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Will the opening of your studio mark the end of your career?

It might not be common knowledge, but people who are already successful in commercial studios often aspire to have a home studio. Of course, if they are successful, they will want their home studio to be as good as a pro studio, maybe just a little smaller...

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It might not be common knowledge, but people who are already successful in commercial studios often aspire to have a home studio. Of course, if they are successful, they will want their home studio to be as good as a pro studio, maybe just a little smaller. Although one producer's home studio that I visited a while ago was in a timber outbuilding big enough to hold the annual reception for the entire local cricket team, wives and families, and probably the umpires as well!

But it is true to say that for a pro musician or producer, the acquisition of a home studio might just mark the beginning of the end of their period of success. In other words, they had achieved success working in commercial studios, but when they started working in a studio at home, they couldn't match that success any more.

One of the greatest pitfalls of a home studio is simply having it there every day. That sounds like a good thing, but it sometimes isn't. Working in a commercial studio puts the pressure on. You have to prepare, you have to make full use of the time, and the recordings you make have to sell. Someone else is paying the studio bills, and your fee, and unless you are successful each and every time, you won't get the chance again.

But at home, the pressure's off. You've got as much time as you like; no rush to get started; OK so that recording failed - doesn't matter, there's plenty of time.

And six months later, nothing has been achieved.

If you plan on working alone in your studio, on self-paced projects - beware! You are going to have to supply a hell of a lot of motivation and self-discipline to achieve anything, and continue to achieve month-in-month-out. It's easy to let a year go by without a successful recording.

If you have projects to fulfill and deadlines to meet, you are very much more likely to be successful, because you have an outside influence almost 'coaching' you along.

Another good way of maintaining pressure on yourself for results is to hire outside musicians. Let's say you're working on a track and you feel that it could benefit from a violin. Pick up the phone and book a violinist (Don't know how? Ask me how!) and set a date, maybe two weeks away. Now you have a target to work towards. You have to be ready otherwise you're still going to have to pay the fee. So you will pull out all the stops to make sure you're ready.

In music, and any other creative endeavor, pressure is often a good thing. In fact, when things get too comfortable, that's often when standards drop.

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By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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