The Ultimate DAW: Your Brain

The most common question music producers always ask is:

What’s the best DAW?

We all love tools for music production. We also like to argue about them endlessly. They are essential because they help us create.

But, many music producers get too caught up in the external tools and assume that choosing the right DAW will magically make them better. It can, but usually won’t.

Did you know that you already possess the ultimate tool for music production? Your brain.

We don’t make music with DAWs, we make music with the brain.

Our brain controls every aspect of the music. The DAWs, plugins and VSTs are useless without our brain. Each knob you tweak, each sound you select, each chord, melody or pattern you create is formed in your brain.

The tools won’t do the work for you, they just help you in the process.

Let me ask you this: How can some music producers create better music with the exact same tools as someone else? What’s the difference? Their brain.

Everything we do, learn and think affects the music we create. The more knowledge and experience we acquire, the better music we can create.

When we can make our brain better, our music will improve as a result.


How to improve the brain?

Improving the brain to create better music is not just about music. Sure, by learning and practicing music you will become better. But, literally everything influences the music you create, such as your habits, thoughts, nutrition, energy, health and mental state.

Have you ever been super stressed about something and been unable to create music? I have and often. When thoughts are constantly coming and going, you can’t focus. You can’t be creative when your mind is not at ease. This is just one example of how the brain can assist or be in the way of creating music.

Luckily, there are a lot of things we can do to optimize our brain for creating music and that’s what I want to teach you today.

There are no magic tricks because the brain is a complex system. But there are habits and routines we can do that will physically change our brain for better.

Better music starts from the brain.


1. Learn

How are ideas born? Do they just magically appear from somewhere?

Sure, it may feel like that but it’s not true. Can you come up with ideas if your brain is empty? No.

Every idea you have comes from the information in your mind. Ideas are basically mashups of everything you know, feel and think about. You can’t create an idea from nothing.

Think about it this way: If you want to build a car, you need the materials to build it with and you need to know how to build it, right?

This applies for creating music too.

You need to have the building blocks in your mind to be able to constantly create new song ideas. If you’re not learning anything new, you will just start repeating the same things over and over again. (You’re essentially building the same car over and over again.)

Many music producers are not improving simply because their mind consists of the same building blocks. They just re-arrange them in a different way. This is why it’s essential to constantly learn.

Start collecting more building blocks to your arsenal and help your brain make better songs. Read books, listen podcasts, watch tutorials and work with others.


2. Meditate

Meditation is one of the simplest exercices you can do to make your brain function better. It’s scientifically proven that meditation physically changes the brain and improves focus and creativity.

By meditating we learn to control the mind better and this helps us with music, as well.

Don’t take it just from me, some of the most successful artists and producers are known to practice meditation like Kendrick Lamar, Katy Perry, Madonna, Paul McCartney and the ultimate producer Rick Rubin.

Meditation is extremely easy to start. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes and be quiet. In essence, that’s what it is.

Sounds easy, right?

I suggest starting with an app like HeadSpace and you’ll learn the principles how meditation works.


3. Exercise

Our mind and body are directly connected to each other. What affects the body affects the mind, too.

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your brain. The amount of benefits you get from regular exercise is insane!

It improves your focus, memory, learning, sleep, mood and self-esteem. It boosts your energy, productivity and creativity. It reduces stress, anxiety, depression and fatique. Just to name a few! Here’s even more benefits of exercise.

Even a 30-minute daily walk can have a significant effect on your brain.


4. Eat well

A car won’t function without gas and it won’t function if you feed it the wrong type of gas. The same applies for humans.

The body and mind runs on the food and water you feed it. But if you feed it the wrong type of food it won’t function properly.

We live in the age of fast-food, but many don’t understand that it’s not proper nutrition for us. Fast foods are filled with artificial chemicals and empty calories. Sure, they keep you alive but they won’t fill the needs of your mind and body. No wonder why we’re not being creative when we don’t fuel our mind and body the gas it needs to function at the highest level.

Have you ever had a huge meal and shortly after feel so tired you have to take a nap? The food we eat should energize us, not lower our energy, right? The more chemicals your food has and the less nutritious it is, the harder the digestion has to work to process it. It has to filter out all the crap first in order to grab the few precious nutritions there may be. That’s why the energy levels goes down after eating.

Start paying more attention to your diet. It will make your mind and body function better.

Here’s few simple rules to improve your diet:

  • Drink more water. At least one big glass on every meal.
  • Eat more foods that are in their natural form (e.g. vegetables, fruits, nuts).
  • Instead of buying the pre-packaged (or fast food) cheeseburger, make it yourself. Buy minced meat, buns and the toppings. Easy! Once you cook it yourself, you know what’s in it.


Start today

Everything we do affects our music. Not many producers think about this, but it’s just a fact. Our brain creates the music and everything that’s in our brain will affect it. I highly recommend taking these four tips and implementing them in your daily routine!


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