Football practiceHave you heard of Nick from He’s an Ableton/sound design guru (and a cool guy).

He wrote a blog post recently on how to train yourself to be creative, even if you’re not feeling it. It’s a great read (and I’ve linked to it at the bottom of this post).

At one point, Nick writes:

Practice makes perfect: An overused saying that nevertheless rings absolutely true. The necessity of actually doing something is inescapable if one plans on getting better at their chosen craft.

Recording may be a hobby for you, or perhaps you’re aspiring to make a full-time income from it. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, you should take these words to heart.

Practice Recording…Like Football?

I’ll be honest, I rarely ever think about “practicing” my craft. I love music and recording, and I do it because I love it. But is that good enough?

I loved football in high school, but I didn’t love always love practice. There are few things worse than two-a-day practices in Mississippi in August.

Had I only practiced when I felt like it, would I have been any good? Nope. And I would’ve been kicked off the team.

But why couldn’t my love of the game be enough? If I really loved the sport, wouldn’t that make me awesome at it? Nope, I needed to train my body to play the game.

At 185 pounds, I was not cut out to be an offensive lineman, so I had to learn how to use leverage and good position to block that freaking 300-pound nose tackle in the state championship. (Man, that guy was huge.)

Since I had invested hours and hours into practice, I was able to do the task. I don’t think that guy had any tackles that game. Had I just come out there with wishful thinking and a belief that I could do it (without backing it up with a bunch of hard work), I would’ve gotten flattened…literally.

Back to Recording

Because you and I love recording and audio so much, it can rarely feel like work, which is great. At the same time, though, it’s hard to get better if we don’t make ourselves practice. This means working on your skills weekly rather than every other month when you feel like it.

If you’re wanting to get better at recording, editing, mixing, mastering, songwriting, performing, or blocking huge defensive linemen, you’ve got to put in the time. Read a recording book, join the HSC Forums, subscribe to the my newsletter. I’m here to help you as much as I possibly can, but you’ve got to put the time in if you want to be better.

Here’s a link to Nick’s Article: Stream of Consciousness Composition and Sound Design. You can follow Nick on Twitter here: @AbletonTutor. Also, be sure to check out his awesome line of tutorial videos.

[Photo by Brian J. McDermott]

2 Responses to “Practice Makes Perfect…Even for Audio Engineers?”

  1. Michael W

    100% agree, recording is just like anything else. You wouldn’t play only when you have a show…why would you only practice being an ‘engineer’ when you’re recording a band or yourself? Makes perfect sense. I won’t display one of my first recordings…1995, 14or15, 8track Tascam, an sm58, some radio shack special and not a lick of ‘how-to’ between any of us. Embarassed doesn’t scratch the surface! :facepalm:

    Many years later and TONS of practice…it all pays off!

    Great read.

  2. G. E. Marrs

    People unfortunately end up perceiving what they love as just cold, hard work. I think they should start seeing work more as play. This way, they can keep their mind on whats actually fun and expressive about what they do, which motivates them to practice and improve.

    My first mixing was so ghetto, make-shift.. it was using Goldwave and a microphone at a friend’s house, only because my Cakewalk CD didn’t like my computer’s registry. lmao!

    here ya go –

    the track is “with you here”.

    Brace yourself for utter ghettotastic quality! 😀


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