The music you make with collaborators takes everyone to the next level. Music collaboration is a brilliant (sometimes difficult) artform in itself. Anyone in a band can tell you all about it…

Collaboration is an extra pair of ears, hands, and an additional brain to work with. It gives you VIP access into someone else’s workflow. It helps you overcome creative blocks. It even brings out creativity you didn’t know you had.

But collaborating is hard. Where do you find a network? Where should you start? And how do you make it work for your music? Here are a few tips to start (and keep) a collaboration with other musicians.

How to find your music match

Sometimes finding your music partner is as simple as looking around your group of friends – and their friends too. Getting involved in your local creative community is the best place to start.

If you need to dig a bit deeper, here are some ideas on where to find music collaborators:

  • Look on SoundCloud and contact people whose music you like
  • Go to livestream shows in your city and make connections in your local scene
  • Play livestream shows – people will be more inclined to ask to collaborate if they hear you live
  • Find Facebook Groups in your area and get involved
  • Get involved in online music forums, many of which have official feedback threads where artists can post their music and get feedback.
  • Ask your local university if you can put an ad in the music department (you never know!)
  • Share your tracks with people already in your network and ask if they know anyone else who might be able to help

Once you’ve found your other musical half, here’s how to make things work:

1. Know your own strengths and weaknesses

To be a good collaborator, you gotta know what you’re bringing to the table. That way you’ll know what you’re looking for in a music partner.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What can you contribute with your creative voice and skills?
  • What are your short-term goals? What are your long-term goals?
  • What is your process missing or needing help with?
  • What kind of music do you wanna make?
  • How often can you jam or rehearse?
  • What musical and visual aesthetic you’re going for?

Being on the same page about commitments and goals is crucial.

Don’t just ask at the start either. Ask yourself these questions often during your collaboration. Open communication is key.

It will help you both get the most out of your work together now and in the future.

2. Treat it like a jobship: A friendship and a job combined.

You’re gonna spend a lot of time with a collaborator. You better like each other as friends first!

Treat your relationship like a responsibility too. Take deadlines seriously. Arrive on time. Be courteous and accountable. Remain open, flexible and kind. A critique goes down better if you let them know what’s good first. Balance how you talk about ideas but don’t pull punches either.

3. Work Work Work Work Work Ethic

Good collaboration starts with the music. Pick collaborators based on the music they make AND the work ethic it took to make it. If your work ethic, sound or both, don’t match it simply won’t work.

‘Work ethic’ means their values and how they work. So when you’re looking for someone to collaborate with ask yourself

  • Are they easy to work with?
  • Do you have good communication?
  • Do they value the same things as you?
  • Are they punctual, able to meet deadlines?
  • Do your schedules match?

The most important point on that list is communication. Sharing projects and staying connected throughout the creation phase is key, and bouncing around between Dropbox, Gmail and Soundcloud is a huge hassle.

Good music collaboration needs great chemistry, but it also has to work on a practical level as well.

That means the right tools that take the confusion and hassle out of working together whether your in the same studio or thousands of miles away.

4. Set clear and complementary roles 

There’s nothing worse than stepping on feet when collaborating. If the roles aren’t clear you’re gonna get frustrated.

A vital part of collaboration is every member delivering on their part of the process.

Good music partnerships are often based on individual strengths complementing others’ strengths. Let each member shine doing what they do best.

Define the roles early – whether it’s divided by instrument or by step in the songwriting process (writing lyrics, arranging, mixing, etc.). However you do it, set everyone up to excel at their strengths.

5. Make Respect and Trust a Priority

Collaborators don’t always agree—and that’s normal.

The important part is being able to express your opinions with respect and care towards your collaborators. After all, music is a very personal thing.

Don’t let egos get in the way of your work. You’re all working towards a common goal: Good music. Try every suggestion before discarding it. Let yourself be challenged and surprised.

Respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Support and encourage each other. Ask for feedback. Give feedback in a constructive and respectful way.

Collaborating means learning from listening AND learning from teaching someone else.

6. Make a plan: develop a vision and concept

A music project is exciting because it’s a whole universe. The best music projects bring you into a total world of sound, imagery, fashion and imagination.

Like Die Antwoord: in addition to their music, they’ve nailed the art of creating personas, unique videos and a recognizable aesthetic that others wanna copy.

