How will you invest in your music journey?

2021 - The Year of Investing in Yourself? :smiley:
I decided to make this year about investing in myself and my music journey in life as a whole.

It is the reason I completed my remake of my studio in January. It’s the reason I will invest in a new computer later this year.

And the reason I finally decided to learn a few instruments (just ordered 2 Irish whistles to start this new learning journey), and invest in tools to expand my expressive capabilities as a music artist and composer.

What investments in your musical journey will you make this year? :sunglasses:


My first thought was actually that music is kind of on the backburner for now, because there’s so much else on my mind right now - but then I realized I’ve been focusing a lot on the bowed strings recently, and even acquired what is likely my first “forever” instrument!

So, I guess I’ve just changed my focus a bit. I’ve realized it’s a realistic possibility for me to do what I want on these instruments, and I have every intention of doing so eventually. Of course, I could just hire musicians who haven’t wasted 40+ years on other nonsense before getting started - and I probably will do that too - but the point is, actually playing these instruments is changing my understanding of musical expression, and I believe it’s something I need to pursue in order to get where I want with my music.

Other than that, Neova ring acquired, an updated MidiPaw with velocity transform (my idea) was just released, and also, SWAM Solo Strings 3 was just released, so I’ll be doing some more research in the expressive virtual instruments domain as well. I have other ideas in this area I want to explore as well, and maybe I’ll get around to that this year.

Finally, and most importantly right now: Career change! Don’t know yet if I’ll be working on virtual instruments or games, but it will certainly be a move in the right general direction either way, leaving more time and energy for the music.


Well, I of course have the new instruments I’m learning and as always I invest time into studying theory and orchestration. My number one priority is updating my computer so that it can handle higher levels of sample instruments and templates. I think I also want to get a new guitar amp–a good Marshall so I can have that realistic tube amp tone when I record rather than simulated amps.


Well, my number one priority is to learn more about business, communication, marketing, etc.

This is what I did the last 12 months. Almost no music productions. Very few, due to projects. But besides that, no extra music making. What I have realised, is, that during college we as students totally missed the business-side. It was very basic. Nothing “mind-blowing”. However, as I was reading books, blogs, talking to people, I have again realised why so many people are not successful in what they are doing. I don’t mean only money-wise, I mean business in general: Who you work with, do you like what you are doing, etc.?

For me it’s very clear: I don’t need anything besides working with the right people, and doing what I love, whatever it is right now. So, investing into myself, my education, my skills, is for me far more important than what amazing products are out there. I think this is what many people do wrong. Instead of focusing on themselves, their business, they focus on others things that most of the time don’t improve their life or business.

Stay safe,


I’ll add that I’m also getting into meditation and Qigong as a way of trying to clear my mind and get better focus both for part of a healthier lifestyle and to facilitate clearer thoughts for composition

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First, investing in reaching out to some new market sectors for me. I’ve gotten used to my phone just ringing - which is a blessing and a curse - and I want more calls from people in specific areas.

I’m thinking a satellite PC most likely. Hard to argue with clock speed as the primary defining factor in latency spec. It’s not 100% appealing because it will be the first time in many years that I would not be using a computer designed to run at full for 24 hours a day (Xeon chips) but rather one that seems designed to be replaced periodically (water-cooled overclocked 109xx or 119xx). But I think that the leap in clock speed will make my life a little better.

Also looking at replacing my venerable but great-sounding Avid HD IO possibly with a Focusrite 8Line and a few Dante cards for high-speed networking - to make it possible for my wife to use my outboard gear when I’m not, and to facilitate a purely host-based system when that’s the best thing to do. The 8Line has both Digilink and Thunderbolt IO and can be switched via software. So the real question will be how it sounds. All these new interfaces have great features, but the HD IO is always transparent.

I’m also wanting to go a little further with my modeled collection - some of the A M brass I found pretty usable in the context of animation (tuba in particular), and I’d like to mess with the Infinite Brass also - I like the simple approach if it winds up being effective, though I can’t say I’m as excited about that stuff (repeated listens to the demos aren’t getting me closer). I’m also looking at more controllers - possibly the Touché or a ring controller (though it would have to be a whole lot better than the LEAPMotion to be compelling), and possibly an NI 88 to replace my Roland 88-key controller.

The other two investments are mostly effort - building a new composer desk and some diffusion for the studio and learning some more programming. I want to ultimately get a touchscreen and make a long term solution for studio remote control. Looking at Open Stage Control because it seems to have a bit of longevity, being browser-based - and I’m feeling like my use of ComposerTools Pro makes me a little vulnerable because of it being based on Lemur, and TouchOSC is based upon a platform that has limited growth potential and limited current support. I don’t want to have to keep making major changes to my control environment every couple of years - and I feel like more programming knowledge will insulate me a little from dependence on developers.

