Morning routines are an essential way to set yourself up for success. It's especially true for music producers, a job that requires you to be self-motivated, creative, business-minded, and focused all at once.
How are your habits?
Take time to notice how you spend your time when you are not in front of your DAW. It affects your creativity more than you would think. If you dream of having a career as a music producer, know that it will take more than just a lot of practice in front of Ableton. Just like a professional athlete's entire life centers around performing at their best, the same is true when producing music at the highest level.
Humans have evolved over the years to love patterns and habits naturally, so use them to your full advantage! As a philosopher, Will Durant, once wrote in his book The Story of Philosophy, "We are what we repeatedly do." Daily rituals can be all that separates the mindset of a professional from an amateur.
Starting a new set of routines can be difficult, especially when you have never made an effort before.
If you need more convincing, continue reading after the headlines to see how these habits can affect your creative output. Music producers must become natural experts at trial and error. Not all habits or routines will work for you to try out as many as you can and continue the ones that bring the most benefits to you.
Here is a list of the favorite morning habits that have worked for us:
In today's world, we live in an "Attention Economy." Social media, phones, and other distractions are designed to take your focus away from your creativity. Meditation and breathing exercises can give you the means to maintain the constant focus required to be a full-time music producer.
Why does it work?
Creativity pays a high price when you get sidetracked by social media or other distractions. Studies show a drop in creative output immediately after when the brain is forced to switch its focus on a new topic. Sophie Leroy is the business professor who first coined this term as "Attention Residue." Daily mindfulness practices do more than ward off the desires to check Facebook or Twitter. Her studies have shown that control over your mind and thoughts through meditation reduces such attention residue when the time comes to switch activities eventually.
Those of you first looking to experiment with meditation will likely encounter the same benefits that many do during the initial weeks and months. These benefits can include an increased sense of calm and more genuine control over your emotions.
2. Never Stop Learning
Music producers are experts at learning through experimentation. We must make a substantial effort to continue the learning process. Never assume that we have mastered every facet of the process. Set aside an amount of time in the morning for tutorials, courses, readings to increase your knowledge however you can.
Commit to the habit of always learning!
This designated amount of time can give you more technical knowledge about specific plug-ins or production techniques. At the same time, it is an excellent source of inspiration to use these techniques in creative ways when you do eventually open your DAW.
Learn a new studio trick before you open your DAW, and spend the session committing it to memory throughout the studio session.
Spend twenty minutes in the morning learning. Most tutorials found online will be roughly this length anyways, if not shorter. If you are looking to refine your skills when producing underground genres like melodic house or techno, our full-length courses fit right into this recommended time frame. Watching one or two-course videos a day is the quickest and easiest way to invest in yourself daily.
3. Set Goals and Schedules
Setting goals helps take the most significant step forward towards creating results by the end of the day. Modern music production gives you endless creative options. Without concrete objectives and timelines, even the best producers will become paralyzed under the weight of the infinite directions they could take a track.
Goals and routines keep you accountable to your single harshest critic: Yourself.
Start Setting Goals Today
Take five minutes at the end of your morning to write down five action items you want to complete. I promise you that it will save you hours of work by the time the project finishes. These goals could be posting on social media, writing chord progressions, arranging the loop into an entire song, to anything else that keeps you from your dreams.
Goal setting was the most challenging habit to bring into my own life. I used to work in the food-service industry, which almost gave me too much time in my DAW. Having all those daytime hours available made it easy to waste them exploring my creative options. The only downside was that I never actually finished anything. Setting daily goals and keeping to them have single-handedly doubled my output over the past twelve months.
4. Set the Alarm and Don't Hit Snooze
If you want to be serious about music production, you must treat it like a fulltime job. You wouldn't roll over and go back to bed when you know you have an upcoming board meeting in an hour, would you?
Nothing can throw a morning habit out of whack faster than not sleeping enough. Not all people need a full eight hours, but irregular sleep schedules will do more harm than good. Being disciplined about a sleep schedule will start your routine off on the right foot, leaving you free to carry that energy straight through to the studio.
Moderation is Key
I am sure you know that recreational alcohol is the quickest way to disrupt not only a good night's sleep but the rest of your morning as well. Drinking at a nightclub can be useful for networking. But your dreams might start fading away when you waste valuable studio time because one more afterparty was too tempting to pass up.
There are not enough mornings a week to not take full advantage of every one.
You'd be surprised just how much of your brain's energy is lost when you don't allow yourself simple routines. Why do you think the owner of Facebook wears the same outfit almost every day? Because he knows it frees up precious creative energy to put towards things that truly matter. If music matters to you, then work your way up to a full morning routine sooner rather than later by trying out what works for us at Production Music Live.
Need help with inspiration? Hardware can definitely help. There's something to making music by touch and feel rather than clicking with your mouse all day long. Push 2 is a great start for a midi controller.
With Push 2 from Ableton, you can fully control your Ableton interface from the push of a few buttons. Whether you're producing or want to take your live sets to the next level, the Push 2 is a vital piece of gear.
Does the Push 2 with all its buttons feel complicated?
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Watch the introduction video for the course here: