First, let’s agree that learning things take time, and we shouldn’t rush it. Learning also slows down other aspects of our lives because we have now dedicated x amount of time to learn this skill. There are however ways you can reverse this entire process and it’s actually easier than you think. Let’s flip things for a moment and genuinely ask ourselves, what are the things we do that come in the way during the time of our learning? The points I share are all my personal experience which has helped me as a composer and sound designer.
We are masters in wasting a lot of hours reading all the books we can lay our hands-on and binge-watch 100’s of youtube tutorials, but never really take out the time to systematically practice and enact what we have learned. All of the above will definitely help, but only to a certain degree. When you are paid to deliver a service or a product, your client is not going to ask you to explain the science of your craft. I am in the music production business for games. My client doesn’t worry about what chords I used, how many stacks of tracks my sessions have or whether I used Hans Zimmer’s latest sample library that has ultra-realistic samples. All they care at the end of the day is, am I able to augment their product with my expertise and save them time (for which they are paying me). Start doing this, spend double the time practicing rather than just reading and watching videos about it. This alone will give you double the results.
It’s easy to get carried away with others’ work and wonder how they managed to create that. Cut all the fuss and just focus on whether your core fundamentals are rock solid or not. If you’re a composer, then how good are your compositions? your music theory? your arrangement? etc. All the tools and gadgets in the world will be of zero value if you lack the basic fundamental music skills. Remember, there is a science to everything we do, and most of it is actually simple if we focus our attention there. Spend the majority of your time building a strong foundation, once you sort that out, the rest just starts falling in place and you will have a lot of Ah-ha moments.
The market is saturated, what you want to do is constantly shave off aspects of your craft and only focus on the things that you truly care and love doing. Avoid spending time on too many things at once, slowly build your skills. If you want to learn how to draw, start with straight lines, then shapes and so on till you’ve got full control over the basics and then start tackling a little more complex drawing. When you want to learn something complex, try reverse-engineering it, figure out its core structure. When I listen to a great track, the first thing I do is figure out the Key signature it was written in and then go from there. I am not bothered about the samples that were used, or how the engineer processed the mix.
Again, this philosophy applies to most things in life. Mute out all clutter and don’t waste time with unnecessary details. Try to understand the fundamental of the thing you want to do and work your way up from there. Even a simple house needs a strong foundation.