I love being in the recording studio, especially when I’m working with others. The collaboration and creative process builds an energy, and it’s always a fun atmosphere. For others, this may not be the same experience. At times there are tasks where you hear the same bit of music, over and over. The repetitive and mundane tasks start to kill the buzz, and before you know it, being in the studio becomes a drag.
I’m a firm believer in having a positive and relaxed atmosphere when I’m composing music. I find that stress and pressure stop my creativity, and I’ll do everything I can to ensure I have a productive time.
Here are the things I do to ensure I have a productive and enjoyable time in the studio and as a composer.
Make A Plan & Share It
When I spend time in the studio, I always take time to ensure that I not only in a great mood but more importantly, I have a plan for the session. If I’m working with others, I always share this with them ahead of time.
Having a plan of attack will provide time to get anything specific you need, as well as time for other tasks like research.
When I’m composing in my own studio, I like to spend time immersing myself in styles of music that I’m writing for well ahead of the sessions. It just helps me get into the right mood, and I always discover new music.
I also share the planning and anything that I find useful to with the director or the relevant clients that I’m working with.
Just because I spend a fair amount spend time writing music alone, doesn’t mean I should forget to communicate and work alone all the time. Also, sharing what helps me, has been helpful to the director and the project leads.
Time is almost always the most significant issue when working in creative industries. Every week, I put the time in my diary to complete the tasks that stop me from working and procrastinating. I’ll schedule a time to take care of system updates, equipment repairs and clear my desk ahead of any creative time.
I make a conscious effort to eliminate all distractions to have as much time as possible, and this gives me the freedom to experiment with ideas, and not feel rushed.
The same also applies to others I’m working with. I’ll ensure musicians have any music they need so they can practise. If there is a specific task that needs to be done, I’ll ensure that everyone has been given an activity schedule. In other industries, business meetings with multiple stakeholders follow an agenda for a reason.
Keep To The Deadlines
The final deadline arrives quickly, and the director will be expecting you to stick to these (unless agreed otherwise).
I’ve found that making an extra effort to ensure I plan and prepare ahead of time, keeps me on schedule. I plan to finish tasks before the actual due date. Not only does this keep me feeling relaxed and comfortable, but gives some buffer time should anything arise that would affect my timescales.
I like to over-communicate with people that I’m working with. I provide regular updates, samples of work, and progress updates as frequently as possible. This means you get feedback quickly, and should any tweaks be required you have plenty of time to make them.
I like to outline a plan for the day and have a schedule for everything, ahead of time as much as possible.
When projects have strict deadlines remaining focused is very important. I leave all the tasks that are less important until another time, or later in the day. I find prioritising the essential tasks first, and not just focus the jobs I like keeps me on track.
I like to involve the director and project leads as much as I can. It opens the conversation about what I’m doing, and I can get feedback regularly. But you have also need to be able to take criticism m and move on quickly. You are one element in a large project, and you have to be able to work with others collaboratively.
I always take a step back and try and put myself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. But, I do expect that in return, as I like to work in partnership with my clients.
Things will go wrong, and this is all part of being a composer, but don’t let them get you down.
Listen to advice and have a vision. Composing music for TV and film is a team effort.
I do everything I can to make sure that I plan and prepare ahead of time and to keep focused. I schedule time out of the studio to relax and enjoy myself, which helps me remain calm and creative.