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Does creativity need a lot of consecutive time?

OP
DANIELE

DANIELE

Active Member
I'm most effective (and happy) when I know what to do when I start. For me it's good to keep an idea for the next day or work on an idea I thought about through the day (or night). Sitting down at the empty DAW with an empty head isn't a good start. So it's not too bad to interrupt the work.
I do music full time but it devides into different tasks. So there are a few days in most weeks when I can't work in the studio.
Well I'm not exactly talking about sitting with an empty head in front of my DAW but mostly about sitting with a head full of chaos after a day of work.
For example let's say that I have an idea, I listen to other tracks to consolidate it, I think about what I like to play, maybe instruments, mood etc...then I think about...no wait!! Go to bed...work as hell...ok where I was? Maybe...oh ok now I get it...think about how to put it down the piece, the shape of it, ok let's put down some theme, some sketch...oh crap I have to go to bed...and so on in an infinite loop...

What you are saying is right but you should have the freedom of managing all your time to do things the better way for you, I have not this freedom right now.
So break the process where maybe I wouldn't it is not the same of breaking it where you want to, maybe to do some other tasks or some rest.

I have an estabilished time to work where often someone else is telling me what to do, I have to rest in an estabilished time and so on...

I hope you understand what I mean... :)
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
I think it's a bigger problem that that time is "after a full day of working" than that it's just one or two hours. I would suggest to try getting up (and going to bed) an hour earlier and doing that one focused hour in the morning before work and make the most of it. I've heard of other people who found that method very beneficial for getting e.g. a side business up and running.
So pretty much what @douggibson already said.
Listen to inspiring music (even with headphones) whenever you have a chance to at work (listening to classic rock all day can really numb the muse).

Have a thing you're working on and concentrating all your off time attention to (w/o it running into your responsibilities, of course). Think on it at work (this is where phone apps or even notation paper would come in super handy. I keep a few post-it sized notation paper pieces in my wallet, kitchen (some for when dining, others placed around where I'm cooking).

Make what you're working on what you think of during all parts of the day you can get away with (again, outside personal commitements, etc.). When I worked in construction I'd daydream composing songs and guitar scalar patterns most of the day, by the time I went home, ate, and got to it I was bursting with ideas.
 
OP
DANIELE

DANIELE

Active Member
Listen to inspiring music (even with headphones) whenever you have a chance to at work (listening to classic rock all day can really numb the muse).

Have a thing you're working on and concentrating all your off time attention to (w/o it running into your responsibilities, of course). Think on it at work (this is where phone apps or even notation paper would come in super handy. I keep a few post-it sized notation paper pieces in my wallet, kitchen (some for when dining, others placed around where I'm cooking).

Make what you're working on what you think of during all parts of the day you can get away with (again, outside personal commitements, etc.). When I worked in construction I'd daydream composing songs and guitar scalar patterns most of the day, by the time I went home, ate, and got to it I was bursting with ideas.
Thank you, a very good advice.

Well, about listening to music I was generic. I mean, I listen to music when I'm studying or sometimes to get some inspiration or maybe because I'd like to do some interesting passage and I'm looking for something similar in other works. So I listen to music only for educational purposes while I'm trying to write something.

Maybe I have many ideas but I need to know ho to achieve that so I study harmony, orchestration and so on and I listen to other's music.

About write all day I'm thinking what I should use the most and buy it, I'm thinking about Samsung Note to have a pen to write something on some app, cause I think I could loose paper.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Anyway do you mean on music or in general?
Hard to give any helpful hints here. If you haven't enough time for music because of work you either live with it or change something. I understand your situation but it is the simple truth.
I can live with it to get some interruptions when composing/arranging. Maybe working 2 x 3 hours per day on a track instead of 6 hours in a row. But that's something different than having 6 x one hour.
 
