How To Make the Most of Your Studio Time
We get it… finding time to fit everything into our busy schedules is hard. At Cosmic Academy the majority of our students have full time jobs, school, families and other obligations. Almost nobody that we know or work with has the luxury of sitting in the studio all day every day! Frankly, the biggest artists in the world don’t either—they’re constantly traveling, touring, playing shows and working on other business aspects that take them away from production too.
So, we each need to learn how to make the most of the time we have. It's not about how much time is available, but instead it’s about how you use that time...especially in the studio! We know that most of you—like most of our students and alumni—are juggling all sorts of obligations and trying to fit in production where you can!
After working with hundreds of students over the last ten years, we’ve developed several practices that we try to instill into all the producers we work with to help them make the most of their studio time, and we want to share these with you as well!
So let’s dive into it! Below are some ways you can make the most of your time in the studio, however limited it may be!
1. Prepare Your Sounds
Imagine you’re a chef, and the studio is your kitchen! Prepare all the ingredients for your upcoming session. Pull some of the appropriate patches and samples that you might need for the current track you're working on. Do the prep work now and you won’t have to stop your progress later to do it!
2. Prepare a To-Do List
You should always have a game plan when sitting down to work. Guide your time with things you know you need to accomplish!
With our students, we are constantly encouraging them to work off of a list. By structuring the tasks we need to complete in our song, we can have a clear finish line in mind. Plus, there are several productivity benefits associated with writing to-do lists alone!
3. Remove Distractions
Yep, this means no phone, no WiFi (if possible), a quiet room, and a clear head. We often tell our students that they should avoid taking their phone into the studio at all! The urge to open up Instagram while freezing and flattening tracks is just too strong, and for many of our students, they find that removing the temptation altogether helps them stay on task.
A few apps we recommend to help in this regard are Forest and Freedom. Both are worth a shot if you struggle with distractions!
4. Use A Timer
One of our biggest suggestions is to keep a kitchen timer nearby and time your tasks from the to-do list. Combining the tasks you have written down, and then assigning a time to yourself to complete them using a timer is like a rocket booster for your productivity!
And by the way, don't use your phone as a timer! It’s a distraction and probably shouldn't be nearby!
5. Separate Your Process
Don't get bogged down with things that don't matter in the moment.
For example: when writing, don't worry about your mixdown or master. Don't restrict your creativity with mix decisions that you can worry about later during a dedicated mix session! Save that for later on when you have your sounds arranged.
6. Use References
This one saves more time than you may think! Lean other professional tracks to help guide mix decisions in your track! We sometimes say in our classes: you could probably drive from Los Angeles to New York without a GPS or roadmap, but it would take much longer than necessary!
In the same way, think of references as a roadmap for your process, especially with regard to mixing.
7. Use Personal Production Templates
This works better for some than others. We aren’t suggesting using genre template tracks here! Instead, we mean you can try to have mix templates set up, with groups already organized, common plugins already pulled up, color-coded groups and channels already in place, and so on. These sorts of templates can help keep you organized and structured as you work. You can also have arrangement templates, creative templates, etc. Create these to save you from having to always set up the same things time and time again!