what happens when the song you wrote is beyond your skill-level?
Often, when I sit down to write a new song, I find myself reaching beyond my technical abilities, almost like the song I imagine is too difficult to actualize. Now, here's the thing folks, I'm not bothered by the fact that I can't always play the song at first. I know it will come in time, with practice, and the satisfaction will be in a song that's better than the one before, along with a level-up of musicial abilities.
how do you get there from here
Okay, so you've had an idea and you've captured it to whatever recording device you've got.
So sit down and break the idea down to bare-bones.
Play it to your skill level. If its too fast, slow it down at first.
If it's too technical, simplify at first, and practice practice practice.
Focus on the technique and build muscle memory.
Practice to a metronome at all tempos, and in multiple keys.
what happens as you dive in...
Realize that you won't get that perfect take right away. It's the same as anything. Musical ability is a a skill-set like muscle, it takes training to build it up, and it takes routine to keep it consistant. Break the song down and build it back up. If you're feeling frustrated. take a break. get some fresh air, play some vids, let it rest. When you come back next time - this is where the routine comes in - push yourself a little harder. Speed the tempo up a little. Try to add some more nuance to the idea, expand on it, and bring the whole thing closer to your vision.
Breaking a song down into bite-sized pieces to chew on and digest properly. This could mean playing only one thing, over and over again. Could be just the transition between a verse and chorus, or like that part you're stuck on, is it really that simple? Can i get the metre of this vocal part to fit better? play it over and over again until you start to get it right. I'd recommend at least 15 minutes every day if you don't already practice every day.
dedicated focused attention
Block off some time in your practice session every day to focus on the one thing. could be 5 minutes, could be 30, could be more. There's no one right way to do this, it's a preference thing. In music there are no rules but as you start to go through the motions, You'll start to realize steady progress. Take note of the areas that need improvement to focus on later.
Recognize that over time and consistant routine practice, you'll get the feel for where you are vs where you want to go, vs what you need to do to get there. You might not realize it at first. but once you've got things rolling, you might suddenly ask yourself 'okay what's next?'
Rewards & outcomes
I'm grateful for the satisfaction I feel in the challenge of musical development. It's a real thing to me and it's probably the most rewarding part about being a musician in general, to know that I've pushed myself to grow in a way that is meaningful, to make a song that's better than the song before it, and to present things in a way that is useful.
A new song gives me a new challenge, and I'd like to invite you to challenge yourself too.
Gene Media Productions
Cody Gene is an Independent Record Producer from BC
Music Methodology & Creative Lifestyle