5 costly mistakes I made as a music producer

Everybody makes mistakes, it’s a given, but these mistakes cost me so much learning time in a big way, so in me writing this blog my purpose is for you to not make the same. As a music producer, it can be hard to get the outcomes you want, it's hard to articulate an idea from your head onto your D.A.W, especially when you are a less experienced producer. What I have learnt after 6 years of music production is that to learn faster and get the feeling of job satisfaction, some certain practices should be avoided, or at least be noted. These are the 5 mistakes that cost me time.

Studio midi keyboard 883 Width x 542 Height

Spending months on one track

Taking too long to finish a track due to the fear of putting my music out there.
I would spend too much time worrying about the outcome of what my music would sound like and often wondered if the people would like it or not. This made me frustrated, confused and I wouldn't enjoy making music every time I sat in front of my D.A.W. I wanted to make a professional sounding track every time, the problem was that my skills were not up to speed yet, and I avoided making mistakes, which meant I didn't learn from them. The more mistakes you make the faster you learn.

I learnt that to write music more fluently, get more creative insights, develop skills faster and increase my overall quality, it comes down to writing music faster and finishing more music, despite the outcome. I found that enjoying the present moment and creating and detaching myself from the outcome would take a massive weight off my shoulders, which enhanced my motivation and enjoyment.

Perfecting individual elements when it doesn't matter

As it ties in with my last point, spending days on end, perhaps weeks, trying to achieve a bass or lead sound that was not achievable with my current skill set. Comparing myself to other professionals too much and then beating myself up if I didn't get the desired result I was after. The problem was I wasn’t looking at the big picture. None of your potential fans care of the fact that your baseline or lead sound doesn't sound professional or like a certain something.

They only care about how the overall track makes them feel and if it makes them dance. They don't stop and say to themselves “geez I don't like the fact that the mid bass lacks a bit of punch around the 120 - 200hrtz range and that he or she should use more eq or distortion”. The only people who care about that are the other producers that are perhaps jealous of you; the 000.01 percent of chin strokers that don’t buy or support your music anyway. This leads me to the question of who are you trying to impress, your fans or the other producers?


How elements work with one another is more important than how a sound sounds individually, is what I mean.

Buying too many VST’s

Not fully utilising Abletons instruments and built in plugins, I thought you had to have this plugin or that plugin because such and such uses it. What happened was I brought too many soft synth plugins and mastered none of them. This took my focus off mastering one soft synth at a time and stunned my sound design skill level development. If you try to master everything you won’t master anything.

Watching too many tutorials

Procrastinating by watching endless amounts of tutorials without taking the plunge just to dive in and learn for myself. Trying to copy how everyone else was doing it and not spending more of my time making music and developing my skill set. You learn by your mistakes and methods, and they will serve you in time. I am not saying abandon tutorials altogether, but my point is if you only have one hour to make music a night, spend it all in front of your D.A.W writing music.

Trying to sound like my favourite music producers

Spending too much time trying to be like someone else I admired without being myself. There is a fine line between taking inspiration and then trying to be like someone else, and it is a hard one to explain. However, you just have to draw on what inspires you and put the rest of the details out of your head. I believe there can be producers that spend to much time comparing and copying without purely creating in the moment.

You can’t get your own creative insights if you continue to analyse every single moment of the music production process; let the music take you where it wants to go, analyse less, and go by feel.

I hope this has helped you

Posted on October 17, 2016 and filed under Music production.