Why everyone is creative, why we pursue creativity and the fears that come with being creative.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent Van Gogh. A great quote by Vincent van Gogh that any (beginning) producer should take note of.

We’ve all had that moment where we got inspired to start producing. A lot of times that moment comes paired with a lot of self-doubts: “Am I smart enough”, “do I have what it takes”, what if people won’t like my productions”. These feelings are in no way reserved to beginning Electronic Music producers. This is something that comes naturally with being creative and can even be felt by the most experienced producers. Because we all go through similar as producers, we wrote this article on creativity. We’ll talk about the following things:

  • Why everyone is born creative and can become a producer
  • What qualities you need to have to become a great producer
  • The motives that beginning producers have when they start producing
  • Fears that (beginning) producers have
  • The role that motivation plays on creativity
  • 6 personal benefits of learning Electronic Music Production
  • Quotes on creativity
  • Why everyone is born creative and can become a producer

    We believe that everyone is born creative, but life can get in the way of staying creative. The best way to support this opinion is by remembering the days that we were still a child. In those days we still had a natural curiosity and unlimited imagination. As a child, you’re also less influenced by other people and will have fewer fears preventing you from doing what you want, without giving something a second thought. This state of mind slowly changes because of social conditioning. Social conditioning results in a society where people unlearn creativity and build up fears, a topic that we will discuss later in the article. Two major factors in this social conditioning come from where we spent a huge part of our life: Schools and The Workplace.

    Why schools are killing creativity

    Okay, maybe the statement “schools are killing creativity” is a bit of an exaggeration. However, schools at least to some degree have a negative influence on creativity. Competition for grades is the classic form of external reinforcement (extrinsic motivation) used in school. The theory is that competing for good grades will enhance performance. While there is something to say for this method in a capitalistic society where competition is hugely important, the question we should ask ourselves does this method work for every child. Also, shouldn’t we put more resources in encouraging independent thinking?

    We are big proponents of spending more money on education to nurture the unique creativity of each child and to encourage independent thinking. Of course, this would cost a lot of money. However, this investment will be repaid by creating less unhappy people and more innovators and risk-takers. This is important, especially in a world with a global marketplace and an increasing amount of problems that need to be solved.

    In this 10-year-old Ted talk, Ken Robinson makes a great case for creating an educational system that nurtures creativity rather than undermining it. It caused many parents to pull their children out of school. We recommend you read his book: “Creative Schools: The grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education” as well.

    Why workplaces are killing creativity

    Contrary to what some people believe, creativity is not only reserved for the domains of musicians, novelists, designers and so on. Creativity is hugely important workplaces and therefor should be stimulated. Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t do a good job. Now don’t take this the wrong way; there are plenty of creative occupations, companies, and opportunities for creative occupations in 2017. However, the results of social conditioning can still be found in a lot of workplaces. Here are some examples:

    • Bureaucracy
    • Micro-managing
    • Restricting your freedom
    • Limiting group diversity
    • Putting people in the wrong jobs
    • Bad feedback or no feedback at all
    • No bigger incentives
    • Forcing everyone to work the same way
    • Not valuing everyone’s opinions

    Why we need to unlearn uncreativity

    Do these things resonate with you? We should realize the importance of untraining uncreativity in moving forward. This is not only important to achieve the goals you set out with producing but also to create a better society.

    What qualities you need to become a great producer

    There are a lot of factors that come into play when you’re trying to achieve success with producing. A lot of research has been done towards achieving creative success. To summarize, the most important factors are:

    • Above average intelligence
    • Task commitment
    • Creativity
    • Interaction between these 3 factors
    • Influencing factors
    • Why you don’t need to be smart to become a producer

      Have you ever felt like you weren’t smart enough to become a producer and producing music was only reserved for those that are highly intelligent? In the past creativity has always been linked to views of intelligence. While we won’t deny that some producers have an easier time progressing, you don’t need to have a high IQ to achieve creative success: Research has found the following things:

      • Being smarter doesn’t necessarily make you more creative
      • To achieve creative success you need An above average ability, creativity, task commitment and an interaction between these three components, with all components contributing equally.
      • If you’re interested to read more about these findings, read this article . It has a full timeline of researches done on creativity & intelligence.