OP
DANIELE

DANIELE

Active Member
Hard to give any helpful hints here. If you haven't enough time for music because of work you either live with it or change something. I understand your situation but it is the simple truth.
I can live with it to get some interruptions when composing/arranging. Maybe working 2 x 3 hours per day on a track instead of 6 hours in a row. But that's something different than having 6 x one hour.
I know the truth and I'd like to change something but life happens in the mean time. I have a strong will but my body often doesn't follow it.
Right know I'm only looking for methods or advices or something to get the best from what I have (and you all are helping me a lot), in the mean time I'll try to change something to get a better life... :D

When I was at university I was studying 2-3 hours throughout the day and I could easily finish the exams in time. I did exactly like you do now...
 

ptram

Senior Member
Two different strategies come to mind:

A) Work part-time, each day, with a regular schedule. Keep the morning for composing, the afternoon for regular job.

B) Schedule all the work in a bundle of weeks or months, then plan a few weeks for composing. No break allowed. Clients already informed in advance.

Contract with your principals or clients. Be very clear in making your composing time non-breakable. Make sure your time is yours.

I guess you are younger than me. So, I would suggest: don't think you need a lot of money. You need what is needed, and can spend less when income is slow. Money will never be enough, but time is much more important, and ends sooner.

Paolo
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
I know the truth and I'd like to change something but life happens in the mean time. I have a strong will but my body often doesn't follow it.
Right know I'm only looking for methods or advices or something to get the best from what I have (and you all are helping me a lot), in the mean time I'll try to change something to get a better life... :D

When I was at university I was studying 2-3 hours throughout the day and I could easily finish the exams in time. I did exactly like you do now...
Don't feel too bad. I still struggle to organise my time properly. It's nearly midnight here in the UK. I have a mix to complete and I'm on the forum..
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
I can only tell you what I'm doing, but maybe it helps.

I'm 33, make music for a little more than half my life. Trying to get a composer career going (currently libraries, and try the occasional short). I am an EIS student to get my theory knowledge up (under our dearest Farkle).
So, what's the rest?
- I work part-time (80%) at a university as researcher
- I have 20% (one day a week) for composition stuff (not counting weekends)
- I purchased gear from my salary to future-proof myself, because once I go fulltime, because chances are I cannot afford gear then
- I save as much money as I can, keeping my living standards low. Goal: be able to survive 2-3 years with 0 income while keeping the current living standard
- I married about three weeks ago - a wonderful and supportive woman. Currently, she is finishing her studies (no or little direct income), and we both are clear on the composing stuff - when I go fulltime, she is ready to bring in the cash that I do now.

There we go, future plan. That ties up in:
- I make music every day, be it 30 min or 3 hours
- I have one full day for music alone, plus 2 weekend days which I can fully use if I want
- I don't chase after gear for hours - I have all I need to make a living from that side, and I don't have enough to upgrade (only keep it running and repair if needed)
So - there's your time. All the planning above enables me to go forward, get better, get gigs and still maintain a "healthy enough" work-life balance.

Listen to your body. Make yourself a schedule if you need to, to block out "composing time" each day - let's say, the hour after dinner is reserved for you, and one evening (a couple hours) as well. In the longer time blocks you compose and refine your craft, in the shorter ones you listen, learn and get more knowledge (listen to good music, Analyse good music, maybe transcribe a bar or two). Yes, it takes some time, but that way I think you can get far as well.
Most important is work life balance. Spend time with your loved ones, or quality time with yourself (gaming, TV, whatever). Time is a resource, and like money, when the bank account gets empty, it will get tough.
 

douggibson

Active Member
Right know I'm only looking for methods or advices or something to get the best from what I have
Ear training, and improvising are great investments of your time. 20 minutes of focused ear training (transcribing) each day will give you steady progress.

This will be my last post here, so let me offer one last diatribe.

Be careful of being the man walking himself down the street on a leash.
You were the one who made the agreement with your work. You either have to change
(I don't mean quit either: there can be a medium without going extreme) something, or find peace with what you have.


