Production workflow and organisational tips

This is my first true post. Few minutes ago, I went trough my old music production magazines and I found an article which I had already read and found interesting. This article is about 7 simple tricks that you can realize before and/or during your production session. We all meet at one time or another a reduction in productivity, sometime its just normal but sometime the source of the problem is elsewhere. Here are thus some tricks to remedy it and gain in productivity.


There is too much distraction with all these Social Media available. Browse the web before or after your music session. Needless to say, browsing the web during a music making session will interrupt your flow. You won’t miss anything, I’ll promise.

Make sure you’ve always got food and drink to hand, so that you don’t succumb to your buddy’s request for a bite to eat. If you have difficulty to take regular short time-outs, set an alarm to remind you that your ears and your brain need a break. Take advantage of it to rest your eyes from the screen too. There is software that can help you, otherwise any cellphone with an alarm can do this for you.

1.Eyelo Break Software
2.TimeOut Break Software

The goal here is to split your project into smaller objectives to make the task more manageable. For example, saying:

I need to finish this by midnightYourself talking

is pretty vague and a bit overwhelming, cause you see everything then trying to do a bit of this, then a bit of that going back to this, etc, etc… I think you understand the point here. Goals like these seem more attainable:

I need this drum programmed by 1pm, bassline by 3pm, lead synth by 5pm, melodies by 6pmYourself talking again

Keep a shopping list of new plug-ins that you need to investigate in a near future and with an app like Notepad make your wish list. Later, when you are not making music comeback with your shopping list at hand and make your tries. I must say, this is why I’m using Propellerhead Reason. I don’t have this problem since I use Reason and I really know my devices.

Keep the decisions you make throughout your project. You will save dithering over small things as your track progresses. Render your track that you’re happy with as you go along and trash thing that you’re not sure about. If an element of your project doesn’t work after five to ten minute after adjustement don’t spend much more time on it, throw it out. When choosing samples, the first second of listening are determining. If it doesn’t seems to work don’t try to adjust it, changed it. Trust your intuition.

You’ll always be able to find something to tweak. Work on your track until you’re 95% happy with it, then move on something new. It’s too easy to get stuck in your production finding yourself endlessly tweaking detail that must people won’t notice. If you get into this trap you will repress other ideas. This also better to come back later to your track if you’re planning to send it for mastering, your ears won’t be tired and you will listen to your mix with a new fresh perspective.

Sometimes a project will feature a mixing or editing task that, while essential, will be a time-consuming challenge. Perhaps you have a tricky vocal to mix or a difficult guitar track to clean up. When you find yourself facing such a job, ensure you tackle it first so that it’s completed and out of your mind. Otherwise, the nagging feeling of a job unfinished will disrupt your workflow.

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3 Responses to Production workflow and organisational tips

  • moofi says:

    very good tips, enjoyed reading, thank you :)

  • funnelhead says:

    I agree with your tips. I came upon them by myself, and I’m happy when I see I’m on the right way.

  • cmza says:

    All very good points.

    I have Fruity Loops and Reason — at the moment I’m stuck because I can’t get Rewire to work. FL crashes just as Reason starts up. That was completely irrelevant, but I do have to say another tip very similar to #4 (and this applies mainly to FL) is Preset-Hunting. I’ve often forgotten the original idea by the time I find a preset I like. (FL with all the plugins has thousands of presets). I now have a template with a decent piano (a soundfont — from my hundreds of soundfounts), a string section, a horn section, and a drum part. I force myself to use this basic four-channel template to capture the original idea. (There aren’t many that can’t be captured in essence). Then I go looking for the right presets, or start knob-tweaking. (I’m tempted to call it knob-polishing, but I’m trying to keep things clean here…).

    The only time I’ll use preset-hunting and knob-tweaking before recording is when I’m stuck for inspiration at the start of a piece. Then it can often trigger a thought — at which point I switch back to the original 4-channel template.

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