Compositional work flow and music production

Q: What is compositional workflow when it comes to making music?

A: It’s got a bit to do with how efficiently you can get that sick melody out of your head and into your music making program.

Note how I say how efficiently and not how fast. Fast is cool, but we all want our work to sound dope even if it is just a rough draft.

Let us begin…

I’m going to go through a few points that will help you get your workflow going a bit smoother. I know we all have different ways of composing but certain things are generalisable. I’m no expert on the topic. I’m just analysing what has worked for me in the past.


Usually when one sits down to compose they only think about laying down some instruments and spending time making melodies sound great. We don’t realise how important it is to have a clean and organised working space within your sound folders. Do you know where to find a drinking glass in the kitchen? How about the location of the forks or spoons? Easy, huh? Imagine some random came to your house and reordered all your things. It would take that much longer to put together a meal. It’s the same with composing music. How on earth are you going to put l a drum loop together if you have no clue where half the stuff is? I see no need in having 3000 kick drums or 700 snare sounds. Increase your compositional workflow by investing a little bit of time every now and again to file your current sounds logically and to dump the rest. That other junk will just confuse you.

Learn to play piano (or at least a few chords and scales). Almost all programs have some piano roll where you draw your notes in. Understand what it is that you are doing and you’ll greatly increase your workflow. The little piano I can play I figured out myself. My fingers look all wrong, but at least I can get ideas onto my piano roll in a matter of minutes.

Lastly, Why do soccer players train daily? Frequency leads to familiarity (most of the time). In 2012 I composed infrequently because my mind was elsewhere. Every time I came back to it, I would spend a moment remembering where my sounds and samples were. I was essentially chronically rusty and frustrated. Nowadays, I try to make something every 2 days at least. Owing to the frequency, I can tell you where my thickest kick drums are without being at the pc (I think 😛 ).

So in summary; clean out your drawers of useless sounds, understand the piano roll and produce frequently to greatly improve your compositional workflow. These are my most important points. Im sure there are countless tips and ticks out there. If you have any points you’d like to add or any points you don’t agree with then let me know. If you just didn’t like the post, Let’s chat.


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