Let me ask you a question: How much time have you spent in this thread replying to messages ?
How much time per day do spend on here, or browsing the internet to relax ?

Could your time of been better just composing ?

The price for learning any skill is attention. Time is apart of that, but the "I don't have time" is an illusion. All we have is time. It's our attention that wonders.

If you find you have internet addiction or can't get motivated, get a teacher or a friend whom you meet in person regularly with and set clear goals with accountability.

Other than that.....nothing anyone can say will make the difference.

All the best
 
OP
DANIELE

DANIELE

Active Member
Two different strategies come to mind:

A) Work part-time, each day, with a regular schedule. Keep the morning for composing, the afternoon for regular job.

B) Schedule all the work in a bundle of weeks or months, then plan a few weeks for composing. No break allowed. Clients already informed in advance.

Contract with your principals or clients. Be very clear in making your composing time non-breakable. Make sure your time is yours.

I guess you are younger than me. So, I would suggest: don't think you need a lot of money. You need what is needed, and can spend less when income is slow. Money will never be enough, but time is much more important, and ends sooner.

Paolo
Well this is a long time objective but right now, where I live, working part time is not so good for pay taxes and many other fees our country charge us with!

My wife works too but she looked for a job for 5 years. I'd like to work part time but I can't right now and I have to deal with what I have. This is why I'm trying to "optimize" my work and my time asking here and there what other people do, so I can make a statistics and try understand better what direction I have to follow.

I don't want a lot of money, I'd like to have enough to live a good life. Here from our salary they take 30% (or more) and we have to pay a lot of taxes, the life is very expensive too.

Thank you so much for your advice, I'll put it in my bag. :)

I can only tell you what I'm doing, but maybe it helps.

I'm 33, make music for a little more than half my life. Trying to get a composer career going (currently libraries, and try the occasional short). I am an EIS student to get my theory knowledge up (under our dearest Farkle).
So, what's the rest?
- I work part-time (80%) at a university as researcher
- I have 20% (one day a week) for composition stuff (not counting weekends)
- I purchased gear from my salary to future-proof myself, because once I go fulltime, because chances are I cannot afford gear then
- I save as much money as I can, keeping my living standards low. Goal: be able to survive 2-3 years with 0 income while keeping the current living standard
- I married about three weeks ago - a wonderful and supportive woman. Currently, she is finishing her studies (no or little direct income), and we both are clear on the composing stuff - when I go fulltime, she is ready to bring in the cash that I do now.

There we go, future plan. That ties up in:
- I make music every day, be it 30 min or 3 hours
- I have one full day for music alone, plus 2 weekend days which I can fully use if I want
- I don't chase after gear for hours - I have all I need to make a living from that side, and I don't have enough to upgrade (only keep it running and repair if needed)
So - there's your time. All the planning above enables me to go forward, get better, get gigs and still maintain a "healthy enough" work-life balance.

Listen to your body. Make yourself a schedule if you need to, to block out "composing time" each day - let's say, the hour after dinner is reserved for you, and one evening (a couple hours) as well. In the longer time blocks you compose and refine your craft, in the shorter ones you listen, learn and get more knowledge (listen to good music, Analyse good music, maybe transcribe a bar or two). Yes, it takes some time, but that way I think you can get far as well.
Most important is work life balance. Spend time with your loved ones, or quality time with yourself (gaming, TV, whatever). Time is a resource, and like money, when the bank account gets empty, it will get tough.
Thank you.

Luckily I have a very supportive and good wife too!!

I could build my little studio thanks to her and I know I have to work to buy staff I need. I don't know if I'll do music as a profession but I know I want to spent less time working with chaos and stress every second.

You're right I should spend my time with my loved ones and maybe just resting and do something else sometime.

P.S. I'm 33 too. :D

Ear training, and improvising are great investments of your time. 20 minutes of focused ear training (transcribing) each day will give you steady progress.

