Practice makes perfect. It’s a pretty annoying phrase, especially when someone else says it to you in that slightly rising, know it all voice. It is, however, undeniably true. There’s only one way to get better, and that’s to take something and do it over and over again.
my big knob
For a very long time I lived in this naive fantasy world. I would constantly be meeting these amazing musicians, composers, and engineers. After hearing their work I would quietly say to myself “I’ll never be that good, they were born with that. “ Everything sounded so natural, so effortless; no number of hours I spent could ever achieve that sound. I was surrounded by it, composers who could write and produce a radio ready song in half a day, engineers who could lower one frequency by a db and open up an entire arrangement, session players who could sit down after hearing the song once, play three perfect takes, and leave in less than an hour. WTF??
Then I started talking to these people. Asking them how they did it. What was their special gift? Guess what the answer was… Practice. Hours and hours and hours of practice. 3-10 hours a day at their instrument, hundreds of songs written, hundreds of sessions recorded and tracks mixed. Not a single one of them woke up one day and realized suddenly that they had become a gifted musician. It was a conscious decision to become great, combined with unrelenting hard work. Plain and simple. There is no easy way out.
I’m writing this blog entry for myself as much as for you. Some days it’s all to easy for me to procrastinate, and put my practice off. Sometimes if I’m busy I’ll miss a day or two at the piano. This is bad. I can tell right away when I sit down on the third day that I’ve missed it. The same goes for song writing. I usually write a few songs/jingles a week. This keeps my mind in shape. If I take a week off, or work gets slow, I immediately start to loose my creative edge. After two weeks I have a tough time with ideas. Obviously the same goes for my mixing chops. A week or two goes by without tweaking a compressor or hitting the record button, and I start to loose my ears for it.
So what’s the solution? How do we ever get as good as the artists whose music inspires us, whose music is so good it makes us almost sick to listen to it? Well we do what they did. Practice!! How do we do that? You tell me…