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How can I improve these songs?

Ydenedel

New Member
Hello,

First of all, I want to insist that this is not a promotional thread, I don’t want to get more views on my YouTube channel, I don’t care honestly about that.

For the context, I’m a self taught pianist who started to learn how to produce music 4 years ago. Well, when I say learning, it’s more discovering.

I have no knowledge about music theory, like 0, but I know visually and mentally what notes can work together, so It’s really easy to invente melody and songs. But the songs I composed do not sounds good. Like. It’s listenable but that’s all.

My issue is that even when I force myself to educate myself on composing certain genres, my creativity always takes back the advantage and It’s a mess.

I’ve also more than 300 unfinished projects…… is it a common thing among producers ? I only finish and produced one real song…

Do you know what genre you will compose when you sit in front of your computer? Or you let your creativity guiding you?

Here’s some compositions, could you tell me what’s wrong please? There is more on my YouTube channel if you need to « investigate further » ( 10-15 videos )














Thank you for reading this thread and allowing me your time, I really want to improve, I’m pretty sure I can compose some good things and I just need to fix some stuff, or my way to proceed!
 
I have no knowledge about music theory
Start here. Get at least the basics down. It won't make you a better composer but will enable you to access other resources and find information that is relevant to what you want to do. But you also probably do have knowledge about music theory, if you know how to construct chords, even intuitively, then you have that knowledge internalized.

Go watch some of Mike Verta's videos, he has some free ones on his YouTube channel.
 
Hi Ydenedel !
Quickly and according to what I feel at first listen:
Test 12: rhythm on the melody which seems hesitant / Quality of the strings (aggressive) and lack of modulation (always at the same sound level)
Test 11: Slightly thin piano that lacks body, especially for the finale
Test 9: electric guitar sounds average
On all the tracks: mixing! We have the impression that it is absolutely not done.
Since you seem to like using the piano, it would be nice to find one that sounds better. And some mixing/mastering tools. (There are some very good ones that are free)
 
For the context, I’m a self taught pianist
I was self taught as well, and I highly recommend investing in formal, private piano lessons. Not only will this improve your playing, but you will gain more understanding of theory…..which in turn will take your compositions to the next level. If you choose this route, find the right teacher that best meets your goal. IMO, you’re not going to gain much from YouTube and online “composition” courses, but by all means try it if that’s your preferred learning method. However, I can assure you, from experience, nothing can compare to in-person piano/theory lessons; that is the single, most important investment I ever made in my musical career.
 
Hello, I'm also an amateur, so take what I say as just my listener's taste, not a professional advice.
I find you have nice melodies, but I feel a little earing fatigue when listening to your tracks. I suppose that could be caused by too much in the high and high mid frequencies and not enough basses to compensate. Also, maybe you could add some more instruments in the background to glue the whole thing together and give more body to the sound. But I see a real potential and I like what I ear, maybe you just need to refine a little bit.
 
It really depends on what type of music you want to write. Yours seems based on loops. So I’d suggest one neat trick which you’re not often utilizing:

It's fashionable to laud being self-taught, but if you think about it, it's not really a thing. We all learn from somewhere or someone, and resources are freely available. Learning is quite formalized these days, even more so than in the past.

The irony is that without proper learning, music often ends up hyper-formalized and repetitive, as we tend to default to basic patterns.
 
Remember this order of precedence:

1) song and arrangement
2) performance
3) mixing and effects

P.S. a word of encouragement: you have some natural talent and are already doing it. Learn as much as you can from studying, but don’t let it derail you.
 
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Taking lessons is almost always beneficial. However, please consider this caveat...

I studied classical piano for several years as a kid. It provided me with a solid musical foundation, but it also locked me into a rigid way of approaching music that I've been trying to break free of all my life. So nowadays, when anyone considers taking music lessons of any kind, I always strongly urge them to study jazz. Jazz blends both structure and improvisation, and will provide you with a solid understanding of practical theory and composition, and will develop your musical ear and instincts far better and quicker than a traditional classical approach.

That said, I also taught myself guitar and songwriting as a teenager, and I did it like most folks - by trying to emulate my musical heroes. If there are artists and music you love, I suggest breaking down their music and listening analytically to understand how it's put together, then applying those same techniques to your own music.

In fact, I would actually start out by trying to recreate existing pieces before venturing forth and creating your own. Most self-taught musicians begin by learning and playing "covers" of their favorite music - it's a reliable roadmap for developing the necessary skills and techniques to start creating your own music. I used to spend hours just playing through Beatles songbooks purely for personal pleasure. But without even realizing it, all that repetition of those songs was actually teaching me how good songs are constructed and arranged.

There's a lot to be learned simply by listening, absorbing, and emulating music from your favorite past masters.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!
 
Please don’t start threads with unhelpful titles like “I really need help please.” It forces everyone to click on the thread, just to see what the question is. I have changed the thread title for you.
 