This will be my last post here, so let me offer one last diatribe.

Be careful of being the man walking himself down the street on a leash.
You were the one who made the agreement with your work. You either have to change
(I don't mean quit either: there can be a medium without going extreme) something, or find peace with what you have.


Let me ask you a question: How much time have you spent in this thread replying to messages ?
How much time per day do spend on here, or browsing the internet to relax ?

Could your time of been better just composing ?

The price for learning any skill is attention. Time is apart of that, but the "I don't have time" is an illusion. All we have is time. It's our attention that wonders.

If you find you have internet addiction or can't get motivated, get a teacher or a friend whom you meet in person regularly with and set clear goals with accountability.

Other than that.....nothing anyone can say will make the difference.

All the best
Why are you talking of not posting here anymore? I think it is legit to have some question like this in mind and answering them could be useful to many other people that are trying to make their way in life and music.

I always asked myslef these questions, could I have spent my time better than this? I remember the university days when I keep distracting from my studies...

But then I saw that I passed the exams and do it well too in my own way, I then realized that we are all different and if someone else spent eight hours to do something and I spent two hours to do it my way there's not right or wrong way (always remaining within certain boundaries) to do something.

I have an addiction to learning, many things actually, so I often watch videos or read things on internet or on books. I think that reply to people that spent their time to help me is first of all a good behavior then I think that a good discussion is another way of learn things and trying many ways to learn things it is a good thing (forget my simple language, I'd like to be more specific).

So I'm not seeing this as "loosing time" but more as "invest the time". I always feel richer when I came from this kind of discussions.

You're right about time but my complain is more like a "I'd like to have more time to do what I love", and I know my brain enough to say this. So I'm trying to live with that limit and I'm trying to know if other people with the same "problem" as me have developed some ways to achieve the best result.

It's not a problem of motivation, it's more about find the right way for me. I'm trying to live with short, medium and long range objectives.

Right now I have this and I'd like to understand what I could do with this.

Also, in the end I think that some time spent in relaxing after a day of work is not a bad thing at all.

It's not so easy trying to explain all things I'd like to say but I hope you understand...
 

douggibson

Active Member
Why are you talking of not posting here anymore? I think it is legit to have some question like this in mind and answering them could be useful to many other people that are trying to make their way in life and music.
Ok... truly final post to clarify why.

Because I have already said everything I could advise on the subject. No judgement at all on my end. It's about what one chooses to invest their mental energy and time into.

I've tried to be very helpful, but it's kind of like advising someone about going on a diet or exercising.
Either you do it, or not...... sorta Yoda like advice "Do or do not; there is no try"

The other big reason is because I would rather try and heed my own advice and compose instead of posting here. I did not want to leave you with the wrong impression after reading your post, so please know I make no assumptions about what is best for you or anyone reading this. As I said in the very first post I think it is a blessing that you have a job and are a normal person in society.

My hope is that my posts have been positive. Last point: Perhaps too now that I think about it my reaction is drawn from my experience. I have spent almost the last 20 years now as a full time musician, and have taught that long. I only teach composers these last 9-10 years and it's awesome.
All my students are adults.

Every music teacher (well....not EVERY) will have an adult student that says something like this:

I have an addiction to learning, many things actually, so I often watch videos or read things on internet or on books.
Nothing wrong with this at all. These are often the most enjoyable people to teach. Just often the progress is very slow. Common for them to show up with nothing written, and so we chat in general and listen to scores. We'll go over "best way" strategies, or lots of theory etc.


It's really not for me to decide if your approach is right for you, or what your music goals should. I have no music goals for you, so whatever you do is perfect for me.

