I know you said it when you first read the post title. it is, in someway, what should i listen in songs then. i can hear the drums the voice the guitars the synths as simple as that!! whats more in it? well, you are missing a lot then.
It is normal to listen to songs while working, or in the car, or while having coffee in coffee shop. (feels nice). but that music or song is more like the background music of your activity. you hear some part of the song then do your activity and then it moves to next song and the same process repeats. you were listening that songs Passively and that is absolutely fine its not bad thing. but as composer, songwriter, producer you should not consider to yourself that you heard those songs while doing other activities.you should listen actively, without any other activity if you want consider you heard a song carefully.
So what exactly is Active Listening?
Its not hard, just 3 simple steps – listen to that song for 3 times.
1.Listen the whole song without any judgment without making any firm statements. just to get the feel and vibes of the song. what atmosphere it creates what is the message is in the lyric. what is the basic mood of the song is that happy or sad tragic or it leaves with no certain mood, just plain music.
2.The second time listen to find more musical details. this time listen with musician’s ear. focus more on musicality like what is the genre, how it is structured and formed, what instrument are used, how many melodies used, try to find out the chords, scale, key.
3.And finally listen with engineers ears. listen to every detail of production process. how the reverb is working in whole song, how the vocal treatment has done, ups and downs of overall dynamics, listen to instrument panning, compression, what recording techniques they used. try to figure out what is real instruments and what are midi.
Overall you will get very much idea after 3rd step of how the song is made from composition to recording to final mix-master on CD. this idea works best in the scenario when client refer you a song and hit hard with giving you very tight deadline. take these 3 steps and you will find what to do with your new composition for that client.
And keep practicing these steps to get better at it. and yes these are not written rules or gospel. i am sharing a method with you that worked for me. i strongly encourage you to develop your own method and stick to it.
Till then goodbye and happy music making.
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