The Beat Hamster
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1
Ever since I first touched a piece of studio equipment in the 90's, I was fascinated with the process of making music. I read everything I could about studio recording in magazines and books, where all the techniques were laid out right there in black and white on paper. I read about how to overdub, how to mic a drum, and how to mix, but one thing that these magazines and books always left out were the REAL lessons. This is part 2 of the series.
1. Always Sample Something
I know, I know. Some of you may be thinking that I'm stuck in the 90's and think everything should be that style of Hip Hop, but that's not the case. I think sampling should always be included in one form or another when it comes to Hip Hop beats because sampling is what the Hip Hop genre is founded on.
You could be making beats with lots of synthesizers, or play instruments, coming up with your own patterns, but don't leave sampling out. Most likely, you're sampling your drums and that's a good thing, but there's tons of other stuff that you could be sampling: bass, piano, vocals - you name it. The great thing about mixing it up between samples and live playing is that it's a nice challenge for you, trying to get all of the sounds to mesh together nicely and still come up with a dope production.
2. Don't Be Afraid To Play Live Instruments
I can't play anything. I've messed with keyboards of course, and I'm sure many of you have, but if it came down to reading musical notes, it's like a foreign language to me. I just never had an interest in learning how to play an instrument, but if that's something you're capable of doing, then go for it.
Hip Hop music relies heavily on samples, but hearing the purity of live instrumentation on a Hip Hop track is really dope - it's all in how you do it. The key is to not get carried away with it because you're trying to make Hip Hop beats, not the next Beethoven composition. Keep it simple and remember where you're going with it.
3. Listen To Criticism
It's tough to hear someone criticize your music because most people just provide dumb feedback. However, when you receive criticism from someone that knows what they're talking about, use it! Take for example the Showcase section of the forums. In there, when you post your beat, at one point or another someone will comment on your beat and give you some really good criticism. It may be negative, but that's a good thing because it means that person is trying to help you create a better beat.
Even with the Beat This! Competition, lots of times members will comment on the beats that are posted, offering a wide range of feedback on what you should do for the beat, or just give you props. Whichever criticism you receive, use it wisely and remember that those people are just trying to help. Unless they're jerks. Then their feedback means nothing.
4. Listen To Different Forms Of Music
Back in high school I would often see my friends listening to only one form of music, whereas I was listening to all sorts. I know that if you like a certain genre of music you're going to devour it and get completely engulfed in it, but you shouldn't ignore other forms of music as well.
Listening to all sorts of styles of music is probably the best way to be inspired to make your own beats. Often times I listen to 70's Rock or 80's Pop, and believe it or not, I get ideas. Even watching movies gives me ideas, but the fact remains that if you only listen to Hip Hop then you're greatly limiting yourself because you're not broadening your music tastes.
5. Take A Break
So many times I've seen members post about how they “lost that fire”, or how they're not inspired at all, thus resulting in them not making good beats. It can be lots of factors as to why you can't come up with a good beat, and one of the biggest factors is that you're trying too hard.
Making beats is the same as other things such as working out. You can work out two hours a day, every day of the week, but that's actually the wrong thing to do. At first you will see great results but then after a while you will start to slow down and your results will suffer.
The same thing applies to beat making. You need to take time off once in a while and give your mind and ears a break, and let yourself recharge. It could mean time off for a few days, weeks, months, or - gulp - a year. Yes, a year. I've seen it happen. When you come back from your break, you will be energized and ready to go.
Even though I've outlined my lessons for making beats, it doesn't mean you must follow them. Of course not. Do what works best for you and what brings you the best results. Do you have your own lessons to share?
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