I mean it's pretty binary IMO, and not personal or judgemental; look at it as if this was a math problem. Take yourself out of it for this exercise, as it could be about anyone

Person X begins a thread on wanting --- basically a "hack": The story is X has Q hour a day to work on music and since ditching the job is not an option it's an inquiry on how with Q hour a day you can reach an undefined goal --- but let's say 8 hours of typical practice within 2 hours in the short term and long term goals of Z.

A bunch of suggestions get presented. Some include "attention" and the time of day you write the best. Keeping a practice log to plan both the specific times you know you will show to up to, and what will be worked on. Other suggestions like ear training, or having a partner to work with and so on have been made.

There are plenty of books on "mental practice" and how to concentrate on music away from your instrument.

It's all great...... and then it comes down to your attention. If you don't do the advice given then it's just pleasant talk. There are going to be universal truths that every advice will give. Regular practice - every day, the quality (discussed above) and quantity (that old 10,000 hour rule)


So I'm not seeing this as "loosing time" but more as "invest the time". I always feel richer when I came from this kind of discussions.
And here is the gap. If you spend 30 minutes like I just did on this post instead of composing, then that's what to notice. If you feel enriched -- awesome. If you have a feeling you are not reaching your goals then one must face a choice. Lower your expectations, or do the shit that people who are doing what you want do. Only you can say if you actually thrive on having many plates spinning. (I suspect the answer is yes, and if you had a week of 12 hours a day only for composing you would look for other things to do. That's great..... I am just advocating looking for yourself.)

That's all I could ever possibly say.
 

AdamKmusic

Active Member
You just have to make time. I work a 8am-4pm job and spend most evenings composing. I only live with my GF though so no kids or other commitments which makes things easier. In the last year whilst working that day job I score a 75+ minute live stunt show! It’s more than doable, you just have to commit yourself to giving yourself at least 3/4 hours in the evening to compose.
 
OP
DANIELE

DANIELE

Active Member
@douggibson I'm not quoting all your post because it's very long (and I appreciate it).

But I feel enriched, from you and other people that are posting here, I'm not looking for an hack, I'm looking for a method built on my and other experience like we always do when we study something.

I don't like to chat about emptiness, I like to chat about very concrete things. In this thread I was asking about creativity and if the situation in which I live now is good or not for it, just for recalibrate my expectation and my exercises. Then the discussion is expanded...

I do exercises, I write, I have a piano teacher and I study harmony, counterpoint and other things, plus I read books and watch video courses. But at the same time I found very useful information in this discussions. You know, sometimes in life you need some sort of confrontation with other people, because maybe you need some advice, some direction or maybe only some details to do better some things, other points of view.

I do and I'll do all the things I'll found useful from what you wrote up here, I learned a lot from other peoples, I grew up a lot thanks to other human beings that gave me different and precious advices.

I like to talk with other as I like to be alone, as I like to study as I like to walk as I like to do many other things...

I grab (and sometimes give) information and knowledge and then I practice them, I ask some more technical or theory questions or more philosophical ones right because I think about them and I grow and new questions came to my mind and so on...and infinite way of research...

You know what you know because of other people that leaved to you their knowledge, not only thanks to attention.

I agree with you and other here, I can do some of the things you all said to me right now and I'll do my best to try them out, I can't do other things actually but I'll keep them with me for other times.

Again I'm not thinking I'm loosing my time by replying to you and I'm sorry you think of it, I can tell you that you haven't lost your time because your 30 minutes are useful to me and maybe for others out there.

And to Yoda I should reply: "I'm not trying, I'm doing!".
 
OP
DANIELE

DANIELE

Active Member
You just have to make time. I work a 8am-4pm job and spend most evenings composing. I only live with my GF though so no kids or other commitments which makes things easier. In the last year whilst working that day job I score a 75+ minute live stunt show! It’s more than doable, you just have to commit yourself to giving yourself at least 3/4 hours in the evening to compose.
I actually work a 8 am - 6/7 pm job so I have less hours but I do my best with the time I have, I'm looking around to find somethin less time demanding and I hope to find it. :)
 
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