So when you’ve found your perfect match, take some time to plan and dream together. Share music that influences you. Brainstorm your overall aesthetic and visual concept. Keep a mood board of things that inspire you. 

Also think of what you want your live performance to look like (costumes? lights?) and how you’d like to be represented in press photos.

7. Have fun or don’t do it

Always remember to keep things fun for everyone involved. Let your collaborators know that you value their work. Praise them when they’re doing something really awesome.

You couldn’t have gotten where you are without each other, that’s well-worth celebrating! Cheers!

Feel free to leave your comments below.

No need to rely solely on music sales and touring to bring in the big bucks. Here are more ways your music can make money in 2021. Let’s dive in…

Streaming

Having your music on streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. is a no brainer.

Publishing Royalties

Royalty collection is a complex business. The two most common music publishing royalty types are performance royalties and mechanical royalties. 

Live Streaming

Since the beginning of quarantine, live streaming has taken over the music scene. All the while, artists have become more creative and tech savvy than ever. Don’t get left behind! With in-person shows at bay, live streaming is the next best thing.

If you’re looking to get sustainable results by monetize your streams, you’ll need to get creative.

Here are some ideas to help you out:
  • Host a Live Q&A // Promote an upcoming release by turning on a live stream and hanging out with your fans for 30 minutes. All you gotta do is hop online and start a conversation. Hosting a Q&A not only gives your fans a chance to get personal with you, it also gives you valuable feedback on what your fans want to see in the future or even which songs they want on the next album! — You get free, instant data AND the revenue from ticket sales & tips.
  • Plan a Series of Live Streams // Erykah Badu stepped it up and created “Quarantine Concert Series: The Apocalypse” from her home in Dallas. The series is made up of three separate streams, all unique and full of life. For price, she charged $1 for the first, $2 for the second and $3 for the third. — Streaming is not limited to sitting down in a single room and turning on a laptop camera. Get creative!
  • Stream Behind-The-Scenes // Give your fans a backstage experience they can’t get anywhere else. Show your creative process, you making beats, ask and answer questions, maybe even take some song requests and jam out with your fans. Keep it engaging, down to earth, and personal. Making this connection will foster more dedicated fans who will support you in the long run.

YouTube

YouTube is another platform that continues to garner major success for independent artists. The easiest way to earn money on YouTube is with Content ID, a digital fingerprinting system that content creators (like record labels and artists) can use to easily identify and manage their copyrighted content on YouTube.

Video Games

he most engaging video games have great soundtracks to go with them. There’s a reason players get so immersed in their virtual worlds, and the music is a major part of that. — Consider putting out an instrumental version of one of your best tracks just for gaming playlists.

Merch

Merch has always been a key source of revenue for independent musicians. Although live shows aren’t what they used to be, live streams are a great opportunity to keep your merch sales going strong. 

Sync Licensing

Any time your song is featured in a TV show, movie, commercial, or any visual media, that’s called a “sync placement”. In addition to performance royalties you earn for airing on TV, sync placements also pay an upfront “licensing fee”, which is determined based on the song’s market value as well as the various details of how the music was used in the production.

Micro-Sync

ilm, they would also be owed “micro-sync” fees and royalties for smaller features.

Some examples of the types of common micro sync placements include:

  • User generated content, i.e. YouTube
  • Social media posts
  • Internal company videos
  • Video presentations at events and conferences
  • Professional wedding videos
  • Podcasts
In Conclusion…

2020 has been hard for all of us. With this crazy year finally coming to an end, its time to look towards the future with hopeful eyes. Whatever the New Years brings, move forward with optimism! If you made it through a global pandemic, you can make it through anything.

Feel free to leave a comment below or email me on info@synergyformusic.com

Finding music inspiration is extremely important for any songwriter, musician or artist. Sometimes our minds seems to be wells filled to the brim with ideas. Just a couple of minutes is enough to dream up a huge new project. But sometimes the well runs dry. No matter how hard you try to rack your brain for song ideas, nothing comes to mind.

To help you keep those ideas flowing, I’ve put together these tips. Inspiration is one of the most important tools in any creative’s bag. It pushes us to try new things and helps us stay excited about our work. These tips are intended to help you think creatively more often, giving you more opportunities for inspiration to hit.

