Booting up your computer and then starting up your recording software already takes time away from that idea you had for a killer tune. To make your songwriting and production process more efficient, you need to move away from choosing your instrument patches, effects settings, and mixer setups every time you boot your DAW. Here are three tips that might just allow the creativity to flow.
Keep your song files in a single folder
If you use one folder for everything, it’s easier to back up your data and easier to search for things. Use subfolders for each song’s parts especially if you record audio or use a lot of samples. But if you only record MIDI data using built-in soundbanks (which is how a lot of people use Propellerheads Reason), then keep your working files in the main folder.
Why? Wider choice. if you play tracks live and improvise atop them, you get to pick from your entire catalog of tracks and even bring in something from a different genre that you may want to remix on the fly. Much easier than putting files into folders by genre. One less click for you.
Include Info in Filenames
Creating and keeping a consistent filenaming protocol is key to finding what you need in a jiffy. Especially if you play live and are constantly improvising your set list.
A few ideas:
- If you DJ, keep BPM/tempo, key signature or genre info in the prefix of a song. (ex: “120-House-Aminor-Manila Bay at Moonlight”)
- Add version numbers or dates as suffixes. (ex: “ZZ-breakbeat 20120401”)
- You may also choose to keep unfinished ideas in their own folder for future reference. Or if this is unwieldy, use a prefix in your filename so you know it’s a sketch (ex: “Unf-Breakbeat – v2” where unf stands for unfinished)
Make Templates and Use Them
Finally, make templates for your software of choice … and use them regularly! Create predetermined file templates for each task you face on a regular basis. Hence some of more useful templates might be: “composing-downtempo,” or “composing-MIDI,” “live recording,” or “remixing.” Set it up so that one click allows you to get to the work of composing, or recording, or remixing, straight away.