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The Music Production Guide E-Zine, Issue #004 -- Mixing Workshop Issue
September 04, 2012

The Music Production Guide

Issue# 004
Date: 9/4/12


The mission of The Music Production Guide E-Zine is a monthly (sometimes more often…) newsletter to discuss music production and engineering tips and techniques as well as career building advice to help you establish or enhance your music production career!

If you like what you see, forward it to a friend. If this e-zine was forwarded to you, sign up by clicking HERE and adding your name to the mailing list located in the top right column…

In This Issue...

1. What's New at
2. Music Production Tip: Focus: One Thing at a Time
3. Engineering Tip: Contrast
4. Career Building Tip: Standing Out

1. What's New !!!

1. $50 Discount for Online Master Mixing Workshop

This discount is available to Music Production Guide E-zine and Online Class subscribers. Click on this link:MASTER MIXING WORKSHOP DISCOUNT and type in the password mixclass. This will lead you to the discounted Pay Now button.

This is a truly SERIOUS workshop that will dispel myths, bad habits and completely transform your mixing abilities. I promise you, the classes will be eye opening! The workshop will include 8 live online classes (2 hrs each) and loads of support materials including video tutorials and audio lectures.

2. Membership Site Coming Soon

I am building a membership site as the foundation of the online music production classes and workshops. The site will be filled with loads of educational videos, audios and support materials for Music Production, Engineering and Career Development.

I am still working out the structure of the site and how it will relate to the classes and workshops. My goal is to create multiple membership levels to suit different levels of participation as per your needs.

3. All Online Music Production Classes are FREE until the Membership Site Launches!

I have received many emails asking how to pay for upcoming classes. Rather than go through all the trouble of individual billing for each class, I will wait for the Membership Site to launch before charging for classes.

If you did not attend the last this online class and would like to view a replay, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. Make sure that you leave some feedback on the supplied form.

The next online class is Wednesday, September 12th at 7PM US Eastern Time. If you have not registered already, please fill out this REGISTRATION FORM to claim your place. You do not need to register if you already signed up for the first class.

2. Music Production Tip

FOCUS: One Thing at a Time

The role of a producer, in any kind of music production, is to help shape the vision of a song and present it in a way that is accessible to the listener and holds their interest throughout the production. All it takes is one misstep in a production to lose a listener's attention and a potential fan.

The key to keeping the listener's attention is to give the them just one thing to focus on at a time. If you really listen to good music productions you will always find that your attention is carried from section to section with ease and fluidity focussing on one thing at a time.

The way to accomplish this is to determine the focus of attention for each section of the song from beginning to end. For most songs, this is the lead vocal with brief interludes of instrumental melodies. Once established, the rest of the music production MUST support the lead part and not draw attention away from it.

Each supporting part must add meaning or contrast to the lead so that it's message is understood more clearly. The selection of instrumentation, the arrangement, and the tonal coloration will all have a great impact on the overall message of the song. Make sure that each part serves a defined purpose in the song.

Understanding this basic principle of focus - one thing at a time - will make your music productions more accessible, and more successful!

3. Music Engineering Tip


To follow up on the concept of focus as discussed in the Music Production Tips section, I would like to discuss a complimentary concept on the engineering side. Contrast. If you are attempting to keep the listener's attention focussed on one thing in the mix, creating contrast is the easiest way to so.

To understand this concept more fully, all you need to do is take a closer look at how our senses function in the real world. Our senses are programmed to block out sameness and focus on things that are changing, moving, or standing out from their environment. Our senses do not function any differently when listening to music.

There are many ways to create contrast in a mix to keep the attention where you want it. The easiest way is to create a unique processing chain that is only used by the lead instrument. If you use a particular vintage compressor on the lead vocal, do not use that same compressor on any other instrument including harmony parts or backing vocals.

This technique should also follow with vintage EQ's, reverbs and any other form of effects processing. By making the signal chain unique for the lead vocal you are creating a subtle contrast that builds with each layer of processing. If you want to make the lead vocal more present, it may be necessary to make the supporting instrumentation and vocals less present to help create the contrast.

It's important to understand that the differences are subtle and not necessarily exaggerated. In the end, you do not want to lead part to sound like it is from another song. There must still be a connection to the rest of the backing track so it gets the support it needs but still stands out as the center of attention.

4. Career Development Tip

Standing Out

To follow the theme of the previous two tips on production and engineering, I would like to extend the analogy into career development. The concept of standing out is important in any career endeavor and is not unique to the music industry. Standing out, however, does not always mean being the loudest voice in the room.

Whatever your role is in a music production, you are generally part of a team of people working together to create something of value. Sometimes, standing out in a group of people is just about doing the work without expressing strong opinions. Sometimes, it means taking over a session that is misguided or lost.

The role you play is dependent on the abilities, or lack thereof, of the other participants. Your ability to adapt to these situations makes you a valuable member of the team. When you do, "whatever is necessary" to make it work, you become the most valuable member of the team regardless of whether you have the loudest voice. The saying "actions speak louder that words" is appropriate here.

How do you know what role to play, and when to speak up? This is a simple matter of paying attention to the group dynamic. Always focus your attention to the area of most need and become a leader in making it work. If you learn to do this consistently, you will get hired over and over again. The reason? Every time you are part the gig, everything gets done right.

Thanks for reading The Music Production Guide E-Zine! I look forward to hearing any comments or questions you may have regarding the content of this E-Zine and what you would like to see more of in future publications.

All The Best,

Michael White

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