I think I can, I think I can....

Wow, it's been a whole lot of lows the past couple weeks. I came home from my California trip exhausted from travel and lack of sleep. I'd left the Road Rally in LA (music conference) inspired and full of useful information... but when I got home, the winter dullness hit me & I struggled to get back into my usual creative mode. I felt overwhelmed by my lack of skill in producing... I mean, I do produce some decent stuff but it's always hit and miss & I never know if I'm going to make the grade. Some people just seem to have ears that hear stuff I can't seem to hear.

It all kinda started when I saw that someone was looking for a capella Christmas Carols for film/tv placement. Well, I can do that, right? I'm good at leads & harmony. So I recorded a couple of carols & posted them on the board I frequent... and got some great feedback on what I needed to do... use reverb, EQ & compression more effectively, etc etc. because the vocals sounded 'dry'. I tried, but it's really hard to know what to do. So I felt pretty down that I couldn't "get" it. But my friends are so great, they encouraged me to stay determined. One even sent me screen shots of his DAW with the reverb settings and mp3 examples of my lead with the reverb on it.

I was determined to try to figure this out, I began to read all my back copies of Recording Magazine, and I did some research on the internet, plus one of my other friends told me about some reverb plug-ins that would be better than the one I have... and they are free, so I downloaded that, and printed off articles from the net and read through all the material.

This week, Sunday and Monday, I worked on a new piece - it's a cover of an old rock song, but I did it in a unique way, using vocals for percussion and layering lead & harmony vocal tracks. I worked with all the notes I had made about EQ & reverb & compression and more than once I felt like I was just making a mess of it, but I kept going anyway. When I was done, I asked my friends to listen to the final result -- and they were very impressed. They had a couple of suggestions to tweak it a little... but they loved my voice & my arrangement, and after I made a couple of small adjustments, they felt it was ready to pitch!!

So last Monday I was totally depressed and felt like I would never get it. This Monday I was able to produce something with my own hands, eyes, voice & ears that meets the grade. My grasp of these fundementals of production still feels slippery. But hopefully through experience I will grow in my skill levels over the next two or three years.


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