Composers: 5 Tips to Stay Productive Through Covid-19.
As Covid-19 continues to disrupt daily life worldwide, many of us now have a lot more time on our hands than we are used to. If you are a composer or producer this is a fantastic opportunity to brush up on some skills and get your business in order.
We have put together short list of things you can be doing during this time to stay productive and keep your skills sharp.
1. Evaluate your web presence
Use this time to look over your web presence and get everything spot on. This means combing through your website and social media accounts and making sure everything is up-to-date and consistent across all channels.
Maybe you've got some old tracks on your showreel that could be swapped for something more recent, or perhaps you can re-write your bio to include a new project.
2. Practice your instrument
It can be really helpful to take a break from making music with midi keyboards, samples etc and just go back to basics. Many of us film composers began our musical journey with the piano or guitar and its essential that we stay in touch with our instrumental roots as we progress through our careers.
Use this opportunity to play your instrument for the sheer fun of it, and if your feeling up to it, engage in some more focused practiced. Learn a new piece, experiment with odd rhythms or practice improvisation. There are a ton of things you can do to keep yourself musically stimulated.
Possible side effect: Your neighbors may hate you.
3. Composition Exercises
Design some compositional exercise that you can use to practice specific techniques. Be strategic and think about some areas where you need to improve. If you are more classically minded and struggle with the production side of things, then try composing a purely electronic piece. If you are more of a production person, then write a piece for string quartet. Some basic ideas to try could be…
- Piece using an uncommon scale - Piece using arpeggios
- Piece using specific instrument/theme
- Compose a series of 30-second pieces using the same instrument palette.
The possibilities are endless here so have fun with it and see what challenges you can come up with.
4. Sound Design
Design some custom sounds for you to use in your film scores. These can be saved as presets and added to your scoring template, or kept in a custom samples folder. Having a suite of custom sounds to compose with will give your music its own personality and help you stand out from the crowd. It also gives you an opportunity to learn your tools inside out.
Some ideas to try are Synth Pads, Bass, Impacts, and Atmospheres. Try and come up with sounds that will inspire you and spark ideas when you are writing with them.
You don't just have to stick to digital sources either. If you have a microphone then see what cool sounds you can create with what you have lying around the house. Pitch your ukulele down into oblivion, or create percussion loops with cutlery. With sound design anything is possible!
5. Make connections
Reach out to your musical peers. Alliances will be more important than ever moving forward, so use this time to check in with people and keep your relationships strong. Become more active in your online communities and show support for your fellow composers.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article!
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