What is Inspiration? Where Does it Come From?

Maybe it’s my extremely useful philosophy degree talking, but before we talk about how to get inspired, I think it’ll help if we talk about what inspiration is first.

We usually talk about inspiration as something that comes out of nowhere. We’re struck by it. It’s a “Eureka!” moment where a new idea becomes clear.

Whether it’s a new melody that you can’t get out of your head or a new idea that changes your worldview, inspiration is the excitement of discovering something new.

The trouble is we’re not always ready to think in new ways. We develop routines and create habits for how we think.

So finding inspiration is really about finding experiences that make us think differently. Here are some of my favorite techniques for creating your own inspiration.

#1: Get Out of Town

Really. Get out of town.

Finding inspiration is about breaking your mental habits. A lot of these habits can be wrapped up in the place you live.

As career coach Dr. Todd Dewett put it in an interview with Moneyish, “We get into ruts at work by following strict routines… Working in a place that’s new, you mess up those routines… waking the brain up, because you’ve changed the script.”

Getting away from your usual surroundings can do wonders for your creative process. 

You don’t need to go on some grand adventure. Getting out of town isn’t about chasing excitement. It’s about getting away from what you’re used to.

Take a trip to a city or town that you haven’t spent a ton of time in. You’ll find that you have to think more actively than usual. Where should you go for food? You don’t know any of the local restaurants, so it looks like you’re going to be taking a gamble no matter what.

You don’t necessarily need to visit a city for this to work, though. The idea is to get out of your usual surroundings, one way or another.

Pull a Bon Iver and go crash in a cabin out in the wilderness for a few days. Getting away from the hustle and bustle may be all you need to focus on a new song.

Or spend an afternoon in a part of your town you don’t normally visit. Maybe there’s a weird tea shop across town you haven’t been to yet. Head there for an hour and see what lyrics it moves you to write!

Breaking your mental habits isn’t necessarily a matter of doing things that are wild and thrilling. Just going somewhere you aren’t used to will make you think about different things than you typically would.

#2: Go for a Walk

You don’t need to be a druidic mystic communing with nature to be awestruck by a massive tree that is already twice your age and will long outlive you. 

Try walking around your neighborhood or a park. While you’re looking at the trees, houses, sky, or whatever, ask yourself what this place sounds like.

Don’t work too hard at it. Maybe nothing will come to mind. But perhaps you’ll hear a song come forward in response to the scene around you.

#3: Learn Some More Music Theory

Music theory can often feel like Songwriting’s boring cousin who you accidentally started an endless conversation with at a party. Despite being dry at times, music theory can be extremely helpful in finding inspiration.

Your first dive into some new music theory concept may not be all that great. You might hate what you write in Lydian mode. That being said, you may just discover a new chord change that you love. And that new chord change may provide the inspirational basis for a new song.

If you’re interested in learning more theory, I recommend checking out Rick Beato. Beato is a music theory expert and he does a terrific job of making complex music lessons understandable and engaging. He’s more focused on scoring than songwriting, but any musician can learn from his videos.

#4: Collaborate With a Friend

I’m a forgetful introvert, so this is a lesson I have to relearn on a monthly basis: Creativity doesn’t have to be a lonely activity!

I do most of my work alone in my room, and while that often works for me, making a point to go out and see friends does wonders for creative work.

Collaborating with a friend can be a wonderful way to expand your musical horizons.

Your friend will be bringing different musical styles to the table, challenging you to step outside of your creative comfort zone.

Plus, with two minds steering the message of the song, you may end up tackling a subject you don’t usually put so much thought into.

Don’t have many musically inclined friends? That’s ok! You may find that you enjoy writing with them anyways.

Even if you find that you and your friend didn’t get much work done, it will still be time spent wisely. We all need time to spend with those that are important to us.

It’s wonderful if you and your friend write a hit. But even if you end up just hanging out and catching up, you will most likely be happier than if you spent all your time working by yourself.

#5: Write With an Instrument You Don’t Normally Use

Typically write on piano?

Switch things up by toying around with a guitar. You may find yourself refreshed by the parts you write on an instrument you don’t know as well. It’s also worth mentioning that some things that are easy on one instrument are near impossible on another. Try out an instrument you wouldn’t normally play and see how much it changes your work. You may just find that it becomes a recurring part of your songs.