Some of this is going to be funded by selling things that I love but don’t use - my dear Yamaha VL1-m and a Smart C2 compressor. Both singular pieces of kit that I want to transform into other things - I will miss the C2 but in animation I need recallability - even at the expense of sonics - so it doesn’t get used as much as I’d like.


A Business Leap:
I’m in the middle of writing up my business plan and pricing out gear and property for my digital music makerspace business idea which I’ve decided to call The MIDI Lab Project. This will be my first try at starting a business and my first professional experience in music besides performing gigs.

Classes, Classes:
I’m going to take a lot of online courses this year to learn more about workflow and the business side of composition. And I’m planning on producing some of my own courses to offer online and for the MIDI Lab Project.

Practice With A Purpose:
I’m going to continue working on my own music projects but try to make them as purposeful as possible. I will finish up a Minecraft project that I am arranging music for. It’s a Minecraft version of the NES game Dragon Warrior. I’m doing orchestral arrangements of all the music from the game. I’d like to do another Minecraft music project, but hopefully I can team up with a good builder because building it all myself is time consuming.

Gear & Software:
I’m going to upgrade my stuff. I’ve already moved from an 11-year-old Macbook Pro to a new M1 Mac Mini. I’m happy with the rest of my current hardware, but I have some software to improve. I just upgraded to the full version of Kontakt, so that opens a lot more doors for sample libraries. I’d like to get a couple good solo instrument libraries. And I’m thinking of doing a Composer Cloud subscription. I’d also like to try creating some samples now that I’ve got Kontakt.


Sounds awesome Mike. Good luck!

All my gear has been boxed up for a house move, but I’m in the process of experimenting and practising some moves in ensemble/orchestration.

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Excellent Mike! Good luck. How’s it all going so far?

I’m just starting my new venture into the composition world. Do you have any tips on making new connections and leads on how to get my first gigs?



Jacob, I’m probably in about the same place as you when it comes to connections and gigs, so I don’t have any real “experienced” advice to give. But what seems to be working so far, and what I personally believe in, is that building relationships is key.

Recently, I found and joined game developers Discord group that was local to Reno where I live. After talking with one of the guys there, he asked if I’d be interested in doing music for a game mod that another group was working on and invited me there, so I might end up contributing some music to that.

I also found out that there is a Reno Video Game Symphony which is a volunteer orchestra that plays video game music. I met up with them and I might end up arranging some music for them.

And also I had this idea that had been growing in my head since I found out last year that the band director I had when I was in High School had died. He was a really great guy and I often think of him while I’m writing music, so I thought maybe I’ll write something that is dedicated to him. Then I thought, why don’t I contact the current band director of my old High School, tell him about this idea, and see if he’d be interested in having the band perform this piece? So I found this guy’s email and sent him a message to start a conversation and he’s into the idea. So I might have some music performed at a High School band concert this year.

I’ve tried to send out portfolios and apply for different music jobs and gigs but haven’t gotten anywhere. These three examples are ones where I already had some sort of connection, either the city where we live or someone we used to know. They’re all volunteer gigs, but they might get my music played for more people than just posting it online. And I think that those relationships that come from working with people will lead to more opportunities after.

I’m still working on my business plan and learning new stuff. I finished my music for my Minecraft project, but the world itself is on hold, partly because I’m busy with other things, partly because the world is starting to get glitchy and might have some corruption in the world file. I have some backups but I’ll have to rebuild a bit, and I just don’t want to do that at the moment. For gear & software, I’ve moved into a house recently and I now have a dedicated music room where all my instruments can remain easily accessible. And I’ve started building my own Kontakt instruments. When I’m happy enough with some of them I’m going to put them on the Pianobook site.

In short, I’m still learning how to be my own business when it comes to music, but I really believe that Relationships and Community are some of the most important things.

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That’s great news! You sound like you’re really taking steps. Well done and I really hope it turns into something for you. I hope you manage to fix and put out your Minecraft world, I would love to check that out! It sounds great.

I would be very interested in hearing anything that you have available online, I love to hear new and inspiring music :smiley:

Thanks so much for the advice also. I don’t really have much Film/TV/Orchestral music written or recorded at the moment as I have just moved over from being a performing bass player and record producer for the last 10 years. I’m finding it surprisingly similar to an extent. I’m going to work on getting at least 10 really solid pieces written by the end of November and then really trying to push them to other composers and library agencies.

What you have said about working with people around you is a fantastic idea and a brilliant starting point. I am actually going to look around now for people near me to potentially work with and possibly to get mentorship from someone who is more established in the industry.