I’ve mentioned Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio a couple of times now — it’s a great read, and I’m learning a lot from it, but mixing is just a part of making great music. Finding inspiration, getting ideas down, and then developing those ideas in to complete tracks are the real challenges, but there’s some great advice online for doing just that.
It was an article on Create Digital Music that reminded me about those challenges today — it contains seven “tips for creative success”, and they’re all right on the money. They talk about making use of what you have rather than focusing on what you think you need, and the importance of spending time on the music and having fun rather than sweating over tiny bits of finesse that no-one will notice anyway.
Some of the most enlightening posts I’ve ever read about making music come from general fuzz, a producer of some excellent (and free!) downtempo electronica; his “lessons” posts are a fantastic read. Some of his points relate specifically to music, and electronic music in particular, but many of them relate just as well to any other creative pursuit.
He covers a lot of ground: the value of finding your audience rather than relying solely on friends and family for feedback, of waiting before releasing new work rather than pushing it straight out, of actually finishing something, even if it’s not “perfect”, and of not getting disheartened by the fact that no-one will care about your work quite as much as you do.
I think that last point is particularly important. It’s great to make things that others enjoy, and to take joy from that, but if you’re not creating for yourself first, enjoying the process as much as the result, then you’ll ultimately end up frustrated.