Small Dose of Encouragment..

A cozy place to hang out and discuss all things music.

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

Post Reply
User avatar
ResonantTone
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:32 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by ResonantTone » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:46 pm

Hey all!

Just wanted to post this for anyone that might be dealing with any of the following.

- "I'll never be able to get my stuff sounding good enough"
- "I don't have the time needed to make this happen"
- "I'm in a musical rut and can't get out"
- "I've got X amount of forwards and still haven't heard anything!"
- "I've been working at this a while and don't seem to be progressing"
- "Every time my submissions get rejected, it feels like a killer blow and I feel devastated after all the time and effort I put into it"

Even though I was fortunate enough to have some early success, I've struggled with just about every one of these on some level or another. Here's my encouragement for you if you're goin through something similar.

Work hard, and focus on what you can improve. Don't put so much pressure on yourself that this feels like a weight on your shoulders. Keep your head up and find encouragement in the joy of creating music. Yes, you're making something for a listing/brief most times, but don't forget to let the music creation and producing process be something you enjoy! Find encouragement from your fellow taxiers and remember you aren't in this thing alone. Everybody hits rough spots, but it's those that push through and find the motivation to keep on trucking that are gonna make it.

Keep going and keep improving! You can do this! :)

Andrew

lesmac
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:53 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Tasmania Australia
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by lesmac » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:29 pm

I can relate to that! :lol: :roll:
I hit a wall last christmas and had a break for a few months, did a bit of practice and played a few gigs.
Ive been going through the hard drive lately and working on old tracks in a round robin type fashion- as soon as I get sick of an instrumental I'll jump onto a song or just something completely different.
I'm enjoying making music again. :o
Writing to listings is good in that it gives you something to shoot at but if you don't make the cut you still have a track that could be good somewhere else albeit with possible improvements.
For me, success is getting better at writing, arranging, performing, recording, mixing and enjoying the creative process. It's been hard congratulating others on their forwards, placements etc when I've been banging away at it for so long without even a lick of the cream let alone a piece of cake! :lol: But its still great to see that people are being rewarded for effort and it is very encouraging knowing that TAXI is a vehicle for this though not necessarily the only one. It's a great resource on many levels. I am really grateful for the thoughtful advice I have received on the boards here.
I found it hard to focus my efforts where they will do the most good so to speak. I didn't know what genre to get into, write songs or do instrumentals? I was confused and a bit jaded.
In the end I thought I'll focus on doing what I like doing the most and lean towards my "strengths" which for me is stringed instrument based.
Anyway to cut a long story short its been good to get back into the now and enjoy creating music without it being dependent on getting into a library or being heard on tv or whatever. If that stuff happens well and good but I'm going to enjoy what I do now and not wait till I get a placement to be happy. Actually when I listen to some music in online libraries a lot of seems to be pretty drab to me. Not dissing but just saying. :lol:
Edit; I have heard a lot of great productions also that give me a reality check about where my product is and where it needs to go. Keep at it but keep it enjoyable.
Last edited by lesmac on Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ResonantTone
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:32 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by ResonantTone » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:11 am

lesmac wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:29 pm

In the end I thought I'll focus on doing what I like doing the most and lean towards my "strengths" which for me is stringed instrument based.
Man, I just listened to some of your songs... your guitar chops are on point! Seriously enjoyed what I was hearing and I think you’re a very gifted player. Keep going strong and just like you said, enjoy every aspect of the process and you can’t lose.

If we were anywhere close geographically, I’d totally be hitting you up for some jam session time. Killer tone and tasteful licks as well. People out there need to hear how gifted you are. :)

Andrew

lesmac
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:53 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Tasmania Australia
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by lesmac » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:33 pm

Thank you Andrew for those kind and very encouraging words.
I'd definitely be around for a jam!
You have a lot of bases covered with your music, very cool! Sounds like you enjoy your music making too. There's some tasty playing and tone in your acoustic showcase. All your stuff sounds top notch.
Thanks for being supportive and for starting a thread like this in the first place.
These forums are full of some great people.
Keep up the love everyone. :D

Ted
Active
Active
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:32 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by Ted » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:48 pm

Andrew, thanks for this thread.

First off, I've listened to a lot of your tracks and you're really talented. I can tell that you've spent a lot of time learning audio production-- in addition to your versatile composing/performing abilities-- and your tracks all have the right "presence" to them. I also appreciate all the stuff you've shared on the forums since you joined Taxi ( I joined around the same time you did) and you've asked/answered a lot of the same questions I had. Thanks for putting yourself out there on the forums-- you've helped a lot of us who tend to lurk more than post here.

