A Lesson From Dustin Ragland on the Music Production Podcast...


I recently had Dustin Ragland on the Music Production Podcast. Dustin is a musician, producer, educator, studio owner, and fellow Ableton Certified Trainer. We had a great talk about finding and keeping curiosity, producing music, and working with other musicians. 

Dustin spoke a lot about creating a setting in which the musicians he works with can feel comfortable to come into his studio and perform. A lot of it had to do with preparation and understanding what those musicians are looking for and what their timeframe to accomplish those goals is. And this lead to a discussion about how we spend our time in the studio. 


This got me thinking about my own process. As anyone reading this probably knows, I spend a lot of my music-making-time exploring sounds. I love creating new presets and sample-based instruments I can use in my own work. But I find myself often confusing the role of sound designer and music maker. I will often switch between those roles mid-work. For instance, if I'm sound designing, I might start writing a piece of music with my half-baked sounds. Or conversely, I start working on sound design while I'm in the middle of writing a song. 

When this blending of roles happen too much, I don't get much of either done. I wind up with half finished instruments and half finished tracks. So, Dustin's words have taught me a lesson I hope to follow in the future: Make decisions about how I will spend my time before I start spending it. Just like an engineer in the studio can't let a performer who has 4 hours to complete a track waste 2 hours tuning drums, I can not dilute my projects by getting sidetracked into other seemingly related but unrelated tasks. 

So, the lesson is focus. Pick a job and work on that. Decide how much time you have for the job and prioritize the things that will be most important towards completing that job.

Thanks for that insight, Dustin!

Now listen to Dustin Ragland on the Music Production Podcast.