#6: Write About a Fictional Character

Songwriters and poets have been writing from the perspective of fictional characters since these art forms first began. Whether you’re Homer writing about the adventures of ancient Greek soldiers or a middle aged pop-punker singing about how hard it is to be 16, not everything you write has to be entirely from your point of view.

Coheed and Cambria are a solid example of musicians who use stories about fictional characters as metaphors instead of writing about the literal events of their own lives.

Coheed’s albums are about a space opera the lead singer, Claude Sanchez, has written. The story, while fictional, is largely about events from his actual life.

If you’re having trouble thinking of something that’s happened to you that you want to write about, write a story instead.

Dream up a fictional setting you’d be interested in living in. Is it a big city or a rural town? What’s the weather like? The politics? What is it known for?

Now think up a character who lives there. What is that person’s life like? What do they do?

Once you’ve got a solid idea of who this character is and how the relate to the world around them, try writing a song about it.

It may feel disingenuous at first, but in all likelihood the story you create will echo a lot about your personality since you will be the one who created it.

#7: Relax and Reflect

Be open to inspiration. The most important part of finding inspiration is your own attitude.

Being open to new ideas and experiences is more important than leaving town or going on a music theory knowledge binge.

Your hike in the wilderness won’t be particularly helpful if you’re stressed out the whole time, getting frustrated with yourself about how you NEED to be inspired RIGHT NOW.

It’s also worth noting that inspiration works differently for different people. While the practices I’ve listed above help many people, they’re be no means the only things that work.

Think back on times where you felt particularly excited about working on a project.

Where were you? 

What were you doing? 

Were you alone or were there people with you?

The answers to these questions can tell you a lot about where you draw inspiration from and what kinds of circumstances make you feel more creative.

Feel free to comment below about how you find new inspiration.

Do you ever doubt yourself, your art, or your abilities? 

You’re not alone. It’s easy to feel vulnerable when you’re promoting and selling an extension of yourself. So how do you build self-confidence that keeps the negative thoughts at bay?

1. Overcome the Impostor Syndrome

Quite a few artists are going through imposter syndrome. They have difficulty marketing and selling their artwork and feel inadequate. I suggest artists recognize that no one knows their artwork as well as they do. Artists often forget that.

The key is to understand you are the expert of your art and be authentic. It’s as simple as that, but people can have a hard time absorbing it. They’re scared they’ll make a mistake. But, how can you make a mistake when you’re talking about your own creations? It’s impossible.

Give yourself permission to be the expert. No one knows your artwork better than you do.

In reality, whatever you say—as long as it’s authentic—people are going to believe it. How can people question you about your artwork when they don’t have the grounds to? There is nothing to be afraid of as long as you can verbalize your ideas.

2. Do Your Own Reality Check

It’s easy to let negative thoughts invade your brain—no one will buy my art, no one will care, I’m not good enough, etc.

Identify those thoughts and ask yourself if they are valid thoughts. Ask yourself if you have evidence to support them. If you have no evidence, then they aren’t accurate. People attend your events because they’re interested in you and your art. So, just ignore the negative thoughts that invade your mind.

Actively bring yourself back to reality and back to rational thinking.  Get the negative thoughts out of your mind and think logically. People are there to see your artwork because they want to know more.

3. Challenge Yourself

Self-confidence comes when you prove to yourself that you can do it. Competence is the first cornerstone of building self-confidence according to INLP center. When you know you can perform a task, you will be on your way to a greater sense of self-confidence.

Push yourself past the fear of failure and embarrassment by getting out of your comfort zone. It can be scary, but put yourself in situations where you have to grow. The more you do it, the more your fears will lessen. Whether it’s selling artwork, presenting to a curator, or marketing your art, put yourself in that uncomfortable situation. Challenge your comfort zone, but don’t forget to prepare yourself for it.

Serial entrepreneur and professional inventor Chris Hawker says “Breakdowns are often the path to breakthroughs!” So, force yourself to design a new path and create a new future.

4. Find a Support Group You Trust

We tend to beat ourselves up about mistakes. Instead, try other things, be patient, and be persistent. Some people are born with persistency and others need support. Decide who you are and what you need.

