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Knowing Your Studio Strengths

How many times have you sat at your desk and began producing a track only to find that you end up doing a similar technique to your last track? Quite a few times I am guessing?

I myself have been producing for over 2 decades and still I find that I use the same skills I applied in the last decade or so. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, but I guess it is merely second nature, as I always end up reaching for the same tools and using the same tricks.


The reason it can be a bad thing is that in order to move forward, we need to try and get out of our comfort zone and step into the darkness a little. So to stay stuck in your ways can lead to you losing your interest in production altogether and you then become stale. I have been guilty of this many times and threw the towel in time and time again.

Read this article below by clicking the image I created on how to combat your creative slumps in Electronic music production.

But it can also be a good thing because it sets out your style and your signature. For example I can recognise a track by Todd Terry a mile off, due to his use of samples and the way he produces his beats. So it is a very good thing to be able to deliver a product and have your fans recognise your style instantly.

But the flip side of that is after a while your sound can be become predictable and you may lose fans due to this, as it can be seen to be lazy. So its a double edged sword.

I recently tried a few new techniques within my production and although it felt painful at the start, I actually enhanced my work to create new and interesting sounds that I would have otherwise not undertaken. I basically used the arpeggio effect rack within Ableton in a lot more detail as opposed to throwing on a straight forward pre-set, which is normally my custom.

So what I ended up doing here was adding to my skill set, as I already knew how to use an arpeggio to a reasonable degree, I also stepped out of my comfort zone and enhanced the track with an even better outcome. This gave me the idea that although I always avoided experimentation with arpeggios because they often would be too tricky to edit the way I wanted them to. I actually overcame an obstacle that wasn't as bad as I had previously believed.

So I felt this post would be helpful to you in trying to get you to look at your way of working and look at the skill set you have and rather than shy away from your weak spots, perhaps focus more on your strengths and build on them.

Forget your weak spots, and instead change your mind set in order to build up your skill set. This way you will change your thinking from the untrue self belief that you are no good at a certain technique, and instead tell yourself that you can add to your limited knowledge of that technique to better it, rather than believe you are no good at it.

So for example I always believed that I was poor at playing bass lines. This is something I have always struggled with, Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I produced a lot of main room club Trance music where the use of flat bass lines were an accepted way of producing a track.

A flat bass line is where the notes are the same all the way through that particular chord. So for example if you have a track that is in D minor for four bars and then changes into an E minor, then the notes of the bass stay on the D for those four bars before moving to the E. There is no melodic pattern, just the same repetitive notes for the duration of that chord. Sounds pretty boring, but for Trance and hard club music of that era, it served its purpose well.

It took me a long time to change my ways on this and it was a technique that I still apply to my Disco productions to this day from time to time. But I always now aim to put in a change of pattern that has some rhythmic or melodic change to it. It has since become a second nature to me now to try and be more creative with my bass lines, so it has become much more less of a daunting task.

So with that in mind always try and challenge your thinking. Take a look at what you struggle with and what you are very confident with and write these down on to a list and begin to approach them all as skills instead of weak spots. Start to list them from top to bottom in terms of the best skill you have at the top and the ones you struggle with at the bottom.

This way you can start to look at those on the lower level and seek out ways to advance them. Just apply short term goals instead of trying to be a master of each technique. So if you struggle with beat production, try applying some swing to the beats or learn how to layer percussion on top of your beats. Just simple little ideas that can make a huge difference to each area of your music.

One of my best strengths is playing chords on the keyboard, I have been a self taught chord player for many years now and the only way to learn is by doing. There is no other way and there never will be. Just try and build on your skill set as much as you can rather than focus on your weak spots as a weakness. Just apply the mind set to those areas as building blocks and not obstacles.
See these two videos below to see how to play funky house chords for dance music production.



So to conclude this article, just recap on what I have discussed here. Focus only on your strengths  and instead of looking at your lesser skills as weakness, try to develop them in your mind as something to just develop and not hide from. Take a chance on that different delay unit you have never bothered to explore. Try adding a more complicated chord sequence as opposed to the normal ones you might apply. Try looking into finding new and interesting plug ins, see the video below for one of the best free VST synthesizers available. Just try and do something different to empower your studio strengths. Good luck.


Knowing Your Studio Strengths Knowing Your Studio Strengths Reviewed by Waxadiscmusic on 06:27 Rating: 5

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