Part 10 - Get feedback from others. Enhancing your song through valuable input
After you have a rough mix of your song, seeking feedback from others can be an invaluable step in improving your production and achieving a professional-sounding result. By getting fresh perspectives and suggestions, you can identify areas that need improvement and gain insights on how to enhance the overall quality of your music. In this article, we will explore the significance of seeking feedback and provide tips on how to make the most of the feedback process.
One of the primary benefits of seeking feedback is gaining a new perspective on your work. As the creator, you may have become too close to the project, making it difficult to evaluate it objectively. Feedback from others can offer a fresh set of ears and provide insights that you might have overlooked. It can help you identify areas that need attention, such as mixing imbalances, vocal clarity, or instrumentation choices.
When seeking feedback,
it's important to reach out to individuals whose opinions you value and trust. Seek out fellow musicians, music producers, or friends who have a good ear for music. Their constructive criticism and suggestions can provide a valuable outside perspective on your production. Additionally, consider sharing your music with your target audience. Their feedback can help you gauge the appeal and effectiveness of your song to the listeners you are targeting.
As you present your music for feedback, it's essential to provide some context. Explain the goals and intentions behind your song, as well as any specific aspects you would like feedback on. By setting the stage, you can guide the feedback process and receive input that aligns with your vision.
When receiving feedback,
it's important to maintain an open mind and be receptive to suggestions. Remember that feedback is not a personal attack but an opportunity for growth. Consider the feedback objectively and evaluate its relevance to your creative goals. Not all feedback will resonate with you, and that's okay. Focus on the constructive aspects that can genuinely enhance your music.
Incorporating feedback is a repetitive process. Take the suggestions that resonate with you and experiment with them in your production. Keep an open line of communication with your feedback providers and update them on your progress. This continuous dialogue can help you refine your music and ensure that the changes you make align with your artistic vision.
Ultimately, seeking feedback from others is an essential step towards improving your song and achieving a professional-sounding result. By gaining fresh perspectives, identifying areas that need improvement, and embracing constructive suggestions, you can enhance the overall production quality and refine your creative output. Embrace the feedback process as a valuable tool in your artistic journey and use it to unlock new dimensions in your music.
By Vladimir Gilis
Part 4 - Learning basic mixing and mastering techniques
Producing a professional-sounding song on a tight budget is a challenge, but it is not impossible. One of the key factors that can make a significant difference is learning basic mixing and mastering techniques. By learning these skills, you can transform a simple recording into a polished and professional-sounding track. In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to learn basic mixing and mastering techniques, without spending a fortune on expensive equipment.
Firstly, you can start by watching free tutorials available online. There are many online resources available that offer free tutorials on mixing and mastering. YouTube is a great place to start, with thousands of free tutorials on music production. You can also find useful resources on websites like Sound On Sound and MusicRadar.
Secondly, learn the basics of EQ, compression, and reverb.
These are the three essential tools in the mixing process, and by learning how to use them effectively, you can create a professional-sounding mix. EQ is used to adjust the frequency balance of a track, compression helps to control the dynamics of a track, and reverb adds depth and dimension to a mix.
Thirdly, practice, practice, practice. The more you mix and master, the better you will become. Try to mix different genres of music to challenge yourself and experiment with different techniques. You can also collaborate with other musicians and producers to gain new insights and ideas.
Finally, use free or inexpensive plugins to improve your mix. There are many free and inexpensive plugins available that can help you enhance your mix, such as the TDR Nova EQ or the MeldaProduction MEqualizer. These plugins are often as good as or better than their expensive counterparts, so don't be afraid to use them.
learning basic mixing and mastering techniques is an essential step to producing a professional-sounding song on no budget. By watching tutorials online, learning the basics of EQ, compression, and reverb, practicing, and using free or inexpensive plugins, you can achieve a high-quality final product without breaking the bank. So, start learning and experimenting with mixing and mastering techniques today, and take your music production skills to the next level!
By Vladimir Gilis
Part 3 - the recording environment
Recording a high-quality song can be a challenge, especially if you don't have access to expensive equipment or professional studios. However, there are some simple steps you can take to improve the quality of your recordings without breaking the bank. One of the most important things you can do is to record in a suitable space.
Finding a quiet and treated space to record in can make a big difference in the quality of your recordings. When you record in a noisy environment, you're likely to pick up unwanted background noise, which can be distracting and affect the overall quality of your recording. Even if you're recording at home, there are likely to be sounds from outside, such as traffic or neighbors, that can be picked up by your microphone.
If you don't have access to a professional studio, there are some simple things you can do to create a good recording environment at home.
Here are a few tips:
Recording in a quiet and treated space can make a big difference in the quality of your recordings, even if you're working with a limited budget. By choosing a quiet space, soundproofing the room, recording in a closet, and using a pop filter, you can create a clean and clear recording that sounds professional. So, start experimenting with different recording environments today and see how much of a difference it can make in the quality of your recordings!
By Vladimir Gilis
Part 2 - Using free virtual instruments and samples
Producing a professional-sounding song can seem daunting, especially if you're working with a limited budget. However, there are ways to create high-quality recordings without breaking the bank. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by using free virtual instruments and samples.
