Make Better Music 58: Go Where the Barriers Are

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

An intriguing piece of advice I was given about getting into the music industry many years ago was “Go where the biggest barriers are”.

Kind of confusing advice, I thought, but it eventually sunk in and I got it. It applies to all sort of things, and actually still rings true even after the huge “internet shift” that has drastically changed the music industry in recent years.

Just being willing to take on this challenge would already set you apart from most of the opposition.

The idea is simple – things that are easy to do can be done by more people than things that are hard. You want to make your music available as a “self release” via a service like bandcamp? Go for it, it’s easy! The downside is, anyone can do it. In fact I could do a quick tune right now and have it on bandcamp in an hour.

However, if you want you album to be a triple vinyl release on Warp (or insert your fantasy label of choice here..Tzadik anyone?)…then you may find that quite a challenge.  The interesting thing is though, that the triple vinyl deal with Warp  virtually impossible to achieve for you or me, it is not, as far as I can tell – actually impossible. As soon as you realise that it is not impossible, it means you could achieve – it just becomes a matter of figuring out how to achieve it.

You can research how they found out about acts they signed. You can find out how and why they signed them. You can even contact someone at their office and ask what conditions you’d need to fulfil for them to sign you. Then set about doing those things. Why not? It might even work!

Just being willing to take on this challenge would already set you apart from most of the opposition.

This is where I find the parallel with making music. If you want to improve you’ll need to challenge yourself.  Without a challenge, progression is not possible. Whether you are wanting to increase your mastery of an instrument, composing techniques, mixing, or sequencing skills, you’ll need to set yourself a challenge, put barriers in the way and overcome them.  Choose the path that is blocked, and if you can get through, you be one of a talented few to do so.

That is the idea of the advice – go where the barriers are: it will put you into an elite group which contains less people.  The less people you are competing with, the more success you will achieve.

 


About Dave.

David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition. He is a founder member of Avant Pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith.

Make Better Music is updated every Tuesday. For previous articles search for ‘Dave Graham

Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avatar
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.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.