If you need a support group to cheer you up or hold you accountable, find a few people who are willing to do this for you. A couple of artist friends are an ideal support group. Ask them for help, brainstorm, and do it together. It’s a two-way situation. There is nothing wrong with needing support. Give yourself permission to need and ask for help. And don’t feel guilty about it. Support groups build up confidence. You can hear other people’s perspectives, and you might find out that your own perspective is skewed. You might realize that you really can do it.

5. Compare Yourself to Yourself

There’s no reason to compare yourself to others because each person is unique. It’s like comparing apple and oranges. They are unique in shape, color, and taste so it doesn’t make sense. It makes self-worth contingent on achievement. You start saying I need to be better than so and so. There’s so much competition in our society and it’s not a healthy approach. It’s unrealistic to compare yourself to others who have different lifestyles, opportunities, and unique talents. It makes more sense to compare yourself to where you were to where you are now.

Comparing your own growth leads to growth. Comparing yourself to others leads to doubt and a lack of confidence.  So, give yourself goals – such as a six month or one-year goal. Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish? Remember you have your own energy, your own opportunities, and your own experiences. Embrace it. Focus on your own growth and inner self – not the competition.

6. Focus on the Process, Not the Failures

If something happens along the way that you didn’t expect or a mistake was made, analyze the situation instead of giving up. That’s when a support group comes in handy. Have conversations with them and analyze the situation together. Discuss what led to what you perceived to be a failure.

Learn what not to do and how you can do better next time. That’s how you grow. You have to learn from the mistakes and challenges you’ve faced. If you don’t want the same outcome, then analyze ways to look at the situation.

7. Become a Lifelong Learner

It’s important to constantly educate yourself and think about your artwork and artist statement.

Think about why your art matters and why people should care. Meditate on that and understand your own work. Put your ideas together in a way you can express them to others. And, learn as much as you can when it comes to sales and marketing. You have to continuously learn and pursue professional development opportunities. Knowing how to verbalize your art when you deal with sales and marketing will only help you.

Strive to become a lifelong learner and celebrate that.

Let me know how you build your Self-Confidence in the comments below or email me on info@synergyformusic.com

Making music is a reward in itself. But like many musicians, you’ve probably wondered how to promote your music and get people to listen to your music so they can recognize your genius.

Well, in this guide we’ll go over five ways to promote your music online, and another five ways to promote your music offline.

5 Ways to Promote Your Music Online

It’s all happening on the Internet when it comes to music promotion. You don’t need to invest in expensive ads to get heard, either. Here’s five completely free ways to promote yourself online.

1. Music blogs

Music bloggers are always looking for new content to write. And while they get a lot of traffic from covering famous musicians, they all want to discover the next big thing (that’s you!). 

Tip: Check out this list of music blogs that accept submissions right now.

2. Online radio stations

You’d think that radio had been completely replaced by Spotify at this point. But that’s not true. There are many budding online radio stations that accept music submissions from artists. 

3. Music forums

Most aspiring artists start out in very small circles of (let’s face it) nerds who care deeply about their art. You should make friends with them and ask if they want to listen to your tunes.

Tip: If you don’t already have a favorite spot, then use this list of guitar forums to get started.

4. Youtube channels

You could publish your music video on YouTube, but unless you have a decent following then it won’t get a lot of views. Instead, you can submit your tunes to dedicated promotion channels. 

Tip: Here are 15 YouTube music promotion channels you can submit videos to.

5. Social media groups

If you’re not down to sign up for another guitarist forums, then fret not (pun intended!). There are plenty of Facebook Groups dedicated to music where you can ask people to listen to yours. 

Tip: Here are 12 Facebook Groups for musicians you can join and promote your music to.

5 Ways to Promote Your Music Offline (when COVID-19 is gone)

Although the web does account for the majority of music promotion in 2019, there are still effective ways to promote yourself in the real world. Let’s have a look at five of them.

1. Live performances

Few promotional methods beat the old live performance technique. What better way to introduce people your style than giving them a taste of it in person?

Tip: Read up on how to promote your next live gig so you can get in front of the right people. 

2. TV and film

All moving pictures, whether on the big or the small screen, use music. Some musicians have even broken through to the mainstream off the back of them being featured on TV.

