The Day When Music Making Lost Its fun

2014 May 23, 2014

Have you had that experience when you are in the middle of a recording or mixing session and you suddenly realize that you aren’t having any fun?

I sure have.

You think it’s just a minor funk that you’re in, but a few sessions later you still feel the same. You start to wonder: “Has music making lost its fun factor?”


Via Alan O’Rourke Flickr

When Fun Was Replaced With Work

To be honest, I’ve had this experience multiple times in my life. When I first got into songwriting and music creation in middle school (Can you even picture a 13 year old Graham? Imagine poofy brown hair and acne and you’re pretty much there) I was having all kinds of fun.

Then when I got to college and started to study audio production, the fun turned into assignments and pressure. Music making felt a lot more like work.
But then it got fun again for a couple of years. Only to come to a screeching halt when I interned at a $5 million studio. Nobody in that place was having fun.

Recording sessions were nothing but stress, yelling, and a lot of curse words. Music making REALLY felt like work then.

Even sometimes these days all the content creation and mixing for clients can feel a bit like, well, work!

When Fun Was Replaced With Gear

Work isn’t the only thing that has stolen fun factor from my music making. Gear acquisition and research (i.e. drooling over catalogs) has been a soul sucking adventure each and every time.

What starts out as an exciting adventure into (seemingly) better music making, can turn swiftly into disappointment, disillusionment, and boredom.

Eventually that shiny new toy doesn’t deliver the angelic music you hoped it would. And the fun wind is sucked right out of your music making sails.

What To Do When It’s No Longer Fun

If you can’t identify with any of this, then be grateful. Keep having fun each and every time you make music, because that’s what this whole adventure is about.

But for the rest of us that have struggled at times to find the fun in all this recording and mixing stuff, let me suggest a few tips to give you perspective and pull you out of the no-fun funk.

#1 – Go listen to some great music.

Seriously, open up your absolute favorite album or mix of songs and put it on repeat. Go for a walk, jog, or ride, and listen in headphones. Just get in a place of music enjoyment as a listener, not an artist.

Great music, music that we LOVE, is what got us into this crazy home studio world. So when the fun dries up, go back to the source: other people’s music!

#2 – Sell one piece of gear.

There’s an amazing psychological thing that happens when you sell stuff. It no longer has power over you.

The moment you sell a microphone you rarely use, or a preamp that just looks pretty, you loosen your grip on gear and a rush of freedom and creativity comes flooding back into your brain.

#3 – Help a friend record or mix THEIR music

Whenever I’m in a funk, it’s usually because of one thing and one thing only: I’m thinking about myself too much.

So, when that happens I try to go and help someone else with something that’s important to them. You can do the same.

Hit up one of your musician friends and offer to help record or mix or master a song for them. It’ll make their day, you’ll have fun, and you might have some killer collaborative sessions!

How Do YOU Get The Fun Back?

Today I want you to share one or two ways you’ve found to be effective for bringing the fun back to music making.

I’m sure it will encourage others. And THAT my friends is what this website is all about!

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