        The role of motivation on creativity

        So we’ve supported why you don’t need to be smart to become good at electronic music production. It’s not a far reach to say that the previously mentioned component “task commitment” has a lot to do with your personal motivation. Motivation can be defined as a personal drive to accomplish, “the process of instigating and sustaining goal-directed behavior”. Motivational orientation can be considered both a trait and state:

        Motivation as a trait: Encompasses one’s innate like or dislike of certain activities, due to temperament, personality, and previous experiences; people tend to be more creative on things they enjoy.

        Motivation as a state: Can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Traits tend to be relatively enduring, while states are influenced more by the social environment. Intrinsic motivation is “the motivation to work on something primarily for its own sake, because it is enjoyable, satisfying, challenging, or otherwise captivating” (Amabile, 1987), whereas extrinsic motivation is an external reward, “the motivation to work on something primarily because it is a means to an end”.

        Motivation is extremely important in creativity because it drives an individual to persist at problem-solving. Runco says that “Creative potential is not fulfilled unless the individual is motivated to do so, and creative solutions are not found unless the individual is motivated to apply his or her skills. Prabhu et al. (2008) emphasizes the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as mediators of the relationship between creativity and three personality traits: openness of experience, self-efficacy, and perseverance.”

        “It is quite plausible, however, that heritable individual differences might influence processes related to motivation and the original enjoyment of the activities in the domain and, even more important, affect the inevitable differences in the capacity to engage in hard work (deliberate practice).” Deliberate practice in the context of electronic music production can be best explained by time spend on producing and experimentation.

        The role of talent on creativity

        The role that talent plays on creativity and talent vs hard work are topics that have long been discussed and researched. Research has indeed proven that other factors than deliberate practice play a role in achieving “expert level performance”. A direct quote:

        “”Regardless of domain, a large amount of variance in performance is not explained by deliberate practice and is potentially explainable by other factors. The amount of deliberate practice– although unquestionably important as a predictor of individual differences in performance from both a statistical and a practice perspective– is not as important as Ericsson and his colleagues have argued.”

        We recommend you read this article for more information about the research.

        What can be concluded is that a lot is still unexplained about what causes the differences in expert level performance. It’s too simplistic to attribute everything to “talent”, or at least the simplistic view that most have of what talent is. This article makes a great point that a lot of people view talent as “something that is present at birth” which is an overly simplistic way to explain it.

        Another interesting quote from this article:“One of the most important discoveries in recent years is that the environment triggers gene expression. Every step we take alters the configuration of all the cells in our body. As Matt Ridley notes: “Genes are the mechanisms of experience.” Talent develops through the interaction of genes and the environment. Talent and practice are complementary, not at odds.”

        Something that’s important to note is that producing is way different from playing a traditional instrument, which is what this research focused on. In Electronic Music production, you need to be good at a lot of things like the technical side of things, rhythm etc. With an instrument, your goal is to become an expert at doing one thing.

        So we’ve concluded that “talent” indeed plays a role in your creative ability. The question you should ask yourself:

        • If you don’t consider yourself talented, is that gonna stop you from doing what you love?
        • Do you need the talent to achieve the goals you set out when you start out producing in the first place?
        • Influencing factors

          We have mentioned the three main factors that will have an influence on achieving creative success, there are a lot of other factors that can either an influence
          A direct quote from a research done by Szabolcs Keri, a professor of Physiology in Budapest:

          “We found that many individuals with artistic creativity suffered from severe traumas in life, whether it be psychological or physical abuse, neglect, hostility or rejection. At the biological level, we and several other researchers documented that trauma is associated with functional alteration of the brain, and it also affects the expression of genes that have an impact on brain structure, maybe in the same large-scale networks that participate in creativity,” said Professor of Physiology in Budapest Szabolcs Keri.

