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  • Improving workflow and mindset
  • Managing time and expectations
  • Embracing arrangement and composition
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We all know the feeling.

You’ve written a great 8 or 16 bar loop.

The drums are killer. You pulled off a sweet synth patch and the melody is air tight. You’re proud of it.

For some reason, you find yourself stuck. That 17th bar feels miles away.

So you end up on Reddit. Or you end up playing some video games. Or whatever it is your mind slips away to.

Perhaps you end up starting another track only to find yourself packing away another unfinished project file. Maybe you’ll come back to it.

Maybe.

We all know what happens though. That song lays dormant on your hard drive, occasionally opened while you scan all your unfinished songs looking for something to work on.

What if I told you that taking a song from 8 to 9 or 16 to 17 bars and beyond is super simple.

And there’s three extremely easy ways to do this that I want to discuss here.

With these three strategies you can extend any core musical nugget into an entire song.

In fact, if you’re not focusing on these three things your tracks will be lifeless and boring.

What are these three strategies?

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987745014_ddf7148b4e_zNeil Gaiman is an incredibly well respected author who has a lot to say about creativity and, well, life in general.

I recently caught wind of a short list of advice he’s compiled for writers. Because creative advice generally crosses medium boundaries, I’m going to go ahead and translate his writing advice to music production advice using state of the art “Analogy Technology.”

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waterInitially, I wasn’t going to write a New Year’s post. Generally speaking, I find them to be empty shells of motivational advice that’s either way too vague or, at the very least, something terribly hard to put into practice.

This is because they fail some basic human psychological principles. But before we get into that, I have something I’d like you to do for you.

I want you to spend some mental energy in these next few days and define what success means to you.

And I don’t mean “become famous.” Let’s get concrete here. What do you want to do with your art?

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Better than Zero

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aiane/8055718779Have you ever not spoken to an attractive person because you couldn’t figure out exactly what to say?

Have you ever chosen to pass on exercise because you didn’t know exactly what to do?

In other words, have you ever hesitated to do something without knowing exactly how to do it?

Do you find yourself struggling to finish art because it’s not as good as you want it to be? Or that you don’t think you’re ready to make it?

Have you ever stressed yourself out over messing up a diet? How about breaking a habit like biting your nails?

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The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about his opportunity to move to southern California for a job.

Prior to this discussion, we’ve dabbled in conversation about how he’s unsatisfied with his current life situation. This raised red flags in my mind because, as I’ve written about in the past, I made a similar move while I was in college.

Long story short, I left college early in order to pursue a music career in San Francisco because I was completely miserable in my sunny dorm room in Orlando, Florida. There were many reasons that I chose this path — from a lack of any romantic life, to an immense amount of emotional baggage, to the charming thoughts of moving away to wonderful San Francisco. I imagined that chasing this dream would abolish these problems from my life.

Now, having been half a decade removed from this transition, I can clearly see how erroneous this romantic notion was.

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