Learning Versus Creating Music

There is more information available to us than we can consume and comprehend about music, contrasting opinions and facts can lead to option paralysis, which can stagnate our creation and enjoyment of music.

Online free tutorials are one of the greatest resources available to anyone with an internet connection today. Despite their frequent lack of structure (compared to a traditional education), the insight and experience across a wide range of subjects can without doubt improve your knowledge and ability, when applied to real projects.

The problem, however, is when we start to misconstrue watching a tutorial as having equal importance to applying the knowledge and following through. You may have heard that thinking about something compared to following through and doing it are received the same by our brain. This can essentially cause us to believe we are improving at a skill just by watching a tutorial, rather than using the information to further our work.

(For more information on the link between our imagination and reality, read here).

Experimentation is one of the great things we have at our disposal as musicians. We often need to amend something that sounds 'wrong' into a finished song, this approach can apply to production too. You can use the knowledge you've picked up over time and apply it when necessary, just ensure don't let what works for others inhibit your creativity by blindly following tutorials without your own judgement.

We can learn across a spectrum of methods, whether it is simply listening to a song you deem to be great and making notes of what makes you feel that way, then applying that to your music, or collaborating with a musician you respect and sharing knowledge. the crucial part is that for this to be worthwhile, we must proactively apply the newfound knowledge to benefit from it, otherwise it'll be stored in memory until it's forgotten.

Sometimes we need to refer back to basics to improve, seeing multiple songs through from start to finish will reinforce the skills across all of music creation. There is little to no value in half finishing a song then abandoning it, which I'm sure many of us (including myself) have been guilty of. There is no guide on how to finish your song specifically, no one can give you the formula to make your music as best as possible, and this is a positive. You have the power of your own judgement, as well as that of others to inform your decisions, although tutorials may help, the decisions lie with you and are yours to make. This is what differentiates us, there's infinite ways to make your music the best it can be, and that is for you to discover.

Any information comes from a place of bias, even if it is well intentioned. If you ask for feedback, people may try to give a valuable suggestion to appear as if they are helping and therefore may pick up flaws that aren't prominent, or there at all. Take it on board and juxtapose any opinions with your thoughts, if you ask for feedback from multiple people and the same issue is mentioned within a song, that issue is most likely prominent and resolving it may lead to your song sounding more complete.

Create often and learn as much as possible, just ensure that you don't get into the trap of confusing content consumption with actively furthering your craft.

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