          We highly recommend you read this article on Artistic tendencies linked to the schizophrenia gene:

          Here are other factors that can have an influence on the main three components:

          • physical features
          • personality
          • cognitive ability
          • imagination
          • passion
          • inspiration
          • opportunities
          • encouragement
          • support
          • luck
          • etc.
          • The motives that beginning producer have when they start producing

            Every beginning producer has their own motives when they decide to start producing. According to George Orwell, it usually has to do with the following motives, which he explains in his book “Why I write” in greater depth:

            • Our ego: The ego can play a big part on creativity. People like to be talked about, looked up to, seem smart and achieve greatness.
            • Aesthetic enthusiasm: The desire to be part of something aesthetically pleasing. The desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.
            • Making sense of the world: To put pieces together and see things more clearly. The desire to take from the seemingly chaotic state of nature and produce something more clear. To see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.”
            • Political purpose: The desire to propel society by moving people and their opinions, to shape the future of the world, “to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.

            Fears that Electronic Music producers face

            Ever had the thought of quitting, the feeling of not being good enough, or a fear that people are not gonna like your productions? Like we mentioned in the beginning of the article, fear is a common theme among (beginning) Electronic Music producers and creative/artistic people in general. But what are the most common fears? We listed them with the best ways to confront them.


            The fear that no one will care about what we produce, that we won’t reach our goals and the fear of failure in general. Whether you’re a beginning producer who still has to release his/her first record or an established producer trying to live up to certain expectations set by a previous record, failure is one of the biggest fear that everyone faces.

            • Remember yourself that failure is a part of growth
            • Expect when you’re experimenting/trying out new ideas for a track that not everything will work
            • Have the mindset that failure is part of the learning process
            • Don’t give up, keep experimenting and figure out what does work


            Counterintuitive to the fear of failure, people can also fear success. Because with success comes change and change can be frightening.

            • Find out what you want to achieve with producing
            • Get our your comfort zone as much as possible
            • Learn from your mistakes and only do things that work
            • Experimentation and trying out new things is the only way to achieve success

            Hard work

            Some people don’t realize that becoming a good producer requires a lot of hard work. A lot of people are not used to working hard. The people that do have that realization will still often try to find excuses to not put in the hard work. This has everything to do with motivation and habits. Working when you’re not feeling like it comes with being creative.

            • Try to work on tracks daily, regardless of if you have inspiration or not
            • Be prepared/willing to work hard for years to get good at producing
            • Realize there is no real finish line
            • Enjoy the process

            Being ourselves

            A lot of producers are introverted and don’t like being in the spotlight. While there is nothing wrong with that, you should be willing to differentiate yourself from other producers to find your own artistic voice.

            • Realize how you differentiate from other producers
            • Let your other interests influence your art (example: use of samples)
            • Don’t be afraid to show your personality or give your opinion

            Not being perfect

            A big problem that a lot of producers have is that they want to achieve perfection with every record they produce. While this is not neccicarely a bad thing, it can become counterproductive when you spend too much time one one track and can’t move on.

            • Remember that you don’t have to release every track you make
            • Release tracks that aren’t perfect
            • Keep starting on new tracks
            • Keep experimenting


            Whether you have a fear of having an equipment malfunction when doing a live/DJ gig, that people will absolutely hate your first record, or think your latest record is worse than your last, rejection is one of the biggest fears. This is because humans are social animals. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something. With that comes the fear of rejection.

