Evaluating Your Own Stuff - The Worst!

László

Too Many Notes
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
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Location
Michigan
No one says the arts are easy. I spent a couple of hours today reviewing my original orchestral and hybrid orchestral/electronic tracks to decide what to keep on my website, and what to trash. I have lots of stuff.

Well, it turns out most of the tracks need to be tossed because I don't like them. Some even made me say, "What was I thinking? This is crap!"

That wasn't the hoped-for feeling of joy-joy and pride, to say the least!

:eek:

There are a few good things buried in the rubble. The rest? Sewage. Some of it might be salvageable, a measure here, a few bars there. Most makes me cringe.

I always felt finishing a piece was like taking a mental dump, but I DIDN"T MEAN A LITERAL DUMP!!

Back to the drawing board. Sigh. :rolleyes:
 
Sometimes music doesn’t have to be ‘good’, it just has to elicit a feeling of enjoying the listening experience. Are you maybe being overly critical of your own work? Tons of three chord songs that make me smile and a lot of ‘good’ musicians output that make me feel nothing. If you liked it enough to put it up in the first place maybe that’s enough.
 
Ah man.......don't scrap any of it.

I beat myself up all the time over stuff I've done. I'm my own worst critic...

Just remember, Eruption was just a "warm up" piece that Ed used to run through before playing.

It never would have been heard had his producer not insisted it get put on the album.

Leave it all out there.
 
We are definitely our own worst critics. We also improve and hear the flaws in our previous work. That is just natural progression.

My biggest challenge is to not hate and scrap tracks before I get others put down and get a rough mix going. I tend to kill things off before they even get a chance to develop. I know from mixing things for other people that tracks that sound crappy on their own can work well in the mix but with my own stuff I have a tough time giving the tracks a chance to do their job.
 
It's not that I disagree intellectually with what you're telling me, guys. It's good advice in most situations.

But music is a ruthless business. I've got to put my best foot forward every time a potential client hits 'play'. The minute a potential licensee says "There's a lot of 'meh' here, let's move on," that person is never coming back.

So every piece has to be good enough to impress. After 33 years in the biz, that's always been the key to the success I've had with the non-orchestral work.

I've only got a handful of First-Round players.

There are a few Middle-Rounders; those can stay. And there are a handful of Late-Round players that'd benefit from further development on the taxi squad. I've got my work cut out for me there, and it'll be back to the fundamentals with those guys.

But there are a quite a few clunkers that aren't going to make the cut. I was kinda surprised there were so many! :oops:
 
It's not that I disagree intellectually with what you're telling me, guys. It's good advice in most situations.

But music is a ruthless business. I've got to put my best foot forward every time a potential client hits 'play'. The minute a potential licensee says "There's a lot of 'meh' here, let's move on," that person is never coming back.

So every piece has to be good enough to impress. After 33 years in the biz, that's always been the key to the success I've had with the non-orchestral work.

I've only got a handful of First-Round players.

There are a few Middle-Rounders; those can stay. And there are a handful of Late-Round players that'd benefit from further development on the taxi squad. I've got my work cut out for me there, and it'll be back to the fundamentals with those guys.

But there are a quite a few clunkers that aren't going to make the cut. I was kinda surprised there were so many! :oops:
I completely get this and it is spot on. You always have to put your best stuff out there for marketing. Music as a living is definitely a cut throat market.

I’ve been in software developer for years and any time I look at code from a year or two ago I’m just embarrassed for myself.
I have written a good bit of code in my career as well. I have had the opposite happen to me. I have gone back into code that I have written, forgetting it was me that wrote it, and seen things that really impressed me. I then start digging to find out who wrote it and find my notes. I then have the thought of how did I think to do that or figure that out because it was very good. I guess when you get into the flow you never know what you may be capable of doing. I wish I had that experience with music. :)
 
Sometimes it's over thinking it. We are our own worst critic.
Ah man.......don't scrap any of it.
We are definitely our own worst critics. We also improve and hear the flaws in our previous work. That is just natural progression.
I like almost all of what you've posted.
All of the above, Les. Why delete files unless you are truly short on storage space? Sounds like you've already mentally segregated your files into three categories. So, set up folders for your "first round", "late round", and "clunkers" and let them incubate. Even the clunkers may have some musical phrases that you could use later.

This may sound like hoarding, but unless you are close to maxing out storage space, or are disorganized and the mess is bothering you, then why toss anything away? And, in seeing your pics of your studio, I seriously doubt that your files are disorganized. :)

Keep them Les, there may be some gems hiding within what you currently consider junk.
 
I really like to “clean slate” myself every 6-7 years when it comes to recording and writing stuff.

It usually happens/happened when I changed formats. When I sold my Akai MG1212 and went to Adats, I just bulk erased all my tapes and gave ‘em to the dude who bought my machine (what was I gonna do with them anyway? The thought of carrying them around my whole life to archive them would be silly.) Same thing when I moved from Adats and an early Fostex “hard disk” recorder, and same thing when I moved from Roland to computer. I’d give clients their master multi tracks anyway, and figured if it didn’t make it to a finished 2 track mix and put out, it wasn’t worth it to keep retreading old material.

I do have a Rubbermaid container filled with MacBook hard drives, but it’s buried in my basement, and they’re small enough.

Yes, I have lost some ideas that would’ve prolly been incredible (to me) if I reworked them, but forcing myself to move on or rely on my brain’s memory and re-record them is good for my creativity.

You could do a “soft” reset by buying a new hard drive and stashing the old one somewhere in case you totally change your mind. It’s not like hoarding tapes.
 
There used to be (probably still is) a saying in radio programming:
"You never want to give your current listeners a reason to switch the dial"

If there's enough great content to entice clients then perhaps the rest that's B-level and below can go back into development.

And getting feedback from folks whose ears you trust never hurts.
 
I’ve been in software developer for years and any time I look at code from a year or two ago I’m just embarrassed for myself.

I have written a good bit of code in my career as well. I have had the opposite happen to me. I have gone back into code that I have written, forgetting it was me that wrote it, and seen things that really impressed me. I then start digging to find out who wrote it and find my notes. I then have the thought of how did I think to do that or figure that out because it was very good. I guess when you get into the flow you never know what you may be capable of doing. I wish I had that experience with music. :)

I've done both with code that I've written. I've had some stuff that I look back at and think, "What moron did this?" and other stuff I look at with pride. There have been times I've had to revisit some code and I think great, I can revise it because I've learned some things, only to find out that I'd already done it the "better" way.
 
Keep All Of It. Listen Again Tomorrow And You Will Likely Feel Different. It All Served A Purpose And Brought You To Where You Are Today. Be Grateful For That Journey...Even If Some Of The Steps Are Painful And Uncomfortable. You Are The Best You In The World And There Is No Telling What May Happen Today. You May Write The Piece Of A Lifetime In The Next 2 Minutes. Always Look Forward.
 
Great advice guys, but the last thing I'd ever do is revisit my clunkers, so they're already gone. Cut. Trashed. Outta here. Never to be seen or heard again.

It's not like I'm gonna run out of melodies, harmonies, or other detritus of musical existence.

I started reworking a piece I put on my development squad this afternoon, and after a few more days, I may have it ready for special teams play.

F'rinstance, the punt team. 🏉

"If you need a good punt team, give Kirk Ferentz a call at Iowa."
 
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