Mixing is one of the most difficult parts of the production process to master. Time must be spent developing your ears, learning the ins and outs of your mixing software, and gaining experience through mixing numerous tracks. While the time and effort put into this part of the production process is necessary, there are a few tips and techniques that you can apply to your mixes to help speed up the learning process and help you get to a professional mixing level quicker. In this article, I will go over the top five mixing tips that music producers should be using.
Feeling lost and uninspired as a songwriter is a pretty awful feeling. When the flow of ideas narrows down to a trickle without warning or explanation, songwriters usually have to change up their process to get things moving again. If you’re feeling creatively stuck making music, we’ve got four exercises to promote inspiration and put you in a new musical mindset:
“How many songs are you working on right now?” is a question I get asked a lot that I can’t give a simple answer to. On various hard drives scattered around my house I’ve got dozens of unfinished recordings ranging from single melodies to entire songs. On my phone there are almost a hundred more. I’m of the philosophy that musical ideas worth exploring can come to me any place and any time, so I do my best to be prepared when they do.
But being ready for new ideas to find me and not being able to move on from the past are two different things. I can’t speak for every songwriter, but putting valuable time and energy into attempting to transform old demos into new finished songs is almost always fruitless and futile for me. If you’re stuck in a pattern where it feels impossible to let go of your old, unfinished music, here’s some inspiration for cutting ties and moving forward.
Stereo imaging is an important component of creating a three-dimensional mix. Without this stereo imaging, our mixes would sound flat, two-dimensional, and uninteresting. Ensuring that the elements in your mix occupy the entire stereo spectrum in a balanced way is crucial for the success of your track. Below I have listed 5 ways you can stereo widen your sounds to create a professional three-dimensional mix.
Before I go over the top five tips for stereo widening, I would like to go over what exactly stereo imaging is and what instruments you should stereo widen. Stereo imaging is the perceived spatial locations of a sound source.
Instruments that respond well to stereo widening are sounds that are high-frequency dominant. High frequencies are directional, meaning that you can better perceive where they are in space much better than lower frequency elements. Leads, high hats, background sounds, and any other elements that contain a fair amount of high frequencies are all great elements to stereo spread in your mix to create a wide professional stereo image. Here are the top 5 tips for stereo widening.
Writing music for the first time can be one of the most exciting things in the world, no matter your age and ambition. Whether you’re still in high school or have been a musician for decades, writing music is an experience different than anything else. But things like fear of failure and not knowing where to begin keeps a lot of musicians from writing music. If you’re someone interested in writing music for the first time, here are three things to remember during the process:
Without a compelling song arrangement, your track stands very little chance of keeping the attention of your listener. The song arrangement must draw in your listener with its dynamics, change in sounds, transitions, and sequencing of elements. But how do we create these compelling arrangements and make sure we are giving the listener a memorable listening experience?
Creating music can be bruising or even downright crushing at times. Writing meaningful music often requires isolation, vulnerability, and fortitude in withstanding dead-end after dead-end throughout the creative process. When an idea is finished, it’s put out into the world for everyone to hear and criticize – or even worse, to be ignored or never heard in the first place.
If you make music, you are inviting disappointment into your life in some form. And while young musicians seem to be able to roll with the inevitable physical and emotional punches of a music career, older musicians don’t cope as well. Add in the fact that as musicians age the non-musical aspects of their lives become louder and more pressing, and it’s easy to see why so many people stop making music after their twenties. An image of someone at a desk job reminiscing about the good old days of being in a band comes to mind. Lots of perfectly talented musicians trade in their dreams for lives that are financially and emotionally safer with claims that they weren’t good enough to keep making music. But the truth is that when musicians lose their passion, the world loses something as well. Individual musicians lose a vital creative outlet and the rest of us lose the music they would’ve made if they wouldn’t have quit.
You might not think of it this way, but making music is risky. What if what you come up with is bad? Or, almost worse, what if you love what you write but it doesn’t click with anyone else? Self-doubt is a major hurdle that keeps musicians from meeting their potential, but there’s another culprit out there that’s just as dangerous for songwriters but far less talked about: disorganization. Creating a songwriting schedule is a solid way to ensure you reach your goals by getting big things done incrementally and consistently.