Hey fellow creators!
In this article we’re going to breakdown the 10 tips to help speed up your workflow and accelerate your entire creative process. Of course there’s a lot of overlap in some of these tips but nonetheless, they’re all very important when it comes to getting quicker as a composer.
#1 Organized Template
Having an organized template is an essential part of any composer’s workflow. A template allows you to quickly set up your preferred instruments, effects, and settings for your projects, saving you valuable time and streamlining your creative process. By reusing the same template for multiple projects, you can ensure that your workstation is always configured in the way that you prefer, making it easier to focus on the creative aspects of your composition.
Furthermore, having a consistent template can help you to maintain a consistent sound and style across your projects, providing a professional and cohesive feel to your work. An organized template also makes it easier to collaborate with others, as everyone involved in the project will have a clear understanding of the setup and structure. Overall, having an organized template is a simple yet effective way to increase your efficiency, creativity, and consistency as a composer.
In addition to streamlining your workflow, an organized template can also help you to be more efficient with your time and resources. By having a pre-configured setup, you can eliminate the need for repetitive setup tasks, allowing you to focus on the creative aspects of your composition. Furthermore, a well-organized template can help you to quickly and easily recall previous projects and reuse sounds, samples, and effects. This can be especially helpful when working on multiple projects simultaneously, as you can easily switch between templates and configurations as needed. By having an organized template, you can also reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies, as your settings and configurations are already established. Overall, having an organized template is probably the most important component of any effective and efficient compositional workflow.
At some point we will do an entire article on the ins and outs of a well organized template, but for now, below are just a few tips to creating an organized template.
A) Create groups or folders
This serves three main purposes.
- To condense your session down to a reasonable size so you don’t spend a significant amount of time scrolling through your session.
- To make it very easy to apply group or bus processing to all the tracks in that group.
- To make it much easier to now export stems.
B) Color code your tracks and regions
If you’re using the same color coding in each track, then your eye will quickly be able to spot where you are in the session without having to, thus making it even easier to navigate.
C) Use instrument icons
This is just another way to stay organized. Label all your tracks with icons that make sense to you. Again, this will add another layer to help you navigate your session quicker. Plus it looks more organized and less chaotic, which will help to give you a sense of pride in what you’re doing and ultimately speeding up your workflow.
D) Name your tracks
This should go without saying… There’s nothing worse that seeing sessions filled with tracks called “Audio21.4.final.finalbounce.ACTUALLYthefinalbounce.wav”. Just spend the 2 seconds to label your tracks properly.
E) Route your tracks
Properly name all your buses in your session and then make sure all your tracks and groups inputs and outputs are routed correspondingly. This will greatly improve your organization and help to quickly and accurately export stems.
#2 Keyboard Shortcuts and Macros
Keyboard shortcuts and macros are an essential part of a fast and efficient workflow for composers. They allow you to quickly perform common tasks and functions without having to navigate menus or use the mouse, freeing up your hands to focus on the creative aspects of your composition. By using keyboard shortcuts and macros, you can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on repetitive and administrative tasks, allowing you to work more efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, the use of keyboard shortcuts and macros can help to increase your accuracy and consistency, as you will be able to perform tasks with a single keystroke, reducing the risk of human error. By investing time into keyboard shortcuts and macros, you can simplify your workflow and make the most of your time, allowing you to focus on what really matters – creating music. Overall, using keyboard shortcuts and macros is a simple yet powerful way to enhance your workflow as a composer.
In addition to increasing your efficiency and accuracy, using keyboard shortcuts and macros can also improve your workflow by allowing you to work faster and more fluidly. By having quick access to commonly used tools and functions, you can move between tasks and projects with ease, freeing up more time to focus on your creative vision. Furthermore, by automating repetitive tasks with macros, you can eliminate the need for manual intervention. With the use of keyboard shortcuts and macros, you can also improve your ability to multitask, as you will be able to perform multiple actions with a single keystroke. By streamlining your workflow with keyboard shortcuts and macros, you can increase your productivity, creativity, and satisfaction as a composer.
