Where do you have a hard time forgiving yourself?

The clutches of unnecessary distress.

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Making music in a professional recording studio setting can bring up a host of unexpected concerns, problems and anxieties.

Having recorded ten records of my own in a variety of different facilities around the country, I can attest that laying down tracks is no easy task.

Because the pressure is really on. Studio time is not only expensive, but finite. The meter is always running. Artists only have so many hours to finish the songs, and they only have so much energy with which to do so.

Plus, unlike the unique imperfectness of performing live, studio recording comes with the implied goal of precision and excellence. And that adds additional anxiety to the process.

Personally, my struggle has always been not beating myself up between takes. Especially when it’s late at night at everybody wants to go home and there’s that one stupid riff after the bridge that keeps tripping me up. It makes me want to smash my head into the fretboard until there’s a bloody, pulpy mess on the studio floor.

Phil, my longtime recording engineer, once took me aside during a particularly long recording session and gave me the following advice:

I have been producing records longer than you have been alive, and here’s what I learned. Beating yourself up is tempting, but it also details momentum and misdirects valuable creative energy. When you flub a note or miss a beat or sing off key, just stay with the song. We’ll keep rolling tape, you take a deep breath, and then start again. Trust the notes to be there for you, and you’ll get the song right.

Phil taught me that we can’t beat ourselves up for being human. Even if we are paying by the hour, we still should relax into the moment and not be so hard on ourselves.

Are you bound and determined to make things as hard on yourself as possible?

Then it may be time to free yourself from the clutches of unnecessary distress.

Where do you have a hard time forgiving yourself?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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