            • Remember yourself that no matter how good you get, not everyone will like what you do
            • Focus on those that support you and your goals instead of those that don’t
            • Don’t produce things to please others, produce what you want

            Asking questions

            When you’re young it’s easier to ask questions because you don’t give it any second thought. When you’re an adult it’s harder because you don’t want to feel dependent on other. Maybe you want to feel like you’ve achieved everything on your own without the help of others. Remember that asking questions can speed up the learning process.

            • If you don’t know something, ask a question
            • Take on a beginners mindset: See yourself as an eternal student of Electronic Music Production

            Asking others producers for help

            Somehow some people believe that everything should be achieved on their own. This might be because some creative geniuses we hear about lived a life of solitude. This can also have to do with the ego in wanting to take credit for everything we achieve. This can become counterproductive. When you have a beginner mindset you are always open to new ways of learning.

            • Don’t be a lone wolf
            • Ask other producers for help when needed
            • Consider joining an Electronic Music Production Forum
            • Find out what you need help with and ask a (detailed) question
            • Remind yourself that every artist is influenced by others and have gotten help from others at some point

            Asking for money

            Whether it be negotiating a price for a DJ gig, thinking your records aren’t good enough to sell, or maybe even the thought that it’s bad to make money off of art. Asking money can be a hard thing to do for some.

            • Know your own value
            • Find the people that enjoy your tracks
            • Ask others to support you by buying your tracks

            The unknown

            The fear of the unknown is inherent in all humans. That’s why we decide against trying new things in life, even when we really want to do something. In life, you have to be willing to try out new things to get ahead. If you don’t, it will prevent your growth as an artist.

            • Let go of your fear of the unknown
            • Face your fears head on
            • Try out new things and expect to fail
            • See everything as an opportunity


            Marketing has always had a reputation among artist. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you stay true to your own artistic integrity. Artistic integrity can be defined as “the avoidance of compromise for financial (or other) gain.”

            • Remember that the music ALWAYS comes first
            • Remind yourself that marketing isn’t necessarily a bad thing
            • Remain authentic and stay true to your own artistic integrity
            • Don’t over promote yourself or use tacky promotion methods

            Interested to read more about the role that fear plays in artmaking? We recommend you read the classic book Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland which gets a 4.6 star rating out of 507 customer reviews on Amazon.

            7 personal benefits of learning Electronic Music Production

            While these personal benefits won’t necessarily be on a producer’s mind when they start out, it’s undeniable that producing music comes with great personal benefits:

            1. Joy – Spending time in the (home) studio brings a satisfaction and joy that you can’t find anywhere else.
            2. Health – According to research by Scientific American , creativity decreases the risk of mortality. It also cites that creating art decreases negative emotions, reduces stress and anxiety and improved medical outcomes
            3. Problem-solving skills – By producing you’re activating the non-logical part of your brain. This translates to other parts of life, like situations where problem-solving skills are needed. Studies have shown that creative people are better at dealing with uncertainty.
            4. Confidence – When the previously mentioned fears are confronted and overcome, a lot of confidence can result from it.
            5. Self-awareness & expression : We learn a great deal about ourselves by accepting what we think and believe. The better we get at producing, the better we realize who we are as a person because we discover our habits, impulses, and desires. Producing allows us to achieve authenticity.
            6. Save money: Because we get a lot of satisfaction out of producing and also spend a lot of time doing it, there can be a lesser need for material things to find personal fulfillment.
            7. Feeling connected to others: Because we produce, we easily connect with people that have the same passion: We all spend countless of hours in the studio and face similar problems and fears, which causes a deep bond to be formed. In a society where relationships often remain superficial this can be deeply rewarding.

            Quotes on creativity

            Here are some great quotes on creativity:
            “Creativity is a drug I cannot live without”– Cecil B. DeMille
            “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”– Albert Einstein
            “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
            “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett
            “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” – Ray Bradbury
            You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” – George Bernard Shaw
            “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London
            “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”– Eric Fromm


            We hope this article got you motivated and inspired to get into the studio and start producing. Let us know what you think of the article and the views we expressed.

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