Anxiety while writing/producing songs

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Tucker
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Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by Tucker » Wed May 14, 2014 1:52 am

I get pretty bad anxiety when I write and record songs. If something my mind labels as "bad" comes out, my mind tends to go, "you've lost it! you'll never write another good song again!" This gets tied up too with a concussion I got, so my mind will tell me that ever since my concussion, everything is low-energy garbage.

It's arguably even worse when something "good" comes out, or I get some sort of positive attention for the songs. My mind will say, "this is it! I'm gonna be famous! This is the one!" And then I get this immense urge to show people to get some sort of little ego boost out of the song, even though it's not finished. I'll listen to what I've got recorded over and over again and try to manipulate or fit the next part of the song into a standard pop-song structure, and it never quite feels right like the first part did.

So what do I do?

Do I set up some sort of schedule where I produce a song a day? No matter what my mind says? I tend to feel limited by this again, and I end up trading the anxiety of creating for the depression of being tied to having to create every day (what if I don't want to do anything that day?)

Do I make a plan? "I'm gonna make an album!" Or do I just release frequently without a plan?

I also play a lot of video games and surf the web frequently. Should I totally cut these out or let them happen?

I also feel blocked by these sorts of mind-made structures because I feel like I'm ultimately going to fail, and that it's all meaningless so why try in the first place? And what if by taking "massive action" as the personal-development gurus suggest, I'm stressing myself out and preventing my brain from healing?

Should I let it all go and just not do music entirely? I'm pretty entrenched and commited to this path already, but is this path too polluted with ego for me to continue?

Oh man gave myself anxiety just writing that haha. Any comments or help, I'll be very grateful for :]

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smiileyjen101
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by smiileyjen101 » Wed May 14, 2014 2:46 am

You will drive yourself crazy in that mindset.

Firstly, songs don't come from you - they come through you (from the unmanifested into the manifested) - when you are inspired to express and you allow it to flow it will flow - so it's not about YOU.

Nor is it about what folks then will think about YOU.

Nor is it then about what happens to that song once it has been birthed - it will take on a life and journey of its own, if it finds fertile ground it will blossom, it's still not about YOU.

What happens to you is whatever you conceive it to be.
I'll listen to what I've got recorded over and over again and try to manipulate or fit the next part of the song into a standard pop-song structure, and it never quite feels right like the first part did.
Have you seen the movie Frankenstein? It came to mind for me .... poor song just wants to be what it is.

I'd suggest get yourself out of the way and let it flow. Albeit many 'popular' songs are formulaic - then it's a different process. You start at the foundation and build brick by brick, like paint by numbers. Neither choice is wrong, but it seems to me that you're mixing up the processes and getting yourself confused between the formulaic process (means to an end) and the creative process (letting it flow).

Some of us may only have one 'good' song in us.

If you want to experience 'fame' that's one thing - you have to realise that it also has very little to do with you.
It's what others think about you that creates fame or infamy, or ignoring.

If you are trying to write songs to be famous .............. feels like a balloon of immensely beautiful potential deflating in a farting sound.

One of the best songs I ever wrote came out in the middle of the night, all complete - lyrics, tune etc All I had to do was get out of bed and write it down!! The journey that song has had, is incredible. I hear about its adventures sometimes in places and with people that I could never have imagined for it. It's like hearing about the adventures of a child that has grown up, left home and is meeting new and interesting people and situations.

It is not, never was, about 'me'.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

epiphany55
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by epiphany55 » Wed May 14, 2014 3:56 am

This is a very interesting subject.

I wouldn't necessarily plan anything when it comes to writing music. Learn as much as you can about music and your instrument(s) so you have as many creative options as possible, but songwriting is for when you're inspired, when you have something to say. It shouldn't be a chore, it should be a spontaneous impulse. You don't want to be getting into the mindset of "crap, it's 8pm, better get my song done".

Music has a mechanical side as well, as I'm sure you're aware. I've found exploring the mechanics of music has greatly opened up my creative options. For example, take a musician who has only learned the chords A, C, D, G and E. Yes, you can write some beautiful, epic songs with just these chords (and less). But why limit your vocabulary? Why not learn variations and substitutions of these chords, sharps, flats, learn how they connect to scales etc.

