Believe it or not, one of the more powerful tools you have at your disposal in your DAW is your marker track.
But most songwriters and engineers overlook this and don’t use them to their full potential.
There are three extremely useful jobs that markers can be used for – most people only know about the first. Let’s take a look at those three today:
1. Laying Out the Structure of Your Song
This is the obvious one, but still a powerful one. As you work through your production, it’s easy to forget a couple bars here or there, especially if you’re producing another songwriters work. That’s why it is critical that you use markers for this.
Basic Verse 1, Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 2, etc. naming conventions can be used here to keep things uniform. This will help you get started and keep you on track throughout your work in the session.
2. Visually Building Your Production
This is a bit less obvious. But it can help you create bigger, even more interesting productions.
When you organize your song into sections, you can easily see exactly what is happening during what sections of the song. For example, if there is a cool guitar riff that comes in the second chorus but not the first, you would know that you are doing a good job of building your track throughout – it will have more interest to it. But if you see a block of sound on every track during every chorus, you would be able to take a couple of those elements out in the first, one out in the second, and leave the third very big for a final finish.
This tool is not possible if you don’t use markers – you can guess where the chorus is, but it is never as accurate as actually using markers.
3. Cues for you and other musicians.
Yet another powerful function of markers that gets underused. Markers don’t have to just be for the sections of a song. You can break those sections down by adding musical notes to the head of the session.
If you read classical sheet music, this would be like seeing rubato or cresc written above the staff. Use this tool to visually see if you have built in enough dynamics and fluctuations in your productions. Also use it to remember exactly where you want that drum fill to come in.
Start using markers more powerfully today and become a platinum member to work alongside the pros!