Taking a song idea through the hoops and coming out the other end with a polished product can be a laborious task. Many amateur music projects get started and never finished. Personally, I’m guilty of starting too many projects at one time; Seems like all my genius ideas come to me in one magical moment and I am suddenly overwhelmed with creativity – no time for the business end or administration, I’m having too much of fun!
The times where I have actually gotten something finished have been the times where I have been very motivated to deliver for a specific purpose or reason, such as a release date for an EP or deadline for a licensing opportunity.
So, if you actually want to get something finished, you’ll need to think SMART! Here are a couple of suggestions that may help you to be more productive in your musical mission.
S. Have a clear and specific vision
You are the leader, so it’s your responsibility to take it to the finish line. Set out a clear vision, specific goal or target for what it is that you want to achieve. Do you intend to post it on CD Baby? Is it for a licensing opportunity? Or is it just something to share with family and friends? And by when should the song be finished?
Stay focused on your goal and monitor progress toward it as you go. Always keep the end in sight.
M. Set measurable objectives
Think about what it will take, and the steps that you will take, to achieve your goal. Then break it down to a small set of measurable objectives, or milestones.
Your objectives should be measurable, meaning they are not subject to interpretation. I.e. you will know if you have achieved the objective or not.
- By Thursday, I will have the chord structure, melody, and lyrics completed and written down.
- By Friday, I will have a rough recording of the song completed and sent over to the vocalist.
- By Saturday, the vocalist will provide their recorded lead vocal take.
A. Determine and assign the tasks and responsibilities in the project
It may seem obvious, but often, the people we work with are on a completely different page from us, and in music, that can’t be a good thing. You’ll need to be clear about your vision and agree who will be responsible for what, including objectives and deadlines, if you want to achieve your goal.
If you will be using outside parties, such as session musicians or a studio, you’ll need to consider their availability, scheduling, and pricing well in advance.
It goes without saying, that effective communications between collaborators is key!
R. Be realistic in planning for success
It’s one thing to know what you want, but if you don’t have the resources, including time, and necessary skills, you shouldn’t be surprised when you fail to achieve your goal.
Consider this when setting out your plan. If you want the next chart topping number one seller to come out of your bedroom studio, it’s probably unrealistic to expect to achieve that by the end of next week!
Delivering a birthday song as a gift-wrapped CD for mommy’s 60th, by the end of next week – now, I think I can do that 🙂
T. Specify a timeframe by which you will achieve planned actions
And finally, always always always, set yourself and your collaborators a deadline. With a deadline in mind for any given task, most of us are much more able to focus on what’s important, and will get it done.
DO make sure that everyone is agreeing to any timeframes that are set, and make sure they are going to be achievable.
Simple Music Project Plan Template
Here’s a template that I’ve put together that may, or may not, be useful when planning your next project. Feel free to make your own modifications and use it as you see fit. Good luck!