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Staying Productive In The Studio: Maximise Your Potential

Staying Productive In The Studio: Maximise Your Potential

Maintaining Motivation.

Spending time in the studio can often be one of the most rewarding and artistic experiences for a musician, bestowing you the fruitful opportunities to flex your creativity, throw experimental shapes you never thought were possible, and reap the fulfilment of your hard work slotting together perfectly; the jumble in your head now laid out precisely as you intended for the whole world to hear or perhaps even better!

However, the rewards don't come easily and it should be acknowledged that your finest work won't find its way to the airwaves on sheer talent alone (stay with us here, don't let us put you off!). One of the hardest aspects of studio recording, whether it be at home, in your mate's garage or in a pro-grade recording facility, is maintaining your motivation to get the job done. And not just that, it is absolutely critical to nurture and nourish your productivity and organisational skills while feeding your mojo; making sure those flickers of musical magic still burn as embers in the driving seat of your subconscious, because those little moments of genius are borne of natural talent and unbridled passion which cannot be taught. 

So without further ado, here are a few tips to enhance your productivity in the studio! Take it one step further and add your own ideas, what makes you tick?


Take a break every hour!

Literally as simple as it sounds, but one of the most effective ways of approaching your workload is thinking about when NOT to work. You wouldn't sit at a computer or listen to loud music for literal hours on end without taking a break at work would you, so why should you when creating? The recording process is an enjoyable experience! Don't let your success be marred by the notion of having to stay glued to your DAW due to time constraints or other pressures.

Taking regular breaks will actually speed the process up and enhance your creative flow more effectively by giving your brain the chance to reset! By maintaining an invigorated state of mind, you are able to consistently evaluate what is actually the priority, manage your goals and expectations more realistically and decipher how you can tackle the challenge most efficiently. Stay fresh!

Don't Listen To The Same Thing Over And Over!

Mental fatigue is a very real and counterintuitive threat to your art and shouldn't be ignored by saying you'll just 'power through.' Sorry guys, but take it from us, it never works! You can obsess over one particular part of the arrangement, but listening to it repeatedly till your mind turns to mush won't help one bit, with every repeat you'll actually find yourself zoning out more and more. Repeating this process opens you up to the possibility of ruining a perfectly good part of the song, or potentially diverting somewhere it was never meant to go.

One of the most beautiful parts of music is also one of the most humanistic and intrinsic parts of our nature; making mistakes! Yes, maybe you did hit that note on the guitar wrong, BUT only when it's isolated, think of the bigger picture; how does it sound with the rest of the arrangement?

You can sit around all day trying to edit and comp takes till your face turns blue, but how do those little mistakes sound in the wider mix? Perhaps you'll discover that's where the real nuggets of gold are found! Some mistakes are things you need to let happen!

Leave It If You're Stuck!

Much like the previous thought, just as mental fatigue can be a real downer in the studio, so can ear fatigue. It can be possible to go deaf and still be able to hear! In our experience, producers and dance-aficionados are especially guilty of this. When you listen to the same thing over and over, you actually run the risk of your ears becoming desensitized to what they hear, and therefore your brain doesn't process those audio signals in the same way.

How can you expect to take away any new information when you're just listening to a loop? Give yourself a break, and we don't mean move on to a new section of the song, we mean walk away!

Go for a walk, read a book, make a brew, do whatever works for you! Give your ears the break they physically need and we promise that when you come back with a fresh perspective, challenges will suddenly become clearer and easier to tackle.


Listen To Some Different Music! 

Recording metal? Listen to some soul. Recording deep-house? Listen to some jazz, Recording vocals? Listen to a film score, see where we're going with this? It's so easy to get sucked into whatever genre we're writing and recording, that you run the risk of cruise control taking control of your creativity and peppering your arrangements with cliches and stereotypes. Listening to paint by numbers music isn't fun for anyone and you'll often find that though someone may enjoy your song once or twice, they won't come back to it again.

Do you know why? Because it isn't stimulating! We live in an age where people feel like they've heard everything before, so what makes your music any different? Keep your mind stimulated and passion-fueled with the flavours of other styles of music. By listening to other genres you'll often find inspiration in areas of music you never thought possible, this is how the best artists write songs that stand the test of time and survive the waves of artistic revolution and evolution.

Adding elements of other genres to your music is a way to keep your music sounding fresh and exciting to your audience, and especially with the seemingly unlimited studio power and resources, we have nowadays it's easier than ever to find inspiration. So, approach your music as you would if you were a fan and think about when they listen to a song the first, fifth, or hundredth time, they find something new again and that's what keeps people coming back for more!

Let Someone Else Play It!

Yes, you may be the lead guitarist, yes you may be the singer; but admit it, everyone has an off day! Sometimes letting someone else play your part actually benefits the band and music as a whole to strengthen your collective creativity. There's a lot to be said for this method, as it's not admitting defeat per se, but it's drawing upon your artistic arsenal and power to level up your sound. The band Primus are notorious for switching instruments to elevate their creative thinking, so don't feel like just because it's your primary instrument that you HAVE to do everything. Throw all of your inspiration and tone in a pot, mix it up and see what happens!

Don't Obsess, Some Things Just Aren't Meant To Be

If you find yourself mulling over a track for days and weeks on end, it may be time to admit that maybe just isn't happening. There's no shame in it! If every artist released every single idea and song they've ever written, good and bad, then the world would be saturated with sub-par, average music!

The creative process can be a cruel and unmerciful beast, and while we nurture deep sentiments over songs that we remain loyal to for reasons unknown, it doesn't mean the rest of the world will feel the same. Some of the biggest clues to songs that you need to walk away from are spending weeks on the same section, not knowing where the song is going, the sections may be awesome but they don't flow into one another, or writing purely from a single perspective. Yes, that guitar solo is very impressive and technically sublime but what does it mean after five minutes?

Seek out honest feedback from others (it's always an awesome idea to actually gain feedback from people who AREN'T usually fans of your particular genre) and take it onboard constructively. Abandon your tunnel vision and go back to your roots of being a fan first, it may feel like your magnum opus, but look at the bigger picture and perhaps you'll realise that you've been putting too much emphasis on an average idea, see the song for what it really is and let the magic guide you, it'll make you a better artist!

Don't Forget...PMA Every Day!