Make Better Music 27: Don’t Be Constrained By Your Means!

make better music. Trebuchet magazine
make better music. Trebuchet magazine

Everyone has the same amount of music gear: Not quite enough.

I always seem to be one gadget away from having what I need to make the music I’ve always wanted to make.  I think it is only human nature to feel like you just need that one (for now) unobtainable thing to be satisfied.

My argument is that we are all, in this home-computing age, spoilt when it comes to making music. Yes, sometimes software is not ideal. Yes sometimes you need some hardware or meatware (sometimes also known as musicians) to get your stuff heard.

In the end it’s your choice how you make music, but I urge you to reconsider the means at your disposal. Almost everyone has an enormous amount of “stuff” kicking around at home, as well as a computer so powerful that if you took it back 20 years in a time machine people would probably think it was alien technology!

Re-assess what you have at your disposal, and re-evaluate what you need and how you can get things that you need. Open your mind up to new ideas, new ways of working and new ways to achieve your goals.

There’s a parallel with entrepreneurial thinking here. If you gave Richard Branson nothing but a computer (and an internet connection!), he’d no doubt find a way to start making money straight away. And if you gave him nothing at all he’d probably find a way to get started, that’s his talent. The same attitude can be adopted in an artistic sense.

Use what you have as wisely and effectively as possible. To go back to business speak, use your assets, find the leverage to achieve what you need to achieve.

Don’t be limited by your means, you can and should always try to think your way around creative and production issues before resorting to more kit. Also, chances are the skills and processes you come up with will be more original than something that purports to be an out of the box solution.


Make Better Music is updated every Tuesday.
Image: Francesco Marino /

About Dave Graham 70 Articles
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition, the classic text on twentieth century harmony by Vincent Persichetti, Henry Mancini's Sounds and Scores, Rimsky-Korsakov's excellent books on orchestration as well as studying any scores that intrigued me. He is a founder member of two bands, avant pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith, and have performed across Europe with them.

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