This is an essential read for any music producer that struggles to get the results they are looking for in their music career. In this article, I will cover the importance of being held accountable for your goals. I will talk about why surrounding yourself with like-minded people is essential for growth motivation and goal achievement. And why perfectionism costs you time and will destroy any progress at a rapid rate.
My music production blockage
When I started music production about five years ago, all I wanted to do was write music and learn how to become a professional at it as quickly as possible. I watched many tutorials on YouTube, took online music production courses and hired a personal one-on-one mentor named L.C.K, a Melbourne DJ and music producer. I got weekly lessons from him and in the space of almost two years I got my first release on Dr Willis’s Freefall recordings.
After that, things changed. I thought it would all be smooth sailing and music production process would get easier and easier, and that I would have more music frequently released on various labels. But this however could not be further from the truth; things changed quickly and not in a good way. I stopped my one-on-one coaching because I thought I would not need it, and put a lot more time and effort into my music writing than ever before.
What happened after that was enough to drive any music producer to the grave, as it almost did with me. In the space of 18 months, I could not finish any music at all. I spent countless hours trying to perfect my music trying to write better than my previous track, by tweaking my basses and lead sounds endlessly trying to get a professional sound. I would procrastinate, not have any workflow or structure in place to finish my music by a deadline, and my long term goals were vague and not clear or in a sense believable.
The music course that changed me
Between that 18 month period, I stumbled across an online course called Start Now Finish Fast by Mike Monday. It was a course that broke all the false rules I had in my head of why I needed to finish music fast to make great music sooner rather than later. It changed my mindset and helped me in a massive way, as to how I should approach writing music. However, what was the game changer was attending Mike Mondays two day mastermind course.
There was a group of eight people all trying to achieve the same or similar things, finishing great music, looking for more ways to monetize our music, market that music, and set goals we could all stretch ourselves to achieve. Over the next month, we all set goals we were all uncomfortable with and held ourselves accountable to the group to achieve that goal. We all participated in a Skype call one month later to see if we all kept our promises and achieved our goals.
What happened next shocked me…
From blocked music producer to goal achiever
I went from not finishing a track in 18 months to finishing 2 tracks in 3 weeks. And not only did I finish the track regardless of whether it was good or not, but it was also the best track musically I had ever written at the time. The group almost could not believe it, as the track almost made Jaytech’s latest Positronic compilation album, via me entering the competition and making the final.
So how did it really happen? What did I learn? And how can you, the reader, learn from my experience for setting a goal and finishing music?
What I learnt about music production
The first thing I learnt that my way was the wrong way. I learned that perfectionism is not beneficial for finishing good music or finishing any task and goal for that matter. Let me talk about perfectionism first. To get great or good at something, you have to be bad at it for a while. And you have to be fine with finishing something that is not completely satisfactory by the deadline you set for goals. I learnt that the fastest way to write good music is to finish average music quicker and make decisions at a faster more intuitive rate is far better, compared to forever sitting at a computer screen, analysing your music forever, having it looping over and over, eventually driving you crazy.
Secondly, I learnt that I needed to have a system in place, a strategy, not just the goal. The strategy leading to that goal. This comes down to forming the habit of setting mini tasks for each day or music production session. Writing down the list of tasks that must be completed, but setting a time limit on every task. For example, I would give myself 30 minutes to create a melody progression, then in the next 30 minutes, I would move onto creating a kick and baseline pattern. After my time was up, I decided never to go back and alter it, no matter if it were good or bad. My intuition made those gut decisions.
Thirdly, I learnt I needed to be held accountable and have a mentor. Even this day, I have someone who I call every week for one hour that makes sure I don't get stuck and I follow through on my commitments to my goals. This has been the biggest game changer for finishing more music and achieving my goals. It has kept me motivated and inspired to keep going when times were tough, when I was lost and felt like quitting, when I felt like I was making little progress.
And last, and I think the most important in not just music production but in life is, I learnt that you must surround yourself with like-minded individuals. People with the same or similar vision to you, people that want to achieve just like you, people that all share a common interest that all come together to achieve that vision. A lot of people don't know this about success. Isolation and locking yourself in your room sometimes gets you nowhere. So find people if you have no one, attend seminars, hit people up on Facebook or go to the nightclubs, either way, you need people to help you as nobody succeeds on their own.
“You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with - Jim Rohn”
What you can learn from my experience
Is an illusion there is no such thing, trying to perfecting something is impossible and can mostly be a form of procrastination. By trying to perfect something you try to avoid failure, which is a critical part of learning quicker and achieving success at a faster rate.
Goals and strategies
Everybody needs a super crystal clear goal they believe they can achieve. This does not mean set an easy goal, this means you need to believe you can really push yourself to get what you have not got before. And with that goal, there must be a system in place, a strategy. Set mini deadlines and time limits on tasks to achieve that goal. You will find it forces creativity through intuitive gut decisions, and it forces you to play a game, which makes music more fun. The more fun, the more enjoyable the music creating process is. And don't focus on the outcome of your track.
You need them, you need to be pushed from your comfort zone to achieve things you have never achieve before. This makes music more fun and you get a lot more motivation and stay on track to achieve goals. You will also learn at a rapid rate from the person that has been there and done it before.
A peer group
Surround yourself with like minded people that want to achieve just like you, people with a vision and similar goals. Without them, you will go nowhere; it’s so important.
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