One of the things I know a lot of people struggling with, including myself in the past, is finding a good workflow. Proper workflow can truly boost your inspiration through the roof and make you finish some amazing music in a couple of hours, while a lack of it might give you a lot of trouble, killing your motivation and the will to create music in the first place. Here I am going to present 5 tips to optimize your workflow and have you focus on the important and fun sides of making music, rather than pulling out your hair over technical issues and other problems you might face while making music.
1. Have A Good Template Ready
I know a lot of people who are starting completely from scratch in their DAW when making a new song. While working without a template might work for some people in certain styles (such as trailer music, EDM, etc), I would not recommend it for purely orchestral music. The reason is because it might require you to add and locate samples for up to 100 tracks every single time you begin a track. You’ll have to route them, add effects and tweak lots of things before you even record your first note. This can take several hours alone in a full orchestral track! If you have an amazing idea for a new theme, few things will kill your inspiration as quickly as spending one hour routing tracks to busses and arranging, labelling and color coding all your instruments properly. Therefore, for orchestral music, create a template with all the instruments and all the articulations you need, properly arranged, routed and color coded. This way you will be able to go straight to the recording part in minutes after a great idea hits your mind.
2. Have several templates for different purposes
While you should have big templates available for your more complex projects (like orchestral music), I also encourage you to create some smaller templates for other purposes. For example one for only strings and piano. One without all the hybrid effects, big percussion, synths and sound effects. One with guitars, basses and other pop instruments. Create a template for each of the different styles you usually work with. Because if you get a great idea for a calm, meditative string and piano piece, you don’t want to wait 10 minutes for your huge 100+ track template to load, followed by a lot of track deleting before you can get to work. Also, many DAW’s already have templates ready for you to use when you start a new project. Save yourself some time and energy, have your templates ready, and go straight to the fun part.
3. Orchestrate your track briefly before you record
This is overlooked extremely often, but saves me a lot of time in a lot of situations. What I usually do is to write a little table with each song section, and fill in which instruments roughly are playing the melody, h