Clean Studio, Productive Studio

2010 Jul 19, 2010

Today I want to hit on a practical bit of advice. For most of you out there reading this blog (myself included), recording, mixing, and songwriting probably all happens in one room. It may even be a room shared with a a spouse, roommate, or perhaps your bed. This poses a challenge that many traditional studios do not face: inevitable clutter from daily life in your house.

Via Jellaluna Flickr

From Coke cans and coffee mugs to stacks of paper and mail, to even kids’ toys and clothes, your home studio environment can quickly become a mess of everyday things. This is just life. If your studio is at “home” then it will easily blend in and become just as messy as the rest of your place. The problem is that a messy, cluttered studio does not lend itself to creativity or productivity. That being said, here are some simple “rules” I suggest you begin implementing right away.


Rule #1 – No food at your desk during recording/mixing

“Did he just say no food?!” Yes I did. Food just gets things messy in a flash. Plus it’s kind of unprofessional to be honest. If you’re hungry, grub it up before you sit down to make music. That way your hands are focused on one thing only: working your DAW. The only exception to this rule of course is a glass of water. No problem to stay hydrated in the studio!

Rule #2 – Clear your desk of unrelated clutter

When you are ready to write, record, or mix, make sure your working space is clear of any unrelated papers, books, and knick-knacks. I personally have this problem as my studio desk also is my work desk where I write for this website, email clients, and handle financial matters. I tend to pile up stuff all the time. So if I don’t file it all away before I’m working in studio mode then I tend to get frustrated, impatient, and “mechanical” in the way I make music. Not much creativity there. So do yourself a favor and clear that desk before you work in your studio. And one final thought: make it a point to re-clean up your studio space at the end of the day so that come tomorrow you are ready to rock.

Rule #3 – Close out all other programs on your computer

Since the majority of us are producing music in the digital domain via our computers, time in the studio also means time on the PC or Mac. So in order to have a clean studio you also need your desktop free of clutter and more importantly no other distractions running in the background. This means no email, no web surfing, no facebook, no nothing! Simply close out all programs other than your DAW and then get to making music. Don’t set yourself up to fail by keeping twitter open and checking it every 10 minutes. What’s the point in that? You can get more done in one hour if you are focused than in 3 hours if you are casually checking updates from the Tour de France (yep, I’m kind of into cycling, so what).

The Moral Of The Story

Honestly the biggest challenge we face as home studio owners isn’t the lack of an acoustically treated room or high-end A/D converters, it’s the distractions of home life and the clutter of our living spaces. We need to take a stand against the junk that piles up in our lives, if only for an hour or two a week, and create a comfortable, clean, and creative environment that will catalyze us into producing an opus of epic proportions. Take this seriously and watch your music flourish!

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