Lester-- I've listened to a lot of your tracks too, and I agree that you have great guitar skills and some really nice compositions. Keep it up! You make an excellent point about "success is getting better at writing, arranging, performing, recording, mixing and enjoying the creative process." Agree 100%. It's been almost one year since I fired up Logic X and started making music after a long period of screwing around a bit aimlessly. Then when I joined Taxi earlier this year it was bittersweet in that I found a grit and drive that I never had before-- and discipline to hit deadlines-- but I got nothing but returns until a little over a month ago when I got my first forward.

But it's kind of like playing a retro side-scrolling adventure video game-- the process is a neverending quest to "level-up" and defeat "mini-bosses" of our own limitations as we continue to more advanced stages of the game. I'm only at Level 2 now-- I have a few recent forwards under my belt but no deals yet. Still a got a long way to go before I'm smooching the princess...Right now I think I'm in one of those annoying underwater levels or something...

One really important skillset we pick up as we grind away is to begin to intuitively think like a screener and to develop the same "gut feeling" that they have. Because the "gut feeling" is probably the only thing that really matters. We can have blind spots to our weaknesses early on. Getting a lot of returns with helpful feedback helps us hold our music up to a mirror and see it objectively-- free from the sort of "music dysmorphic disorder" that we get when we view our music through the funhouse mirrors of our own egos. Over time you get a natural intuition of where the bar is and how to jump over it every time-- or at least maybe half the time.

Ironically, in a former career I wore the hat of a screener of sorts for a major music TV show. I would sit with a producer as the cattle call of singers came forward to audition-- and I would give my gut feeling when asked. Sometimes it would depress me a little to have to dash the hopes and dreams of an aspiring singer who was maybe 85-95% of the way "there". I have a lot of stories. One of the more brutal things I noticed was on the first day of production, when the contestants would come forward and hand me their paperwork just how many girls had the scars of stitches on their wrists from suicide attempts. Not to be too dark but it was a reality of the industry. I'll say it feels a bit weird to find myself back on this side of the casting couch, haha.

On a more upbeat note-- a lot of us are already our own "music libraries" in a way. I recently went through my Voice Memos, Music Memos, field recorders, iTunes etc and found that I have well over 1000 songs/riffs/themes/ideas/motifs in one form or another (and I know I'm far from the only one here who is a "musical hoarder"). When I'm at work at my day job or lying in bed half-awake, usually I'm humming some motif or another as I go about my life. Some of these melodies have lived inside me for years and served as partial soundtracks of my life.

Both of the tracks that have gotten my recent forwards were taken from existing motifs/ideas that I already had but were ADAPTED to the listing. In the debate over "should I write to a listing or submit existing tracks" the best approach, for me, is to comb through my catalogue of musical ideas and find something that has a certain "something" about it melodically/harmonically or whatever-- and reshape it/rearrange it for the listing. I like to take songs written on guitar and remake them as electronic tracks-- and vice versa. I think it's important to be able to deconstruct an idea and reduce it to its essence-- and then rebuild it with a specific goal in mind.

Really see how far you can push an idea. Do a remix mentally inside your head. Take the ship and replace each plank til you can't tell where the old ship ends and the new ship begins.

I'm terrible at sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and a guitar and completing a song from beginning to end with lyrics, etc-- although I planned on almost all of my songs having vocals. But the silver lining is that I have a pretty deep musical junk drawer from which I can always salvage for parts. Again, I'm still a noob at this Taxi thing-- so it's not like I'm in a position to give advice--and it's probably basic stuff but I think it may be a good strategy for some people.

Sometimes the best ideas come when we're not even trying to "write". The rough gems come raining down when they decide to come raining down. It's an important skill to know how to close your fingers around a good idea when it falls out of the clouds and then save it to polish up later. So basically, take advantage of the Voice Memos/Music Memos features on your smartphone-- when you're sitting at a traffic light and an idea pops into your head--always record it.

Damn that was kind of long and I'll forgive anyone for not reading it. I had a lot of pent up thoughts though and this thread topic made me want to get it out there.

User avatar
CTWF
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:02 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by CTWF » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:12 pm

Ted - excellent points with the junk yard, recycling of ideas and memos. I do the same things. Not that I am very successful, but my few forwards all came into existence by this method. :) A returned track is never lost. In one way or the other it might be the basis for the very next forward. Tom

User avatar
ResonantTone
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:32 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by ResonantTone » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:18 pm

Ted wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:48 pm
Still a got a long way to go before I'm smooching the princess...Right now I think I'm in one of those annoying underwater levels or something...
Ted,

Thanks for weighing in on this. As a gamer at heart, I can totally relate to the sentiment above. :D

I also absolutely agree with you that motifs and ideas can be floating around and get re-used later. In fact, the most recent song I posted on my soundcloud was for a library that was in need of something I had created quite a while ago. I brushed it up a bit and tweaked some things here and there, but the library owner themselves got in contact with me and said they loved it. Let that be an encouragement to you that when you get those deals with libraries (which I 100% believe you will), you'll have a great pool of ideas and motifs to pull from... and on top of that, you'll have the confidence on knowing that they already like your stuff!

