You might have heard the phrase “ignorance is bliss” – and deep inside we know that this is partly true. It’s also generally foolish.
To be ignorant at large can lead to all kinds of struggles and challenges that could easily be avoided. For instance, being ignorant of how money works and what your money is doing month to month isn’t bliss – it’s an invitation for disaster.
But for our purposes, creating great sounding music for either ourselves or our clients, ignorance could be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
In fact, without it I doubt I would be as successful in music making as I am.
Via Ron Mader Flickr
The Problem Of Being Over-Aware
When you first got into home recording or mixing you were initially excited. You had all of these musical ideas swimming around inside your head that you just couldn’t wait to get out.
You likely discovered that these days it doesn’t take more than $300 to get your home studio up and running – this only fueled your desire to get after it!
Unfortunately what you might have soon discovered is that your first few recordings really didn’t sound that great. In fact that might be what led you on a wild goose chase across the internet looking for answers, perhaps landing you here at The Recording Revolution.
If this is the only audio site you’ve ever spent time reading or watching, then you are in a good spot (biased I know) because you haven’t become tainted by the “outside” world filled with pointless opinions about what you need or don’t need (to do or buy) for great recordings.
But for most of us, however, our journey of music making took us from an initial high to an inevitable low.
We became way too self-aware. Aware of our flaws as an engineer. Aware of the imperfections in our recordings or the sloppiness in our mixes.
Doubt crept in and we wondered whether we’d ever have what it takes to reach our sonic goals. Add to that, all of the opinions floating around online in dark dingy forums, which only seem to confirm our suspicions: we either need more talent or more money to churn out the mixes we crave.
This pattern of self destruction leads many to give up, to quit. Perhaps some of YOU have quit and are gingerly stepping back into this world for the first time in a long time.
Ironically all of this could be avoided.
The Solution – Selective Ignorance
If I had to pinpoint the one thing that helped me improve in my craft, gain new opportunities to work with great clients, and even be capable enough to start and run a community like The Recording Revolution with such world wide impact, it would be ignorance.
Selective ignorance, that is.
Early on in my music making days (late high school, early college) I came to the same point many of you have been – I knew that my recordings and mixes were lacking and I almost wanted to give up.
In fact, for about a year and a half I DID give up, assuming I’d never be a great engineer. Instead I focused on songwriting and touring with my band.
But my passion for making music in the studio (anyone’s music for that matter, not just my own) wouldn’t go away, despite my lack of skill.
So I did something that seemed trivial at the time, I decided to ignore my flaws.
I decided not to care too much about how good I wasn’t, and instead I decided to focus on what I WAS doing well, and do more of it.
I decided to tune out the noise of the internet since most of it was a complete drain on my heart and joy (and wallet).
I simply turned back to what got me into music making in the first place: joy.
How Joy Helps You Improve
Think about your most creative moments in the studio. Were you stressed out? Were you operating out of doubt? Were you concerned with other people’s opinions (especially people hiding behind avatars and forum threads)?
No. You were having fun! You were experiencing pure joy.
If you’re into music at any level, then that is part of your DNA. God gave you that passion and it can’t be denied.
And it’s that passion, that joy that is your ticket to better recordings.
The way to get BETTER at making music is to operate from a place of joy, not over-awareness of your musical flaws.
To be ignorant of how much better you “need to become”, to tune out the noise online and in your head that screams “you’re not good enough at this”, is ironically the WAY to becoming better.
This art, this craft, takes time. That’s it. Time. We can only get better if we don’t give up.
If some selective ignorance helps you stay in the game, then it’s worth it!
Had I not developed ignorance to how much better I could be come in those early years, I would have become so frustrated with myself and I would have quit for good.
There would be no growth as an engineer, as a musician, as a music lover.
The Recording Revolution would not exist.
I would not have met as many incredible people as I have.
All because I would have listened too closely to the voices telling me, “Graham, you’re simply not good enough bro.”
Let’s Be Ignorant Together
Are you on the edge of giving up? Are you frustrated with your results? You’re likely not alone.
Will you join me in cultivating a selective ignorance? Will you “foolishly” plow on in your music making adventures, having fun all along the way?