Here's what You Can Learn from Working With Me One On One
Today I want to talk about how you’re going to tackle your music and improve it in the new year.
Are you going to stick to the same stuff and stay stagnant in 2018, or are you going to take action to improve?
Here’s the story of my friend Jevan Cole from Australia who decided to take charge of his production skills.
He approached me last year looking for one on one tuition where he could get concrete answers to his mixing problems instead of endlessly searching through books and courses.
He wanted to clean up his mixes and create space for all the instruments in the mix, but was having problems figuring that out on his own. He had been getting the hang of compression, but it was taking his too long. All he could figure out was how to glue things together on busses but couldn’t figure out how to use compression for dynamic control on individual instruments.
As is common with many home studio musicians I talk to, he was confused with reverb and delay He didn’t know what space to use for each individual instrument and needed some sense of direction as to how to select the right mode (hall, plate, room etc…).
Finally, he loved using saturation because he felt it warmed things up without needing to think too much of it. However, he was concerned that because he didn’t understand what saturation was doing to the underlying audio, he might be doing something wrong.
Now, I could’ve just told him that my Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course would cover most of the problems that he was dealing with, but I enjoyed the music he sent over so much that I jumped on the opportunity to work with him.
One on One Coaching and a Custom Mix Tutorial
After a bit more back and forth we decided on a combination of custom video training and one-on-one coaching via Skype.
- Custom mix training – I took the multi-tracks to one of his songs and mixed it as if he were to hire me as a mixing engineer. Then, once he was happy with how the mix sounded, I shot a complete mixing tutorial of how I mixed his song from beginning to end. I talked about how I set up my sessions, how I use EQ and compression on the mix bus, group busses, and individual tracks and how I use effects to create depth and space to get that final 10% professional feel.
This way, he could learn exactly how I got the mix to sound the way he wanted and he could reproduce those techniques on his other songs. With the custom tutorial, he really only needed to hire a mixing engineer for one song, learn some concrete techniques that worked on his music, and then mix the rest of the songs himself.
- One-On-One Coaching – In addition to the custom mix tutorial, we also jumped on a video call and discussed everything he wanted to know to improve his home studio recordings. We talked about guitar and vocal recordings, how to get better treatment in his studio to get his instruments sounding better at the source, and discussed the finer points of compression and mixing theory in general. Basically, anything he wanted to ask, I answered.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on an audio school that would just end in more questions than answers, he was able to get his most burning questions answered in about an hour.
What did Jevan Think?
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed working on his music and helping him improve his productions, but don’t take my word for it.
Here’s what he emailed me after our collaboration:
“Thank you very much for your extremely informative mix tutorial. I’ve only been mixing for a couple of years now and have been learning on the fly through books, online videos and a few courses sourced through the web (quite a few of yours by the way!).
My main goal is not really to become an engineer and mix for other musicians (am not counting this out though) but to produce and release my own “space/psych/pop/ambient/whatever” music. As with all creative endeavors, feedback and collaboration are integral parts of any creative process so by deliberately isolating oneself as a “solo” musician can be quite a hard path as self-doubt, second-guessing and sometimes just pure, dead set confusion can set in.
So, I guess, most of what you went through in the mix tutorial with my song was not necessarily new information to me, but because it was presented in such a logical and cohesive fashion, I really felt that I got a huge amount from it. Not the least being how to control the EQ. and utilize reverb effectively.
Previously, I focused on trying to fix things with broad changes using only a couple of mix moves per track/issue, whereas you showed the true value of small incremental steps to get to where you’re aiming for with the mix.
And in regards to the focus of a mix, I really think you ‘got’ my aim for a mix that sounds clear and cohesive but also a bit old school and analogue, a la some of the 70s music I’m so obviously influenced by.
Another big takeaway for me was that mixing truly is a subjective artform along with the actual composition, arrangement and performance stages and that a clear goal before you start is if not a must, then extremely helpful. I’ll try to stop mixing as I write/arrange/track from now on!!”
Other things I learned:
Effectively mixing drums to provide drive and excitement.
When to leave things alone!
Not being afraid to use effects for creative sounds (eg the reverb on the guitar chords)
Consolidation of some of the principles you addressed in “EQ Strategies”
And I’m sure more things will show up in the future!
Would You Like to Work Together?
Working with musicians like Jevan last year was really enjoyable. If you think you would like to work with me one on one to improve your production skills exponentially then let me know.
I can only work with so many home studio musicians one on one so I want to make sure you get a custom program that helps you the best and will help you advance to the next level.
If you think that’s you, just contact me here and tell me you’re interested and I’ll send you the details.
Looking forward to hearing from you,