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HomeBlog5 Things To Avoid Doing For Novice Production Music Composers

5 Things To Avoid Doing For Novice Production Music Composers

5 simple things you should try to avoid doing when starting your production music composing career.

DISCLAIMER: All things written in this article are derived from my own experiences. I am not saying that any of this is absolute way to do anything but all of these things helped me a lot so I’m hoping they’ll do the same for you. Enjoy!

1 – Don’t be rude – Be polite and positive!

 
Little kindness goes a long way. I’ve seen many novice composers make this simple mistake that basically brands them as bad people in the eyes of composing community and that doesn’t do any good to anyone.
 
Be kind and polite to your fellow composer friends. They are not you “competition” or you “enemies” – we are all in this game together. Trying really hard to make our dreams come true and make a living doing things we love to do. If you try to get in this game with bad attitude or bad mindset in general, you will fail for sure.
 
I’ve seen dozens of cases of experienced musicians getting into production music and when seeking advice starting all kinds of fights cause answers they get are not what they expect. It’s just rude and needless.
 
It’s really simple to be nice. It feels good and everyone should do it.
 
 

2 – Don’t be lazy – Do your research!

 
We all know you have gazillion questions. You want to put our music out there as fast as you can for the whole world to hear.  You are excited, eager to learn and you want it all now! I get that, we all do. But keep in mind that most of the questions you may have in your head are already answered million times on million places so use that SEARCH function first before asking stuff in the community.
 
There are also tons of things that no one will ever be able to teach you until you learn absolute basics like:
 
“What’s the best compressor settings for my drum bus?”
– You have to know what compressor does before you start using it at all, etc.
It’s different EVERY time!
 
OR
 
“What’s the best string library?”
– Most of those things are simple matter of taste and your price range but mostly it’s about taste.
 
So, don’t be lazy – do your research. Use Listen/Explore/Learn method I talked about in the previous article. Don’t expect people to spew out knowledge to you and give you things served on a silver platter. Do the research and then if you are in doubt or having time understanding something, pop a question – community will help you out for sure!
 
Just like in the Matrix for some of most important things that will distinguish you as a composer, you will have to learn to “jump on” your own. Also, like in the movie, pretty much no one makes the first jump. It requires training, patience and discipline.
 
So take your time, soak the knowledge in, process it! It’s going to be a foundation for all your work. You don’t wanna build anything on a weak foundation, right?
 

 

3 – Don’t SPAM people – Post stuff with care

 
Making your own Facebook page, Sound Cloud, YouTube and all other social profiles is a GREAT step and you should do it as soon as you start your path BUT don’t try to build your audience by being a SPAM lord.
 
What does this mean?
 

One of the MOST annoying and the MOST common beginner mistakes is sending friend request to a fellow composer (a person you don’t know yet but do share common interest) and then without even introducing yourself or spending some time to get to know that person just sending an invite for them to like your page or subscribe to your YouTube channel. That’s just plain rude, annoying and you will get completely opposite effect. People will dislike you.

Same thing goes for “Check out my new track” or things people send to famous composers like: “Ahh I love your music, I love your work would you like to collaborate with me” – hoping they get them to colab on a track and push self promotion like that.

Good example why all of this is wrong is this: 

You wake up in the morning and there is a stranger knocking on your door. You get to your door and answer and that complete stranger puts a CD in your hand and without even saying “Good morning” he just says “Hey bro, check out my new track”. You’d probably call the police, right? – Right.

When you start making music and introduce yourself to the community, you will make tons of friends in no time. Most of those people will be interested in your work and will want to like your page or subscribe to your channels without any pressure. Share your page in posts on your profile and people will see it. That should be enough for start.

Keep in mind that you are an artist and you want to build an artist image and have people who actually like your music to follow your pages. You really don’t want huge number of people who don’t care about your music liking and subscribing to you. What’s the point of that?

Be patient, build and nurture your audience over time.

 

 

4 – Don’t be hasty – Let it “stew” overnight

 
I know I made this mistake dozens of times – but try to hold your horses when you finish a new track. I know you will get excited and you will want to share it with the whole wide world but give every track some time to “cool down and sit”. I like to let them sit during the night so I can revisit them the next day when all hype has passed and my head and ears are clear and well rested. You don’t have to go as far as becoming super perfectionist – that’s wrong too but just let it rest for a few hours at least.
 
