show you how our composers deal with criticism, reflect their own work and how they keep in though with their clients try to sometimes remedy the situation. Although they can draw on many years of experience they also fight with daily difficulties and challenges like you and me. We hope we could give you some helpful tips and tricks to optimize your personal workflow and to give you more confidence to extend your personal music horizon. We try our best to support you in all concerns! If you like the article give us a Like or share it with someone who can also profit of it. And let us know which topics you’d love for us to cover in the future. Thanks, your SONUSCORE-Team 🙂

 

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