Record Your Next Album In Less Time
Sounds like a gimmick, I know, and while what we’re about to go over may seem obvious and simple, as someone who has been writing and recording music for over 10 years, simplifying the process may be just what you need to finish what you have started with the quality you want. This post is inspired by Graham Cochrane’s article from The Recording Revolution.
The main concept of this strategy is Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Most of us out there have many other commitments in our lives besides our music. While we still want the music we release to have the quality we dream up in our heads. Dreaming of that quality is a lofty goal and can be intimidating, and if your problem is feeling as if the time just isn’t there for you to achieve your goal this strategy could be your solution. So, do you remember doing homework on Sundays and that homework, no matter how much or how little, always seemed to take the whole day. This is Parkinson’s Law in effect. Time pressure and deadlines will make us work faster and focus only on what is absolutely necessary, while a lack of a deadline can allow us to experiment and procrastinate endlessly. The point being, the time is there for you to achieve your lofty dreams and your project will take as long AS YOU LET IT.
Creating a piece of music, from writing it, to recording it, to producing it, mixing it and mastering it has many different paths you can take at every step of the process. Here comes the simplification. Make a To-Do List. Taking away the endless possibility and setting simple goals can free your mind and actually allow for quicker work which often leads to a more focused idea. In his article, Graham references a day when he made a To-Do List that only said “Write A New Song Today”. With that simple goal in mind, Graham actually wrote two new songs that day. Personally some of my best work has come from assignments like this, where all I was trying to do was write and finish an idea. Not trying to save the world with a song or make the next smash hit, just write and finish an idea. You want the music to be flowing freely and taking the pressure off yourself is liberating.
Make a To-Do List for every step of the process. Next is something like “Finish Recording and Producing EP in 4 Weeks”. Again, there are endless possibilities for your recording and production decisions, but putting yourself under the pressure of time will force you to overcome these challenges. Also, your initial ideas of how to record and produce might not be possible under your time constraints so you will figure out other ways to achieve what you want. Finding out new methods of recording and producing all while still steadily moving towards finishing your records. Use this concept for mixing as well. To-Do List: “Mix A Song in 2 Hours”. You will be forced to focus on the essentials of your mix (volume, pan, EQ, compression) and won’t get lost on a tangent of only tweaking a compressor for 2 hours.
Parkinson’s Law is a powerful tool. It’s simple but it really is powerful. As well, as creative people time and procrastination can be our worst enemies. If you’re having trouble finishing your project try out this concept. You may really be surprised at the end product you end up with (in a good way of course!).