Why?
 
That hype you feel will probably lead you to break point number 3 described right above this one. You will want to show that dude who gave you a bad feedback on your previous track that you got this one WAY better. Yeah, that will shut him up!
 
Or even worse, you may already have list of publisher I shared in the previous article and you will feel the urge to show that damn publisher who just turned you down yesterday that you got better over night!
 
Well, don’t.
 
Take some time, let the hype calm down. Let the track “stew” over night and revisit it tomorrow. TRUST me you will probably find “a few more things” that need work. Again, don’t torture your self with perfectionism either, that’s the worse.
 
You are learning and that track is better than the previous one with no doubt. But it’s going to be way better to get 10 or 15 more of those tracks out and then select carefully 2-3 of them and then send those to that stubborn publisher who didn’t want to sign you few months back.
 
In my experience, publishers will welcome this in general cause it will show that you are making progress, that you are hard worker and that you really want to work with them. That shows dedication.

 

 

5 – Don’t blame the gear – Use what you got

 
Over the years I’ve seen scores of composer saying that their tracks are not so good cause they don’t have this OR that plugin OR this and that library OR this and that monitor, etc. That is all lame excuse and pile of bullshit imo.
 
Why?
 
YES, better gear/plug/lib will help you get better results, and improve your workflow and make your life easier and make your orchestral tracks sound more realistic, etc.
 
But you don’t really need any of that to start your journey, learn all you need to know or to make a track that is potentially good enough for a TV or even Hollywood placement.
 
When I started out I had no MIDI controller, no monitors. I only had a modes laptop with 8GBs of slow 1333mhz RAM, 500gig hard disk drive and a quad core processor working on 2,2ghz.
 
If you are reading this on a mobile phone, that device in your hand has a better spec than my first laptop but that first laptop got me my first placement in just over a year of hard work. It was a fucking nightmare. I was able to load one or possibly two Kontakt instances. I had Cubase 5 on it cause I had no money to get the latest one so no render in place function. I’d have to draw MIDI with my mouse, render that track in audio (export it) and import it back again and if I’d find a mistake or wanted to change something I’d have to do it over and over again + I had to save all midi tracks and write what lib I used for what so if I ever have to load it again I know what I did the last time. Ahhh damn, it was hard.

 

Booraz audio - don't blame the gear
My old laptop.

It doesn’t have to be so hard for you but real point is this: I had no money to upgrade I just used what I had and it got me to my first TV album + my first Hollywood placement.

There are tons of free or really cheap plugins and libraries that you can use. Most of those things are being used even by big names in the industry simply because they  developed a habit of using them or they are simply AWESOME.

Here are few links containing list of free and cheap plugins and libs to kickstart your journey! Check out this one and this one.

Personally I’d recommend Melda Production pack + bunch of awesome plugins at Tokyo Dawn website. Of course you will need iconic OTT compressor from Xfer as well as other goodies from them – click here. You will quickly realize how many good things out there are actually FREE!

I got all of these when I was starting out. Latter I bought thousands of dollars worth of other plugs and libs but I still use many of the free ones cause they are just great and they sound great!

So there is no excuse.

Music is in YOU and not in the GEAR.

Let it out!

To conclude this article, again I hope you find it helpful. I’m always trying to use my own example as much as I can – seeing that I’m a guy from God forsaken country who can hear music only in mono but still doing it against impossible fucking odds. Hope it all helps you.

I’ll try to give you as much resources as I can in the future to make your journey easier so stay tuned. More nice articles are coming soon. You can also sign up for the blog newsletter and start getting these straight to your inbox.

Until next time,

Cheers
Marko

MARKO TICA

Music producer, composer, sound designer, live sound engineer and multi-instrumentalist. He had his first live TV performance at the age of 5, made his first album in high school, and has since produced and composed music for all genres. As a producer, he worked with various pop, rock, punk and metal bands along with mixing and recording music in live and studio settings. For the last 5 years his passion has been focused on production music and composing for media. You can hear his music in various Hollywood trailers as well as TV networks like: BBC, HBO, DISCOVERY, NETFLIX, MTV, E!, VICE, RTL and many more.

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