The secret to staying focused when you mix music

Staying focused when you mix can be tough

There comes a point in almost every session when staying focused gets difficult. When this happens your ability to make critical decisions about your mix starts to wane. It stands to reason that by the time you’ve been listening to a piece of music for several hours, you no longer perceive what you’re hearing as clearly as you did at first. When you’re struggling with staying focused, you stop making progress on your mix. Instead of making positive changes which enhance and improve your mix, your actions become less intentional and less productive. No matter what you do to your mix, when your focus has run out, your actions probably won’t have a positive impact on your session.

When this happens, things can go one of two ways. You will either waste time making changes which don’t really achieve any positive results. Or, worse still, you will start to undo the positive changes that you made to your mix earlier in the session. You may even find your self wishing that you could revert back to the mix you had a few hours before.

How to stay focused when you mix

For me, the best way to overcome this obstacle is to only spend a few hours on any one song at any one time. That’s because, even if you take regular breaks whilst mixing, after a while, a short break isn’t enough to refresh your concentration and help you revert back to the focus you had earlier on in the session. Continuing to mix with this lack of focus can have a damaging effect on your song. To avoid this, the best approach is to work on a session for a few hours and then stop.

The amount of time that you should spend on a song will vary from person to person. Personally, I try to spend no more than about 4 hours on any one song at any one time. Of course, spending only four hours on a mix doesn’t mean that you can only only mix for four per day…

The secret to staying focused when you mix

Instead, the secret to staying focused whilst still getting plenty of mixing done is to work on multiple sessions at once. If you want to spend eight hours mixing per day, then the answer is to spend four hours on one song, and then four hours on a different one. If you have three songs to mix and three days to mix them, then don’t try to mix one song per day. Instead, spread the songs out so that you are working on multiple songs, each for a few hours per day. That way, you’ll achieve a much better level of focus on each session.

If you’re mixing your own music then you could work on two or three different songs per day. If you’re mixing for a client then you could work on material by different artists for a few hours each day. It’s up to you how you do it. But working on multiple sessions per day really is the best way of staying focused when you mix.

How long can you spend on a mix whilst still staying focused? Do you usually work on one song at a time? Or do you work on multiple sessions per day? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.


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