The importance of a good, well-structured, clearly defined and objective-driven plan when it comes to music production and composition cannot be overstated. During the last trimester of my Sound and Audio production degree the truth of this has become ever more clear. It’s not like I ever planned not to plan, but originally my planning didn’t quite fit the plan and plans changed. Which is to say, I started planning a lot more decisively and as plans came to fruition, I spent a lot more time creating more detailed plans and taking note of their outcomes.
Being attached to my analogue technology (ie. the pen and paper), I still find it easier to scribble my thoughts down than to hunch over a keyboard and burn my eyes out. That I do enough making music. So excuse the crudeness, but the following photos are to demonstrate the simplicity of my first planning process and how it evolved to a more sophisticated state. I now have a definite routine I’ll stick to for future projects and have learned a great deal from the success of outcomes in this project that were undertaken with proper planning.
This was my original schedule for the whole project. It could have done with more detail, but I managed to stick to it in most cases. I think where it was lacking was in knowledge of some of the gear I was using, and could have allowed more time for research before the recording process began.
This was just brainstorm (not the original – it was illegible), but shows how I decided I wanted to go with my project.
This is how I planned my first studio session. It actually didn’t go too badly, but I hadn’t yet created a structure on which to reflect upon successes, learn from failures, and improve.
This was further into the process. By this time I had learned to add a schedule to plan out not just mics, but outboard gear and any pre-notions of settings I would use on the desk. I had created a contingency plan, outlined what would be my replacement mics if my first choices were not available, and drew a simple diagram of the drum setup with each channel labelled (having this in front of me really helped during recording). Most importantly had given myself a mission goal as to what I was hoping to achieve with the session. Lastly, I then made a brief note on the result which could have been more detailed, but either way was an improvement.
By this stage my planning had come to a point which I am now happy to incorporate as a routine. As well as doing everything in my 3rd session plan, by studio session 5 I had added diagrams of any patching, routing or basically anything that I was not yet totally familiar with. When plans changed in these aspects, I drew up a new diagram detailing the newly learned process a tutor had showed me to better my recording. I took down notes, elaborated on my successes and failures, and also wrote myself a list of things to remember for the future.
These are notes I took down from an earlier presentation from one of my works in progress, as well as a meeting with my tutor Colin Webber to get his critique on the song. I made a point of acting on a lot of what was said.
This is a list of the learning outcomes for the units and how I planned to address them. It was sometime between week 8 and 9 of the trimester that this was written. I had been feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the task at hand, and found that breaking down each learning outcome individually and creating a step-by-step guideline for myself helped me simplify the problem, get back on track and regain my confidence.