Hey Friends! Composing music is super creative, fun, inspiring and simply amazing. You get to create a piece of content that people can listen to and enjoy. Your music will have a real impact on people. It might lift their spirit, make their day a little better when they feel down, or even motivate them to follow their dreams.
You are probably like me, and love to compose music. You know that great exciting feeling when you sit in your studio and listen to the song you just finished? Well there’s one big drawback. It takes a very long time to compose music, so it can be a long time between those great moments just after finishing a new track.
So here’s the million dollar question: Is there a way to compose music faster, so that you will get more tracks finished and published? Yes, you can. Because when I tried to think about what parts of the composing and production process I spent the most time on, I realized that it was mainly experiments with sounds, trying out parts for the arrangement, trying to get that perfect sound playing a specific part etc.
So I came up with a solution, which I call: Mockup Composing Method. Basically you go back to the roots of music, which is that music is made from 3 main elements: Rhythm, Harmony and Melody. Then I create 3 tracks with those 3 elements at the top of the sequencer, and group them in a folder called “Mockup”. For the first track, called rhythm, I load a simple drumkit. On that track I create the basic rhythm and groove of the track. For the second track, called harmony, I load a simple piano track. Here I write the chord progression for all sections of the track. I don’t include rhythmic pattern for the chords, just simple sustained chords. And for the third track, called melody, I most often use an audio track where I can hum or sing in the melody ideas. Sometimes I use a string instrument for the melody.
Alright! So how do I use those 3 tracks? Basically in my composing process I use them to write the skeleton of the track. The are like a rough pencil sketch of the full track. A graphical artist starts with creating a sketch first, to get the rough ideas out on paper before he starts painting with colors and adding the intricate details. The mockup composing method is the same.
Once you have got these 3 main elements of music written down for your new track, you basically have the rough pencil sketch. Then mute the mockup group track, and after that you can start adding instruments and sounds, and arrange your full track using your mockup tracks as the foundation. And one more thing: Since you have access to your mockup tracks during the detailed composing process, you can easily use copy/paste to get for example the chord progression to an instrument in your track.
Since I have started using this mockup composing method, I have drastically reduced the time it takes for me to compose music. Now, here’s a final tip that I also find extremely helpful. Here it is: You can create the rough sketch on your smartphone or tablet, using an app, and then export those ideas to open in your DAW on your computer.
For example: I sometimes use Garageband on my iPad to record my ideas. Then I can actually open that project directly in Logic Pro X. I also use an app on my phone called Chordbot, which is specialized in creating chord progressions. Then I export the midi from chordbot, and import it into Logic Pro X. Not all apps have midi export, but check your music apps on your phone or in the app store, and you will find that many of them do. Use this to your advantage, because it is often much easier to come up with musical ideas when you are out and about and only have your phone with you.
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I’m Mike, signing out.
And you rock, my friends!