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5 Essential Creative Habits for Musicians (and all Creatives!)

You've got your gear all set up, you feel inspired and you feel driven. The house is quiet and it's just you ready to create, but once you sit down at the computer monitor, it can be a little daunting. Don't fear! In this little article, we've got five simple tips that will help you keep those creative juices flowing!

1 - Chair

If you're out at the store, and your significant other questions the nice leather office chair, just blow 'em off. Comfort is extremely important in any work space. But before you shell out that hard earned cash on what looks like the ultimate directors chair... Sit in it. It may look great, but it also needs to feel great. Remember, producing music requires that you spend insane amounts of time in this chair. Also, nifty features like adjustable lumbar support are much more than gimmicks! They can save your back over time.

2 - Accessibility

The way you position your gear is extremely important. Having easy access to all the knobs, inputs, outputs, keys, strings, etc. not only makes things easier for you to get around, but also ensures you'll use all that gear too. I find that gear that isn't within easy reach of my setup (no matter how cool it is) tends to collect dust. And this stuff is way too expensive for that.

3 - Take Breaks Regularly

This cannot be stressed enough, and I actually learned this the hard way. When working on a mix, or a song, or a melody... Depending on which stage you're at, right? It can be really easy to start obsessing about small, minor parts that only YOU notice. Taking a 10 minute break every hour helps clear your mind and keep your objectivity. If the mix is frustrating you, walk out! Come back in when you've had a chance to 'rest your ears' and see what you think after you've had some quiet time. It might surprise you how much time you were wasting on something as trivial as a hi-hat.

4 - Learn to Take Constructive Criticism

Like it or not, none of us are the end-all-be-all of what's hip and happening in the music industry. It's always good to take a little constructive criticism from band mates, friends, and loved ones. Granted, you don't necessarily have to agree with them, but remember, these are people too. And who will be listening to your music in the end? People!

5 - Collaborate

Stemming from the last suggestion: Other people can really add to your music. I've learned some of my greatest tricks, techniques and habits from other people. Collaborating with others will expand your toolset like you wouldn't imagine. Ever wondered how your buddy makes his drums sound so thick? Work with him and find out! Have you always wanted to have some fresh melodies like that one dude always comes up with? Work with him and have him add some melodic freshness! Remember, we may live in a society dead set on complete isolationism through cell phones, laptops, etc. But music doesn't need to be that way. Some of my best stuff was put together with band mates and friends. And believe me, it was much more fun that me sitting there stressing by myself.

And that's all for now. Hopefully, these tips help you as much as they've helped me. But really, the most important tip I could ever give you is to have fun!

G.W. Childs IV

G.W. Childs IV | Articles by this author

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like LucasArts, Lucasfilm, Propellerheads, Cakewalk, Midway, MTV. With all of these exciting companies he's either worked as an editor, or sound designer, even sometimes as an actor. G.W. is currently working as an author for Cengage Publishing. He has written the titles 'Creating Music and Sound for Video Games', 'Rewire: Skill Pack', and 'Using Reason on Stage: Skill Pack'. As a musician G.W. has played for years in the band Soil & Eclipse on COP International Records. Additionally, he's worked as a remix artist for acts like Gene Loves Jezebel, Ray Charles, James Brown, Chiazm, Razed in Black, and more.

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