Tip: Read about how to get your music featured in film and on TV to learn the ropes. 

3. Local radio stations

Spotify has sidelined a lot of radio stations, and many of the terrestrial ones have been replaced by online stations. But there are still local radio programs hungry for underground talent.

Tip: This guide explains how to get played on local radio so you can build your home base.

4. Street teams

You can get by with a little help from your friends. Use Canva or Design Wizard to design some cool flyers and posters, and ask people to help you out by joining your band’s street team.  If you’re on a tight budget, Design Wizard is probably your best bet. You’ll be able to access all of their tools and features with the free subscription and get more than 10,000 free templates to choose from.

Tip: This article explains how you can build a street team to help you out with promotion.

5. Street selling

If you can’t recruit a street team, then you’ve got to do it yourself. Believe me, selling your music on the streets can be intimidating. But there are still artists making a killing from it in 2019.

Tip: Read up on the rules regarding selling your music on the street so you don’t get fined.

Ready to Be Heard?

If you try each of these ten tips at least once, then you’ll quickly find out what works best for you. Maybe the shotgun approach it best, or maybe you prefer the sniper method.

Let us know in the comments which of these tips works best for you — and feel free to contribute with your own!

1. Quantity over quality.

In the words of Ed Sheeran, “Run the tap ’til the dirty water runs clean!”. This means you have to output a high quantity of music before the good stuff starts flowing. It’s like Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hour rule, which states that is takes 10,000 hours of practise to become an expert at something. Whilst I think there are ways to cut down this amount of time (mentorship and course-taking being two of them), the general idea rings true.

Also, if you start and finish more music quickly (rather than obsessing over one song for 6 months), you’ll multiple the practise you have at creating each element in the song, e.g. 6 songs finished means 6 bass lines written, 6 drum patterns written, 6 melodies written, etc.)

2. Make music that you like – not what you think other people with like.

It’s an easy trap to fall into – chasing popularity and fame, rather than following your heart when it comes to the music you produce. But, if you always produce music that you like (or at least strive to), it’s a win / win situation. If no-one else likes it, yes that can be painful, but at least you’ve expressed what you wanted and enjoyed the process. If you just try and follow the latest trend, the chances are no-one else will like it AND neither will you!

Music production is a time-consuming endeavour, so it makes sense to enjoy the time you spend.

3. Be consistent – Consistency is key!

Gaining any traction in the music industry is a game of consistency. If you release a couple of tracks, then nothing for a year, you’ll lose all the momentum / following you may have gathered. It’s important to keep showing up, putting the work in, and it’s also a good idea to have 3 or so finished songs for a release schedule so you’ve always got a few months breathing space if needs be, where you can keep releasing music.

4. Set goals, but it’s essential to build systems that will help you form good writing habits.

I am a huge believer in the power of goal-setting, but goals without any system for fulfilling them can end up being a painful reminder of what you HAVEN’T done.

Goals are reached by developing good habits, and good habits are developed by systems that support those habits (I don’t recommend relying on will-power too much – it runs out!).

An example might be:

Goal: Finishing 2 tracks per month.

Habit: Producing for 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.

System: Setting a daily alarm for 5:45am, and letting anyone who needs to know that you are unavailable from 6 – 8am from Monday to Friday. Go into your studio for those 2 hours each morning, leaving your phone somewhere else so it doesn’t distract you. Reward yourself in the end.

5. Spend time producing rather than money on plugins.

Sometimes a new plugin will inspire us, but more often than not we buy them hoping it’ll “fix” our music. It won’t. If you learn the stock plugins than come with your DAW – inside and out – you’ll be amazed at the world-class sound you can achieve. What’s more, you’ll learn what the limitations of those stock plugins are, so when you do invest in a new 3rd party premium plugin, it’ll be for a specific reason.

6. Turn your social media followers into email subscribers.

If you collect your followers email addresses using a system like Mailchimp or Activecampaign, that list belongs to you. No one can take it away from you.

You can then use that email list to keep your fans updated on your music, sell merchandise, let them know of upcoming gigs, etc.

Even if you’re just starting out, I recommend starting to build an email list as soon as you can – you won’t regret it.

