This might be the most important post I’ve ever written, so listen up. If you’re here on this site, it’s probably because you want to make incredible recordings. You want your mixes to sound as professional as possible. We all do. And that’s why I have to be real with you and tell you the sad truth, that most people will never be good at this. Ever.
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Close The Gap
I know I’m usually the encouraging audio guy, but you need to hear this. I truly have a heart for people like you and I care deeply about your success. That’s why it is so critical that you hear this today. If you miss what I’m about to say you might end up being like the sad majority of people with home studios and musical dreams, who never quite churn out the recordings or mixes they thought were possible.
Each and every week I work hard to deliver content that will actually help your music go from demo to pro. As do a myriad of other great audio resources out there. I want to help you close that gap from what you hear in your head to what you make in your studio. Because if you’re honest, then when you started doing this you realized just how big that gap is. I want you to close that gap.
I Wish Someone Had Told Me This
I’ve known and believed this for some time, but it wasn’t until I recently read this quote from Radio/TV producer and host Ira Glass that it all became crystal clear. Read what he has to say about being a beginner in an art form:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap.
For the first couple of years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.
A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.
And if you are just starting out or you are still in that phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is a lot of work. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close the gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. – Ira Glass (National Public Radio)
What Glass says is profoundly real and honest. The only way to close the gap, to get as good as your tastes are (knowing what good recordings and mixes sound like), is to just make a lot of recordings and mix a lot of songs. Period. There is nothing wrong with you if you are churning out bad stuff early on. Just don’t give up like most people do. Don’t quit.
I get it. It’s hard. I get so frustrated sometimes when what I’m trying to accomplish in the studio doesn’t even come close to the masterpiece I hear in my head. But I keep pressing on. I don’t give up. Because if I stop doing audio and move on with my life, then I can guarantee I’ll never improve. And I so desperately WANT to improve. Don’t you?
So today, challenge yourself to keep going. Do something radical. Perhaps you should write and record one song a month this year. Or maybe you need some new tracks to practice mixing on each month. Whatever it is, pick some kind of challenge and commit to it.
The only way out of this crappy beginner phase is to push deeper into it and get your hands dirty. Don’t stop. Don’t be normal. Don’t quit. Keep making recordings. Watch your work improve over time.