It's hard to find the time to be a part-time music producer. Most of us have day jobs, family commitments, and other daily activities that occupy most of our time. We are so busy with our day-to-day routines that we struggle to remain inspired, be productive, and reach our musical goals. In this article, I will share with you some practical ways I have found to be the most productive with the time I have.
One common practice of music producers is to work late into the night after everything else is finished and the family has gone to bed. This can work very well for many producers, but others may not have the energy to focus on music after a busy day. If you can stay up late and be productive then that may be the best option for you. For those of us who can't, the first thing I would suggest is scheduling a music night every week. Instead of coming home after work, making dinner, helping with homework, or watching TV spend one night a week producing music and practicing with your band. By building a night to work on music into your weekly schedule, you are more likely to be productive and less likely to use that time for something else. If a weekly music night is not a possibility in your busy schedule here are a few ideas for squeezing every usable minute out of your day to focus on music.
Most of us have quite a bit of downtime during the day. We spend time drinking our morning coffee, commuting to and from work, eating lunch, waiting at an appointment, or for our children at school, practice, or the park. If we spend all of that time consuming social media or watching YouTube, then we are missing out on opportunities to work on music. There is a common saying that goes, "The camera you use the most is the one in your pocket" speaking of the camera on your phone. The same saying can be applied to the music app on your phone, tablet, laptop, or to a music device that you have with you. There are many amazing apps, such as GarageBand, Groovebox, Gadget, Cubasis, and more that allow you to create professional music on the go. Many of them are designed to export your projects to more advanced digital audio workstations (DAW) on your computer, allowing you to capture your musical ideas on your phone and finalize them in your studio. All you need is your phone and a pair of earbuds to produce music while you are waiting. If you would rather work with music hardware, there are quite a few mobile music devices on the market as well. The Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering, the Model: Samples from Elektron, the Korg Electribes, the Volca Sample, and the Yamaha QY sequencers to name a few. All of these devices have built-in sounds and allow you to sequence your musical ideas into patterns and songs. Take a few minutes and think about your daily routine. I bet you will be surprised how much free time you have that you could use to work on music if you had a musical device handy.
Producing music today doesn't always mean composing music. Other activities demand our time. Social media posts, uploading music, answering emails, booking gigs, and connecting with our fans all require our time and attention. Most of these activities can be completed with your smartphone, using apps like Dropbox, Zoom, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. Recording samples, listening to mixdowns, writing lyrics, watching educational podcasts, reading blogs, and just listening to inspiring music are all activities that you can do during your day that will help you be more productive and have more time to focus on producing music.
Most of us have extremely busy lives and it is very hard to find time to produce music after we have done everything else that is required of us. Our studios are ready and waiting, but seldom used. It is a common problem stated over and over. I hope that these ideas will help you find more time in your busy day to reach your musical goals and be prolific in 2024!