7. Contribute to the music production community

he music industry is all about relationships! Music production can be a lonely activity, so reaching out to like-minded people online is a great way to start making connections.

Rather than asking and taking, try contributing, too – someone might really appreciate your help. Sure…ask questions – people love to help – but remember to answer questions, too, or link to resources you think other producers will find useful.

8. Be bold!

Don’t let fear of criticism stop you from getting your music out there. You WILL get criticised from time to time…that’s essential, and it’s absolutely fine.

There are three types of criticism:

1. Constructive. When you get feedback on your music from people who know what they’re talking about. This is essential for improvement, and worth listening to.

2. Misleading. This is where you ask your Gran if she likes your filthy, X-rated, porn sampling industrial drum ‘n’ bass track. Spoiler alert: she doesn’t. Similarly, if you ask a friend who’s only into Norwegian Death Metal whether they like your Deep House track, chances are they won’t. Not because it’s not good – just because it’s not to their taste. So seek feedback from the right people.

3. Destructive. From trolls and haters. This hurts, but try to remember it really isn’t personal. Delete, block, move on. It’s from people who don’t know you – most likely lashing out because they’re a) jealous that you’re trying to do something with your life or b) frustrated with their own life.

Once you accept that you can’t achieve anything without criticism, it makes it a little easier to bear when it (inevitably) happens.

9. Enjoy yourself – it will shine through in your music

This is key! Try not to forget when striving for your idea of music success that you started this journey out of a love for music and production. Life’s too short not to enjoy making music.

10. Look after yourself

A bit of an obvious one, but easy to forget. Stay healthy, stay well, and don’t cane it too hard (too often!). It’s much easier to produce music if you’re not perpetually tired.

Feel free to reach out: marcella@synergyformusic.com

How sampling transformed music. Sampling isn’t about “hijacking nostalgia wholesale,” says Mark Ronson. It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward.

In this digital era, distractions can seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions in your music career can feel as difficult as actually achieving them. These days, constant distractions can lead to a massive loss in productivity.

Statistics show that employees, on average, waste 28% of their time dealing with and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions. And that’s at work, where you’re paid to be productive, and where some of us are monitored too much or too closely for comfort.

So, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices. Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear a notification, wasting precious time scrolling through social media when you should be using that time working on your goals?

I can bet a lot. But we’ve all been there. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves being chronically distracted. Chances are you’ll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article.

The reality is as undeniable as it is unavoidable: we live in a world full of distractions! But how can you take back control of your time and attention to avoid these distractions and learn how to stay focused on your goals in your music career?

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in Your Music Career: Designing Your Environment

If you can design your life and behaviors well, you don’t need to rely on willpower.” – BJ Fogg, Social Science Research Associate, Stanford

Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where best support our goals. So, the next time you’re in your environment, whether at or outside of studio, try to pay attention to how you feel while you’re there. Note if that feeling changes when you leave that environment.

Examine your surroundings. Look at all the infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Am I in an environment that’s conducive to me achieving my music goals?
2. Is it detrimental to me maintaining my focus on my music goals?
3. Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Are you placing yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth?

If the answers to these questions are anything but a definite and resounding yes, then you should seriously consider modifying or completely changing your surroundings. The more you understand yourself, the more aware you’ll be of the environment that’s most likely to help you stay focused on your music goals.

Let Your Music Goals, Not Distractions, Distract You
If you constantly lose focus on your music goals, you pretty much render them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits of losing your focus. One of the most practical ways to maintain focus is to allow your music goals to constantly distract you. You’ll inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times it happens and the duration by facilitating your goals to distract you back to your focus.

Now, how do you do that? It’s simple: make visual cues.
There’s a saying that if you don’t see it, you’ll probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold the majority of sensory receptors in the human body. Therefore, the eye is a major component of focus.

The following cues are simply things that will trigger you to focus or refocus your attention back onto your goals.

What type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:
1. Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desk or onto your refrigerator at home.
2. Hang motivational posters at frequently visited sections of your house or music space.
3. Post-Its – write your goals in a one or two-word phrase on them and stick where you’re sure to see them.
4. Set cues to constantly remind you to stick with your productive habits.
5. Digital devices – alter the screensavers of your computer, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your goal.

