12 Resolutions For A Year of Productive Music Making

2014 is here and it’s time to make your music New Years Resolutions. In past years we have asked users what they plan to do differently in the coming year of music making. The answer is almost always the same, “Spend more time making music and/or be more productive.”

This is a great attitude to have, but it can make for a crappy resolution. It’s such a lofty goal that it can be tough to know where to start. Try following this great list of new years resolutions to make your workflow and creation process better than ever. We have broken it out by month to make it manageable help you stick to it!

January: Deep Clean your Hard Drive

We all have the one digital directory that is completely cluttered with 6-8 months worth of disorganized music, pictures, sessions, and pdfs. Why not take January to purge your hard drive of all this unwanted material? Make folders, rename important files, condense older sessions, and then throw them on a back up. If you’re into cloud backup, then get that up and running again. Hoarding massive amounts of data that you do not need can fill up your hard drive space quicker than you would think. Besides, it makes things easier to find too.

February: Brush up on your skills

Now that you’ve given your computer a good scrub-down, it’s time to seek out some inspiration. Are there some things about your DAW and other musical applications that you haven’t quite gotten a grasp on yet? Yes? Then it’s time to review some of those helpful videos, blog articles, and any other tutorial-based media that you have collected on all the software you’ve purchase in the past year. Pick up a SONAR Power! book or rewatch the videos downloads you purchased. There’s always more to learn and you might just become inspired by what you find.

March: Challenge your song-writing abilities

Beware the writers-block of March and enter a new chapter in your book of songwriting tricks. Take one day, or a few days, and write a song from beginning to end without stopping. Write the song, demo the song, and then produce, mix, and master it. Do this once, or a few times in March to learn how you work in fast-paced environments. Set a due date for yourself and stick to it. You’ll only improve your song-writing with more practice.

April: Spring cleaning

Home Studios and Pro Studios alike all have one thing in common; dust. The only difference is that you may not have an army of job-seeking interns running around your live room dusting off every nook and cranny. Break out the vacuum, glass cleaner, screen cleaner, febreeze, and dust rag to really give your place of creation the once-over it’s been wanting for a few months now. Wrap and organize your loose cables and dvds. If you’ve accumulated some new gear that requires rack space and outlets then now is the time to make room for that equipment. Clean and dust-free studios look good, especially to new clients and returning clients.

May: Make Long Distance Relationships

Take charge of the digital era and seek out a collaborator for your next big song through the internet. Services like Gobbler make this easy to do, especially when it’s integrated into DAW’s like SONAR X3. Do you have a forum that you frequent? If so, then find someone you think you’ll work well with and share an idea with them. Work tirelessly until you and your collaborator have locked down a track you think appease both you and your collaborator. The lesson here is not to write and finish a song, but to get experience working with other people on songs and ideas. This type of experience is invaluable wherever you take your creativity.

June: Swap Instruments with a friend

Are you a guitar player? Have you ever written a song on a banjo before? Well now that it’s June it’s time to find a friend that plays a different instrument and trade. What types of ideas can you come up with when you’re completely out of your comfort zone? Trade synthesizers with a friend to create new soundscapes you’ve never created on your own gear. Are you used to digital synths? Find someone who has an analog one and see what you can create with it. Explore some new options to invent new ideas!

July: Socialize and expand your circle of friends

July is a time for barbecues and vacations so go out and meet some new people that could benefit your career as a musician, engineer, or producer. Meet new bands, find new talent, and do not be afraid to leave your desk. No one ever got to where they wanted to be by sitting behind a desk all day hoping for the next big thing to fall into their laps. You can be social, and smart at the same time. Go to a few parties where you know that people doing the same kind of work you’re doing will show up. Connect, stay in touch, and don’t be afraid to spring on an opportunity when you see one.

August: Upgrade your OS if you haven’t yet

Some of us stay on the same systems because that is the workflow we like and abide by. But, if you have been meaning to spend the several hours, day, or days that it takes to upgrade your operating system then take the time in August to do that. Backup your projects, associated audio files, plugins presets, templates, and wipe your system clean. Put a fresh copy of the new operating system on your machine, install all of your plugins, samples, and recording software. Since you have dedicated time in August to do this, it won’t get in the way of your current project because you will have allotted time to finish everything else.

September: Treat yourself

September is the month to treat yourself to something new. Lots of new hardware, plugins, and DAWs are released at this time of year. Buy yourself something that will benefit your studio and creative workflow. The best thing you can do is continue growing your studio as you get more work. If that means getting new tools to do it then so be it. For some it’s a passion and others it’s a way of life. Regardless, both require that you dedicate some of your time to stay current and expand.

October: Listen & Create

You’ve made it this far, so why not challenge yourself to a little bit more? Dive headfirst into any online radio applications, type in a genre you don’t typically listen to, and soak up the music like a sponge. Understand why this music is the way it is and then try to write a song in that style. Difficult isn’t it? Having an understanding of other genres of music can benefit you greatly when trying to analyze your own music.

November: Updates

Every piece of software needs to update eventually and it’s always a good idea to make sure that happens. Windows updates, DAW updates, plugin updates all need to be installed so check your with your manufacturers if you don’t receive regular emails. Sometimes if you have not connected your computer to the internet in a while then your auto-updater may never notify you of a possible installation.

December: Didn’t stick to your resolutions?

Since this list of resolutions is full of big tasks we’ve given you an entire month to go back and finish any of the things you weren’t able to get done. If you have finished your list of resolutions then come up with your own resolution for the month of December. Try new mixing tactics, or mic’ing techniques. Maybe there is a something you have been meaning to get to in the entire year of 2013 but never did.