I love making beats. It’s something that allows me to get my mind off of various things going on in my life at the moment, such as stress. Just like working out at the gym, making beats is a huge stress-reliever, so I make beats to ward off stress. The problem I’ve been having lately though is that I haven’t found the time to make beats regularly, on a set schedule.
The Wrong Idea
I know that some of you might think that making beats on a schedule is a bad idea because it means that you’re making beats regularly, whether you’re in the mood or not. We all know that inspiration to make beats is something that just comes to us, and it shouldn’t be forced. But there are times when you may hit a wall and putting yourself on a set schedule is the way to go.
There have been many times where I had people ask me what to do because they feel stuck, and have no drive or are not inspired to make any beats at all. It happens to all of us, and it’s completely normal. There will be times when you’re just not in the mood to bang out some beats, just like there’s times when you’re a beat making machine that just can’t be stopped, doing beat after beat, every single day.
Becoming An Expert
Setting yourself up in a way that you have a schedule for making beats is actually a great idea. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re not in the mood to make music, then don’t. You don’t want to do something just for the sake of doing it and you have no energy to put into your music. With a set schedule, this means that you’re committing yourself to making beats regularly. You schedule could be daily, weekly, or just multiple times a week. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make it monthly, because that just defeats the purpose of this exercise.
There have been many studies done about whether or not you need to practice something for 10,000 hours in order to become an expert, such as the one conducted by Christopher Chabris, assistant professor of psychology at Union College, research affiliate of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
“The prevailing theory in cognitive psychology, going back to Adriaan de Groot, who studied chess grandmasters, and later to Anders Ericsson, who studied other domains such as music and sports, is that expertise is all a matter of how much one practices, and that there’s no such thing as a particular talent that will make it easier for someone to become an expert,” Chabris says. “If that’s true, that’s a positive thing — there’s nothing holding me back from, say, becoming a professional basketball player.” – Scientific American
The problem with this theory is that it means anyone that practices anything for 10,000 hours will become an expert. We all know that some people just “have it” and others don’t. There are some beat makers that have put in lots of work on their beats and the end result is still wack beats. It’s a fact! So is the old saying of “practice makes perfect”, true? I don’t know.
What I do know is that if you set a schedule for yourself to make beats, you will definitely get better at it. Even for those people that I mentioned that just don’t have it in them, they will improve. How much you will improve comes down to if you have the “ear” for producing music.
I had a friend years ago that loved Rap music, and love rapping. He spent hours upon hours listening to other emcees, and he would spend even more time writing his own lyrics. His lyrics were good, but his rapping wasn’t. Don’t get wrong – he could spit, but he was nowhere near the level of a KRS-One or Rakim. (But then again, who is?) So it doesn’t always come down to practice, but practice won’t hurt either.
Setting A Schedule
My recommendation is that you start off by making a schedule where you’re making beats three times a week. Some of you work full time, others go to school full time. If you’re one of the lucky few that works from home, (or better yet, makes beats for a living), then you should all follow the same schedule – just to start.
The whole purpose is to get better, and eventually become an expert at making beats. You could bang out beats easily three times a week, but are the beats REALLY good? Are they insanely dope? That’s what I’m talking about.
When I first got Maschine a couple of years ago, I spent the first two weeks just studying the controller and the software, reading the manual and watching tutorials. I didn’t make any actual beats yet because I wanted to learn Maschine inside out and be an “expert”, if you will.
So the same thing applies to you, your beats, and setting a schedule. As you make your beats each time, try to get better at it. That could mean strengthening one of your weaknesses, (like if you always have trouble doing basslines), or just trying to nail down a certain sound and style that you wish to obtain.
After a few weeks, change it up and challenge yourself again by tightening up your schedule, making it 6 times a week, or more! The possibilities are endless, so use your imagination.
Setting a schedule is a great way for you to get better at making beats, and possibly even become an expert. If your schedule is three times a week, but one of those days you’re just not in the mood, then skip it, it’s that simple. Think of it as going to the gym – some days you’re all pumped and ready to go, others you’re not. Whatever schedule you choose, stick to it until you get better, then change it up. Good luck!