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08/07 Editorial: Breaking Addictions!

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  • 08/07 Editorial: Breaking Addictions!

    (Every month, a new editorial is posted in Sound, Studio, and Stage. Your comments and feedback are encouraged!)

    BREAKING ADDICTIONS

    By Craig Anderton

    Some habits are good, like making sure you brush and floss your teeth. Some are harmless, like always ordering a favorite dish at a restaurant. And some, like doing meth, are downright destructive.

    But then think about the habits we've developed that affect how we play and record music - are these habits good, harmless, or destructive?

    No musician ever made a great musical statement by being a creature of habit. It's the musicians, producers, recording engineers, A&R people, and label presidents who didn't just do things by the book, but thought "what if...?" and then carried through on an idea - for better or for worse. Nonetheless, all of us fall into creative ruts. How do we break free from these habits, whether they're defaulting to the same chord progression, recording with the same signal chain, or always approaching a mix the same way?

    The easiest way to break habits is to collaborate with others, as the odds are they won't have the same habits. Even something simple, like an attentive bandmate commenting "Instead of hitting the open E string to start that riff, why not play the first note an octave higher and slide down to the E?" can turn your head around and break a habit. Buying a new piece of gear, like a soft synth, might be just the thing to break away from a particular sonic routine you've developed.

    But those are fairly superficial attempts to break habits, and isolated examples. If you really want break out of a habit-ridden world, do it in all aspects of your life, so it becomes a complete package that naturally influences your recording life as well. If you always get up at noon, wake up at 5AM for a week and you'll experience a different view of how the world transitions from night to day. Next time you eat at your favorite restaurant, order something you've never eaten before (if it killed people, it probably wouldn't be on the menu). If you hate reality TV, check out American Idol . . . and if you're glued to reality TV shows, watch PBS Nova for a change. Take a different route to get where you're going, consider riding a train instead of flying, and rent a totally off-the-wall movie next time you hit the local video store. Seek out ways to consciously expand your horizons, and change your life.

    Many people strive to find a comfort zone, and live in it...because it's comfortable. And safe. But also, potentially highly uninspiring. If you want your music to stand out from the rest, take a vacation from norm and mix things up. If adventure becomes a way of life, your music and recordings will become adventurous as well.
    N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

  • #2
    Perhaps I should quit my filthy tobacco habit and go from there?
    RIP: Nite Owl Jazz

    Comment


    • #3
      That would be a good start Lower insurance rates, too!
      N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

      Comment


      • #4
        Routines and habits are both a strength and a weakness - - if you didn't have a habit of practicing your songs, you'd flounder when live on stage. But if you play the same songs the same way for long enough, you have no inspiration; might as well be flipping burgers because the pay is better..

        Overall, though, you are spot on. Because people tend to repeat what they know, even if it doesn't help, breaking out of the routine is almost always the right way to move. I didn't realize what I didn't know about music until I got a Larry Carlton guitar book - - it opened doors I didn't even know where there!

        Comment


        • #5
          Particulary when you've reached "settling down" age...there can be a lack of stimuli to prod one out of the old comfortable grooves.

          I think a lot about habits of the hands and fingers in playing keys or guitar. You know, the old noodling moves that you've done ever since you got your first chops down.

          They make you feel like you're playing when all you're doing is mindlessly repeating. Gotta counter that consciously, or a certain number of little habitual moves and flourishes will turn you into a musical statue. Maybe an impressive statue, but still, going nowhere new, that's for sure.

          nat whilk ii

          Comment


          • #6
            No kidding. I have a small collection of songs that I lump under the umbrella term "weirdo electronic music". When I get into a funk with what I think of as my "serious" music, I sometimes go and do some weird little thing, write a funky little song that's really unusual for me, and it can give me a fresh start on the "serious" music.
            ____________________________
            Powered by squirrels.

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            • #7
              I'm a little surprised this hasn't gotten more response, but I suspect it's one of those cases where people read it, say "Yup, that makes sense," and move on. It's the editorials that people disagree with that get the most play
              N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

              Comment


              • #8
                I disagree.
                RIP: Nite Owl Jazz

                Comment


                • #9
                  I disagree with your disagreement.

                  By doing this, I am breaking my habit of making substantive responses.
                  N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                  Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Most forumites have got in the habit of responding to your editorials and so . . .
                    [tumbleweed . . . bell tolls . . .]

                    I'll get me coat.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I disagree with your disagreement.

                      By doing this, I am breaking my habit of making substantive responses.


                      Perhaps you should reconsider, lest they consider you just another internet junkie.
                      RIP: Nite Owl Jazz

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Most forumites have got in the habit of responding to your editorials and so . . .


                        Good one.

                        I think it's a balance - you have to strike the right balance between habit and adventure, and that's probably different for everybody. It's true you can get stuck in ruts, in life as in music, but it's also true that if you don't have certain habits that are ingrained to the point where you don't have to think about them, that in itself can become a hindrance to creativity. So you have to have a bit of both.

                        I also think the pace of modern society has induced a lot of people to cling more rigidly to whatever comfort zones they may still feel they have. I know people who can't write songs if there isn't some drama going on in their lives, but personally I'm kinda the opposite: I'm at my most creative and willing to experiment musically when things are going pretty smoothly in other areas of my life. Whereas if there's too much crap going on, I tend to use music as a source of comfort and stick more to what's familiar and fun.

                        So, everybody's different that way, I guess.
                        What The...?
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                        http://www.facebook.com/whattherock
                        http://www.myspace.com/whattherock

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                        • #13
                          Something could be said for changing habits, too. In my world, I started walking a couple of miles every morning back in March; now, I'm up to running those miles 3-4 days per week. I also began a minimum half-hour of meditation every morning, back in June.
                          Both of these activities have had trickling effects on other things in my life.
                          I've upped my standards; now, up yours.







                          Originally Posted by coyote-1


                          A soul, waiting to go to God, wanted a turkey sandwich.

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                          • #14
                            Yay Offramp! I hope to follow in your footsteps, even in a small way. My life got all topsy-turvy due to a recent job loss (and subsequent career change), and maybe that forced change will help me initiate other positive changes as well, such as increasing my exercise.

                            Being adventurous is good. Some folks probably need it more than others, but I believe that making positive changes in your life is at least as good, and helps spark creativity too-- the "trickling effect" that you mentioned. Actually, making changes in your habits *is* an adventure!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Job loss was what triggered all this for me, as well.
                              I've upped my standards; now, up yours.







                              Originally Posted by coyote-1


                              A soul, waiting to go to God, wanted a turkey sandwich.

                              Comment













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