The Music Process: Organization

I am not a master at organization when it comes to my music, but I can tell you what works and what doesn’t work for me. Maybe it could help you.

The line between “productive” and “creative” is always getting crossed. I continually move from one to the other. This means that I start to organize my music then get the creative urge to try this new synth or something and I am derailed from my organizing, again.

My DAW’s Project Folder

In my project folder, there are a ton of files of music that is unfinished. I put in a few more folders there to help me organize my music creations (in this case in FL Studio, but it can be any DAW and seriously does not matter at all.)

  • A – PIECES – These are all of those unfinished tunes. Each gets a folder now of its own under the scraps folder. So this looks like a folder of folders. In each folder for a tune, there may be multiple files that are revisions of the particular tune. This is true for all the folders in the Finished and Released folders as well. These files are all unfinished meaning they are neither mixed nor mastered. Most are just snippets of tunes that could be made into longer compositions. Many are a particular synth sound that I recorded and thought could make a tune later.
  • B – FINISHED – These are sub-folders of tunes that are essentially done, but not released. They are full-formed and mixed well. They are probably mastered but all should be checked again for proper mixing and mastering. They sit here as candidates for release and are uploaded to my Bandcamp page in unreleased singles and albums so that I can listen to them as a listener would – in their car or on their headphones. A lot of these will get revised and re-uploaded to check them again and again. Finally they will graduate to released status as the album or single gets released on Bandcamp and they are essentially archived in the Released folder.
  • C – RELEASED – These are the tunes that are completed. They are released to the public and this is a place to keep them for archiving. I also occasionally go back to these to re-master or tweak them, or to generate a video for them.
  • X – SCRAPS – Yes, I keep my junk. I keep it until it is definitely not useful any more.
  • NOT IN A SUB-FOLDER – These are files I am currently working on. I’m not done with them enough to move them to any folder. If I don’t touch them for awhile then I move them to a folder – usually the scraps folder.

This kind of organization works for me in my music because it allows me to keep files when I am in my creative mode, yet lets me move from scraps to finished when I am in my productive mode.

I now have a pile of scraps that I can go to and see what kind of good stuff I may have in there that I can finish. This is creative in itself and moves me toward a productive end.