We all run into a wall at some point.
We might be cruising along, getting better day by day. We think we’re on top of the world. But then we realize that we need to get better at (insert area of producing, mixing, mastering, performance, etc. here). And we get stuck.
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The first step is to identify the issue.
Open up a brand new session. Your task is to create a one minute recording in one hour.
It can be a cover of your favorite song, or an original. Don’t worry too much about the content – you just need to make a recording of it in an hour.
Because you’ll be forcing yourself to work fast, your weak areas will crumble. Don’t worry – that’s what we want.
If you create the recording and find that your drums sound terrible (because you had to finish them in 15 minutes), you now know that your drum programming/playing is a weak spot.
Maybe your vocal tuning sounds unnatural. Good. That’s another weak spot.
Your guitar parts might be perfect. That means you’re solid on that part of your game. You should be solid on several parts of your game, so be proud of those sections.
By forcing yourself to complete the minute-long project in only an hour, you’ll quickly find out what needs work. Which brings us to part two of this drill.
The next step is to address the issue.
Now that you know where your recordings are falling apart, it’s time to improve them. Set aside a three hour (or three one hour) sessions to only practice where you need it. Let’s say you struggled with drum programming. Spend three hours tweaking and evaluating why it wasn’t solid the first time.
The key here is to reflect on what went wrong and how you are going to do it better.
Once you address the biggest issue, it’s time to see how much you’ve grown as an engineer. Do another one-minute recording in only an hour, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you have gotten.
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