Virtual instruments are software-based instruments that simulate real-world instruments, such as guitars, pianos, and drums. Samples, on the other hand, are short audio clips that are recorded from real-world instruments and other sources, such as nature sounds or vocal phrases.
There are many websites that offer free virtual instruments and samples that you can use in your recordings. Here are a few examples:
Using free virtual instruments and samples is a great way to add depth and variety to your recordings
without having to spend money on expensive equipment. However, it's important to keep in mind that using too many instruments or samples can result in a cluttered and confusing mix. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
By Vladimir Gilis
Planet drum teacher, Radovan
shares his experience of his latest studio session at Wax Studios.
'This is an upcoming debut EP of my good friend Severin Bruhin who is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger from Switzerland. His music is in the realm of jazz/fusion mixed with neo-soul, hip-hop and more. The project features quite a few international session musicians, vocalists and artists including a successful Canadian-born producer Robert Strauss (studio owner).'
You can watch their experience below:
I was lucky enough to receive some Arts Council funding
from a new strand they’ve recently launched called ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’. It’s all about giving arts practitioners time to explore one particular area in-depth. I proposed that I would embark on a year-long project composing new music for four different sized ensembles. The outcome would be four sets of music accompanied by four separate day-long workshop sessions with the musicians, which I would record as a document. Each ensemble would be a different size to the band I’m used to composing for: my quintet, Entropi. So I decided that I would write for a duo, quartet, sextet and dectet.
In December, at the start of the project,
I thought I would be doing project planning for the year, contacting musicians, booking rehearsal rooms and sitting down to compose music for one of these four ensembles. A very organised and logical approach. This is not what happened. In this blog post, I’ll outline what I’ve learnt so far in the hope that it might inspire you to think about how you approach your music-making, composing and improvising.
Up till now, my composing has been ‘on demand’ for a very specific reason. Normally it’s a gig with my band where we need an extra two tunes to have enough original material for the whole gig, or I need to write one more composition for a recording. The process has often been quite stressful and close to the wire. I’d find myself up late trying to finish a tune off for a rehearsal the next day with my band. Fear played a great part in getting the thing done and I didn’t find the process very enjoyable
When I started this project I did not want to compose in this way
so I forced myself to find another way to go about writing music. This has been quite unexpected. A book came into my hands called ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’, by Elizabeth Gilbert, which talked about nurturing and unblocking creativity. While reading the book I realised that I was quite creatively blocked when it came to composing. You know when you are blocked when you avoid doing the thing - whatever that is, writing a novel, painting or in my case composing and then make up a load of excuses in your mind about why you can’t do it. I realised that I hadn’t really seriously addressed the practice of composition. Often when I did sit down to write, I’d have an inner critical voice saying: ‘what is this piece of rubbish?’ This is no way to get into the zone and be creative!
Improvisers compose in real time all the time. As an alto sax player who is extremely into free improvisation and jazz, I normally have no problem coming up with ideas and essentially making stuff up on the spot. This is just because I have done it a lot, so it feels comfortable for me to do so. A large part of improvising in any kind of music is interaction with the other band members, listening, reacting, developing ideas all in the moment. To be able to do that you need to be far away from the critical mind and right in the flow of ideas. I wanted to be able to recreate this feeling while composing new music.
In the book ‘Big Magic’,
Elizabeth Gilbert talks finding our creativity by following what makes us curious. I realised that I wanted to do some visual art. So I proceeded to spend an hour a day doing A5 sized pieces of colourful abstract art. The rules were: do it everyday and be non-judgmental about the outcome. In other words value the process and not the result. This was hugely beneficial for me: because I am not trained in art, I had no real value judgements on my choices of colour, shape or line. I just did it every day for a month. Over the weeks, I started to notice that this art activity was having a positive effect on the way I was improvising on the saxophone. I was applying the freedom I was experiencing on the blank canvas to music.
As musicians, we spend a lot of time learning and practicing technique. Obviously this is very important, but I feel that we can sometimes forget to engage with the side of music which is artistic. As musicians we are all creative artists, but do we always feel like that? Expressing ourselves through music is probably the reason why we all started playing in the first place. This must be something to nurture as much as achieving technical prowess on the instrument, I think.
In January I switched the visual art sketches to musical sketches
using the same system: one hour a day and no judging what ideas come out. It is much harder to ignore the critical mind when shifting the creative process to something we HAVE trained in. But I had developed a non-judgmental muscle through doing the artwork the previous month. When starting a piece of visual art, it was very unhelpful to question ‘why did you use that colour?’ so using that same principle I trained myself to stop questioning every single choice of chord, melody note, bassline, theme and just let the music unfold - much like improvising. Over time, ideas started to flow more freely when I stopped putting so much pressure on myself. I shifted the focus away from outcome towards process. In the month of January I have composed 16 musical ‘sketches’.
My website is: deebyrnemusic.com if you are interested in what projects I’m involved with and where I might be playing next. Thanks for reading this and I hope to share some of these compositions with you in the future!
Blog post by Saxophone teacher, Dee Byrne
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.