4 music production tips you need to UNLEARN in 2024

For you to make good songs, you will need to eventually unlearn some stuff to make room for better knowledge and for your music to finally click. Therefore, here are a few things that I had to unlearn to start understanding how I could solve my production issues:

4 THOUGHTS FROM ME

1. Stop processing the hell out of your elements. One of the most common mistakes I see producers making is overprocessing their sounds to make it sound better, but it can sometimes actually make it sound worse than how it was before and also harder to mix afterward. That is because when you have a ton of plugins, they might introduce some junk into your sounds, and combine that with lots of plugins for every sound and it would be a nightmare to discover where is an issue coming from and eventually solve it. Therefore, here are a few things you need to stop doing when processing your elements: (1) Stop using templated racks for all your elements as you might need a lot less fx than what that rack is adding, and these tons of plugins may clog not only your CPU, but also your workflow; (2) Learn sound design as many of the FX you’re adding are there just to fix a bad sound design; (3) Avoid adding plugins just because you saw someone on youtube using it. Be conscious about what you’re adding and make sure to add only what you can explain what is doing as it can often cause more problems if you don’t know the consequences; (4) Make a library of good samples and don’t be afraid to repeat them in your songs. A bad sample can hardly ever be processed to sound like a good sample, so don’t be afraid to change your sample if you’re overprocessing your sound. Lastly, at the same time, don’t be afraid to do some creative fx in your element because some creative fx do require lots of FX. Instead, be mindful of your FX and have them in a way that they won’t disrupt your workflow and you can quickly recall what they are doing.

2. Stop claiming that mastering is ruining your song. Mastering will push your song to the limits and, as with any push, it’s also when you might push some mixing mistakes to the limit as well, which might cause you to think that the problem is the master. For example, if your master (1) is not as loud as other songs; (2) feels crowded in the low end compared to references; (3) is too wide to the point that it disappears in mono; (4) has no dynamics and feels static, only the last one is an issue that I’d possibly consider a mastering issue and the first three are all mixing issues. So, if you’re having mastering problems: (1) Check out our mastering chain in this youtube video, which is still current, and just replicate it; (2) Focus on solving your low-end issues first as they normally represent most of the problems, which could be gain staging or sidechaining, and we have a guide over here that can help you with this; (3) Make sure to check your song in mono and if any of the important elements of your song disappear, make sure that they don’t by correcting in the mix (we have an ableton rack here to help you with this); (4) Compare your songs to reference tracks to help you understand if your elements are too loud/quiet compared to the reference. This can help you better gain stage your elements, which will also help the dynamics and the loudness of your song. (5) Simplify your mastering chain by not having any major EQ boosts or notches (as we show in the video above) as this will isolate most of your problems to the mixing. If you need to make your song brighter, do that in the mix as pushing the master might push some unwanted frequencies. In any case, if your master is causing problems, most of the time the mixing will be the culprit and that’s where you should start looking first.

3. Stop focusing on little details and making your song perfect and just make lots and lots of music. The worst problem a producer can have is perfectionism and obsessing over the little details of a song, which most likely no one is listening to. The worst thing about this is that this obsession with making your song perfect will cost you precious time that you could be spending making another song, and sometimes cause you to hate the song and feel frustrated, and I’m sure you don’t want that. But, how can you spot yourself overthinking? If you are constantly changing things in your mixing because there’s always something bothering your listening or you always feel that you can make it better than before, it’s time to implement a few of these steps: (1) Ask a friend for feedback and ask them specifically about what’s bothering you since this could help you see that what you’re obsessing with actually sounds great; (2) Take the pressure away from this song as we often overthink since we feel pressured to deliver. Remind yourself that you have to please no one but yourself and if this song has taught you anything, it’s already a win, even if it’s not released; (3) Develop the habit of letting things go when they make you happy, and not only when you feel it’s perfect since there will always be something else to fix and perfect doesn’t exist. In any case, stop obsessing over perfection and treat it as a curse, and not a blessing, as it normally makes you slower and also makes you release fewer tracks.

4. Stop fearing failure and start embracing it. It sucks to fail, especially when you’re putting your heart and soul into your art. But, failure is really important to your music as it is the thing that will help you develop and become a better producer. The biggest problem with fearing failure is that it can make your music sound generic since you’ll start playing it safe to avoid failure and the worst part is that this is exactly what will make you fail over and over as a producer. On the other hand, when you embrace failure, you’ll start embracing experimentation and you’ll understand that failure is an opportunity to learn and develop yourself as a producer, which are two crucial habits to keep music production fun and to avoid getting frustrated, as you can read in this post. But how should you embrace failure? (1) Ask for feedback on your songs and take learning points from whatever comment you get, good or bad; (2) If you get rejected by a label, ask them why you were rejected (preferably via email) and fix these issues in your next song; (3) Don’t pressure yourself to always and only write good melodies, as this could lead you to “writer’s block”. Instead, understand that composition is a muscle, or a skill, and that you need to create bad melodies before the good ones start to come in. Lastly, in your musical journey, I can almost guarantee that you eventually have some failures along the way, but it’s how you deal with them that will set you apart from the rest.

1 QUESTION FOR YOU

What other bad habits should you stop doing?
1. Stop using bus compression if your idea is to ‘balance the levels’: If you want to balance the levels of your bus, then balance the levels with volume, and not with compression. Compression can be used, but it normally can cause more problems if you eventually need to boost some of these elements or if you don’t fully understand compression.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others: Instead of complaining about other producers that are further ahead of you while having started to produce almost around the same time as you, ask them and learn what have they done that got them ahead of you so you can start doing that as well.
3. Stop focusing on quality over quantity: Quality comes with quantity and the more you produce tracks, the more you’ll learn, and then the quality will come. Therefore, focus on developing more and more tracks instead of just one perfect track as this also will possibly bring you better numbers on streaming platforms.

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Leo Lauretti

Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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