The broader your musical vocabulary, the more ways you have of expressing exactly what you're feeling and letting intuition take over more effortlessly. A lot of musicians reject music theory as being pretentious or a waste of time, but my experience is that it gives you more clarity in understanding what fits together harmoniously. This would most likely help you with connecting up and complementing different parts.

Just my two pence.
Thought is the object, not the essence, of consciousness.

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dannydawiz
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by dannydawiz » Wed May 14, 2014 5:49 am

Tucker wrote:I get pretty bad anxiety when I write and record songs. If something my mind labels as "bad" comes out, my mind tends to go, "you've lost it! you'll never write another good song again!" This gets tied up too with a concussion I got, so my mind will tell me that ever since my concussion, everything is low-energy garbage.

It's arguably even worse when something "good" comes out, or I get some sort of positive attention for the songs. My mind will say, "this is it! I'm gonna be famous! This is the one!" And then I get this immense urge to show people to get some sort of little ego boost out of the song, even though it's not finished. I'll listen to what I've got recorded over and over again and try to manipulate or fit the next part of the song into a standard pop-song structure, and it never quite feels right like the first part did.

So what do I do?

Do I set up some sort of schedule where I produce a song a day? No matter what my mind says? I tend to feel limited by this again, and I end up trading the anxiety of creating for the depression of being tied to having to create every day (what if I don't want to do anything that day?)

Do I make a plan? "I'm gonna make an album!" Or do I just release frequently without a plan?

I also play a lot of video games and surf the web frequently. Should I totally cut these out or let them happen?

I also feel blocked by these sorts of mind-made structures because I feel like I'm ultimately going to fail, and that it's all meaningless so why try in the first place? And what if by taking "massive action" as the personal-development gurus suggest, I'm stressing myself out and preventing my brain from healing?

Should I let it all go and just not do music entirely? I'm pretty entrenched and commited to this path already, but is this path too polluted with ego for me to continue?

Oh man gave myself anxiety just writing that haha. Any comments or help, I'll be very grateful for :]

Being a musician/producer myself I feel that I understand your problem more than anyone else. I'm sorry to say that I don't have the solution to your problem. One thing that I can say though is that limiting your options can help you write music faster. There are so many instruments to choose from and so many different note possibilities that it's very easy to spend to much time on things that don't really matter. Setting a deadline will often force you to make decisions faster which will put your working skills to the test.

Music theory isn't the solution when it comes to learning how to write music. I know a lot of music theory and I can honestly say that I still have trouble writing music. I'm not saying to stay away from it but there are plenty of artists who write great music without knowing it.

Trying to "think" when you're writing music will make you a slower songwriter. Which problem will you solve faster 1 x 1 or 27 x 65? The first problem obviously requires less thinking while the latter requires more thinking. Let me ask you this. When you hear a song that you like do you have to "think" in order to know that you like it or do you just "know" that you like it? The more you think the slower you'll write and the less you think the faster you'll write. Take that and apply it to anything that to EVERYTHING.

The great thing about music is that you don't need to "think" in order to know whether you like a song or not. Just "listen" and honestly ask yourself the question "do I like what I'm hearing"?

That's all I have to say on the subject right now. The others may be able to help you more than myself.

sardinelover
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by sardinelover » Wed May 14, 2014 7:11 am

Tucker, whenever you feel an emotion, particularly a negative emotion such as anxiety, immediately put your awareness into your body. Feel the emotion in your body, and the emotion will dissolve fairly quickly(in a matter of minutes). You need to deal with the emotion directly, and the only way to do this is through acknowledging it. Make it a meditation.
Relax your face

Phil2
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by Phil2 » Wed May 14, 2014 7:53 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
Firstly, songs don't come from you - they come through you (from the unmanifested into the manifested) - when you are inspired to express and you allow it to flow it will flow - so it's not about YOU.

