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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Thinking Outside the Box: A Detatched View of Music Production and theCreative Process

This is a guest article, written by Sandra Guillaume and edited by Niwun.

Thinking Outside the Box;

Being a producer and creating something out of nothing is a gift that very few people can do well. Everything involved in the creative process (software, hardware and time, for example) also involves the people around the producer.

As the significant other of Niwun, I am one of these people. As such I get to view the production process in a detached manner, so I’d like to share my perspective of the many states a producer goes through in completing a track, and some insights on what can be done to expedite the process.


I often see this particular state of affairs, where a producer feels frustrated when he can’t quite get the effect he wants, the sound he needs, that little extra to make his track be finished in his eyes. This frustration overflows into the producer’s actual life, affecting others around them. The producer can’t stop thinking about the problem in question, and rethinking it. I often advocate patience, give it a few hours, a few days until you clear your mind and get a fresh perspective. The more you think and obsess about something the less the apparent the solution will be.

Loss of Creativity or Producer’s Block;

It happens to everybody. Painters, photographers and writers. At some stage all creative types will be seeking inspiration and getting nowhere. What if having a temporary loss of creativity is actually a good thing? Give yourself time to recharge before tackling a new project. Don’t kill yourself over the loss of your creativity even if it lasts a while, just enjoy the break and relax. Stress free time will eventually provide you with inspiration to create.

Lack of Time to Create;

Life gets in the way. Always does, always will. You want to do something, you have the inspiration and the ideas but you have to work extra hours, you have to take care of your family or you have commitments to friends and the like, all that is stopping you on your way to success and putting your ideas into material form.

This is, as mentioned, just a fact of life. What can help is time management. You cant add hours to a day, but you can arrange and plan that day differently in order to fit your own personal creative time within it. Where this is just not possible, let it be. Don’t get frustrated, annoyed or upset. Put your ideas aside and keep them in mind. Leaving it for a bit might just make your idea even more developed when you do eventually put it into material form.


Hesitation is hard to describe. It’s that feeling or should I or shouldn’t I? This element or that? Which effect to use? Am I sure I like that sound in the context of my track? I’ve seen this process many times, thinking about and overthinking certain elements, and consequently listening to it thirty times. Listening to a piece you;ve created too much can implant doubt and hesitation in your mind, and just make you sick of an idea. Should I put it up on Soundcloud? Should I discard that project altogether? In order to succeed and create excellent music, this hesitation absolutely has to be overcome. Work through all your doubts, trust your first instinct and before you know it a great track is finished. Some of the best music I’ve heard being made has been created in a day. As an outsider, I can see the satisfaction and the feeling of success when this happens. Trust your intuition and go for it.

During the Composition Process;

You should avoid seeking input when you are compiling a musical arrangement. Seek feedback once the project is finished, otherwise your thoughts will be swayed in a certain way and you may have doubts implanted in your mind about the choices you’ve made. At first, I thought this was counterintuitive. But thenI grew to see the merits of this. As an outsider, what if I ruin the process with my input? Better to just take a step back and let the creative process unfold. I love music and I do maintain an interest in the production process, but I do this in such a way as to not influence the outcome.


Those are only my insights of course. I’m hardly an expert, but in certain situations that I’ve observed looking outside the box and getting the opinion and help of someone else can be incredibly useful. In other situations trusting your gut is the right thing to do and finally, having patience also helps a lot.

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