Spending time in the studio for long periods at once can cloud your judgment about your music as well as produce frustration which can lead to writer’s block. Every once in a while, you need to get out and breathe some fresh air in order to function.
The usual symptoms I get when I realize that now is the time to do something else than music are: hearing only “noise” and a “2D wall of sound” through the speakers, and not being able to focus on the song in its entirety or little parts. The mind gets somehow “cloudy” and it’s hard to make good decisions while producing or mixing. The creative spark gets lost and it’s really hard to create, and it shouldn’t be, as it should be fun and enjoyable.
Another problem with staying alone in the studio is boredom. Where’s the fun if making music gets boring?
Here are ways on how to free your mind and set your thoughts elsewhere between intense music production sessions, and gain new perspective:
Exercise and turn your mind elsewhere
This is my favorite way of getting music totally out of my head. Just go out and do whatever you do for exercise and fun, and forget music. Personally, I like to go out skateboarding, as I have done for 15
years, and it puts me in a totally meditative, focused state of mind. The activity takes all the real estate in my mind, which is exactly why I enjoy it so much. If you haven’t found a way to do something physical and fun, I suggest you to think about what interests you and what you would like to be getting into.
Take your music with you while exercising
This method is especially effective if you need a quick remedy to a problem at hand. What I often do is print the most recent versions of my tracks and put them on my iPod, and go out jogging for 30-45 minutes while listening to them. If you haven’t tried this, you definitely need to, as it could surprise you. Your mind relaxes as you get into the flow of it, and you start noticing things about your music you wouldn’t have in the studio. The brain just starts working again. Of course, you can choose an activity that interests you, and try this method while doing it.
Force yourself out of the studio, every day
It is enough if you just exit your musical kingdom for a short while each day, even for 15 minutes at a time, as it makes your mind concentrate on different things and especially, you ears. Ear fatigue is very common and makes tasks like mixing very challenging. But it can be controlled too, it only demands responsibility to be able to take breaks throughout the day.
Have discussions with your musician and producer friends
If you have friends in your life who are musicians or producers like you, try to spend time with them. They are struggling with the same issues as you are, and tackling them together can get very inspiring – as you are not alone. You will not only gain perspective on new kinds of music by enlarging your musical knowledge, your life will become easier just by acknowledging the support they have for you, and vice versa.
Do other things in life
This is very self-explanatory. If you do other things next to music, you will have better energy, more inspiration, more life experiences to write music about and most of all, you will be looking forward to returning to the studio, I guarantee you that. Taking a little break from music from time to time can influence your musicality in a very positive way. Enjoy a trip abroad or holidays without music. You’ll see what I mean.
Listen to music outside of your genre
Stay open to all music, and at least give them a chance, because you’ll come across other genres and styles you will fall in love with. From a production point of view, the musical ideas gathered from other genres than your own could take your own productions to the next level. Different genres of music have their own general sound, their own dynamics, instrumentation and musicality. Listening to other music will force you out of the “trap” of your own genre. Stay alert, because you might just get influenced by something totally different and by something you never would have thought of yourself and have the inspiration to incorporate similar elements to your own productions. Now that’s perspective to you.
Have fun with music, but remember to step away if you feel like something’s not right, and just let it be for a while. Accept the fact that your mind can only take so much. Keep that musical brain breathing!