Frustration in the Home Recording Studio

something to show for my work, or at least something to peddle out for feedback from friends. Times like these remind me of one of the drawbacks to recording solo. Without positive or negative feedback to use as a sounding board, you can easily bounce around without knowing whether or not you’re getting any closer to your goal. Playing in a band was great for that. Power through it, or give it a rest? What do you do when you’re stuck on a song, an essay, a poem, etc? ]]>






7 responses to “Frustration in the Home Recording Studio”

  1. Crash Avatar

    Give it a rest, definitely. Even if you don’t believe that your subconscious mind will work on it for you, you have to believe the words of Mark Twain–or maybe it was George Bernard Shaw–who said: “Don’t meet trouble halfway. Let it come the full distance. Something usually happens to it before it gets there.”

    That, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with your question, but I did find it on the same website as this proverb: “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” I like that one.

    Put another way–you would expect to learn something from every recording and experience you have, right? So why would you want to label something “finished” when you know you’ll be able to make it better later on?

    As Paul Valery once wrote, “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” I think music (and prose, for that matter) is the same way. If you are at a point where it wouldn’t embarass you to let others see it, you can call it finished–but that doesn’t preclude you from going back to it later on.

    My five cents.

  2. Edshugeo Avatar

    I agree with Crash. Give it a rest, try something else (or a bunch of something elses) for a while and come back to it later. That’s what I do, though lately I’ve been working like I’ve got A.D.D., starting multiple songs and moving to the next one without finishing the previous one. I’m going to stop that I hope, but when I get stuck, or I’m unhappy with something, I “put it on the shelf” and return to it a few days, months, or years later and see if there’s anything I can do with it. Sometimes, I just change my mind and realize it’s fine just the way I left it.

  3. jason Avatar

    i always like the songs that just flow out. i like to work in different environments to keep my creativity and inspiration up. i would take a break, as pressing as dealines seem, youre more likely to get what you need done when youre focused and in the zone. but hell, what do i know, i’d probably get pissed and work on it till i ruined the damn song, or figure it out…i hate songs like that.

  4. roymond Avatar

    I find it helps to decide when something simply isn't working and to move on. There's a reason it's not right – and you don't necessarily need to know the reason. Just accept it.

    On the other hand, when I truly believe in something, I generally want to see it through to a finished state. At least that version is done.

    Maybe in your case you believe in the song but this road isn't going there. Start over! Or completely revamp the drums…maybe tabla instead? And go acoustic on the guitars. This might help take you down the right avenue. Shake it up 🙂

  5. MikeB Avatar

    Hey Gents, great points all around.

    Crash, what you say is totally true. Even with songs I’ve finished, there’s always ‘something’ that could’ve been done differently, etc. I suppose that’s the wonderful thing about songwriting — the path you can take is omnidirectional, meandering, and multi-colored. It can also be overwhelming..! You and Edshugeo are probably right, it might be best to shelve to project for a short time…we’ll see if I can. 🙂

    Jason – good call regarding changing environments. I seem to have all my best ideas during late night drives. Or anywhere I happen to be after 10pm. There’s something womb-like about a still evening that makes magic happen. Where do you go to write/play?

    Roymond – you hit the nail on the head. Perhaps it’s closure we need? If only to have a draft completed, to have a complete song, whether final or not… A shakeup may very well be in order. (btw, how did you know? I probably WILL be ripping out the electric guitars..! 😉 )

    Thanks all, your thoughts are much appreciated. Keep ’em coming. By the way, let me know if you want to share anything — news, thoughts, music, whatever — I’ll post it. Cheers!

  6. jason Avatar


    suprisingly enough (and as bad as it may be) i get my best lyric inspiration when im outside @ 2 or 3 in the morning listening to a song on my car stereo, and smoking while writing. i dunno, guess it loosens me up or whatever. I like to write acoustic outside or on top of my house. occasionally i’ll take my ipod to a really busy place like the mall/bookshop/starbucks-rip-off joint down the street and work from there. being distracted sometimes helps. i dunno i cant write in my house anymore, it just makes me want to sleep. which i like almost as much as writing music. =)

  7. Phil Avatar

    If you ‘give it a rest’, thinking you’ll go back to it later you never will. Or rather, you may go back to it but it’ll be old stuff by then and you’ll have moved on to something new. I find if I’m working too hard on something its never gonna work, it should flow. I think of it this way, making music shouldnt be like a blacksmith sweating and hammering something into shape, it should be like a potter or sculptor, gently allowing and encouraging shapes to form naturally.

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