When the Musician Becomes the Mixing Engineer
If you haven’t watched Cobra Kai yet, you’re missing out on a fun guilty pleasure.
On one end, you have Sensei Lawrence, who pushes students hard in less than ideal ways, teaching offense and “no mercy.”
On the other end, you have LaRusso, the original Karate Kid, who leads with balance, humility, and honor.
It’s a redemption story wrapped in a comeback. It’s not just the battle between good and evil anymore. Like with so many things in life, there’s a big grey area ripe for misunderstanding.
It makes me think about what it means to be a teacher. At the same time, it also makes me think about what it means to be a perpetual student.
In the original movie, they were the students.
Now they are the masters, yet both just as flawed as ever.
They may have mastered Karate as a student, but becoming the master means that you’re just a different type of student.
Learning a skill to the point of being able to teach it to others is a different talent. That’s why professionals in the field aren’t always the best teachers. They have great instincts and skills, but they’ve never learned to pass it along to others. It’s why you can’t keep up with them, and they tend to make huge jumps in logic. It makes sense to them, but the students scratch their heads in confusion.
The student may become the master, but unless they learn to teach their skill in a way that helps others learn, they will never become a Sensei.
Mixing is a skill just like Karate. You earn your mastery through practice.
Grammy-winning mixing engineer Tony Maserati talks about the idea of “practice” at length in his lectures, videos, and workshops. His thoughts on continuous improvement and dedication to the craft resonate with me.
Whether it’s a daily practice, a weekly workout, or a lifelong journey, a skill is something you nurture. Even when you don’t want to practice, you do it anyway because you know that when the time comes, that practice will have proved invaluable to your success.
For my students, I help them understand how to mix better music. I teach them what processors to use. I teach them why to do certain things in specific scenarios. And I teach them how to apply their knowledge to make their mixes sound better than ever.
When the musician has become the mixing engineer, the student has become the master.
The Step By Step Mixing method is a result of studying the craft and passing on the knowledge so that others may learn. Now thousands have.
However, I can only teach you the what, the why, and the how. I can’t teach you to practice. That is something you have to find for yourself. You must apply what you learn through practice to master your skills.
In the final chapter of the book, I share the story of my guitar teacher and how he was influential in my understanding of practice as a way of life. Although I am not a virtuoso guitarist, I took that lesson to heart and apply it in my writing every day.
If getting better at mixing is something you’d like to add to your skillset and you’d like a roadmap to help you along the way, the Step By Step Mixing book is there for you to help you practice.