If you don’t want to get better at recording music and you’d like to plateau, then simply don’t try anything new. If you keep recording, miking, editing, and mixing the same way each time then you’ll likely get the same results.
Hey, maybe you’re already as good as you want to be. Good for you! But I’ll be honest though, I personally have a lot of improving to do.
Via Steve Jurvetson Flickr
Bring Something New To The Table
If on the flip side you are like me and actually want to GET BETTER at this craft, then you always need to be trying something new. Each time you’re going into a recording or mixing session, be sure to have a new technique, sound, or trick that you want to try. Whether it’s something you saw in a magazine, read on an awesome blog like this one, or even saw done in another studio, have a game plan to use that new “something” in your next recording session.
Just One Thing
I don’t necessarily mean you have to record everything totally different every time. Rather I’m suggesting you pick simply one thing you’d like to try, and try it. Maybe you really were inspired by the Glyn Johns drum recording method and want to track your drums that way in an upcoming session. Or maybe you liked the idea of using some distortion on your bass track and would like to mix in some of that bass fuzz into a song.
Whatever it is, let it be just one thing. Do everything you normally do in a session but be sure to try your new “something.” Be intentional about it and take note of what you like and don’t like as your tracks progress. It’s important that you only implement one new thing so as to quickly decipher whether it is helping or hurting your recordings.
Not Everything Works (But It Doesn’t Need To)
Not every technique or tip you try is going to work for you. Your style of music or studio setup might not accomodate what would otherwise be a great idea. And frankly, you just may not like what kind of sound you’re getting. Remember that recording music is SO subjective. The great thing however, is that even when your new “something” bombs, at least you know that it’s not something you dig. You can move on.
More importantly, the more times things don’t work for you, the more you start to learn about what you DO like and what kinds of sounds you are after. And if you never were intentional about trying something new in the studio, you wouldn’t have pushed yourself to experience new sounds or methods and consequently you wouldn’t learn anything new about your musical tastes.
A Golden Opportunity
Next time you sit down to record or mix, don’t miss out an chance to grow your skill. Bring something new to the table, try it with all you got, and then reflect on what you learned. Each session in the studio is a golden opportunity to grow in knowledge, experience, and depth of musical ideas as you discern what techniques and methods you love and which ones you don’t.