Start here. Get at least the basics down. It won't make you a better composer but will enable you to access other resources and find information that is relevant to what you want to do. But you also probably do have knowledge about music theory, if you know how to construct chords, even intuitively, then you have that knowledge internalized.

Go watch some of Mike Verta's videos, he has some free ones on his YouTube channel.
The issue is that my creativity takes over the "I need to learn" part but I guess there is no magical solution for that other than forcing myself. The first step might be the most difficult

Thanks for your answer and the Youtube channel recommendation, I will check it out tonight!

Hi Ydenedel !
Quickly and according to what I feel at first listen:
Test 12: rhythm on the melody which seems hesitant / Quality of the strings (aggressive) and lack of modulation (always at the same sound level)
Test 11: Slightly thin piano that lacks body, especially for the finale
Test 9: electric guitar sounds average
On all the tracks: mixing! We have the impression that it is absolutely not done.
Since you seem to like using the piano, it would be nice to find one that sounds better. And some mixing/mastering tools. (There are some very good ones that are free)
Hey! Thanks for your answer!

For the piano, I'm using The Grandeur, I was thinking when I bought it that it was the best one but price is not equal to quality, I was pretty dumb

For the electric Guitar I'm using Session Electric Sunburst

I will be honest, I didn't learn how to mix and master, but It's definitly a big part that I have to learn

I was self taught as well, and I highly recommend investing in formal, private piano lessons. Not only will this improve your playing, but you will gain more understanding of theory…..which in turn will take your compositions to the next level. If you choose this route, find the right teacher that best meets your goal. IMO, you’re not going to gain much from YouTube and online “composition” courses, but by all means try it if that’s your preferred learning method. However, I can assure you, from experience, nothing can compare to in-person piano/theory lessons; that is the single, most important investment I ever made in my musical career.
Hey! I took 3 or 4 lessons a long time ago but I quickly stopped because it was a professor focused on classical music and it wasn't what I wanted to learn. I was scared that It wipes off my love for the piano. I hope it will not be hard to learn over what I've already learnt, but I definitly consider it because I really want to improve. I might maybe not find the good one on the first try, but for sure I can find one that match my goal!

Thanks for your time Jeremy!

Hello, I'm also an amateur, so take what I say as just my listener's taste, not a professional advice.
I find you have nice melodies, but I feel a little earing fatigue when listening to your tracks. I suppose that could be caused by too much in the high and high mid frequencies and not enough basses to compensate. Also, maybe you could add some more instruments in the background to glue the whole thing together and give more body to the sound. But I see a real potential and I like what I ear, maybe you just need to refine a little bit.
Hello! I had that impression also but I wasn't sure about it! As if the sound is too heavy, it might comes from the fact that I tried to play with SoundGoodizer to improve the sound but the easy way is not the best solution. I should mix the song myself!

Thank you for your feedback!!

It really depends on what type of music you want to write. Yours seems based on loops. So I’d suggest one neat trick which you’re not often utilizing:

It's fashionable to laud being self-taught, but if you think about it, it's not really a thing. We all learn from somewhere or someone, and resources are freely available. Learning is quite formalized these days, even more so than in the past.

The irony is that without proper learning, music often ends up hyper-formalized and repetitive, as we tend to default to basic patterns.

Hey Comet! I have a big inspiration from Japanese music in general. I have listened a lot to Hiroyuki Sawano, Keiichi Okabe, Ryuichi Sakamoto. When I started composing, I wanted to compose orchestral music but after my trip to Tokyo, I wanted to learn how to make Jrock, Jpop... Because I think that they have a way to convey emotions through their music that is really powerful!

I really want to make people feels emotions with my music, that's one of my main goal.

Being self-taught is really good and really bad at the same time, in my opinion. Because you don't have a strict way to learn, so you might miss some important part, but, on the other side, the creativity that you can develop is insane

Thank you so much for the link!!

Remember this order of precedence:

1) song and arrangement
2) performance
3) mixing and effects

P.S. a word of encouragement: you have some natural talent and are already doing it. Learn as much as you can from studying, but don’t let it derail you.
Haaaa thank you so much for your kind words, it gives me motivation! Sometimes, It's really hard to not get lost while composing, I have to confess, I have to force myself

Thanks again for your answer!

Taking lessons is almost always beneficial. However, please consider this caveat...

I studied classical piano for several years as a kid. It provided me with a solid musical foundation, but it also locked me into a rigid way of approaching music that I've been trying to break free of all my life. So nowadays, when anyone considers taking music lessons of any kind, I always strongly urge them to study jazz. Jazz blends both structure and improvisation, and will provide you with a solid understanding of practical theory and composition, and will develop your musical ear and instincts far better and quicker than a traditional classical approach.

That said, I also taught myself guitar and songwriting as a teenager, and I did it like most folks - by trying to emulate my musical heroes. If there are artists and music you love, I suggest breaking down their music and listening analytically to understand how it's put together, then applying those same techniques to your own music.

