Beat block is a frustrating phenomenon that can stop you dead in your tracks creatively, preventing you from being able to produce music until it’s subsided.
While beat block happens to a lot of music producers, there are many ways to overcome it to get you back to making beats again.
What Is Beat Block, and Why Does It Happen?
Beat block is essentially the music producer’s version of “writer’s block”. When suffering from beat block, you’ll find that you can’t produce anything, or find the process slower or harder than usual. During this time, your creativity will tank which can cause frustration, leading to even less creativity due to the self-inflicted pressure.
There’s no medical or scientific reason why beat block happens, it just does. It could be from a feeling of rejection, for instance, if a musician decides they don’t like any of the beats you sent them and chooses to work with someone else. It could be burnout if you’ve been making a beat daily for an extended period of time. Or it could be stress from your other daily commitments.
A whole host of reasons can cause beat block, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. Try our tips…
1. Relax and Take a Break
It’s important to relax and take a break from producing if you’re experiencing beat block. Trying to fight through it can sometimes help, but most of the time it’s likely to just further cause irritation.
You are probably aware that too much pressure can make it difficult to focus and enjoy the process of creating something, which will only continue the problem when you have beat block. Often, a good break and the chance to relax can give your brain time to recharge and come back stronger.
2. Organize Your Project Folders and Optimize Your Workflow
Perhaps the problem leading to your beat block isn’t that you’re burned out or struggling creatively, but actually struggling with a poorly-optimized workflow in your DAW. There are plenty of reputable free DAWs available, so all you need to do is find a tutorial online for the DAW you use.
In this case, organizing your project folders, plugins, presets, and anything else you use when making music can help you feel better organized. This will allow you to focus on creating a beat rather than messing around with a million file paths on your desktop every time you want to use a particular sound.
3. Listen to a New Genre
It’s completely normal for you to have a genre or two that you listen to predominately. It’s almost custom to only have one genre of music you produce. Sometimes this choice to only engage in one genre can mean that you miss out on discovering new sounds and song structures, which can make it more difficult to produce beats.
Listening to a new genre of music while you’re experiencing beat block can bring back that fresh feeling about music and help get your creative juices flowing again. You may even find some songs that you love but never would have normally listened to.
4. Download New Sounds and Plugins
A creative block of any kind can often be attributed to a stale feeling in terms of your workflow or the type of materials you’re working with. Lots of writers, for instance, can find that a new pen and pad or new piece of writing software can get them out of the creative slump. Similarly, perhaps you just need some new sounds and plugins to keep things feeling fresh.
In this case, downloading new sounds and plugins can be a great way of overcoming your beat block and getting back to producing music.
5. Read and Watch Other Producers Talking About Beat Block
Reading and watching other producers talking about their beat block can be very helpful when you’re experiencing it yourself. To see accomplished creatives that you perhaps look up to talking about suffering from the same thing can help you to mitigate any feelings of frustration or guilt you’re directing at yourself.
It can help you relax about your own difficulties, and they may even have some advice that you find helpful.
6. Collaborate More With Others
Producing music by yourself gives you full creative control and allows you to take things at your own pace. However, it does leave you in a lonely position when you’re struggling with beat block.
Collaborating with others may help spark your creativity again, particularly if you never usually work with others. Try it out, and you may find that you overcome your beat block quicker. It’s easier than ever to find everything you need to collaborate on music with others remotely, so it’s definitely worth giving it a try.
Trying out new things to try and overcome beat block doesn’t have to be reserved for other genres of music.
Films, shows, art, and podcasts can all give you some inspiration and help you overcome your beat block. The mind works in mysterious ways; give your creative side a break by consuming other media and giving it time to process and come up with new ideas.
8. Get Friendly With the Delete Button
This is good practice at any point when producing music, but it is especially useful when suffering from beat block. Mercilessly deleting any beat elements you’re not sure of in a track can often help, especially if all the sounds are merging into one and making it difficult for you to figure out which parts work and which parts don’t.
Get more comfortable deleting parts of your beat that don’t fit, and you may find that your beat block was simply a roadblock due to a less-than-stellar section of a beat.
9. Use Templates and Loops
Perhaps you prefer to create beats entirely from scratch and be as authentic as you can. If you are this type of producer, you should consider leaning on templates and loops for a while to help you overcome the beat block.
Templates and loops can essentially act as a shortcut to getting a beat started, which is useful when your creativity is tanking. There are plenty of amazing sites for finding loops, presets, plugins, and samples that can help you out until your beat block is gone. There’s no shame in using aids like this in the modern age of music production.
10. Go Out and Exercise
Going out and exercising can do wonders for your mind and body. When you’re struggling creatively, getting out of your work environment and having some time off from screens can help recharge your brain and get the creative juices flowing again.
Give it a try, and you may just find that you come back to your DAW feeling relaxed and inspired to get back to making music.
Get Back to Making Music Without Stress
Beat block can be a real pain and cause a lot of frustration and anxiety. You should rest assured that beat block is only ever temporary. Every creative goes through a type of block now and again, but there are many ways to overcome it.
Having a good grasp of music theory also doesn’t hurt. In times of beat block, having all of that knowledge may help you overcome it quicker.
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