You know that old saying? It goes something like this:

“Even the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry.”

So, if that’s the case, why bother planning your next recording project, right?

Because if you plan it, it’ll just go wrong anyway, right?

Bzzz. Wrong.

Here’s my experience.

Whenever I try to just “wing it” on a project, it almost ALWAYS takes me so much longer to finish it. You’ve been there, I bet. You decide you want to record a particular song, so you plan to find a couple hours in your schedule to knock out some tracks.

“Maybe this weekend,” you tell yourself. Then Monday rolls around and you haven’t done anything. “Oh well, maybe next weekend.”

Next thing you know, it’s 6 weeks later and you haven’t recorded a single note.

It’s frustrating, but it shouldn’t be surprising. If you don’t make any definitive plans, you won’t really get anything done. And you’ll be kicking yourself later.

Let’s look at a non-music-related example: Home Studio Corner. About a year-and-a-half ago I was really busy with a lot of non-HSC stuff. I was traveling a bunch. I told myself I would remember to post regularly to HSC.

But I didn’t.

For about a two-month span I only posted to HSC SEVEN TIMES. Seven. That’s it.

Why? Because I didn’t have a plan. I was just “winging it.” I only wrote an article when I felt like it, or when I had some spare time.

That didn’t work so well.

Today, I have a very specific plan. I post to HSC five times a week, every week, no matter what.

And for my upcoming album project (yes, I’m getting ready to record a new album!), I’m making it a point to plan things out, too. I did a bunch of pre-production with my drummer last week in fact.

I’ll be setting deadlines, scheduling musicians, making it happen.

Sure, I’ll be flexible, and my plan won’t go perfectly, but simply having a plan will ensure that I make MUCH more progress than I would if I had NO plan.

Speaking of plans, if you’re not a VIP member, you should sign up and join us tonight for a live chat with my buddy Kevin Blaine.

I co-produced, mixed, and mastered Kevin’s debut album, and we’re hopping on the phone to chat about that process, both the good and the bad, and listen to a few tracks.

‘Twill be a lot of fun and very informative.

Sign up here:

(And if you’re reading this after Monday, you can still sign up, and I’ll notify you once the video recording is available to watch.)

Joe Gilder

8 Responses to “The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Recording Engineers”

  1. Michael

    So true Joe!

    Every album I record is given one year to complete; that includes composing the music, recording the tracks, mixing and mastering. Setting this time frame has been one of the best things I’ve done for myself because I always finish a project.

    Over the years I’ve talked to so many musicians who’ve spent multiple years on one album project and are yet to finish it. I didn’t want this to be the case with my own projects, and I noticed the benefit of releasing music [to the fans] on a frequent basis, so I decided to not take more than a year to get an album completed.

    If at all possible do this for yourself. It may be difficult if you have time constraints due to a day job (I did too) and family – wife and children (mine are grown and gone) – but you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment if you can push through any constraints and stay on schedule as best as possible.

      • Xan

        I think many musicians fall into the trap ov thinking “quality takes a long time”. I think that’s bollocks and a cop-out.

        Having a focus, setting a deadline works wonders. And you repeat this over and over THAT’S how you get better. You identify the mistakes you made last time and fix them on this new run.

        But if “last time” never has an end point this can’t happen.

        For my project Beltane we have some punishing deadlines…! We record on every Solstice and Equinox, so we always gotta have at least three (usually four) songs ready to record for these days. That’s discipline! 😉

        Then, depending on whether we’re doing an EP or an album (which combines two seasons) we have three or six months to compleat the release and get it out.

        I have been doing this since the southern Summer Solstice ov 2004. That’s commitment. 🙂

  2. Eric Jean

    Your dedication to posting 5 days a week is admirable Joe, and I’m sure very much appreciated by your readers!
    Good luck with the new album. Looking forward to hearing it!


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