How To Never Fail In The Studio

2013 Sep 27, 2013

Are you afraid of failing at this whole home studio thing? Do you fear that you’ll never be able to deliver a great recording or mix that sounds pro? You’re not alone. I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.

The idea that one could fail in the studio suggests that there is a one-size-fits-all goal for recording and mixing. A target, if you will, that you might come up short of. The truth is, if you view everything you do as an experiment, you can never fail.


Via Horia Varlan Flickr

Everything Is An Experiment

At a recent conference, I heard financial author and radio personality Dave Ramsey say in regards to running a business, that “if everything you try is an experiment, then you can never fail.” His point is all about perspective, how you see the world. (Isn’t everything about our perspective by the way?) If you see every idea, challenge, project, or session as an experiment, then there is no way to lose.
I think his principle is spot on for the music makers of the world. In order to make great art (which is what we do) we need to be confident, energetic, curious, and at liberty to try things. If we box ourselves into a clinical definition of success in the studio, we do ourselves a disservice. We actually make it harder for us to succeed. Rather, if we view everything we do as an experiment, we will be bold, courageous, and innovative, perhaps stumbling upon something entirely new and life changing.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Everyone Else

One of the best ways you can stop “failing” and start experimenting is to give up the comparison game. Stop comparing your mixes to everyone else’s. Stop comparing your studio setup to the pictures you see posted on Gearslutz. Stop comparing your songwriting to that of the greats. It only leaves you deflated, when the truth is everyone sees the world differently, so we will always be impressed by someone else. It’s never ending.

I’m not saying to not be influenced by others. That’s the whole point, to listen to great music and be inspired to make your own. I’m not saying to not reference pro tracks to get your bearings as to what good recordings and mixes sound like on your speakers. I’m not even saying to don’t have deadlines. I’m simply saying one of the biggest things you could ever grasp: you are unlike anyone in the world. Made unique by God himself. So stop being someone else and instead by yourself!

Music History Is Full Of Experiments

I’ll leave you with this thought. For years musicians have been pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and possible. Can you believe there was a time where Jazz and Rock music were thought of as a joke and a slap in the face of classical? What about the engineers who invented compressors, stereo audio, automated faders, MIDI, synthesizers, digital recording, plugins, etc? What about the Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and all the others who challenged the way recordings should be made and mixed?

What’s the fun in simply copying everything that’s been done before? Especially if we don’t measure up! Instead, experiment. Try new things. Create something fresh. Break all the rules. Just go out there and fun for crying out loud!

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