Nor is it about what folks then will think about YOU.
Very beautiful posting Jen :-)

Yes creation does not come from thought ... it comes through us ... many great artists have witnessed this, sometimes they call it 'divine inspiration', which is a way to say that it does not belong to them ...

The fact is that there is no 'doer' ... the doer is illusory ... the 'doer' is a concept, an idea invented by thought ... and the 'doer' is the core of the 'me' ... the self ... an illusion ...
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)

epiphany55
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:13 pm

Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by epiphany55 » Wed May 14, 2014 5:21 pm

dannydawiz wrote:Music theory isn't the solution when it comes to learning how to write music. I know a lot of music theory and I can honestly say that I still have trouble writing music. I'm not saying to stay away from it but there are plenty of artists who write great music without knowing it.
Of course, but those artists have an amazing natural ear for music. If you don't have that natural ability to explore your instrument intuitively then theory can help you piece together a meaningful roadmap. Also, ear training can help you anticipate movements that will help you write flowing melodies/harmonies. I see it as a "big picture" view of music. The broader your understanding of music, the more possibilities you see.

An artist can create something beautiful with just one colour. Give him the full palette, however, and he's free to express himself in so many more ways.
Thought is the object, not the essence, of consciousness.

Tucker
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by Tucker » Thu May 15, 2014 4:37 pm

Thank you everyone for the amazing, long responses. You are all kind and wonderful :D

I especially like your post danny. The idea of the mind slowing down the process, and just "knowing" if it sounds good or not. But what if you need to write a really intricate part? Like a Beach-Boys-esque vocal harmony? I suppose complexity will arise if it's needed, and unneeded complexity is a product of too much mind.

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dannydawiz
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by dannydawiz » Fri May 16, 2014 1:29 am

Tucker wrote:Thank you everyone for the amazing, long responses. You are all kind and wonderful :D

I especially like your post danny. The idea of the mind slowing down the process, and just "knowing" if it sounds good or not. But what if you need to write a really intricate part? Like a Beach-Boys-esque vocal harmony? I suppose complexity will arise if it's needed, and unneeded complexity is a product of too much mind.

Hello again Tucker.

Whether or not you should use the mind to compose is completely subjective. All you need to know is that "thinking" while you are writing will always result in a slower decision making process. This doesn't mean that no good music can be created through the use of the mind. If you want to use your head to create a beach boys vocal harmony then by all means do so. The question is whether or not "thinking" is necessary in the first place. You KNOW what a beach boys vocal harmony sounds like when you hear it. You don't need to "think" in order to recognize a beach boys vocal harmony. Since you already know what it sounds like why not just stop "THINKING" about how to do it and do it!

In music theory there is what is known as counterpoint. The playing of two or more distinct melodies at the same time. One of the greatest examples of this is any song by Bach. Now in traditional species counterpoint there are plenty of rules such as don't use any parallel fifths or octaves. Always aim for contrary motion and oblique motion versus parallel in between the bass and the soprano. Through the analyzation of Bach's music there has been an actual SYSTEM designed that is taught in music schools for writing what is considered to be "good counterpoint". Now it is said that Bach could IMPROVISE fugues on the spot which is a type of music that is made up completely of counterpoint.

Did Bach have time to "think" about EACH and EVERY single note when he was doing this? He didn't need to think in order to create his fugues because he simply had an intuitive understanding of what great counterpoint sounded like.

There are plenty of AMAZING musicians out there who have never learned a word of music theory. I'm not talking about just your average rock and roll artist. I'm talking about composers of GREAT orchestras. People have who never spent a day in music school.

When it sounds good it sounds good and you'll know it. It's simply a matter of experimenting with different note combinations/patterns until you can find it. Listen deeply and let your intuition give you the answers.

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smiileyjen101
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Re: Anxiety while writing/producing songs

Post by smiileyjen101 » Fri May 16, 2014 4:16 am

But what if you need to write a really intricate part? Like a Beach-Boys-esque vocal harmony? I suppose complexity will arise if it's needed, and unneeded complexity is a product of too much mind.
Nailed it!!!

Right on key, letting the answer express itself!! :wink:
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

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