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Newbie advice
Old 16th January 2019
  #1
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Newbie advice

Starcadian! Dude, it is so random for me to have been browsing and see that you're doing a Q&A. I was listening to New Cydonia and then Chinatown in the car the other day on my way to work and thought to myself how much I wish I could shake your hand and tell you how awesome I find your music. I still remember the first song of yours I heard and how blown away I felt (it was Pompey Pirate).

I've always had a love for music but don't find myself particularly talented at it. I try to be, and despite my frequent frustrations I still practice and play often. I usually find a cool chord progression I like or brief melody that sounds nice to my ears, but can never figure out where to go from there.

I know this is a super generic question, but just wondering if you had any advice for a rookie who wants to just FINISH a song for once? Even if it's crap. Haha
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Old 20th January 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by certanablo View Post
Starcadian! Dude, it is so random for me to have been browsing and see that you're doing a Q&A. I was listening to New Cydonia and then Chinatown in the car the other day on my way to work and thought to myself how much I wish I could shake your hand and tell you how awesome I find your music. I still remember the first song of yours I heard and how blown away I felt (it was Pompey Pirate).

I've always had a love for music but don't find myself particularly talented at it. I try to be, and despite my frequent frustrations I still practice and play often. I usually find a cool chord progression I like or brief melody that sounds nice to my ears, but can never figure out where to go from there.

I know this is a super generic question, but just wondering if you had any advice for a rookie who wants to just FINISH a song for once? Even if it's crap. Haha
Thanks for listening and the kind words!

Here's a little tip no one will admit to. Us musicians? None of us are talented. "Talent" is this elitist, bizarre notion, bordering on eugenics.
We're all born with an equal amount of talent, musicians just put the work in and learn what clicks musically through trial and error. You can only do that by listening to as many different musical styles as you can and practicing for years. That cool chord progression you found? You only found it because you went through your frequent frustrations. Imagine what you'll find 5 years from now, if you keep breaking through the frustrations. It's a constant evolution and regime and you know what? When you listen to your first song that came out 100% the way you wanted it? Nothing in the world compares to that. You're literally manifesting something, it's sorcery.
I'm also the absolute worst person to ask about finishing a song, but if I had to glib some advice, here's what I'd say:

- Start with traditional song structures. It's much easier that way. Knowing you have a 2 bar intro, 2 bar pre-verse, 4 bars verse, 2-4 bar chorus, repeat, bridge, chorus, outro helps you see the "pockets" of sound you can fill and copy/paste in. Think of it like finding the corner pieces of a puzzle, so you don't just languish in the eternal desert of infinite potential.
- Use one synth, one drum kit, don't buy a ton of VSTs. You'll end up not learning any of them and thus not mastering your trade.
- Break it down to basics. Verse, Chorus, Vocal melody. It's just like cooking, so you'll need to do some shuffling around and figure out the portions, that's essentially the art of songwriting.
- Judd Apatow talks about his 'vomit pass' in his masterclass, which I thought was ingenious. Basically, write your song from beginning to end with no hangups, no writer blocks, nothing, whatever comes to mind, as bad or awful or hacky as it sounds, write it down, just get it on paper/audio. Now most likely, that'll suck. And that's why it's called the vomit pass! Now that you got that out of the way, start refining and improving, knowing that you a)got SOMETHING jotted down and b) you got the worst of it out of your system
- Never hang it up and call it a day, you'll learn until the day you die and you could always be better, that shouldn't discourage you, that's the reason WHY you have to keep going. Artists by definition are never satisfied, so you have to learn how to live with it and tame it!
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Old 21st January 2019
  #3
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Awesome answer sir, thank you for your insights! Breaking the song down into its parts is something I probably would have never come up with on my own! Totally makes sense.
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