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Any Tips To Making Music When The Thought Of Making Music Gives You Horrible Anxiety?

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I really love making melodies and harmonies, but the thought of mastering and editing, as well as editing the default instruments when all the digital instruments sucks, turns me away from even thinking about making music. It's a problem I never really had until a few years ago when I started to try to master and EQ the sounds for my songs. Before I cared, and just strapped a soundgoodizer on there, I could make full length songs that had melodies I really loved very easily, but now that I try for professional quality I just can't even bring myself to do it. And when I do I never find my music "good enough". Any way to get past this, other than "Just do it"? 

 

If I had high quality orchestral instruments I would just make orchestral and piano music, but since I don't I have to step far outside my comfort zone and make this type of music. 

 

I'll place an example of a song I didn't master or do any post production on a few years ago, first file, and also show a part of a 'recent' unfinished song that I really tried to make sound professional, but could not. 

Upsidedown Quark.mp3

3-24-15 Ending Loop.mp3

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I guess it depends on what your end goal is for your music.  If you only ever intend it to be heard in the mockups you create on your computer, it might be worth taking a class to learn to use the tools you have more effectively.  If what it sounds like now is just a demonstration, and ultimately, you would like to hear it played live, then it matters less.  My computer sound quality is pretty awful, but ultimately I'm hoping for live performances, so I try to use the options that represent the actual notes on the page as clearly as possible, (not muddy, good sustained sound without a distracting attack where there is no accent in the music...).  (I just posted a new piece in the chamber choir section if you want to see how I've handled my awful sound fonts.)  

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this shouldn't be a real problem. you see.. when your playback system is good you will put the levels right and put the right ambiance (amount of reverb/echo), and that should be enough for the track to sound good(exciting). this cannot distract you from the composition process. after the song is finished then you can make a mix-master with fancy sidechaining/eq/reverbs.

 

so i think your problem is the lack of quality of your audio system. there are 2directions:

1.get good headphones. the cost is a bit pricey but not extreme.

or

2.get good monitors (the price will double or triple) and get the room right acoustically. <this requieres lots of study, a bit of money perhaps but especially turning your room into a studio.(the speakers will dictate your room setup and design, because you will need to put special closets of clothes in the corners or first-reflection-points-which require building skills). this is a bit of a nightmare, taking a bit of months or years to master and your sad conclusion will be that your room is too small to do mastering profesionally.

so i would go for the option 1. get the best headphones that you can buy.

 

a few tips on the mixing side:

-the liveliness of a sound depends on its ambiance. a square wave for example means nothing if it's not put into a room to make it alive.

-the worst you can do is to have instruments without any ambiance and/or to drown them in huge-long cold reverbs.

but you shouldn't pay special attention to this, because a good sound system will let you hear when the music sounds fake or alive.

-also the proof that  your sound system is ok, is that good well-mixed-mastered music should sound extremely good (palpable- like you can feel or see the space in which the instruments are living). if your tracks sound better than those professionally mastered then you have a big problem.

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this shouldn't be a real problem. you see.. when your playback system is good you will put the levels right and put the right ambiance (amount of reverb/echo), and that should be enough for the track to sound good(exciting). this cannot distract you from the composition process. after the song is finished then you can make a mix-master with fancy sidechaining/eq/reverbs.

 

so i think your problem is the lack of quality of your audio system. there are 2directions:

1.get good headphones. the cost is a bit pricey but not extreme.

or

2.get good monitors (the price will double or triple) and get the room right acoustically. <this requieres lots of study, a bit of money perhaps but especially turning your room into a studio.(the speakers will dictate your room setup and design, because you will need to put special closets of clothes in the corners or first-reflection-points-which require building skills). this is a bit of a nightmare, taking a bit of months or years to master and your sad conclusion will be that your room is too small to do mastering profesionally.

so i would go for the option 1. get the best headphones that you can buy.

 

a few tips on the mixing side:

-the liveliness of a sound depends on its ambiance. a square wave for example means nothing if it's not put into a room to make it alive.

-the worst you can do is to have instruments without any ambiance and/or to drown them in huge-long cold reverbs.

but you shouldn't pay special attention to this, because a good sound system will let you hear when the music sounds fake or alive.

-also the proof that  your sound system is ok, is that good well-mixed-mastered music should sound extremely good (palpable- like you can feel or see the space in which the instruments are living). if your tracks sound better than those professionally mastered then you have a big problem.

Yeah, I have 60$ skullcandy headphones that barely get the job done. I doubt that is the problem though, since I just can't get the individual instruments to sound professional. I have horrible ears for this sort of thing, so that might be why. 

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then what you need is a good vst and good presets. your salvation could be nexus vst for example. i've seen hits comming out of those presets. maybe massive cause it has an easy cool ambiance/reverb knob, but its not sample-based like nexus or hypersonic or whatever is cool right now.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dIcuU58Oy8

Well, I do have Massive. I still have no idea how to use it properly though, not very user friendly. I did just recently get some strings for Kontakt, so I am making some songs using that. Orchestral music is so much more fun to make. 

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Buy books on this subject. Books are always great ways to solve all your musical problems. Trust me. Look about on Amazon, Google Books, or maybe even your local public library. If you are serious about wanting to get better, you can find great information from all sorts of sources, but books are money for the musician looking to advance his/her skill level. While you will get access to tons of useful and applicable information in those books, its up to you to put in the elbow grease to making your projects sound as good as possible.

 

I suggest looking up books on mixing/mastering tracks, and even books on electronic music since thats what your music seems to drift more towards sounding like. 

 

Good luck!

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Composing can be a life time of learning..  A recording engineer, mix, arranger, producer, can all be full life time careers in themselves..  Some people choose to focus on one or a couple of these aspects, some all of them..  Good speakers are a must.. 

The older I get, the more I realize a good composition, and a good arrangement, make the mixing and producing a lot easier.. 

I've been heavily invested both in synths since they first came out (late 60's) and DAWs in 80's.  I've gone thru every computer, and kbd you could think of.. 

I currently use a Yamaha Tyros 5, (great sounds),   a Yamaha motif, Korg M3, Roland Integra 7 and a very large amount of virtual instruments, Falcon, Sampletank, Synthmaster, Serum, U-he, AIR Technologies, and KONTAKT>>> libraries in Logic Pro..

It has been a very long journey, and I still have much to learn.. 

 

I have two friends, (identical twins).. Totally self taught. They've become quite good and writing and duplicating a 60's style of Pop, Americana music..  They have very little technical expertise. Instead they have teamed up with a recording engineer..  They bring their material (8 track demos on a Tascam).. They bounce that into Logic, and add great sounding live drums and spruce up Tascam tracks,  

The engineer gets the best sound he can...  I donated an old Kurwsweil 2000 to them..  So their sound is good now..   They couldn't be bothered to learn the engineering aspect of it.. 

We have a finite amount of time, and have to decide how to spend it.. learning more composition, arranging techniques, engineering, producing.. Each of us will approach it from a different perspective.. 

There is more information on the Net, than there has ever been.  I've taken online courses at Berklee music (expensive) some free courses at Coursera.org.  There are some arranging courses that are free if you search them out.. 

There are a fair amount of free youtube videos to watch too.. 

I think the best thing is to listen a lot to material you like, or aspire to create. Get very analytical about it..  

These days, more and more people are 'doing it themselves'... 

 

 

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