Technology continues to change the face of music, affecting how it’s created, produced and recorded.
But whether all musicians working in their studios are getting the most out of the opportunities technology affords them is another question altogether. In many cases, they may be missing out on technological tips – or at least technological shortcuts – that could help them increase their productivity.
“There are so many ways these days that musicians can increase the amount of quality work they are doing, but people sometimes miss basic shortcuts that can significantly improve their workflow,” says Deborah Fairchild, president of Nashville-based VEVA Sound (www.vevasound.com), which verifies and archives projects for clients in the music industry.
But with the right tools, instead of getting bogged down by minutiae, the musician (or producer) can concentrate on the more creative aspects of the work by taking advantage of methods for doing things more directly and more quickly than would be the ordinary procedure without the technological help.
Fairchild says the engineers at VEVA Sound have provided a few tips to increase productivity in creators’ music workflow:
- Create, and then work from, custom templates. Within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), users have the option to create templates that can help speed up the workflow and eliminate repetitive tasks that can drain the creativity out of you. “By creating templates, you gain the ability to start each project from a familiar setup that best accommodates your individual workflow, while keeping best practices in mind,” Fairchild says. “This also fosters continuity between projects so that they will be easier to revisit in the future.”
- Create custom keyboard shortcuts. Most DAWs give musicians the ability to create custom keyboard shortcuts.These shortcuts can increase your efficiency exponentially, Fairchild says. “Because there is so much functionality in each of these platforms, creating custom shortcuts will give you quicker access to the functions you use most,” she says. “The result will be that you can produce your desired results with little or no wasted time and effort.”
- Label everything accurately. Make sure that every track in your project is labeled correctly, Fairchild says. “Is that line an acoustic guitar? Note it,” she says. “The same goes for project files.” Instead of naming something “final mix final final edits 2,” come up with a naming convention that accommodates each improved version of a project in your workflow, such as “My Song_Final Mix_Ready for Master.” Correct labeling can be especially important when you are collaborating because you want everyone involved to know what a track contains without having to guess.
“Ultimately, the right workflow can give musicians a break from fretting over all the little details that slow them down, and allow them to put their imaginations and original ideas front and center in the production process,” Fairchild says. “The result is musicians can be more productive and more creative all at the same time.”