Meet Ben Whitfield, an accomplished English composer with a passion for creating epic, hybrid, and cinematic music. With a keen ear for detail and a relentless drive to produce the highest quality work, Ben is known for his unique sound design and has been featured in major epic music channels. He is dedicated to learning and improving his craft and sharing his experience with others. In this guest post, he offers a few tips from his experience as a composer for those who want to get ahead in their music production journey.
Before we dive into the tips, I would like to recommend checking out "Eden", a stunning composition by Ben that perfectly showcases his signature style of blending massive, dramatic sounds with a sense of beauty and harmony. The track evokes images of giant waves crashing on the shore, creating an epic and cinematic experience.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the tips that Ben has shared with us, in his own words, based on his personal experience.
Tip 1; Bro, go to sleep
The biggest lesson I think I've ever learned in my life so far is the importance of sleep. Since I started working, long and shit hours 6 months ago, my sleep went to shit. And it impacted my life badly in ways I didn't see until now. My productivity and inspiration for music went down the drain, my workouts and training was impacted badly as I was less productive for those too, I spent all days drowsy and negative thoughts took over my mind more than often. I just started relying more than ever on bad habits such as too much video games, youtube etc, and instant gratification activities to turn to since I was too tired to face up to the important stuff that takes effort, such as making music or working out. Even at work itself, at my job, I was performing way slower and worse since I was always tired.
Since Christmas Eve I began fixing my sleep schedule. The results in just a week are night and day. I have all the energy to be back, smashing out music again, I can smash out my workouts and training again with the energy I need, I can clear my mind of negative, shrouded thoughts and focus on what is important and feel calmer.
You really need to sleep, guys. Especially as creatives, it's literally impossible to write good music when you're tired. If you're writing music when tired, I can guarantee it isn't as good as what you could be doing if you had enough sleep. After all, being tired makes you worse at literally every single activity imaginable, apart from sleeping. I really urge you to get a proper sleep schedule in place. You don't have to be up at and in bed at the same time every single day, some stuff in life might get in the way of that, such as work. But aim for the same amount of hours in bed each night. I personally aim for 8, and since sleep efficiency is a thing, and 8 hours in bed isn't equal to 8 hours of sleep, I actually sleep for 9 now.
Sleep is the foundation for everything you do in life kings.
Tip 2; Mindfulness
Life advice here. Relates a lot to music too. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing only on the present. Block out all other random thoughts, especially the negative ones. Living in the moment like this allows you to be at peace in your mind. It's an amazing practice, life-changing I'd say. It's simple to practice too, just all day every day, practice blocking out random and negative thoughts and focus on the present. It'll take a long time to perfect the art of it but it has massive benefits, with music too, because you can eliminate a lot of self-doubt and procrastination through mindfulness.
Tip 3; The concept of self-improvement and a life of discipline
Self-improvement is the most important thing to focus on if you wish to chase a life of growth and prosperity. Discipline and hard work are talked about a lot, but the first thing you need to do is self-assess yourself and your situation, and ask yourself, are you really living a life of discipline? Discipline is the act of doing something beneficial when you do not want to. Don't feel like making music, or working, or going to the gym, or doing this chore or that chore, etc? Shut up and do it, and don't moan about it. That is discipline. Doing something you love doing is not discipline.
Now that doesn't mean that doing something you love doing, can't be hard work that pays off, it's still a good use of your time and is good work, but to train discipline you need to exit that comfort zone and begin doing things you maybe don't want to do, that will further your growth in life. For example - working out, or picking up another side hustle to make money, or getting a job or going to school, etc.
Discipline and adversity in life are the two things that really trigger growth. I always like to refer to the example of the gym with this topic - hard work, and stress on your muscles triggers muscle growth. If you do the same old 50 pushups a day every day you will very quickly see that progress stagnates. Nothing happens after the first week. Because your body becomes fully used to this much load. And once it's used to it and has done the exact same thing so many times it no longer requires the muscles to work hard, and working hard is what causes them to grow.
Now you can take that, and apply to it life and self-improvement. If all you do is make music every day for most of the day, you quickly become used to this. You're not pushing your body outside of any comfort zones anymore. It isn't becoming stressed enough to really see growth. You most likely love making music too so you're not needing to apply any discipline to your days. So what you're effectively doing is sitting around doing the thing you love all day - which is great but leads to no real growth outside of music, in this case.
So whether you're a man looking to ascend into manhood, or a woman into womanhood, take these steps and apply them to your life in general, and if you're interested in this sort of lifestyle, this will lead you to major self-improvement and living a very happy and fulfilled life.
