It’s incredibly simple.
Forget how it sounds in your head.
If you can’t start, finish, or always get stuck, I bet it’s because you keep trying to make it sound the way it does in your head.
The music in your head is an excellent place to start. But unless you’re Mozart, striving to make it exactly as you imagine it will end in failure and frustration.
You see, the way it sounds in your head is just that. In your head.
When I realised this simple fact, the quantity of work I finished (at least) tripled. The music was better too.
4 reasons to stop
1. You’ll miss moments of genius.
By concentrating on what’s in your head you’ll ignore or reject the other (possibly brilliant) ideas that come out of nowhere. These are gold dust. Jump on them. Hint – they’re what most people call inspiration.
2. You’ll lose momentum.
If you’re going to finish your music, momentum is key. Trying to make it exactly the same as the music in your head will bring you to a screeching halt.
3. Danger! Boredom!
You’ll tweak and twiddle for hours in your quest to make the sound in your head. And after listening to the same thing over and over you’ll get bored of it. You probably won’t even remember what you were trying to do in the first place. The only thing you’ll remember is that you didn’t do it.
4. You won’t hear what’s really playing.
This is the kicker. If you focus on what’s in your head you won’t listen to what’s coming out of the speakers. Then you’re in danger of hearing what you want, not what it is. Which (because you spent ages trying to make it sound like the music in your head) is probably a pile of crap. When you say “why is it so awful this morning when it was so good last night?” – this is why.
How to forget what’s in your head
Yes – start by trying to make what you hear in your head.
But when you have a vague approximation, stop thinking about the music in your head and start listening to what’s coming out of your speakers.
Do something crazy. Be creative. Play. Have fun. That is why you’re doing this – right?
Reframe it. Play the same part on a different sound. Play a different sound on the same part. Try a different rhythm. If it’s not working, try something else.
While you’re jamming, constantly keep your ears open for the ideas that were never in your head, but which sound amazing.
When they happen (and trust me – eventually they will) jump on them, even if they’re not what you were expecting. Especially if they’re not what you were expecting.
But above all, make it sound good in your ears, not in your head.