Modify Your Inner Circle

You are the average of the five people you associate with most…” – Tim Ferriss

Multiple studies have proven that our mindset, behaviors, and motivations are largely influenced by our peer group. Therefore, the people in our lives have an enormous impact on our ability to reach our goals.

Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, you may have to adjust your inner circle. This is where designing or modifying your environment for success becomes tricky.

Unlike upgrading your iPhone, changing the makeup of your inner circle can be a lot more complex. One of the most difficult things to do in life is to sever ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it’s for the betterment of the self.

It will likely foster resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that served as the keystone of the friendship in the first place: loyalty.

But we must remember that above all else, when we set important personal goals, we must be loyal to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even to your spouse that is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth.

By consciously deciding whom you want in your inner circle, you are taking control of the ultimate direction of your life.

Change Your Environment Completely
This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective. While modifying your environment for it to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not enough. Certain elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are harder than others to modify. In fact, some elements that are nearly impossible to adjust.

There are times when these elements are so out of your control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goals is to make more radical and thorough changes. This can mean changing your environment completely.

Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only if necessary):
1. Change your physical possessions (ex.: get rid of your TV)
2. Create a new virtual set-up (online)
3. Change your physical music space (work, home, co-working, cafes, etc.)
4. Join a new social group
5. Change locations (home, co-working space, café, etc.)
6. Change jobs or switch branches
7. Drop distracting friends or family from your inner circle.
8. Change your spouse
9. Move to a different country

Of course, these are some extreme steps to take. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to stay focused on your goals but are still unsuccessful.

Conclusion
If you’re struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your music goals, it’s a lot harder to make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment. By taking control of the set-up of your environment, you can influence your levels of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and desire towards the goals you have set.

Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goals easier. And for many of us, easier is always better.

How do you stay focused on your music goals?

“Action is a greater restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all”

-Norman Vincent Peale

What is the definition of confidence?
According to Merriam-Webster, confidence is “the quality or state of being certain.”

When it comes to confidence, it will start within you. You can’t possibly gain confidence from other outside influences. We all experience difficulties throughout the years. As Jim Rohn would say it, “The same wind blows on us all.” We all experience the same difficulties of life like paying for the bills, eating healthy and staying fit, reconnecting with our spouses and raising our children. What separates an insecure person from a confident person is how they handle each and every situation in their life. It’s the direction you take when a difficulty comes up. You can either travel backwards or travel forward towards the direction you want to go in. When you’re able to live in alignment with your deepest values and beliefs in life, your self confidence and inner being will be nourished.

I want to share with you 3  ways that you can be confident and get over any uncertainty in your life.

1. Know your purpose in life.
Why are you living right now? When you know your purpose and the reason why you do what you do, you will be more confident and know that whatever difficulty and uncertainty you are experiencing is only temporary. When you understand what your purpose is, you will see each and every obstacle as a way of making you into a stronger individual. You will know that no matter what you experience, you have a purpose and you will make sure that you live out your purpose. What are the reasons why you do what you do? Maybe it’s for your family or creating stability and security in your life. Reflect on and understand your purpose in life. You will gain so much more confidence if you know why you’re here, and you’ll be able to move away from uncertainty and into confidence.

2. Know who you are.
With so many distractions in this world, we can easily get off track. We can be pulled in every direction other than the direction we want to go in. We can become easily influenced by the media or by friends and family. Because obstacles and difficulties arise, we need to better handle each and every situation. It all starts with knowing who you are. When you know who you are, you will be able to look at an obstacle as a way of you developing yourself rather than having a pity party. It’s all about how you handle situations and staying true to yourself. What makes you, YOU?

3. Perspective.
You can have one of two perspectives about uncertainty. You can have a positive perspective or a negative perspective. The option of making this decision is all up to you. You can either allow uncertainty to take over your life and lack the inner strength and confidence to move forward, or you can learn from each and every situation you experience, and know that you’ll be a stronger person. You see, our mind can only hold one thought at a time. It can either be a negative thought or a positive thought. If you allow yourself to continue to think negative thoughts, ultimately, you will be negative and uncertainty will take over. When you are able to continue thinking positive thoughts and know that whatever you are currently experiencing is not permanent, you’ll be much more confident in your life.

Confidence is all about being certain in your life no matter what you experience.