In fact, I would actually start out by trying to recreate existing pieces before venturing forth and creating your own. Most self-taught musicians begin by learning and playing "covers" of their favorite music - it's a reliable roadmap for developing the necessary skills and techniques to start creating your own music. I used to spend hours just playing through Beatles songbooks purely for personal pleasure. But without even realizing it, all that repetition of those songs was actually teaching me how good songs are constructed and arranged.

There's a lot to be learned simply by listening, absorbing, and emulating music from your favorite past masters.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!
Hey NekuJak, thanks for your answer!!

Taking lessons is in my opinion always beneficial, but the rigid way is something that I really reject. Homewer, now that I developed my creativity, and as I said to Jeremy, I'm really considering taking lessons, and spending time learning the foundation even if I have to force myself.

I really love Jazz by the way! I tried to learn but it was so hard because the playstyle and chords are so different

Thanks for your big message again

Please don’t start threads with unhelpful titles like “I really need help please.” It forces everyone to click on the thread, just to see what the question is. I have changed the thread title for you.
Hello Mike,

I'm sorry, it was not on purpose, I just couldn't put words on my issue, the first and last time that happen
 
For the piano, I'm using The Grandeur, I was thinking when I bought it that it was the best one but price is not equal to quality, I was pretty dumb

For the electric Guitar I'm using Session Electric Sunburst

I will be honest, I didn't learn how to mix and master, but It's definitly a big part that I have to learn
The Grandeur and Electric Sunburst are two good libraries.
So it's a mixing problem.
Yes, you have to spend some time on this.
 
Taking lessons is almost always beneficial. However, please consider this caveat...I always strongly urge them to study jazz. Jazz blends both structure and improvisation.

"...If there are artists and music you love, I suggest breaking down their music and listening analytically to understand how it's put together, then applying those same techniques to your own music."

"I used to spend hours just playing through Beatles songbooks..."
Wonderful advice! :)

Music is a language.

If you just try to 'make up your own words' you end up speaking a language that no one understands. And your music does not connect or affect people emotionally (which you state is your main goal).

When playing along to your favorite records, you're actually 'in the band'!
AND you're playing 'at a professional level' because you're performing with pros! :)
In NekuJak's example above: You're in The Beatles! Or your favorite Jrock or Jpop band!

While challenging, after a week of playing along to your favorites, you'll start to know the changes, musical keys AND you'll be sounding pretty good! And 'speaking the language'.

It is very common for musicians to feel that learning another artist's music will "taint" their own vision and creative ideas. But nothing could be further from the truth. Authors read books to learn how to communicate using a common language. It doesn't make them write specific stories or stop them from telling their own stories and visions in the future.
The language of Music is just the same.

I would make a playlist (on your favorite music platform) and play along to it every day. Forever. Eventually you'll have learned all of the chord changes, the lyrics and the melodies of your favs. This is like a 'daily workout' that will keep you excited about music. And like the gym, over a month, you'll see improvements.

Learning research has shown that people can learn more by doing something daily for 10-minutes everyday, versus "cramming" a few times a week. Everyone can find at least 10-minutes daily.

Over time, you can revisit some of your "300 unfinished projects" and pick one to 'fix up'.
Go from there.

I state all of this as someone who has been professionally teaching students for 40 years.

Have fun and enjoy playing "in" your favorite bands!

Like everything else in life: You just keep showing up every day and eventually 'you're in'.

I know it will be fun and enlightening playing along with the 'professionals you admire'.

Good luck on your journey!

:emoji_relaxed:

PS: What Jeremy said about finding a teacher is also very true! However, it can sometimes place the focus on someone else to 'make you succeed'. Playing along, on your own, puts the emphasis where it should always be: You are learning based on your efforts.
 
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There's some really cool melody ideas already so I'll just throw out some song-structure tips / ideas you can try:

1. Try incorporating .wav samples directly in the session: because they are "fixed" you're forcing yourself to work with/around them. These can be anything from additional melody ideas to simple one-shots. Audio samples can help break up the monotony of verse/prechorus/chorus (or whatever the scoring equivalents of those might be) and help to keep things interesting.

2. Try writing with instruments you don't normally write with, if you're a self-taught pianist, try writing with drums as the starting point, or go crazy and load some banjo instrument with prerecorded articulations, you can always swap it out later.

3. Force yourself to switch the primary motif/melody every 16 bars. This might not make a great "song" but it will teach you to keep things interesting and varied. You can also break up motifs by throwing a .wav sample in there (see point 1).

4. Bounce the track to .wav and mess with it, stretch it, pitch it up/down, reverse and cut bits out. This can be a fun way to wring some new ideas out of an existing track.

5. Split stems from reference tracks using AI and analyze them. You'd be surprised how many little sound FX and things producers use to keep the song sounding interesting.

I'm sure you've heard some of these before but hopefully there's something in there to help.
 
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