If you had to climb a humongous mountain today, how would you approach it?

I imagine standing there at the foot of the mountain, completely overwhelmed by how impossible it all seems. I mean, heck, you can’t even see the summit from here.

How am I supposed to climb this thing?

It feels the same way when you sit at the foothills of a big recording project or a big mix.

You sit there with a session on the screen in front of you, and you just don’t really know where to start.

You know what’s possible.

You know other people have done it before.

But it just seems too big to wrap your head around.

This leads to things like procrastination.

And that’s no bueno.

So here’s a solution for you:


Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro might seem overwhelmingly impossible. But getting over that ONE small hill in front of you? That’s not such a big deal, right?

If you struggle with overwhelm, then you’ve GOT to starting “chunking” your projects.

Take that big project and break it into chunks. Keep breaking them into chunks until each chunk seems very doable.

If the chunk still scares you a bit, chunk it a few more times.

Here’s an example of chunking a big mix you need to work on:



Set up the routing on the mix. Create a bus for drums, guitars, vocals, keys, etc.
Do a static mix of the song. (Simply listen to the song over and over and adjust faders until you’re happy.) If that seems too big of a chunk, chunk it some more:
Balance drums
Balance the bass against the drums
Balance all the guitars
Balance keyboard parts
Balance vocals
Work on Drums (tweak balance, add EQ, compression, saturation, reverb as needed)
Work on Bass (tweak balance, add EQ and comp as needed)
Work on Guitars
…etc. etc.
When your next task on a project is something simple like “Add EQ to Bass,” you stop feeling so overwhelmed, and instead you just grab an EQ plugin and start working.

That’s the point of all this, to get you WORKING on something.

A great way to practice “chunking” your mixes is to join Dueling Mixes.

This month’s song is one of the songs off of my upcoming album. It’s got lots of “chunking potential” — drums, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitars, lead guitar, pianos, and even a choir.

Chunk it up.

Next thing you know, you’ve finished a mix, and you’re itching to do another one. 🙂

Get rolling here:


Joe Gilder
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