How Do You Learn?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by fob, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    yooo

    So I’m sure most of us have one thing in common and it’s that we have real jobs, and the music is a passion project that we do for fun/free or a side hustle.

    That being said, I definitely find myself in this category and I find it difficult to balance time between creativity/keeping it fun/learning. When I get to the work station, I usually try to write and jam, but I don’t feel like I have the extra time to sit there for hours watching videos while trying to implement them. Which just might have been my problem the whole time, but it really made me want to ask everyone how they learn the technical side of it. Do you work on your project? Do you do the URM stuff and just work on a single track following the video?

    I have been thinking about watching the lessons on URM or youtube while I am at work if I have time and then work on it from memory and any notes I took when I get home on my personal projects.
     
  2. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    I usually have a bunch of songs that I'm learning in parallel to a list of technical exercises that I regularly work on with a metronome (also tracking progress for each one). When I get stuck on something while learning a song, I isolate the problem and build an exercises around it and add it to the list.
     
  3. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    Trying and failing.

    Honestly in our realm the best avenue to better mixes is lots of shitty ones, haha. The more mixes/songs you work on, the better you will get over time, it's only natural. Now you DO need some background understanding to get you there, and for that maybe listening to something like URM podcast on your way to work or even while you work if you're able to do that. Pick a FEW TRUSTED resources, not a shotgun blast approach. I for one REALLY appreciate and click with Nolly's approach to mixing, so I've kind of adopted aspects of his approach for myself. Most of it, however, is experimentation, trying and failing, learning from mistakes, etc. There is no better teacher than failure.

    I feel like in this technical field, in this technical age, we want to cling to these external resources and learn and absorb information, but we let that eclipse the REAL teacher of pure experience. I think I suck at mixing and I've been doing it for years. My biggest regret is spending too much time "learning" and not enough time "doing".

    Longwinded way of saying, just keep at it bro! Over time, supplement your own experiential knowledge with knowledge from the experts, and those experts can help put wind back in your sails.

    Oh, and of course, SSO ;)
     
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  4. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Gotta do it over and over and over and over again. Even if you know all the "rules" you still have to do a lot of work by ear, and your ear doesn't get better by reading/listening to podcasts/watching videos.
    I suck at mixing, probably because I've spent way more time playing/writing than mixing for the last 15 years.
     
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  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I learned mixing on my own by watching other people, who had no idea what they were doing. Then I shared my music with my friends, who gave me a lot of constructive feedback about the mixing, so I could adjust things and redo mixes. Eventually I got confident from this, when my friends stopped giving advice (probably they were just tired of it). Assuming I had it figured out, I posted a few things online, and no one said anything, so I posted a few things here, then I was made aware of how little I knew, so I started digging deeper and deeper.

    At this point, I don't think I am any better than before, but, on the upside, I know just how terrible I am at mixing. :|
     
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  6. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I haven't picked up my guitar in months... that probably speaks to where my interests and desires lie.

    Do whatever you have drive and passion for. That also may shift over time. Right now I'm 70% URM, 30% client projects, 0% my own projects. That will likely change and rebalance itself soon.
     
  7. isotropy

    isotropy SS.org Regular

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    So true. The one thing you absolutely can't TEACH someone is having a good ear. That's something that's either intrinsic or learned and cultivated over years of intense listening. That mixed with having a vision for how you want things to sound is the most important aspect IMO. If you have a vision for what you want, you'll figure out how to get there.
     
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  8. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    LMAO. I feel you man. I’m like “hey I know how a compressor works” then I try it, think it sounds good, then few days later hear how bad it was. :(
     
  9. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    My favorite is when you get so hyper-focused on one thing that it basically becomes inaudible. I'm mixing one of my bands right now and I was really unhappy with the snare, but after 3-4 hours of working on the snare, checking the mix, I literally couldn't hear if I was even making a difference anymore....
     
  10. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    :facepalm: Sorry for my OT response, but after re-reading the original post I still don't really get the pointer to mixing. Just out of pure interest and because I love looking stoopid: what's a URM?
     
  11. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    URM Academy is a resource Joey Stergis hosts and has guest mixers/producers, where you get the RAW track of the actual song, and the person who mixed it for the album shows exCtly what they did and you can follow along with the same tracks and see how they did it, and how you would do it differently. Thy you also have lessons for EQ, compression, etc.

    It’s well worth the money. I have Enhanced. Definitely check it out if you haven’t.
     
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  12. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    So I do this for a living, but I also teach Audio Production to University Music students, so this is something I deal with regularly.

    So the way I teach audio production to music students is that, in the simplified version of the semester long class:

    1) Know your aesthetic and your end goal
    Is your goal to have fun, make music you enjoy and enjoy the process, is it to constantly improve, is it to move to professional? Have an end goal in mind. ALSO know the Aesthetic you're aiming for always. Are you going for slick polish, rough and organic, don't care? Whatever it is, know what you want before you start doing or learning, otherwise there will be superfluous information always trying to enter your head.

    2) Know your basic MUSIC concepts, as they inform your technical decisions.
    Know what you need to know to MAKE the music and to SHAPE the music. If you're making guitar driven instrumental music with drums and bass, understand that you need to know about writing for guitar, playing guitar, writing drums etc. You also need to know about the sounds those instruments make and how they SHOULD sound. Goes back to point 1, it's a lot easier to arrive at a destination if you know where you're going.

    Sidenote: It's hard to be creative when you just "wait for inspiration" all the time. Inspired writing comes from work, so knowing musical and instrumental concepts means they don't become a hindrance. No time is wasted going "What's the chord I want next" or "how do I get THAT sound".

    3) Know your technical concepts
    Compression is always the same. The controls are always the same basic 6 (Threshold, Attack, Release, Ratio, Knee, Makeup Gain). EQ is always the same (higher Q = thinner boost or cut, linear phase always has pre-ringing and adds shitloads of latency, HPFs and LPFs fuck with phase, harmonics can trick the brain into thinking a lower note is being played to tidy up low end etc)

    Know this, learn this. If you know this, you can use any piece of equipment/software, because it's all just the same idea repackaged in a different UI.

    4) Start > Find problems or holes in your workflow > search and solve
    Once you know your basics, you're not going to know where you're lacking knowledge until it comes up, or what small things you need to learn to improve until you start making recordings. So start, get going and when the problem comes up find the solution, whether with experimentation, forums, youtube, google, asking experts etc.

    5) Make notes
    Just have a dropbox word document and write down things you're unsure of. Once you find a solution, add it to the document.

    6) Learn to be self critical, but not self-deprecating
    Learning, at a high level, is all about this. The ideal is to be able to look at something you've done and see the flaws and improvements needed, without feeling like you're less than for the flaws being there.

    7) Don't be afraid to start again from Scratch
    If it's bad, and you're banging your head against a wall trying to fix it or make it work. Chuck it out, start again. Find the problems, and improve them from the start, rather than working against yourself. It can be on both the micro and macro level.

    e.g.
    Micro - Kick drum is getting lost, EQ is wrong. Don't try and fix it, start all the processing again, compression included.

    Macro - Mix is flat, things are harsh. Remove all the processing, start again. You'll probably find it takes you less time.

    -----------------------------------------------

    You don't need to approach it like this, but it's something to ponder
     
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