Congrats on the forwards and keep pluggin away at it. Sounds like you have some good perspective on the vetting process given your past experiences. The good thing here is that you get to keep trying and trying until you get that one forward that lands in your first deal... which I am confident will happen for ya. :)

You got this Ted!

Andrew

Ted
Active
Active
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:32 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by Ted » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:27 pm

Tom, you're right on that "a returned track is never lost". One of my first submissions was for one of those high-bar/extremely high-$$$ listings (my brother and I jokingly refer to them as "bait listings"--I hope Michael doesn't get mad--it's still more fun and better odds than a $5 lottery ticket) and I was hopelessly outmatched in terms of my production skills at the time. I went back and found an idea from 3 years ago in my voice memos and went into my DAW and ended up with a really good track. I've submitted it a few more times when I thought it was kind of in the ballpark for a listing-- returns everytime, but I swear it's one of those square pegs that will eventually find something resembling a square hole!

When you have like 1k song ideas, how the hell do you decide which one to prioritize and work on first? I'd get so much anxiety over how to manage "song triage" that I'd end up so paralyzed by indecision--and at the end of the day, I'd end up not working on any of them. Taxi is kind of a blessing for me because it sorta helps make up my mind for me. I see a listing I like and I go through the ol' junk drawer and find maybe 4 or 5 ideas that I think could work. Sometimes I'll send the listing and the rough demos to my brother and he will help me decide which idea is the strongest and fits the best. My dream is that someday I can bring all of these ideas out of riff limbo. It'll never happen though.

Conversely, I recently I saw one of those "ba*t listings" with a super high payout and an overnight deadline and I stayed up all night working on an idea, completely from scratch-- because I didn't even have time to begin looking through my catalogue for an existing idea. I was better off plugging in a Telecaster and seeing what I could do on the fly. (I had very little expectation that I was going to get a placement or even a forward for such a listing but I'm still a sucker for those and had to go for it anyway). And at the end of the day, I ended up with a pretty cool brand new riff and track that I would have happily paid $5 for if I could buy it in some fantastical "riff store". Well worth my time. It was the thought of $$$ that made me work at it.

Sometimes it goes all pear shaped with ideas. Last week or so I noticed a listing that my radar missed when it came out-- and the deadline was that evening. It was for instrumental indie rock tracks. I had more than enough ideas in my back catalogue-- hell the track I mentioned in the previous paragraph was probably well suited-- but I decided to try to write a new one from scratch. I don't know WTF my problem was that day, but as I laid down the instrument tracks, it started sounding less like indie rock and more like some kind of uptempo Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac/Dire Straits/John Cougar Mellencamp sort of thing... Definitely not what I was aiming for. I didn't even bother to submit it. But my brother reminded me that earlier in the year there was some listing looking for something like "instrumentals in the style of John Cougar Mellencamp, etc" or something like that. Well, OK... I guess if I see a listing like that come up again I know where to start. lol.


Andrew, thanks for the encouragement! And again, thanks for helping to light the way for some of us noobsters. You wrote about your experience with music libraries a while back and gave some good advice. You mentioned being contacted by music libraries who proceeded to ask you for a couple of albums worth of tracks. When I got my first forward (sports rock track) I ignored new listings for a week and just focused on creating about 3 or 4 new tracks in the style of the one that was forwarded. I haven't heard back from the library yet-- and maybe I won't-- but if I do, I've now got a few more tracks on deck.

I think it's good to think in terms of "albums" even if they aren't albums in the sense that we normally think of albums as consumers of popular music.

User avatar
harperpeterson
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:08 pm
Location: Twin Cities
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by harperpeterson » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:30 pm

Thanks, Andrew! It's always good to be reminded of this from time to time :) Keep writing!

User avatar
hummingbird
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 6889
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:50 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Small Dose of Encouragment..

Post by hummingbird » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:46 pm

This is an excellent thread. As someone who's wandered around aimlessly from time to time (and for far too long) trying to figure out who I am musically (or as a human), I can confirm there is a lot of great advice shared above.

This is an interesting, and very valid, perspective:
"it's kind of like playing a retro side-scrolling adventure video game-- the process is a neverending quest to "level-up" and defeat "mini-bosses" of our own limitations as we continue to more advanced stages of the game."

Cheers,
H
"As we are creative beings, our lives become our works of art." (Julia Cameron)

Link: Vikki Flawith Music
Link: For the 'Shy Singer'
Link: The Shy Songwriter's Blog

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests