Deciding to write an album of your own music is a big decision and a huge endeavor. Putting together a collection of your finest work often times creates a great deal of anxiety, as you’re never really sure if what you’re doing really sounds good. Or, you’re just getting a smile and nod from friends, family and peers. This leads to a lot of second guessing and ultimately a lot of procrastination.
Every year, around Christmas time, musicians of all sort will usually receive some new musical item that will finally help them complete the lifelong dream of recording and finishing an album. A beautiful gift, indeed! But, no gift can completely finish an album by itself. So, in this article, I’d like to cover a few methods, and mindsets to guide you through to the completion of your songs, and ultimately an album.
1. It’s Never About the Gear…
Sure, music gear costs a lot of money, and you want to see and hear your hard earned investments, or someones else’s investment in you, used. But, the actual song is formed not in a computer, or on a guitar. It’s formed in the mind. Well, the good ones, anyway! Making this distinction is critical, as it removes the idea that you can only write songs when you’re at home with your new instrument, laptop, drum machine, whatever. You free yourself up to take notes at lunch, sing in the shower again, and do the human things you do that generate creativity and music! By opening yourself up to the idea of the world being a musical place, instead of just the studio, you keep yourself creating. So, things get broken, lost, stolen, or misplaced, you’re still rocking.
Taking gear out of the equation also frees one more things within your mind: The idea that your new guitar, computer, drum machine, horn, bugle has to be on every song on your album… It doesn’t! Remember, if you make an album, that album is about your music, not your gear. Good songs tend to write themselves and sometimes they will tell you that you don’t want/need a particular instrument, voice, drum sound, or effect. You can hear the song tell you this by listening to it and noticing that something doesn’t work.
2. Take Breaks!
When someone finally gets pumped about finishing an album, sometimes the milestones become more important than the quality of the product. Music needs time to breath, just like a fine wine. If you force it, especially when you’re burned out from playing too much music, you wind up bringing bland and undesirable elements in to the music. Boring guitar parts, uninspired bass riffs, melancholic vocals with little substance. Of course, this undesirable state can be easily rectified by taking a break. For recording sessions, I like to take a ten minute break on the hour to rest my ears and gain some outside inspiration. By resting my ears, I gain much more objectivity when I return to the session. I’ve forgotten about nuances that few will notice and I can really hear the song again, aside from silly production gripes and insecurities.
3. It Ain’t About the Money…
A lot of people think you need a ton of money to complete a decent album. Actually, a lot of great albums have been written in less than stellar environments, on questionable equipment by people who had mere pennies to their names. No, the way you complete an album is by the desire to do it. You have to want to hear that music that you hear in your head. You have to be dedicated and you keep working on it, till it’s complete. Now, money can buy you recording time at a great studio. But, if you’ve never recorded at a studio before, how do you even know how to book the time, much less know how much recording time you’ll even need? This is where you might consider diverting your purchases from new gear and empty recording sessions over to a producer who can assist you in:
- Assessing how much recording time you really need
- Help you set and maintain realistic production milestones
- Introduce and guide you through real studio production standards
- Give you objective feedback when you aren’t sure
As a producer, I can assist you in both recording time, help you polish your tracks, and finish your album, or song, without breaking the bank.
Email me to set up an appointment. I’ve assisted in getting both multi-million dollar video games off the ground, albums, videos, and remixes. Allow me to guide you through the magic of audio production, and finally finish that album!