Tip 4; Don't fear pain
So I had a realization in the gym today after I have just created myself a new workout plan and started a new approach to working out I realized that before, despite not knowing this, I was scared of struggling in my workouts. I wanted to feel like I was smashing it with ease every session. Therefore never properly pushed myself, which resulted in rather stagnant growth. I'm very grateful to have come to this realization because my growth will now skyrocket.
And now that I am sitting here back working on some music, I realized the exact same can pretty much apply here too. And in life in general, so I wanted to make a tip about it to make you aware. Face pain. Face hardship, suffering, tough times, and challenges, do not run from these things, because without putting yourself under these intense situations and straining yourself, in whatever way that may be (mentally, physically, etc) you will not see major growth.
Tip 5; When times get tough
This is inevitable. In my opinion, anyone who wants to become a great composer will have to go through tough times. That's how great composers are made. Tough times force hard work and critical thinking and push your mindset to the limit. This causes growth. Think of it like working out - if you push your body hard, you trigger hypertrophy which tears and breaks down muscles, only to rebuild them bigger and stronger than before. It's effectively the same process but with the mind.
Don't be scared of hard times. You shouldn't force yourself to enjoy or ignore them, but face them head-on. Step one is acknowledging and accepting that you're going through a shit spot in life. Once you figure this out embrace it and begin the grinding slog of coming out the other side. It won't be a smooth ride of course, but keep in mind what I said at the start. The bumpier the ride and the harder you are forced to push yourself the more you're stimulating your mind and growth.
You will feel like you're not making any progress or getting anywhere but it's not true. You are growing, it's just not immediately apparent. Be patient and keep fighting through and you will definitely come out of the other side and THAT is when you see the results of your growth.
Tip 6; Resilience when composing
There is great stuff to be said about resilience in the bigger picture, like how hard work pays (very true), and how practice makes perfect (very true). But people often overlook the importance of resilience in the smaller picture. For example, let me focus in on how important it is to be resilient when working on a track.
It's very common to feel that stage of working on a song, where it starts to get very tedious, and feels like you're not making much progress after you fly through the initial sketch phases. Well, this stage is where you have to be resilient. Keep soldiering through tackling it bit by bit, processing all your sounds, writing in new lines, adding new layers, panning stuff, etc. And eventually, you break through. You will know exactly when you break through because you will feel it. It's a great feeling. Once you break through, you take a step back and listen to the track and realize how amazing it's sounding now, thanks to the resilient work you've been keeping on with.
And from that point onwards, the track is pretty easy to finish. It will mostly just be some final adjustments to the mix or automation etc. Hopefully, this applies to some of you and helps out!
Tip 7; Do not beat yourself up
It's very unhealthy to beat yourself up mentally (or physically) over a lack of productivity, or a lack of success with a track, or writer's block, etc. I know it can be very hard to not to do this, trust me I know man but, you gotta teach yourself to stop feeling this way. You gotta teach yourself to just accept whatever happened. Accept it, move on, and better it tomorrow.
A great way to look at it, which helped me a lot, was to look at it like this; You've come to the end of the day. You're about to go to bed, and now you begin thinking over how you did today with your composing session, and you start to feel angry/sad/fed up about the fact that you feel you weren't as productive as you should of been. Well put it this way, whatever you got done today, is done. You can not change that. So you have two choices. Either what's done is done, and you go to sleep, forget about it, de-stress and try again tomorrow, or option B; what's done is done, and you go to sleep, stressed af, angry, and feeling like shit. The obvious answer that sounds better is A, and that's healthier for you too.
It's ok to hold yourself accountable, but don't be over the top about it. Don't feel the need to have top-class, 100% perfect productivity and success every day. It's such an unrealistic expectation. You're gonna have crap days, just accept it and carry on forward! I know this isn't easy to do though, but really try to train yourself in the art of this mindset guys, it'll make you much happier and healthier overall.
If you're wondering how to practice this mindset, just every time you start beating yourself up over something like this, remember this and hold yourself accountable, tell yourself to stop and calm down. It will be tough but with a bit of mental discipline, you got this.
A huge thank you goes to Ben for sharing these amazing tips with us. Ben's advice is not only valuable but also very inspiring and relatable. He is a skilled musician with a bright future ahead and these tips are a testament to his hard work and perseverance. He is a true inspiration for those looking to make a name for themselves in the music industry.
Ben's future plans are mainly focused on working with music production libraries and publishers to get his music used in professional settings such as TV, films, and trailers, particularly in trailer music and TV music. He is currently working on a trailer EP titled "Souls For Sale" and plans to release more tracks from it soon. Ben has a lot of releases coming in the near future, so stay tuned for more of his music.
If you want to support Ben and follow his work, the best way to do it is by checking out his YouTube channel or Spotify. For those who want to get in touch with him, the best way to do it is by adding him on discord using his discord handle,
Ben Whitfield#1830. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and are excited to see his continued success in the music industry.