Why is music production like cooking?

mix studio
mix studio

Whether you like cooking or not, you cannot deny that cooking and music production are very similar. They are a combination of artistic expression and technical skills. Both areas require fusing different components or ingredients if you wish and making a finished masterpiece that brings all the different elements together into something that transcends its parts. Both processes happen in a specialized room: a kitchen or a mix studio. They both require using your senses, taste, or hearing to create the finished product. In this article, we will compare cuisine and music production. We hope that it will bring you interesting insights and revelations about the craft. It won’t make you a better cook, but hopefully, it will make you a better music producer. 

You should pick your ingredients wisely 

Ingredients are crucial when it comes to cooking. Fresh, seasonal vegetables and farm poultry do not need a lot of seasoning. They are good as they are the same goes with music production. High-quality samples and takes require minimal processing. However, it doesn’t mean that all your ingredients should be of premium quality. You just have to know the time and place to use them. Also, remember that all the ingredients need different treatments depending on their quality. Some of them need a little bit of salt and pepper before going into the oven. If you have a high-quality lead vocal that sounds good without any processing, don’t overdo it by adding too much ‘seasoning’ However, if your ingredients are on the cheaper side, some garnish may transform the taste completely. 

Don’t blindly follow the recipe, adapt the technique the master uses

There are a lot of websites out there where professional chefs and music producers who are the masters of their craft, post the recipes or tutorials to follow. It is helpful, but don’t expect that your final product will be a replica of the one you see on the screen or hear in your headphones. You may lack some ingredients or your products might not be of the same quality. That’s why it is good to follow the recipe but pay attention to the technique rather than the ingredients. Work with what you have, adapt it to your needs, and you will achieve great results. Always remember that you are your key to success. Don’t expect that the plug-in used in the tutorial will suddenly make you great. Always rely on your taste and ears to determine whether something sounds good or not, don’t just blindly follow the tutorial, use your mind and ears to find what works and what is not.

Find the middle ground

This principle works great in cooking: not too much, not too little, just as much as needed. Admit that you have at least once made the mistake of leaving the meat for too long in the oven for the fear that it will be undercooked and then ended up overcooking it to the point when it becomes too tough and impossible to chew. This principle works great in music too. Adding too much reverb and not enough EQ. Here, again, you should use your senses to understand if something is enough or not. Know how many takes you usually need and don’t make more than you need. Know when processing is done, and don’t go too far with it. 

Choose the right garnish

Some ingredients don’t go well together. The same applies to music production. Even if the two takes are of very high quality it doesn’t mean you have to use all of them in the finished track. They might be an awful combination. However, leave room for experiments because this is how new, interesting combinations of sounds are found. 

So there you have it, ways in which cuisine and cooking are like music production. The only thing you need to remember is to listen to what you are doing. This is a sure way to know if what you created is usable or not.