#3 Have a foundation of amazing sounds
Having a foundation of professional go-to sounds is an important and often overlooked aspect of a composer’s workflow. Having a collection of sounds that you trust and know how to use can save you time and effort when starting a new project. Instead of having to search for new sounds every time you begin a new composition, you can quickly access your go-to sounds and start creating right away. This not only speeds up your workflow but also provides a level of consistency in your sound design, which is important when building a recognizable style or brand.
Furthermore, by having a foundation of professional sounds, you can ensure that the sounds you use are of high quality, which can greatly enhance the overall production value of your compositions. By investing time and effort into building a solid collection of go-to sounds, you can take your workflow to the next level and make the most of your time and resources. Overall, having a foundation of professional go-to sounds is an essential part of any effective compositional workflow.
#4 Work on your mindset, diet and excercise
As a music composer, working on your mindset, diet, and exercise can have a significant impact on your workflow and overall well-being. A positive mindset, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help you to perform at your best and handle the demands of a busy and demanding profession. By focusing on your mental and physical health, you can increase your energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your focus and concentration, allowing you to work more efficiently and effectively.
In addition, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you to maintain a clear and creative mind, which is essential for producing high-quality music. A balanced diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants can help to support brain function and overall health, while regular physical activity can boost creativity, relieve stress, and enhance cognitive function. By investing time and effort into your mindset, diet, and exercise, you can improve your ability to perform at your best and achieve your full potential as a composer. Overall, working on your mindset, diet, and exercise is an essential aspect of a productive and fulfilling compositional workflow.
This is just a great rule for life in general!
Here are some resources if you’re interested in improving your mindset…
#5 Focus on the important elements
Focusing on the most important elements of a musical composition before everything else is essential for achieving a high-quality final product. By prioritizing the most crucial aspects of your composition, you can ensure that the foundation of your work is strong and that the end result is cohesive and engaging. This can involve focusing on the main melody, the rhythm, the harmonies, or any other key element that defines the character of the piece.
Additionally, by focusing on the most important elements first, you can avoid getting bogged down in details and minor elements that may distract from the overall composition. Instead, you can build a solid foundation and structure that will support the entire piece, making it easier to add details and embellishments later on. This can also help to prevent overthinking and indecision, allowing you to move forward with your composition and avoid getting stuck.
In summary, focusing on the most important elements of a musical composition first is crucial for achieving a high-quality final product and streamlining your workflow. By prioritizing the key elements, you can build a solid foundation, simplify your creative process, and make the most of your time and resources.
#6 Streamline your mixing process
To start, there are many different trains of thought when it comes to mixing. Some composers have an absolute beast of a computer and mixing within the writing session is not only possible, but it’s their preferred workflow. Some composers view the writing and mixing aspects as two very separate processes and/or their computer can’t quite handle the processing power needed to write and mix within the same session. Other composers prefer to limit their tracks within their mixing session and just mix the stems (percussion, strings, brass etc). We’re not here to say what’s right or wrong because each composer’s workflow is going to depend on what’s possible for them and what their preference is. Just know that whatever your process is, the next few paragraphs will apply.
Streamlining your mixing process is an important aspect of a composer’s workflow, as it can greatly impact the quality of the final product. By having a streamlined mixing process, you can save time and effort, while ensuring consistent and high-quality results. This can involve setting up templates, using keyboard shortcuts, efficient routing, color coded tracks/groups and setting up all your fx returns.
By automating repetitive tasks and reducing the time spent on mundane tasks, you can free up your time and energy to focus on the more creative and challenging aspects of mixing, such as adjusting levels, equalization, and processing. But even some of these can be taken care of in the prep of your mix template. Things like general EQ and compression can all be handled prior, assuming you’re using the same instruments and sounds in your writing template. This can help you to achieve a higher level of quality and consistency in your mixes, and provide a more enjoyable and efficient mixing experience.
