Want to get better at recording music in you sleep? Well, this tip isn’t going to help you do that (in fact, is it possible to get better at anything in your sleep?). But this tip will do something amazing – help you to get better at recording just about any other time of day!
Yep, that’s right – as long as you’re awake and conscious, you have the opportunity to infinitely improve your producing, writing, recording, engineering, mixing, and mastering skills. It’s a six letter word, and might be the most important rule in music:
That’s it – that’s all you have to do. But let’s make it clear up front that you’re not just hearing, but actually listening. There’s a difference, and here’s what it is:
Hearing is being aware that there is some sound going on around you. You know it’s there, and you might even be able to sing along. However, there isn’t anything going on that is going to make you any better.
Listening is actively thinking and consciously processing the information that you’re hearing, and it can make a world of difference in your skills. Well, how can that be?
Because listening is crucial in recording and music. Period. If you don’t know what sounds good, how will you ever be able to make something sound good? If you don’t know what a good song is, can you ever really make a good song?
The answer, obviously, is that you cannot be any better than your ears are. That’s why we call the tp engineers and producers “golden ears.” Not “golden fingers.” Not “golden eyes.” Ears. That’s what’s important.
So how can you go about listening to music so that you will get better? Here’s just a few tips:
1. Choose one instrument to listen to and focus on it. The entire song. Maybe even the entire album. The more specific you are, the better listener and better engineer you’ll ultimately become. Listen to the just the hi-hat for an entire song. Then listen to just the bass guitar. Zone in to where it’s the only thing you’re hearing.
2. Constantly analyze what you’re hearing. Decide how you’d like to classify that sound. Is it bright? Dull? Thumpy? Thick? Come up with your own system and start analyzing!
3. Categorize. Build your own internal (or external) database. As you listen to more and more music, you’ll start to pick up on things and make crucial connections that will ultimately lead to you being a truly better engineer.
So next time you’re driving down the highway hearing your favorite song, choose to become a better engineer and listen.