I’ve always looked at beat making as something that is fun. I know that a lot of you are making beats because you want to sell them and make money, or rather you do so because you’re good at what you do. And that’s fine. If you’re in it just to make money, that’s fine, and if you’re making beats because it’s a hobby, that’s fine too. Regardless of why you make beats, your skills could be lacking, and you may not even know it because either no one has told you, or you’re doing fine musically and financially. Here are 3 reasons why your beat making skills are lacking:
1. You’re Trying Too Hard
There have been times where I heard people say that you need to work crazy hours, forget about sleep, and work, work, work, until you become the best. It may be true, but it could also backfire on you, resulting in your beats being subpar.
Working hard on your music is something that you definitely have to do in order to succeed, but pushing other important things aside such as sleeping, eating, and just, well, living, that’s not the way to do it. If you do any of those things, it means that you’re trying TOO hard. There’s a fine line between making beats and being obsessed with making beats, but only if you let yourself get to that point.
I remember a story from a few years ago where a friend of mine was working as a recording engineer in New York. He was so happy to be working in that field, and he was really good at what he did, but it quickly took its toll on him. He was working insane hours, and most of the time he would spend the entire night at the studio, recording, overdubbing, mixing, and everything in between.
What happened was he was on his way to being burnt out. This is because he was trying too hard to be the best. It was important for him to succeed as an audio engineer, but not at the sake of his health and sanity!
2. You Know Too Much
There was this one guy that I knew, and he was a computer geek. He was really good at playing the guitar and singing, and he knew A LOT about recording equipment, especially computers. The problem he had was that he knew a bit too much. The result? His music skills lacked. He didn’t make Hip Hop beats, but it affected him playing the guitar and just making music.
He knew a lot about the guts of his recording gear, how to set up his DAW in an optimal way, and what was the best way to record various instruments within a room. He had lots of knowledge, but nobody is a master of everything. At one point I had told him that he barely spends time recording himself, instead he spends all of his time tweaking his studio setup.
This is why it’s important to be knowledgeable about recording, and what’s in your studio, as long as it doesn’t affect how or when you make beats. If you’re constantly tinkering with your gear, it could be affecting your beats. It’s good to spend a decent amount of time setting up your studio so that everything is just right for you, but once that’s done – make beats!
3. You Have The Same Routine
This one is probably the most common reason why your beat making skills are lacking. You do the same thing over and over again. I think it’s great to have a beat making routine, but to a point. I was once struggling at making beats because I was doing the same thing each time, and it quickly became really boring. I would find and chop samples in Cool Edit, make a drum loop in Redrum, then piece it all together in Cakewalk.
By doing it like that, I was good at it and I had it down to a science, but I felt that it sucked all the fun out of making beats, which is why I originally started. Anyone who knows me, knows that I now run Maschine and it’s changed everything about my beats, in a good way.
Even with Maschine, the MPC, software, or whatever else it is that you use, you could easily get stuck in a routine. It’s important to change things up and always challenge yourself when making beats. Next time, try something different, such as:
Start your beat with the bassline first.
If you usually compose music, try sampling, or vice versa.
Listen to a different genre of music to get you motivated.
There are plenty of ways that your beat making skills could be lacking, and these are only a few. No matter what it is that is holding you back from making head nodders, always try to change things up and challenge yourself. Good luck!