`Also, streamlining your mixing process can also help to maintain your energy and creativity, reducing the risk of burnout and fatigue. By simplifying and automating repetitive tasks, you can focus on the more creative and fulfilling aspects of mixing, and avoid feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. This can lead to a more enjoyable and productive mixing experience, and help you to maintain your motivation and passion for music making.
#7 Use third party tools
Some purists out there are cringing at this one. We don’t care. If you’re someone who is proficient with a keyboard or any other instrument you do all your writing on, then maybe this isn’t for you. But for a lot of composers out there, playing an instrument or knowing music theory isn’t your strong suit. However, maybe you just know what sounds good and what doesn’t. And in the end, does it really matter…? If it sounds good, then it is good. It doesn’t matter how you get there.
Third party plugins, such as chord generators, can be extremely helpful in speeding up a composer’s workflow by providing fast and efficient solutions for common musical tasks. Chord generators, for example, can quickly generate chord progressions, saving time and effort that would otherwise be spent on manual chord creation. This can be especially useful for composers who are just starting out, or who are working on a tight deadline and need to create chord progressions quickly.
In addition, chord generators can also provide a wider range of options and possibilities, allowing composers to experiment with different chord types and progressions. This can lead to more creative and innovative compositions, and help composers to break out of familiar patterns and ruts.
The one chord generator that we HIGHLY recommend is Scaler 2. Click here to check it out!
#8 Customize your work environment
Having a clean and organized work environment is essential when creating music, as it can significantly impact the quality of your compositions and your overall workflow. A cluttered and disorganized workspace can lead to distractions, stress, and decreased productivity, making it difficult to focus on the creative aspects of music making.
A clean and organized work environment, on the other hand, can promote a positive and productive atmosphere, making it easier to concentrate and make better decisions. When your workspace is tidy and organized, you can quickly access the tools and equipment you need, reducing the risk of wasting time searching for items or getting sidetracked. This can lead to more efficient and effective workflow, allowing you to spend more time creating music and less time on distractions and clutter.
Moreover, a clean and organized workspace can also help to maintain your mental health and well-being. It can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm, making it easier to focus on your work and maintain a positive attitude.
#9 Practice and Repetition
Practice and repetition can greatly accelerate your workflow process as a composer by helping you to become more proficient and efficient in your work. When you practice a particular skill or technique repeatedly, you can develop muscle memory, making it easier to perform the task quickly and accurately without conscious thought. This can free up your mind to focus on the creative aspects of composing, rather than getting bogged down in technical details.
In addition, practicing and repeating specific tasks can also help you to identify areas for improvement and refine your skills over time. As you repeat the same actions, you can learn from your mistakes and develop a deeper understanding of the task at hand, making it easier to complete the task more effectively in the future.
Another benefit of practice and repetition is that it can help you to develop a routine and a sense of structure in your workflow. By repeating specific tasks regularly, you can establish a routine that becomes second nature, making it easier to stay focused and on track. This can help to increase your productivity and speed up your workflow, allowing you to create more music in less time.
#10 Stay connected
Staying connected in various social media groups can be a valuable resource for accelerating your workflow as a composer by providing you with opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, share your work, and receive feedback and inspiration. By participating in online communities, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources, helping you to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, techniques, and tools in music production. For FREE!
In addition, social media groups can also provide you with the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians and producers. By sharing your work and exchanging ideas with others, you can receive feedback and critique, helping you to identify areas for improvement and make your work stronger. You can also explore new techniques, styles, and genres, and incorporate new elements into your own work, helping you to stay creative and inspired.
Furthermore, by sharing your work and connecting with others on social media, you can expand your reach and increase your exposure as a composer. You can connect with potential fans, clients, and collaborators, helping you to build your network and gain recognition for your work.
You’re most likely familiar with at least some of these and can hopefully work your way up to consistently implementing all 10 of these into your workflow. But don’t get down if some of this seems overwhelming, just slowly keep improving each day and in no time, you’ll be pumping out music at a very fast pace.
Thanks for hanging out!
– The Cinematic Tools Team